Worldview Security Update – June 19, 2019
19-Jun-19

ASIA

Japan (Security threat level – 1): At 2222 local time (1322 UTC) on 18 June 2019, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Honshu Island, approximately 33 km (21 mi) west-southwest of Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture, at a depth of 16 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In response to the quake, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory for coastal areas in Yamagata, Niigata and Ishikawa prefectures, as well as on Sadogashima Island; however, the advisory was lifted by 0100 local time, and there were no reports of a tsunami.

Immediately following the quake, the East Japan Railway Company suspended services along the Joetsu, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen (bullet train) lines; normal services resumed early on 19 June. While the quake knocked out power to approximately 10,000 homes, power was restored on the morning of 19 June. Nuclear power plants in the affected areas are operating normally. Minor damage was reported in some areas, and at least 30 people were injured.

Singapore (Security threat level – 1): Due to a drone sighting, authorities closed one of the two runways at Singapore Changi Airport (WSSS/SIN) between 2300 local time on 18 June and 0900 local time on 19 June 2019 (1500 UTC on 18 June and 0100 UTC on 19 June). At least 37 flights were delayed, and one arrival was diverted to Kuala Lumpur. Authorities have launched an investigation to identify the drone operator.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 19 June 2019, a short-range Katyusha missile struck the residential and operations headquarters of several foreign oil companies at the Burjesia Business and Residence Center, located approximately 25 km (17 mi) southwest of Basra. Companies at the site include Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Eni SpA. Shortly after the attack, Exxon Mobil announced that it was evacuating 21 foreign employees; the rocket landed 100 m (328 ft) from its section of the center. Three Iraqi nationals were injured in the strike. No group has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.

Analyst Comment: The attack in Basra is consistent with other recent small-scale rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq. Similar attacks targeted U.S military bases near Mosul and Baghdad on 17 and 19 June, respectively. None of the attacks have produced significant casualties. The attack on the Burjesia Business and Residence Center near Basra comes after the U.S. government evacuated non-essential personnel from its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil over concerns on 15 May about possible attacks against U.S. diplomatic facilities in the country. In keeping with that advice, Exxon had also evacuated its personnel; it had only recently allowed its employees back into Iraq.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Georgia (Security threat level – 3): On 19 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Date/Location: Saturday, June 22: A parade and/or public event in downtown Tbilisi, exact location still to be confirmed.
  • “Event: Members and supporters of the LGBTQI community plan to hold a parade and/or public event to mark Pride Week on Saturday, June 22. We anticipate the event could draw sizable crowds. This is the first year that public events are planned in Georgia in association with Pride Week. In the past, public events involving the self-expression of members and supporters of this community have resulted in heated and sometimes violent response from counterdemonstrators including injuries and property damage. U.S. government personnel have been advised to avoid any area where a large crowd is gathering.”
  • Turkey (Security threat level – 4): On 18 June 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Turkey, which reads in part as follows:

  • “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to areas within 10 km of the border with Syria, except the city of Kilis (see below).
  • “The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
  • all other areas of Sirnak, Kilis (including Kilis city) and Hatay provinces
  • the provinces of Diyarbakir, Tunceli and Hakkari
  • “On 23 June 2019, there will be a re-run of the Mayoral election in Istanbul. There may be rallies in locations around the city in the lead up to and aftermath of the election. You should avoid large gatherings and follow the advice of the local authorities.”
  • 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.