Americas: Mapuche-related violence set to continue to increase in southern Argentina
Sectors: all; tourism; construction; private property
Key Risks: arson attacks; land occupations; disruptive, violent unrest; political violence
In Argentina, indigenous Mapuche-related violence is on the upward trend. On 14 October at least two hooded, armed assailants held a watchman at gunpoint and burnt heavy machinery at a road construction site in Villa La Angostura, Neuquen province. A letter demanding the release of imprisoned Mapuche activists signed by the Resistencia Ancestral Mapuche (RAM) activist group was found at the scene. The arson attack against private construction property marked an escalation of the tactics used by Mapuche activists in the country’s southern provinces. Arson attacks conducted by armed assailants linked to Mapuche territorial claims are common in neighbouring Chile but were until now rare in Argentina, where land occupations and forced evictions have been the norm. Further escalation and subsequent security force operations are a growing risk, with the potential for violent clashes and disruptive blockades set to increase.
Asia Pacific: Chinese President Xi Jinping set to embark on historic third-term
Key Risks: political instability; policy continuity; economic risks
In China, President Xi Jinping is set to secure a record-breaking third term and further consolidate power as the country’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong. On 16 October Xi delivered his work report in a two-hour speech to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party in Beijing. The speech prominently reaffirmed Beijing’s right to forceful reunification with Taiwan, lauded the security crackdown in Hong Kong, doubled-down on the government’s zero COVID-19 policy and rallied against “interference” by external forces – all pointing to almost no significant changes to his policy direction towards greater authoritarian control at home and assertiveness abroad. The Congress is expected to conclude with a leadership reshuffle on 23 October that will likely see Premier Li Keqiang replaced and the Party present the new composition of the Politburo and its powerful Politburo Standing Committee.
Eurasia: 9,000 Russian troops to deploy with Belarussian forces on Belarus-Ukraine border
Key risks: war on land; political instability
In Belarus, on 10 October President Alexander Lukashenko announced that Minsk and Moscow would deploy a ‘regional grouping’ of forces due to alleged growing tensions on the country’s border with Ukraine. He did not explicitly mention where the grouping would be deployed, but the country’s Defence Ministry indicated that they would be deployed to the border. On 15 October the Ministry added that the first Russian troops had arrived in the country and that approximately 9,000 Russian soldiers would be stationed there. The announcements raised concerns that Belarus would join the war in Ukraine but officials in Kyiv downplayed the risk, claiming on 11 October that they had not observed preparations by Belarusian forces to join the war. While Moscow is likely seeking to push Belarus to join the war, it remains highly uncertain that Lukashenko will support such a move.
Europe: At least 30,000 protest in Paris; nationwide strikes set to continue
Sectors: all; energy; transportation
Key Risks: supply chain disruption; business and economic
In France, on 16 October thousands rallied in Paris to protest high inflation, demanding wage increases and the protection of the right to strike following the government requisition order on 11 October. According to police estimates, 30,000 participated in the rally, while organisers claimed that 140,000 people took to the streets. The demonstration came amid three-weeks long strikes at refineries across the country which have led to a 60 per cent decrease in the country’s domestic fuel output. While Exxon-Mobil workers at two refineries reached a deal with the company and ended the strike on 14 October, workers at several TotalEnergies refineries voted to continue the industrial action. The strikes are expected to spread to other sectors. Several unions have called for a general strike on 18 October which is expected to cause disruption nationwide.
MENA: Unrest expected as Sadrists object to government formation in Iraq
Key Risks: political instability; civil unrest; political violence
In Iraq, on 13 October Parliament elected Abdel Latif Rashid as the new President. Subsequently President Rashid, an Iraqi Kurdish politician, nominated Muhammad Shi’ah al-Sudani as the Prime Minister-designate, a prominent member of the Iran-backed Coordination Framework. Violent protests erupted in July, led by supporters of the influential Shi’ah cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in response to the candidacy of al-Sudani. After a year-long deadlock and widespread political violence the newly nominated Iraqi government faces renewed turmoil. On 15 October the Sadrist bloc in Parliament announced its intention not to participate in the new government. Sadrist supporters will most likely follow in dissenting to the al-Sudani government and stage demonstrations around the Green Zone in Baghdad, which houses parliamentary buildings. Violent clashes with security forces can be expected, further aggravating the political crisis.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Uganda imposes 21-day lockdown in two districts due to Ebola outbreak
Key Risks: travel disruption; supply-chain disruption
In Uganda, on 15 October President Yoweri Museveni imposed an immediate 21-day lockdown in Mubende and Kassanda districts and a dusk-till-dawn curfew to curb the spread of Ebola. Restrictions on movement in and out of the two districts are being enforced by police. Cargo trucks are allowed to enter the districts, but all other transport has been suspended. The latest outbreak has killed 19 people among 58 recorded cases since the virus was first reported on 20 September. At least one death was recorded in the capital Kampala, although health officials stated that the city remains virus free. The outbreak has affected international travel. Since 7 October the US has redirected US bound travellers who had been in Uganda within the previous 21 days to five major US airports to be screened for Ebola. Further travel restrictions are expected.