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    Iraq and Iran have had a dynamic relationship over the past few decades. The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s was a period of conflict, but in recent times since the fall of the Saddam regime in 2000, the regional neighbours … Read the rest

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    Paul Rusesabagina: The ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero Convicted of Terror-Related Charges Posted on

    In September 2021, after a seven-month trial, a Rwandan court found Paul Rusesabagina guilty of being part of a group … Read the rest

    Zapad 2021 Posted on

    The massive, Russo-Belarusian Zapad 2021 operational-strategic war games have ended. Zapad happens every four years and always rehearses the same … Read the rest

    Security Updates
    Situation Update – Ethiopia (5 November 2021)

    A year into the war in Ethiopia, and rebellious forces from the country’s Tigray region have pushed to within a day’s drive of the capital city Addis Ababa and are threatening to march on the city. The situation has been further complicated by the announcement late on 4 November 2021 by a broad coalition of Ethiopian armed groups and political actors who say that they will form a new alliance on Friday 5 November “in response to the scores of crises facing the country” and to fight against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. As fighting continues on the ground and concerns grow about the security situation in the capital, the United Nations Security Council is set to hold a public meeting on Friday afternoon about the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia as calls earlier in the week for a ceasefire by the East African bloc and the European Union have gone unanswered.  

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    Guinea Security Update – 20 September 2021

    As of 20 September, the nightly 22:00 – 06:00 curfew continues to be in place until further notice. As of 15 September, the National Committee of Rally and Development (CNRD) has announced the gradual reopening of Guinea’s land borders following the coup earlier this month. The borders reopening will be scheduled as follows: border with Sierra Leone by 15 September; border with Liberia by 16 September; border with Ivory Coast by 17 September; border with Mali by 18 September; border with Guinea-Bissau by 20 September; and the border with Senegal by 24 September.

    On Tuesday 14 September, the junta launched a week-long consultation with political, religious and business leaders that it says will lead to the formation of a transitional government. The four-day talks, which began with a meeting with leaders of the main political parties on Tuesday, are expected to lay out the framework of a promised government of national unity that would lead the country back to constitutional order. The talks are expected to define the duration of the transitional period, what political and institutional reforms are needed before elections, and who will lead the transition. The meeting with political parties on Tuesday will be followed by a meeting with representatives of regional governments, then religious organizations, civil society organizations, diplomatic missions, heads of mining companies and business leaders which are also scheduled for meetings with the junta thorough this week. While the talks concluded on Friday, the junta has yet to comment on the results of the discussions or disclose what timeline it has in mind for the transitional period.  

     On Thursday 16 September, the 15-nation ECOWAS bloc held an emergency summit to decide how to respond to the coup in Guinea and how to pressure the junta leaders to return the country to constitutional rule. ECOWAS has condemned the putsch that overthrew President Alpha Condé. Last week, the bloc suspended Guinea from the decision-making bodies of the organization and sent a mission to meet the coup leaders on Friday 10 September. Following the conclusion of Thursday’s summit, ECOWAS announced that it has agreed to freeze the financial assets and impose travel bans on junta members and their relatives. It has also demanded the unconditional release of ousted Guinea President Condé and a short transitional period. Speaking at a briefing following the summit, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou disclosed that elections should be held within a six-month period.

    The following day, Friday 17 September, Guinean President Nana Akufo Addo, the current chair of ECOWAS, along with Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara travelled to Conakry where they met with the country’s new junta leaders. While the visit was aimed at securing the release of former Guinean leader Alpha Condé, Guinea’s junta leaders on Friday disclosed that Condé would not be allowed to seek exile, adding that they would not cave to mounting pressure from regional mediators who have imposed targeted sanctions. Both Ouattara and Akufo-Addo held a separate meeting with Condé at the Mohamed VI palace in Conakry. While according to senior regional government official the one-day visit to Conakry was aimed at asking coup leader Mahamdy Doumbouya for Condé’s release, both West African leaders flew out of Guinea on Friday evening empty-handed.

     Following this week’s meetings with ECOWAS, the junta’s spokesman disclosed on Saturday 18 September that Guinea’s coup leader had told the delegation of West African leaders that he was not concerned about new sanctions imposed by the regional bloc last week. Speaking during a briefing on Saturday, junta spokesman Amara Camara disclosed that Doumbouya has shrugged off the move, telling high-level ECOWAS envoys that “as soldiers, their work is in Guinea and there is nothing to freeze in their accounts.” The comment was made during talks between Doumbouya and the Ivorian and Ghanaian presidents who visited Conakry on Friday. While ECOWAS has also demanded a six-month transitional period in Guinea, Doumbouya told the delegation that the will of the Guinean people should be taken into account, according to Camara.

    On Sunday 19 September, the country’s junta arrested a former minister and ransacked his home before releasing him several hours later. On Sunday morning armed men raided Tibou Kamara’s apartment in Conakry and took him to an undisclosed location. He was freed in the afternoon, though several items, including mobile phones, were seized. His arrest was confirmed by the ruling CNRD as well as his team, with coup leaders accusing him of violating a commitment to remain neutral towards the military administration currently in power. Kamara had been an industry minister and an adviser to former President Alpha Condé.

    MS Risk Advisory

    While calm has been restored in Guinea, the situation remains fluid and further instability could occur with little warning. Movement restrictive measures, telecommunications disruptions, and disruptions to state and business operations are likely to continue in the coming days. Clashes between rival security force factions may also continue after clashes erupted on 5 September resulting in the death of five military personnel. Further public gatherings in response to developments are likely nationwide and these could be in favour of the coup or in support of the Condé government. Any gathering is likely to be met by a security force deployment. Clashes are possible at all protest locations.

     Anyone considering travelling to Guinea is advised to defer travel until the situation stabilizes. Anyone currently in Guinea, including in Conakry and in other major city centres, is advised to monitor the local media and to maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Avoid concentrations of security personnel. Avoid all protests as they may turn violent with little warning. Plan for road travel delays and reconfirm all scheduled transport services, including flights, prior to departure.

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