Security Exchange News


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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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 | Americas

31 January 2020

USA - 2020 will be a busy political year for US politics. President Donald Trump is currently facing his impeachment trial in the Republican-dominated Senate. President Trump was impeached in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives over charges linked to abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He is accused of pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate then US Vice-President Joe Biden – he is currently one of the front runners of the Democrat presidential race – and his son, Hunter Biden. Allegations emerged after President Trump was accused of threatening to withhold aid to Ukraine to exert pressure in the investigations. The impeachment trial comes in the same year as the US will hold its presidential election. President Trump is expected to run for another term in office, while the crowded Democratic battle continues. In a sign of division within the Republican establishment, President Trump has already been challenged ahead of the primaries by former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and former Congressman Joe Walsh. The elections come amid some scepticism towards the integrity of the US electoral process in the aftermath of the Russian-meddling investigations into the 2016 presidential vote. Although a 450-page report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller confirmed that no evidence of Russian involvement was identified, Democrats are still suspicious after Attorney General William Barr redacted parts of the document.

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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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Viral Misinformation

09 May 2019

A record number of measles cases has hit the US this year. The current outbreak is the largest since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. According to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 760 measles cases have been reported across 23 states so far this year. The number of cases continues to rise, with CDC data showing that the number of measles cases in 2019 has more than doubled compared with the previous year and is almost seven times that of 2017. The outbreak has forced local and state agencies to launch contingency measures to curb the further spread of the disease, which has already affected nearly half of all US states.

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The Waiting Game

28 February 2019

US President Donald Trump has walked away from the negotiating table with North Korea empty-handed following a two-day leaders’ summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam. The meeting followed the historic 2018 summit in Singapore, with many hoping a second summit would result in a formal denuclearisation agreement between the two leaders. As the Hanoi summit ends without a deal, the world is left waiting to see precisely what will happen next.

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Hack a Nice Stay

06 December 2018

Marriott International announced last week that up to 500 million of its guests may have had their personal and financial information compromised due to a massive data breach which hit its Starwood Hotels and Resort database. Marriott International completed the acquisition of the Starwood network in 2016, claiming to become the world’s largest hotel company. Names, dates of birth, passport numbers, credit card details, loyalty programme information and various other pieces of data are among those compromised. Marriott already stated that it is working alongside local and federal authorities in the US and abroad to assist guests who were affected and to ensure that their data is recovered.

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Blue Trumps Red

08 November 2018

US President Donald Trump has just faced one of his biggest challenges since he was elected in 2016. After almost two years in office, his administration was heavily scrutinised for its strong anti-immigration rhetoric, multiple political scandals, Twitter rants, claims of “Fake News” against the media and fractures within his own Republican Party. However, he’s also partially responsible for the strengthening of the American economy through introducing tax cuts and renegotiating international trade deals, which included an executive order aimed at fortifying the dying American iron and aluminium industries. In the international arena, he has been praised for introducing tough sanctions against dictatorial regimes such as Venezuela, while enforcing questionable US foreign policy on North Korea, Iran and Russia.

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Destination USA: La Caravana de Migrantes

25 October 2018

Throughout the world, mass migration has become a major challenge that few countries are able to resolve. Migrant flows vary over time, but they usually originate from poorer or insecure states in Africa, Asia or Latin America and end in Europe and North America. In the World Migration Report 2018 (WMR), published by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), it was identified that although a great majority of migrants travel due to economic reasons - either to work or to study - conflict, weather-related catastrophes, crime, personal security and political persecution are also significant factors. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) revealed the existence of more than 244 million migrants in 2015, evenly spread across Europe, Asia and North America.

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Facebook: Too Much Information?

12 April 2018

In the last few weeks, Facebook has come under fire for failing to adequately protect the personal information of millions of users. The data breach scandal has raised security concerns regarding the safety of user information and has seen Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify in a congressional hearing in the US.

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Made in China

05 April 2018

Tensions between the US and China have escalated after the US announced plans for tariffs on Chinese goods, sparking fears of a trade war between the two superpowers. The proposals came following investigations into the trading relationship between the US and Chinese tech companies in China. US firms alleged that Chinese companies were exploiting the relationship, forcing US companies to share intellectual property and trade secrets through joint ventures with Chinese firms. As a result, Chinese companies have been accused of stealing software and technology patents from their American counterparts. In response to the claims and subsequent investigations, Chinese officials have launched bilateral efforts with the aim of improving the protection of foreign companies’ intellectual property rights.

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March for Our Lives

29 March 2018

What started out as a small youth-led movement grew in mammoth proportions after hundreds of thousands of people marched nationwide in one of the largest gun-control rallies in recent US history. More than 500,000 people took part in the March for Our Lives rally in Washington DC last weekend, while protesters also flooded the streets of Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta and other major American cities, while hundreds of similar events were reported across the globe. Several celebrities and high-level politicians strongly supported the demonstration, but the march’s focus was on the students who survived the gruesome Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Florida.

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Man of Steel

14 March 2018

Next week new tariffs will be enforced in the US after President Donald Trump signed two orders to introduce hefty taxes on the imports of steel and aluminium. The so-called Presidential Proclamations on Adjusting Imports of Steel and Aluminium into the United States dictate the imposition of a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent adjustment on aluminium. President Trump claims that the move will tackle aggressive foreign trade practices and boost the US industry, which in recent years has suffered due to high levels of metal imports.

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Guns: America's Endless Debate

21 February 2018

Last week, the US experienced its eighth school shooting in 2018. Seventeen students and staff members were shot dead when a 19-year-old gunman went on a killing spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parklands, a small and quiet town in south-eastern Florida. Broward County Sheriff’s Office identified the shooter as Nikolas Cruz, a former student who was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons. Reports suggest that Cruz was armed with an AR-15 rifle and sounded the school’s fire alarm before indiscriminately opening fire.

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California: A Year to Forget

17 January 2018

Just as the US East Coast was recovering from one of the busiest hurricane seasons in the Atlantic, the west coast state of California was hit by the most destructive wildfires in recent years. It is estimated that around 9,000 wildfires erupted across the state, killing around 50 people and destroying thousands of buildings. More than 1.2 million acres of land were torched across northern, central and southern California.

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Born in the USA - The Rise of MS-13

29 November 2017

If you find yourself browsing through local media outlets in El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala – or in some cases Mexico – you might be struck by the publication of graphic images portraying a struggle that Central America has been facing for decades: street gang violence. It is common to come across articles about brutal murders and gang-related killings clearly intended to send a message to dissidents or rival factions. The majority of these stories don’t make it to the international news. However, on 12 January 2017, news outlets all over the world did report a significant story from El Salvador – no homicides were reported in the country in a 24-hour period for the first time since 2015.

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