Worldview Security Report – February 14, 2019
14-Feb-19

AMERICAS

Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On 13 February 2019, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in downtown Buenos Aires to protest against high unemployment and President Mauricio Macri’s austerity measures, which include cuts to public utility subsidies. Social and trade union organizations organized the demonstrations, which took place at the intersections of Carlos Calvo and Avenida 9 de Julio, Santa Fe and Avenida 9 de Julio and the Plaza del Congreso. The demonstrations caused significant traffic disruptions in central Buenos Aires. There were no reports of protest-related violence.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 13 February 2019, anti-government protests continued to take place across Haiti, particularly in the capital Port-au-Prince. There were reports of clashes between protesters and police officers near the National Palace in downtown Port-au-Prince. Protesters threw stones at police officers, who responded by firing tear gas. At least one journalist at the scene was reportedly shot and transported to a nearby hospital. Separately, protesters attacked the premises of Television National de Haiti — located in the city’s Delmas 33 area — for allegedly serving as a mouthpiece for President Jovenel Moise. At least six vehicles and two power generators on the premises were set on fire, but the building sustained no major damage. Thus far, at least six people have been killed since this spate of anti-government protests began on 7 February.
United States (Security threat level – 2): In the afternoon of 13 February 2019, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials implemented a brief ground stop at the two Dallas-area airports after air traffic controllers were forced to evacuate from the Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) building at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (KDFW/DFW) following reports of smoke on the premises. Flights to and from the aforementioned airport, as well as the nearby Dallas Love Field Airport (KDAL/DAL), were halted for more than one hour as emergency crews responded to the reported smoke in the building. During the episode, a total of 17 flights were canceled and 300 other flights experienced delays at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; in addition, 70 cancellations and more than 70 delays were recorded at Dallas Love Field Airport. FAA officials suspect that the smoke may have been related to ongoing construction work near the TRACON building.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 14 February 2019, more than 30 million residents in the U.S. state of California are under a flood watch, as a winter storm brought heavy rain to parts of the state. Areas in major cities — including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco — are under the threat of flooding and subsequent landslides. Officials in Southern California issued mandatory evacuation orders for more than 1,000 residences and businesses near Los Angeles late on 13 February. Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes in Riverside County’s Lake Elsinore and Temescal Valley areas due to the increased threat of mudslides; the area near Trabuco Canyon was also under voluntary evacuation orders. Officials noted that the storm could bring more than 5 in (13 cm) of rain to those areas, increasing the risk of mudslides.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 14 February 2019, a suicide bomber driving an explosive-laden vehicle crashed into a convoy transporting members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) along the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district, which is located approximately 20 km (12 mi) from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir state. At least 30 people were killed; the number of fatalities is expected to rise. The militant Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Analyst Comment: Attacks against security forces are common in Jammu and Kashmir. However, high-casualty attacks are infrequent, and the use of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices is very rare.

Singapore (Security threat level – 1): On 14 February 2019, a fire occurred at the substation that serves the Carlton Hotel in central Singapore, triggering a fire at the hotel and a blackout in the central part of the city. At least 1,000 people were evacuated from the hotel as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. The fire was contained to the switch room and extinguished within two hours; there were no reports of injuries. Meanwhile, the blackout affected parts of Bugis, City Hall, Marina and Somerset, as well as seven Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations, in central Singapore. Power was restored to the affected areas and MRT stations within 30 minutes; the blackout did not affect train services.

Taiwan (Security threat level – 2): As of 14 February 2019, the ongoing China Airlines strike is expected to end after airline management reached an agreement with the striking pilots. They were allegedly able to reach an agreement regarding all the union’s demands following a fourth round of negotiations. That being said, the airline still announced that it was canceling at least three flights per day from 14 through 20 February.

EUROPE

Germany (Security threat level – 3): As of 14 February 2019, employees of Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), the public transportation network in Berlin, will go on strike on 15 February to demand better pay and working conditions. All tram, subway (U-Bahn), bus and ferry services in the capital operated by BVG will not run from 0330 local time (0230 UTC) until approximately 1200 local time. Services not operated by BVG — including the S-Bahn, regional trains and the 28 bus lines and ferries operated by subcontractors — will likely be more crowded during the labor action. This is the first BVG strike to be held since 2012.

