Security Exchange News

News By Category: UNITED KINGDOM

The Taliban and Global Jihad

10 September 2021

Over the last month, many have expressed concerns that - despite pledges from the Taliban to prevent Afghanistan being used for terrorist activity - a Taliban-run government will inevitably increase the risk of the country becoming a safe haven for Islamist militants to recruit, train, and plot reprisal attacks on the Western forces that occupied the country for 20 years. The cautious consensus amongst the international community is that the Taliban’s desire for recognition as a legitimate government overrides any desire to ‘get back’ at the powerful Western forces that largely withdrew before the Taliban were in a strong enough position to topple the fragile Afghan government. It is widely accepted that if the US were given reason to intervene in Afghanistan again, the Taliban neither have the numbers or the resources to stay in power. Therefore, it is in the group’s interests to honour their promise and contain al-Qaeda and other associated militant groups, such as the Haqqani Network. What we have seen so far, following the fall of Kabul, have been deadly attacks either carried out, or inspired by, Islamic State (IS) – a group the Taliban has been fighting for many years.

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Northern Ireland experiences worst rioting in years

10 May 2021

Sporadic rioting has broken out in towns and cities across Northern Ireland (NI) over recent weeks. Since the end of March, dozens of police officers have been injured in the worst street violence to be reported in NI for years. Last month, the violent unrest prompted police to use water cannons to disperse crowds for the first time in six years, as crowds of predominantly loyalist youths attacked lines of riot police with bricks, petrol bombs, and fireworks. The violence first broke out between gangs of youths back in late March, in an area of Londonderry typically associated with loyalists – those who support NI remaining part of the UK. Protests and riots broke out on a near-nightly basis over the first week of April, with incidents reported in Belfast, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, and Newtonabbey. In early April, fighting spilt over a so-called peace wall in west Belfast which separates loyalist areas from predominantly Catholic nationalist communities. Unlike loyalist communities, nationalists favour a united Ireland. A gate along the wall was reportedly smashed open, leading to several hours of disorder – during which police officers and a press photographer were attacked, while a bus was hijacked and set alight. The clashes raised concerns over heightened sectarian tensions.

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Security Exchange Newsletter | March

01 April 2021

The March edition of InTouch Monthly includes the attack on Palma in Mozambique, the political and health crisis in Brazil and the debate sparked by the killing of Sarah Everard in the UK. We also cover the new interim government in Libya and the deadly fire at a camp for Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh.

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US-UK Bilateral Trade Deal

13 August 2020

The authors are aware that the range of products, services and trade agreements included in the potential bilateral trade deal between the UK and the US will be extensive. However, to examine all aspects is beyond the intended scope of this report. Therefore, this report will concentrate mainly on the associated post-Brexit relations between the UK and the EU and subsequent newfound trade agreements which are proposed between the UK and the US. Concerns relating to standards of food hygiene have gained much attention, should this trade agreement be ratified, and we will attempt to examine the arguments for and against.

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Security Exchange Newsletter | January | Europe

31 January 2020

Russia - The country is set to face a new political era, with extensive political reforms expected to be introduced. President Vladimir Putin has already announced the introduction of presidential term limits while granting more political power to parliament. 2020 started with the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was replaced by Mikhail Mishustin. However, the opposition and some members of the international community are sceptical of President Putin’s intentions. Despite some of the measures already being launched, some claim that President Putin is preparing a power grab to remain in control of Russian politics after he leaves in 2024. Despite being considered independent, Putin has long been associated with several political parties, including United Russia. It is still to be seen what the new political reforms will bring to Russia or if they are only cosmetic.

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The Uncertain Special Relationship

06 June 2019

This week, the UK has received US President Donald Trump for a state visit. Amid banquets, news conferences, and protests, the term ‘Special Relationship’ has been bandied around quite a bit; however, recent political uncertainty is threatening to undermine the bond between the two states.

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EU Elections

23 May 2019

Millions of voters across 28 European Union (EU) countries will head to the polls between Wednesday and Sunday to cast their ballots in the European Parliament (EP) elections. Immigration, climate change, EU funds, integration and economic features are the main topics of debate ahead of the vote. With Brexit lingering on the horizon, euroscepticism has also become a major talking point as the EU elections approach. If anti-EU parties do well enough at the ballot box, they could slow down the EU’s law-making process, making it difficult to implement bloc policies and significantly disrupting EU proceedings. More than 370m voters are eligible to elect 751 members of the EP to serve for five years. With record low turnout figures reported during the 2014 vote, campaigning has mostly focused on the apparent uprising of far-right politics across Europe. With emerging parties also taking part in the vote, traditional political platforms are having to compete with more parties on major issues. Here is a brief snapshot of the political situation in all 28 EU member states as they approach the EU elections:

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Wake Up Call

25 April 2019

The death of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee has reignited the debate on dissident-related violence in Northern Ireland. McKee was killed while covering violent riots in Londonderry, which broke out after police raids in the city’s Creggan neighbourhood. McKee was shot while standing near a police vehicle and succumbed to her wounds after being taken to the city’s hospital. After the incident, Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) released CCTV footage that led to the detention of three people under the Terrorism Act. The so-called New IRA has admitted responsibility and apologised for the incident. McKee’s death generated outrage in Northern Ireland and sparked fears over the stability of the Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998.

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Momo: Fact or Fiction?

28 February 2019

Parents and guardians across the world are currently terrified about the dangers of the ‘Momo’ challenge, where a ghoulish-looking figure is apparently invading social media and ordering children to self-harm and commit suicide. Unverified reports have linked the phenomenon with a series of suicides; various news outlets, schools and police forces have published warnings to parents; the topic has been trending on Twitter, shared by ‘influencers’ on Instagram while people are spreading articles about Momo on Facebook and other platforms. Yet charities and fact-checkers are saying that it is a hoax, and that the mass hysteria surrounding it is the real threat.

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Responding to Terrorism

10 May 2018

In recent years, fear of being caught up in a terrorist attack has increased for people across much of the world. As terrorist groups and networks continually adapt to an ever-changing environment, so must potential targets and victims to minimise the risk of fatal attacks. In the wake of a number of terrorist attacks in the UK last year, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) launched the ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ campaign to advise citizens on what to do in terrorist attacks. More recently, NaCTSO has also partnered with the Department for Education to produce detailed lesson plans designed to provide advice to pupils on how to survive terrorist gun and knife attacks.

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A Tale of Two Cities

05 April 2018

The deaths of two teenagers, killed in separate shootings over the Easter holidays, has raised concerns about increasing violent crime in London. The apparent drive-by shooting in Tottenham that killed a 17-year-old girl and another similar incident in Walthamstow represented the 47th and 48th suspected murders reported in the capital since the start of 2018. This has prompted claims that London has now surpassed New York City, which recorded slightly lower numbers of homicides over the same period. The recent killings do not necessarily prove that London is becoming more dangerous than New York City as the statistics only cover February and March; however, the murder rate in the UK’s capital is currently on track to reach the highest levels since 2005.

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Brexit: What's Next?

21 December 2017

The Brexit process has successfully made it through the first round of negotiations, overcoming divisive issues such as the Irish border issue, the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and whether or not the final say on the Brexit deal will be put to parliament. The three main focus points of the first stage of Brexit talks have been the agreement of a financial settlement (£45bn), the Irish border, and the rights of EU citizens. While “sufficient progress” in the provisional agreements has been reached, future problems may arise due to the lack of clarity – as highlighted with the Irish border issue, which, some claim, has been swept under the rug.

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