Americas: Colombia’s FARC to ratify final peace deal
In Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) plan to hold their X National Guerrilla Conference between 17 and 23 September to ratify the final peace agreement with the government. The conference is expected to take place in San Vicente del Caguan in the southern Caqueta department. It is likely to be the FARC’s last conference as an armed group and to confirm its transformation into a legal political movement. Both parties are scheduled to formally sign the final peace deal on 26 September. Colombians will have to approve it in a national referendum on 2 October. The agreement is likely to be approved by most FARC fronts and the Colombian population. FARC-related violence is unlikely to resume, although guerrilla-related activity will remain a risk as long as the smaller ELN remains active.
Asia-Pacific: Heightened inter-Korean tensions raise risk of escalation
The Korean peninsula’s security situation could continue deteriorating over the coming weeks. Tensions have been high since North Korea tested a nuclear warhead. Being able to fix an atomic device to a missile would represent a major development for the North’s nuclear-strike capability. North Korea is now demanding recognition as a nuclear power, while the South has claimed it has a plan to ‘destroy’ Pyongyang if it detects an imminent nuclear attack. Outright conflict remains unlikely, but the North’s continued sanctions-defying tests and both sides’ increased military activity raise the risk of a miscalculation leading to border clashes, during which South Korea’s remote Yeonpyeong islands could be shelled. Any larger-scale escalation would potentially have huge implications for commercial assets in Seoul and across the peninsula.
Eurasia: Mirziyayev appointed Uzbekistan’s acting president
Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev was appointed acting president on 8 September, a move widely seen as crowning him as the heir to late president Islam Karimov, who died last week after 27 years in power. The move came after Senate Chairman Nigmatilla Yuldashev, who is supposed to assume the presidency under the constitution, stood back. There have been no reports of notable actions regarding Mirziyayev’s chief rival, Finance Minister Rustam Azimov, and the government appears to be uniting to manage an orderly transition. It cannot be ruled out that some kind of unrest will emerge or that factional differences will hinder unity efforts and prompt unrest. Presidential elections will be held in early December and if Mirziyayev is the sole major candidate it could indicate the transition has largely been successful.
Europe: terror risk remains extremely high in France
A policeman was stabbed during the arrest of three women on 8 September in connection with a car found with gas canisters near the Notre Dame cathedral on 4 September. One suspect was injured by gunfire during the arrest attempt. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve stated the women were radicalised and preparing an attack but have not stated if the incident is believed to be linked to Islamic State (IS). A 15-year-old boy was also arrested on 10 September on suspicion of planning an attack and police stated he was in touch with an IS member based in Syria. On 11 September, Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated security forces were disrupting suspected terrorist plots daily and that 15,000 people were under monitoring for suspected radicalisation. There remains an elevated risk of further terrorist attacks in France.
MENA: Syrian peace deal remains tentative
In Syria, a cessation of hostilities (CoH) brokered by the US and Russian foreign ministers John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov is due to begin late on 12 September. Once a 48 hour period of non-violence and unfettered humanitarian access is honoured, the CoH will be extended by five days, leading to a proposed coordinated US and Russian aerial campaign targeting Islamic State (IS) and the Fatah al-Sham Front (FSF), formerly Jabhat al-Nusra and affiliated to al-Qaida. Armed opposition groups remain sceptical of the commitment from the Syrian government and other foreign pro-Assad forces. The details of the agreement were not made public, leading to concerns over the likelihood all sides will accept the terms, and the effectiveness of implementation.
Sub-Saharan Africa: South Sudanese officials implicated in corruption report
Advocacy group The Sentry released the results of an investigation into South Sudan’s war economy. The report detailed how President Salva Kiir, former vice president Riek Machar, and other senior officials have enriched themselves, their families and allies as the country’s economy has collapsed amidst civil war. Relatives of Kiir and other officials reside in luxury mansions in Kenya and Uganda, funded by the proceeds of corrupt oil, construction, telecommunications and aviation transactions. The report also detailed an arms for oil deal between Machar and a Russian intermediary working for Kiev-based defence firm Nebo Ukrainy. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) was among the financial institutions accused of facilitating massive transfers of wealth. The report will add impetus to calls for targeted sanctions and will bring KCB and other foreign firms mentioned in the report into the spotlight.