20 February 2017
No 60 | 17 Nov 2015

Strategic Insights No 60

No 59 | 23 Sep 2015

Strategic Insights No 59

No 58 | 30 Jun 2015

Strategic Insights No 58

Alternatives to the Strait of Malacca: Few, far between, but vitally important

Louis P. Bergeron

In this article, Security Policy Consultant Louis P. Bergeron provides an overview of the Strait of Malacca choke point and considers the ‘Malacca dilemma’. There are regional alternatives to the strait, but these have their own challenges – not least their ability to handle the ‘Malaccamax’ vessels that transit the strait. Bergeron notes that while there are local security threats, the main future concern is great power competition – between the United States and China – and the straits in the region have a rich history of strategic importance. 

Seven myths and the ongoing evolution of piracy in South East Asia

Karsten von Hoesslin

This article continues our coverage of the evolution of piracy in South East Asia. Risk Intelligence’s Karsten von Hoesslin has written extensively on the topic in previous issues, and this article takes advantage of the latest intelligence information available on active pirate groups. There are a number of myths about piracy in the region, often based on old information or simply by looking at piracy through the filter of entrenched opinions. This article dispels these myths, including on definitions, tactics, revenue, and syndicates, as well as whether hijackings are always inside jobs. 

Migratory waves in the eastern Mediterranean and maritime security implications

Dr. Maria Kottari

As this issue was going to press, there was reporting that some 3,700 migrants had been rescued by ships in the Mediterranean in just a two-day period. This article by researcher Maria Kottari, examines the topic from the Greek perspective, which is particularly useful given that the eastern area of the Mediterranean is often overlooked in popular discourse. Of interest is the role of the conflict in Syria in feeding the flow of refugees, as well as the role of Turkey as a staging point. Europe’s border agency FRONTEX has been active in Greece for some time, but faces some unique challenges. 

Al-Shabab as a wider threat in East Africa

Dr. Stig Jarle Hansen

The waxing and waning of the insurgent group al-Shabab in East Africa has been another featured topic in previous issues of Strategic Insights. This article provides an update from Stig Jarle Hansen on al-Shabab activities in Somalia as well as in Kenya and beyond. The group has suffered numerous setbacks over the last 18 months, tactically as well as ideationally with the rise of the Islamic State. However, al-Shabab carries on and has found new support as well as effectiveness in its operations in Kenya. As well, it might be able to add fuel to spark fires in Tanzania. 

Survey of maritime armed robbery in the Americas and Caribbean

Risk Intelligence analysts

This article gives a survey of maritime armed robbery in South America. Although not normally considered a high-risk area, there are a steady number of incidents taking place in particular ports. This article covers incidents since 2010 and considers how patterns in the region have changed. The nature of the groups behind the attacks are not well known, and are generally assumed to be opportunistic. Awareness, however, is crucial to mitigating the risk and this survey is the starting point. 

No 57 | 23 Apr 2015

Strategic Insights No 57

The future of Yemen: Conflict scenarios

Guy Wilson-Roberts with Risk Intelligence analysts

The Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen has included the effective blockade of Yemeni ports as well as increased naval patrolling in the area of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. With the ongoing nature of the intervention uncertain, this timely article considers the evolution of the conflict in Yemen with a comprehensive account of what scenarios are likely in the future. 

The growing presence of the Islamic State in North Africa

Risk Intelligence analysts

Al-Qaeda is locked in an ideational conflict with the Islamic State for the hearts and minds of militant jihadi groups in the region (a topic covered in Strategic Insights No.55). This article looks at the influence of the Islamic State in North Africa. It discusses how the group has been able to recruit fighters from the region to join its ranks in Syria and Iraq, but also to establish its own presence in certain countries – most notably Libya. 

A trend analysis of Boko Haram: 2014 to early-2015

Dr. Stig Jarle Hansen

Boko Haram in Nigeria has suffered some setbacks in recent months, and its operations continue to evolve in scope and focus. This article provides a statistical overview of the evolution through 2014 to the first quarter of 2015 and discusses the key trends that will likely shape further changes. Whether a new president in Nigeria can secure a military advantage depends on a number of factors. 

Colombia maritime security forecast 2015

Risk Intelligence analysts

This article is a continuation of the special forecast issue, Strategic Insights No.56. In Colombia, a crucial peace process is underway and its outcome is central to the future security picture. The central security driver is the insurgent group FARC, currently engaged in the peace process but with the end result yet to take shape. This article covers the expected outcomes. 

Venezuela maritime security forecast 2015

Risk Intelligence analysts

This article is a continuation of the special forecast issue, Strategic Insights No.56. Venezuela faces different challenges, with internal stability the main concern: perhaps hinging on a single variable – the international price of oil. Internal stability is related to the ebb and flow of organised crime and this forecast covers the likely scenarios. 

No 56 | 11 Feb 2015

Strategic Insights No 56

Introduction to forecasting: Probability and confidence in a changing world

Guy Wilson-Roberts

For some observers, 2014 appeared to be a year when those threats increased dramatically – from the Middle East to North Africa to the Black Sea. But was this really the case? In introducing this special issue on maritime security forecasts for 2015, this article looks at the year just past and what it might tell us about the year ahead. 

South East Asia piracy outlook for 2015: Pirates putting aces in their places

Karsten von Hoesslin

Through a series of questions and answers, this article looks at expected developments in piracy in South East Asia, particularly the modus operandi of tanker hijackings for product theft. Information security is a major theme as criminal groups continue to exploit vulnerabilities off and on the region’s waters. 

Nigeria maritime security forecast 2015

Risk Intelligence analysts

Nigeria’s elections process will be a major driver for the security situation in the year ahead and this article reviews possible directions given different presidential election outcomes – covering Boko Haram in the north-east to organised criminal groups operating in the Gulf of Guinea. 

Libya maritime security forecast 2015

Risk Intelligence analysts

Libya stands on the brink of reconciliation between its two warring factions or on total collapse into a wider civil war. This article assesses the different ways that the country might develop in 2015 and the implications for the wider security situation. 

Somalia maritime security forecast 2015

Risk Intelligence analysts

Piracy is returning to a subsistence model in Somalia, but the future of the security situation in the country as a whole remains dependent on the ongoing political reconciliation process between different factions, clans and regions – as well as military action against al-Shabab. While there is much to be optimistic about, this article looks at the challenges in the year ahead. 

Egypt (Suez Canal) maritime security forecast 2015

Risk Intelligence analysts

Egypt has returned to a period of stability following political upheaval. The security situation for the Suez Canal is more challenging, however, with militant groups in the Sinai the most likely threat. This article considers possible scenarios and whether the Canal itself can remain secure. 

Black Sea (Ukraine) maritime security forecast

Risk Intelligence analysts

The conflict in Ukraine continues to grab headlines and the conflict is entering into a crucial phase at the present time. This article looks at potential developments and how the conflict might play out. As well, it assesses the wider implications for the Black Sea region, as well as covering other security threats in the area. 

Syria and Iraq maritime security forecast 2015

Risk Intelligence analysts

The conflict in Syria and Iraq involving the Islamic State (IS) has been another headline grabber. The maritime implications have been less well covered. This article analyses the civil wars in Syria and Iraq, including their linkages, and how they might play out in 2015 – and how they impact on the maritime environment in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. 

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