Americas: Unrest set to intensify in Chile ahead of protest movement anniversary, referendum

Sectors: all
Key Risks: violent unrest; arson attacks; business risks

In Chile, violent unrest is set to intensify ahead of the one-year anniversary of the protest movement that started on 18 October 2019, which will be followed by the 25 October referendum on whether a new constitution should be drafted. On 3 October a police officer was arrested and charged with attempted homicide a day after allegedly pushing a 16-year old protester off the Pio Nono bridge in the capital Santiago. The incident took place as protests in the vicinity of the Plaza Italia area turned violent, with riot police firing tear gas and water cannons. Protests continued on 3 October, with at least 25 people arrested and 15 police officers reportedly injured across Santiago. A bus was torched and a police station was attacked in Puente Alto. Further disruptive and violent unrest should be expected over the coming weeks.

Asia Pacific: Three injured in protest against civil servant test results in Indonesia’s Papua province

Sectors: various
Key Risks: political instability

In Indonesia, three people were injured after police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters that rallied against the civil servant (CPNS) recruitment results in Keerom Regency, Papua province. The mass protest was allegedly caused by a ‘misunderstanding’ where protesters believed that the CPNS results did not comply with a regulation that ensures that 80 per cent of civilian servant positions go to indigenious Papuans. The latest flare up came at the helm of growing calls for an independence referendum following the central government’s plan to extend the 2001 Special Autonomy Law, was supposed to give Papua and West Papua provinces greater political autonomy and a larger share of revenue from their rich natural resources. Locals claim that the law has done little to help people in one of the country’s poorest regions. Tensions are expected to persist.

Eurasia: Armenia and Azerbaijan escalate fighting away from disputed territory

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war

Clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh look likely to further escalate over the coming week after fighting broke out in several cities on 3-4 October. Azerbaijan’s armed forces launched artillery fire on Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert, and on the city of Shushi. Local media reported that Azerbaijan’s second largest city, Ganja, and other towns including Mingacevir, where a strategic hydroelectric power plant is located, was struck by Armenian missile fire. International mediation, crucial to reaching a peace settlement, has yet to form. Fears are growing that the war could lead to the involvement of regional powers Turkey, Russia and Iran. As of publication, heavy artillery fire continued from both sides. The death toll so far is reportedly at a total of 244, including 60 civilians. Escalation to cities could see mass civilian casualties.

Europe: European states face increasing COVID-19 cases; Brexit talks extended by a month

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political stability; business disruption; frustration of process

European countries will likely begin to reintroduce local lockdowns to combat increasing cases of COVID-19, though a return to full nationwide lockdowns appears unlikely. Local authorities raised Paris’s COVID-19 alert level to its maximum as recorded infection rates continue to soar, closing bars, gyms and pools for two weeks, though restaurants can continue service if strict hygiene rules are in place. The Czech Republic introduced a state of emergency as its confirmed cases surged with measures also being put in place for two weeks. Spanish authorities put Madrid into local lockdown over the weekend and additional restrictive measures were placed on bars and restaurants. Meanwhile, on 3 October UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von de Leyen agreed to extend Brexit negotiation talks by a month. Talks are expected to intensify over the coming weeks.

MENA: Attacks on US positions in Iraq escalate further; miscalculation risk rises

Sectors: oil & gas; all
Key Risks: political instability; economic and political risks

Attacks against US diplomatic and military assets in Iraq are occurring almost daily and escalated on 30 September when six rockets were shot close to US troop positions in Erbil airport, Iraqi Kurdistan. Attacks are attributed to – and some have been claimed by – Shi’ah militia aligned with Iran. Although the incidents remain symbolic, an increase in the number of attacks also raises the risk of a miscalculation which could lead to the killing of US troops. This would trigger another escalating retaliatory cycle which in January 2020 led the US to kill Iranian General Qassam Sulaimani. The attacks targeting US convoys, the Embassy, and Baghdad airport – where troops are stationed – are receiving very little attention. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to close the US Embassy, which ultimately achieves the attackers’ goals and has likely encouraged escalation.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Protesters block Port Sudan after government, rebels ink peace deal

Sectors: all
Key Risks: internal conflict; civil unrest; terrorism

Demonstrators blocked Port Sudan, Sudan’s main commercial port, and a road connecting the eastern city to Khartoum in protest of a peace deal signed by the government and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) on 3 October. The SRF is a coalition of rebel groups operating in western, southern and eastern Sudan. While widely hailed as historic, the deal fails to address recent bouts of ethnic violence driven by new local militia and does not include the country’s two largest rebel groups. Moreover, the agreement provides for the governing Sovereignty Council and the yet to be established legislature to be expanded to accommodate SRF representatives, further diluting the influence of the transitional government’s civilian members. Protesters are threatening to take escalatory steps if their demand that the deal be cancelled is not met.