Up-to-the-minute travel risk analysis for a consulting firm during a violent uprising in Iraq

On the 29th of August 2022, influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced his resignation from Iraqi politics, with huge repercussions across the country. Al-Sadr wields great power in Iraq and has previously sparked months of mass protests. In 2005, an estimated 100,000 Iraqis marched in support of al-Sadr, demonstrating the breadth of his influence – and the depth of the potential chaos his supporters can cause.
protests

Al-Sadr has grown to be a popular and powerful figure in Iraq following the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and has a broad base of supporters, known as Sadrists. Many of his supporters were involved in violent conflicts with US and Coalition forces. His resignation prompted his followers to storm various buildings in Baghdads Green Zone. The resulting violence left 700 people injured and 30 dead. 

Assessing risk in a dynamic environment 

When events such as this happen, on-the-ground information is crucial to cut through the noise and potential misinformation. Intelyse moves quickly to verify facts and offer up-to-date analysis of unfolding situations, including what is likely to happen next. 

 

One of Intelyse’s clients, a UAE-based consulting firm, had travel planned in Iraq for the 30th of August, and immediately contacted us following al-Sadr’s announcement and his followers’ violent response. As well as rockets landing inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, there was heavy gunfire in Basra, and other attacks across the country. Curfews were imposed nationwide, large numbers of security forces were rapidly deployed in the Green Zone, and there was a sense of general unrest, all of which raised the client’s concerns about travel risk and staff safety.  

 

Airport closure

Delivering up-to-the-minute travel analysis 

Intelyse actively monitored the situation from the beginning and issued Spot Reports between the 29th of August and the 1st of September as events developed. These crucial updates provided information, analysis, and guidance to our client as the situation escalated.  

 

We continued to closely monitor the situation throughout September as protests unfolded, issuing Spot Reports as necessary. With our analysis and guidance, the client was able to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with their planned trip, and – if they were to proceed – what kind of security measures would need to be in place. 

 

We advised our client to postpone their travel due to serious safety concerns and the significant disruption that was taking place. The client acted on our advice and postponed the trip immediately. Shortly thereafter, Baghdad airport suspended operations, major explosions were reported, and there were armed clashes in Baghdad that lasted well into the night of the originally planned travel day. Al-Sadr later gave an order for his supporters to leave the Green Zone, and the fighting ended.

 

Results 

Our analysts offered additional support for the client to make a swift decision about their planned travel, addressing concerns over a serious escalation in violence, access routes being blocked, and the potential airport closure. Our advice gave the client a clear and accurate picture of on-the-ground activity that allowed them to plan effectively and avoid unnecessary disruption to operations. This meant that, although the high risk caused them to delay their travel plans, they were able to safely reinstate them only two weeks later and continue to seamlessly operate 

 

To find out how we can help your business to make critical decisions in volatile situations, get in touch at contact us. 

Sign up for our Newsletter

By signing up for the Intelyse newsletter, you agree to the Terms and Conditions.