Tuesday Headlines

Western Nations Face Rising Risk From Terrorists, Says New Report
The risk posed by ISIS and other terror groups to Western nations has increased in the last year, according to a new report from the Risk Advisory Group (RAG).

Those nations which are now at increased risk are: Belgium, Denmark, Canada, Estonia, Ireland, Norway, Australia, Germany, and France. For Estonia, the report said Russian aggression was the cause of its higher risk rating.

“Elevated geopolitical tensions in parts of Eastern Europe and Eurasia contributed to two increased risk scores in the region – Ukraine and Estonia. Russia’s military manoeuvers and increase in military spending mean that the potential for further armed conflict in the area is no longer unthinkable, yet the overall outlook in the rest of the region is moderately positive, including in Central Asia with three reduced risk ratings,” said the report.

The latest Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map found there had been a reduction on country risk ratings globally, but the dangers getting worse in a smaller number of countries.

“The Aon Terrorism and Political Violence map is a key analytical source which helps our clients understand terrorism risk exposures across the globe. It is interesting that Europe is at significantly greater risk from the rise of the Islamic State. Businesses need to understand how they can mitigate against this risk in affected countries as well as build terrorism insurance programmes that align more closely with their exposure,” says Scott Bolton, Director of Business Development and Network Relations at Aon Risk Solutions, which worked with RAG on the report.

Concerns About Ethnic Violence In Macedonia
The tragic ethnic violence that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the Balkans in the late 1990s seems to be making a comeback in Macedonia and is raising questions about the nation’s political stability.

While the country has been embroiled in political intrigue involving leaked phone conversations and accusations of corruption lobbed by the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia against the government, but it was not until early May that ethnic strife really moved to the forefront.

On May 9, eight police officers and fourteen ethnic Albanian gunmen were killed in clashes in the northern city of Kumanovo, after authorities said they uncovered a group of ethnic Albanian terrorists plotting to attack strategic targets, according to The Australian.

The town of Kumanovo, which is ethnically mixed, was the center of hostilities between ethnic Albanian rebels and government forces during the ethnic conflict in 2001.

In an effort to resolve some of the differences between the SDU and the government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, the European Union facilitated talks, which ended without a resolution this month.

“We’ve urged the authorities to make progress toward accounting for allegations of government wrongdoing that arise from the recent disclosures. We also have urged the opposition party to return to parliament so that it can take part in strengthened parliamentary oversight of Macedonian Government institutions, including an inquiry committee into these disclosures,” Jeff Rathke, from the US State Department, according to the Balkan Times.

While Zoran Jačev of the European Council on Foreign Relations says the situation today is very different from 2001, the last time Macedonia witnessed similar violence, and that a renewal of ethnic conflict is limited, he does note that “the deep political crisis in Macedonia over the last two months could be exploited by criminal and extremist groups” and cautions that “it must be resolved as soon as possible in order to prevent these groups spreading interethnic tensions.”

 

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