There has been no significant influx of new entrants to the terrorism and political violence arena during the current year. Daily headlines of the dire events in Syria and the Middle East are keeping underwriters in a state of alert; but, with no major insured losses to report, insurers and reinsurers alike remain broadly content to keep a watching brief.
The most prominent feature of the Arab Spring to date, however, is that the voice of the people has emerged as a far more powerful phenomenon. Fragile new regimes are still learning how to cope with highly vocal popular pressure, often mobilised and orchestrated by radical groups. Ominously, the conflict in Syria is almost certain to deepen sectarian divisions both within the country and across the Arab world.
The rapidity with which the violence has escalated in several Middle Eastern countries around the anniversary date of the 9/11 attacks, exacerbated by a highly inflammatory anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims”, has reignited simmering tensions in these brittle new democracies, including attacks on US embassies in Tunisia, Sudan, Cairo and Yemen.
Indeed so controversial has the film proved to be that the wave of unrest and bad feeling surrounding its unpopularity has spread to Australia and Europe.
In Iraq, a series of bombings across the country on 16 August killed more than 50 people and injured nearly 250 more. These bombings followed a series of coordinated attacks on security forces and Shia civilians on 23 July, which killed more than 100. Sunni Islamist militants have been responsible for most of the terrorist attacks currently taking place in this territory, with security forces, government officials and buildings, and Shia civilians the main targets.
Continue reading for updates on insurance markets and terrorism in other regions of the world.