Germany (Security threat level – 3): As of 14 February 2019, a heightened security presence is expected in Munich as around 40 heads of state and dozens of government ministers attend the annual Munich Security conference at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel from 15-17 February. Approximately 4,400 police officers from across Germany will be deployed to Munich to provide security during the conference. Authorities will implement road closures and an exclusion zone around the hotel beginning at 0600 local time (0500 UTC) on 15 February to 1500 local time on 17 February. Additionally, authorities will briefly close roads as convoys of high-profile diplomats travel to the conference; several tram lines will also be disrupted during the conference. Eurocontrol has warned that disruptions should be anticipated at nearby airports from 13 to 18 February due to ramp congestion.

Several groups have called for protests during the conference, with the largest known protest planned on 16 February. Approximately 4,000 people are expected to gather at Karlsplatz at 1300 local time and then march around the Bayerischer Hof Hotel to Marienplatz. Those in Munich during this time frame should avoid all gatherings as a precaution.

Italy (Security threat level – 3): According to reports on 13 February 2019, several strike actions are expected to disrupt aviation in Italy on 15 February. The Unitary Base Confederation (CUB) union has called for a 24-hour strike of ground handling workers at all Italian airports. In addition, the union has called for crew members employed by Alitalia airlines to strike between 1000 to 1400 local time (0900 to 1300 UTC) and crew members employed by Air Italy to strike from 1100 to 1500 local time. A 24-hour air traffic controller (ATC) strike initially planned for 15 February was called off due to progress in negotiations. It is currently unclear how many employees will participate in the labor actions. While Italian law stipulates that certain minimum services must be met in order to reduce disruptions, flight delays and cancellations are possible throughout the day on 15 February.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iran (Security threat level – 3): On 13 February 2019, a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in southeastern Iran, near the town of Zahedan on the border with Pakistan. Reports indicate the bombing killed at least 27 people and injured 20 others. The Balochi militant group Jaysh al-Adl — which Iranian officials accuse of having links to al-Qaeda — claimed responsibility for the attack.


GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 14 February 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Demonstration Alert – U. S. Consulate General Thessaloniki, Greece (February 14, 2019)
  • “Location: Expected gathering points are the Venizelos statue (78 Egnatia Street) and the Arch of Galerius – Kamara with a possible march to the U.S. Consulate General continuing to the Port of Thessaloniki.
  • “Event: Demonstrations with up to 1,500 or more participants are expected to take place beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 14, 2019 to protest the transit of U.S./NATO helicopters and military equipment via the Port of Thessaloniki.
  • “U.S. government personnel have been advised to avoid the downtown area of Thessaloniki after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 14.”

  • Guinea-Bissau (Security threat level – 4): On 14 February 2019, the U.S. Virtual Consulate in Guinea-Bissau issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Large scale-demonstrations occurred on Feb. 8 and 13. Due to concerns about local police capacity to respond to future incidents, we recommend postponing travel to Bissau through Feb. 22, when U.S. Embassy Dakar will review the situation.”
  • Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 13 February 2019, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) issued updated travel advice for Haiti, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Violent protests have been taking place across the country since February 7, 2019. Burning barricades are disrupting traffic in the main streets of Port-au-Prince. Clashes have resulted in casualties.
  • Limit your movements
  • Avoid crossing road blockades, even if they appear unattended
  • Plan to have adequate water and food supplies
  • Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans.”

  • Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 13 February 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Pakistan, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.
  • “Do not travel to:
  • Balochistan province and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), due to terrorism.
  • The Azad Kashmir area due to terrorism and the potential for armed conflict.
  • “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Pakistan. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and government facilities. Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and information suggests they continue to do so.
  • “Terrorist attacks continue to happen across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and KPK, including the former FATA. Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in hundreds of casualties over the last several years.
  • “The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Pakistan due to the security environment. Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted, and additional restrictions on movements by U.S. government personnel outside of U.S. diplomatic facilities may occur at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly.
  • “The U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar is unable to provide any consular services to U.S. citizens.
  • “Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or near Pakistan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).”

  • Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.