On August 4, a large-scale explosion occurred in Beirut, which was reportedly caused by the ignition of ammonium nitrate that was stored at the Port of Beirut. The incident caused mass casualties, prompted significant unrest in the city, and fueled broader widespread anti-government sentiments against alleged endemic state corruption and incompetence.
Police have warned of a significant increase in violent crime in London as lockdown measures ease. Met Police statistics released in July show increases in drug offenses, knife crimes, and racist hate crimes in June following the easing of restrictions. Opportunistic and violent crime is likely to be a major risk to those operating or residing in London over the coming months
The decline in global oil prices and tourism due to ongoing COVID-19-induced travel and business restrictions has led to severe economic challenges for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, which heavily depend on these sectors for revenue. This will likely lead to a recession, as per International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections that the GCC economy will contract by 7.1 percent in 2020.
Following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the democratic transition in Sudan has largely stalled due to myriad factors, leading to a precarious security, economic, and political situation.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and current Alternate Prime Minister Gantz reached a coalition agreement that stipulates that Israel can apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, in coordination with the US administration, from July 1. The different and currently unknown versions and timing of the potential application of sovereignty, also known as annexation, will have an impact on the backlash vis-a-vis the Palestinians, as well as Israel’s relations with prominent regional actors.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) emir Abdelmalek Droukdel was killed by French forces in Mali, a significant symbolic loss that will likely exacerbate the ongoing decline in al-Qaeda operations in Algeria and Tunisia.
China announced on May 21 that it would bypass the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) to pass the “Hong Kong national security law.” The timing of the law is likely aimed at taking advantage of the distraction offered by the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting the resurgence of street protests.
Tehran’s influence on the political and security situation in Iraq has played a major factor in the instability witnessed over the past months. This is likely to continue to pose a challenge to the new PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi-led government over the coming months.