Contingency planning in unstable countries

What happened in Libya shows the importance of a solid contingency plan that takes into account both the geopolitical landscape of the country where client interests are, as well as the cultural and business requirements of the client. Libya is one of these countries where the security landscape can change very quickly, and this is highlighted again with the recent Tripoli offensive, which saw an airstrike against the main airport and disruptions along the road to the nearest country (by land), namely, Tunisia.

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Bouteflika's half concessions unlikely to quell protests

Following an unprecedented wave of protests that began on February 22, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he will not - after all - seek a fifth mandate. In a letter, the ailing Algerian leader further announced the postponement of the upcoming April elections, the drafting of a new constitution, a cabinet change, and the creation of a National Consensus Conference (NCC).

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Militant groups in Egypt aim to capitalise on perceived silent unrest in Egypt with rising IED attacks

In the latest in a series of rising numbers of attempted and successful attacks, the Cairo/Giza area has seen four IEDs in as many days. This now brings the total number of IEDs witnessed in the Giza/Cairo area since December to six, following one on January 6 that was dismantled at a Coptic church in Nasr City and another on December 28 that killed three Vietnamese tourists, the latter of which the MoI attributed to radical MB offshoot Hasm. This increase in attacks in and around the capital is especially notable given the decline witnessed over the past year and is likely to serve as a further blow to the already struggling tourist industry in the country.

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Lebanese President Aoun is unlikely to break deadlock in forming a government as the crisis centres around a small but critical issue

After seven months of deadlock and several fruitless attempts in recent weeks to form a government, Lebanese President Michel Aoun intervened to avoid what he described as a national “catastrophe”, launching a new initiative of “possible solutions” centring primarily on resolving the issue of the representation of six pro-Syrian/pro-Hezbollah Sunni MPs. This issue is the last major obstacle to the formation of the new government.

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Perception of Saudi involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance is having consequences, but governments will wait until dust settles

The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will shortly enter its third week and despite speculation and various accusations, what exactly happened remains unclear. Despite this, there are already consequences for Saudi Arabia on the political, diplomatic, and even business scene. However, it is unlikely that governments will make a concrete move until more is known about Khashoggi’s whereabouts. In this context, absent such concrete evidence of Saudi involvement, Le Beck assesses that retaliatory measures will be limited if they are implemented at all.

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Interest hike aimed to address persistent monetary crisis but unlikely to prevent Turkey’s economic slow-down

Following months of anticipation, the Turkish Central Bank finally increased its interest rates for the second time this year, resulting in a notable rally of the Turkish currency. Still, the move failed to fully alleviate concerns regarding the independence of the Central Bank and its ability to disregard President Erdogan’s persistent opposition to higher rates.

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Syria strikes fail to alter Assad’s calculus on chemical weapons, reveals risk-averse US administration

Following a week of tension and speculation in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s threat to retaliate against the use of chemical weapons against the opposition enclave of Ghouta, multiple strikes were carried out by assets belonging to the US, France, and the UK. The strikes targeted three main sites, including the Barzah research centre in Damascus and two storage facilities west of Homs. Further reports indicating that additional facilities were targeted have not been confirmed by any official sources.

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