Intelligence Fusion Weekly Rundown 11/11/22

 

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Friday 11th November 2022


 

Here's your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place in each region in the last seven days;

Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?

MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Philippines

On the morning of 6th November, an IED targeting a bus detonated in the Sultan Kuderat town of Tacurong in Mindanao, killing one and injuring eleven more.

 

While the attack has not been attributed to any specific actor, at least two regional terrorist groups are thought to be potentially responsible. Two similar incidents occurred in May 2022 in Tacurong and the neighbouring town of Koronadal, when bus bombings attributed to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) injured two and were thought to be linked to the killing of a BIFF member in an encounter with security forces some days earlier. Given the incident’s location in Central Mindanao, and the killing of two BIFF members in a firefight the previous day in Shariff Aguak, the most recent bombing seems to fit this pattern of BIFF retaliating against soft civilian targets when one of their number is lost.

 

Even so, bus bombings have been occurred outside of BIFF’s traditional areas of operation this year, with a double bombing also in May being carried out in Isabella on Basilan - a part of the Philippines more closely associated with the Abu Sayyaf Group. Extortion should also not be ruled out, whether or not the bombing was carried out by a terrorist group.

Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?

AFRICA

Egypt

Some 165 activists have been interrogated by military prosecutors in Egypt ahead of calls for anti-government protests on 11th November. Calls for protests against the President Sisi regime have circulated for weeks on social media. Protesting is against the law in Egypt. The previous round of anti-government protests broke out in September 2020; protests at the time took place mainly in neighbourhoods with heavy security in large public spaces such as Tahrir Square as has been the case in recent weeks.

 

Social discontent has been high in recent months in the country where inflation is above 15 percent and the Egyptian pound has lost half its value and hit record lows against the U.S. dollar a mere two weeks ago. Analysts expect the currency to depreciate further. Additionally, as part of a fiscal reform package agreed with the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the value of the Egyptian pound will be determined by market forces which will increase the costs of imports and increase inflation in the short-term in a country where nearly a third are living in poverty. Ahead of COP 27, which is being held at Sharm el Sheikh, 1400 groups, parliamentarians and individuals from over 80 countries have also urged Egypt to open civic space and release the more than 60,000 political prisoners.

Insight Weekly - Europe Image

EUROPE

Greece

On 9th November, unions across Greece went on strike to protest against low wages and rising cost of living. Shortly after many of the strikes began in Athens and Thessaloniki, reports indicated clashes occurring between police and far-left elements within the protest marches. Several reports indicated the use of Molotov cocktails and other projectiles against police. Reports indicate only 8 of the rioters were arrested by police.

 

These sort of clashes tend to be the norm for Greece. However, there is another major event occurring on 17th November 17 2022 - the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic University massacre. This anniversary often features rioting between far-left elements in universities (often a safe haven for these groups) and police. Although this upcoming anniversary is the first where the Greek government has established and deployed the University Police in order to counter much of the lawlessness which has been prevalent in universities; over the past few months there have been reports of caches of Molotov cocktails being seized within universities in Athens and Thessaloniki as well as protests against the establishment of the University Police.

 

With the rioting which occurred during these recent strikes, the upcoming Polytechnic Massacre anniversary and establishment of the University Police, this upcoming anniversary is likely to see heightened tensions and unrest occur in Thessaloniki and Athens.

Insight Weekly - North America Image

NORTH AMERICA

United States of America

On the 8th November, midterm elections were held across the United States with initial results suggesting turnout may beat a 40-year high set in 2018 at 49% of the eligible population. The number of early voting ballots submitted ahead of election day also surpassed the previous record of 39.1 million set in 2018.

 

Despite this record-breaking voting behaviour, the midterm election was more typical in acting as a bellwether for President Biden’s administration. Biden is now halfway through his four year term with an approval rating of around 38%. Much of the focus during the election was, conversely, on how well candidates endorsed by former President Trump would perform. Trump is expected to declare his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election following the midterm.

 

However, the anticipated ‘red wave’ of Republican gains has not materialised and overall control of Congress hangs in the balance. The Republicans look likely to win the House of Representatives while the Senate race is much tighter with several states yet to declare or facing recounts. One convincing result was the reelection of Ron DeSantis as Governor of Florida who is now positioned as a possible rival to Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.

 

Overall, the midterm results can be read as a rejection of Trump-brand Republicanism over an endorsement of President Biden and the Democrats. People and businesses should be aware that muted election protest activity so far may change as results continue to be confirmed across the country.

Insight Weekly - South America Image

SOUTH AMERICA

Mexico

On the night of 9th November, a mass shooting took place at a bar in the town of Apaseo del Alto in the State of Guanajuato, Mexico. Nine people, five men and four women, were killed in the attack and two more were injured. Witnesses said that at least seven gunmen stormed into the Lexuz Bar and opened fire. One of those killed was the owner of the bar while two of the bodies were found in a car outside the establishment. Several vehicles were reportedly torched in the areas around Apaseo el Alto before the shooting. Although the motive has not been confirmed, it was reported that the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel left a narco message at the scene claiming responsibility for the attack.

 

The day before the mass shooting, on 8th November, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel attacked and burned a hospital in Celaya which is believed to be affiliated with the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel. An increase in violence has been observed in Guanajuato which is traced to a turf war between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel that is based in the State of Jalisco is reportedly attempting to take over Guanajuato, which is controlled by the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel. Businesses such as bars are highly likely to be the targets of armed attacks as the cartels fight to establish dominance, likely resulting in more civilian casualties. Police said that more units of the state and federal authorities and the National Guard will soon be moved into the state.

 
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US launches first-ever overseas test of Rapid Dragon missile system in Norway

 

On Wednesday, 9th November, a US Air Force MC-130J cargo plane carried out the first ever European-theatre live-fire demonstration of the Rapid Dragon system over the Norwegian Sea, in the Arctic Circle. The launch was part of Exercise Atreus - which included US allies from Norway, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom.

 

The Rapid Dragon system involves an airdrop of a palletised weapons module - using standard airdrop procedures - which deploys flying munitions such as cruise missiles once the pallet has stabilised under parachute. This allows unmodified cargo planes to be temporarily repurposed as a stand-off bomber, launching air-to-surface cruise missiles without requiring specialised aircraft.

The launch comes amid high tensions with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with Special Operations Command Europe's Lt. Col. Lawrence Melnicoff quoted as saying that by putting the system within range of Russia, the US and its allies were trying to deter Russian aggression by showing their enhanced capabilities.

 

Thanks to server member David McDonnell for sharing information and video of the launch in the #Arctic channel of our OSINT community. 

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