Zalud’s Blog received an executive briefing from Jane’s, the London-based military and terrorism research firm, that showed how Americans, British and Israeli people are now being targeted. Jane’s experts also pointed out that Saudi Arabians probably were bankrolling the terrorists.

Chief security leaders need to take some additional action so Security asked Bruce McIndoe, president of iJET Intelligent Risk Systems, for his advice.

“The event has forced most companies to review their safety and security programs in that region – and others. Many companies do not have country-specific (or city) emergency plans. In addition, companies are re-evaluating their hotel programs and determining if they should continue to direct travelers to their existing preferred properties or change their preferred properties. Likewise, companies are reviewing their facility security measures to adjust them to this new threat profile.

“Terrorism is a low probability, high impact threat to operations. As such, companies are looking at mitigation strategies and cost balancing those against this type of threat. In many cases, investments are more “confidence builders” for employees and customers rather than hardened security measures. The key areas that need additional steps/ safety investment are the fundamentals: a solid Location Emergency Plan addressing employee notification and evacuation, etc.; and training employees so that they know what to do in the event of an emergency, be it a fire, bomb threat, workplace violence, weather issues or terrorist attack. Then, these basic, fundamental steps can actually extend beyond the low-probability, high impact threats to the very real types of operational threats that exist on a daily basis.

“A traveler is more likely to be killed flying on a commercial airline (1-in-9.5 million) to India than killed by terrorism. They are almost twice as likely to be killed by lightning as dying on a commercial aircraft. However, they have a 1-in-20,000 chance of being killed driving in India. Travelers still need to focus on the threats that they are more likely to face: crime, fire, food and water illness, etc.

“If a traveler wants to minimize their exposure to a terrorist event, they should stay in a room away from the front of the hotel, away from public streets and between the 2nd and 7th floors. When something does happen, do not rush to the scene, linger in the area or gawk at the situation. Many people were killed during the bombing at the hotel in Islamabad earlier this year by going to the front windows of their room to see what was going: they were killed by the subsequent blast. It’s also important that travelers be trained on basic health and safety measures to know what to do in the event of an emergency. Many people who survive a direct terrorist attack or related violent attack do so because they know the proper steps to take for survival.

At the end of 2008 Jane’s Country Risk has been measuring stability for a year. On the 1st anniversary of the production of the stability ratings, Jane’s examines how global stability has changed. 

Jane’s Country Risk Ratings gauge the level of stability in a country by measuring 24 factors that together comprise the environment in which stability occurs. Rather than attempting to measure the probability of a particular threat occurring, such as a coup d’état, the risk ratings attempt to measure the factors that together could lead to such an event occurring, such as military support for the political status quo and the satisfaction of the military.

Christian LeMiere, editor of Jane’s Country Risk explained, “Iraq is probably the most significant development over the year, having seen its overall rating increase from 44 to 54, turning it from a high-risk state to a significant-risk state. The stabilization of the government and the co-option of the Sons of Iraq militias have been the primary factors improving the country’s stability throughout 2008.”

South Ossetia has also seen its stability increase, albeit with substantial movement in the run-up to and during the August conflict between Russia and Georgia. The post-conflict situation has allowed for an improvement in its political stability and, perhaps most importantly, in its external stability as the partial destruction and dismantling of the Georgian armed forces by Russia has effectively removed the threat of any further incursions from Tbilisi in anything but the long term.

Somalia has proven a perennial low scorer in stability ratings, and at the end of 2008 overtook Gaza and the West Bank as the least stable entity in the world with a decrease from 28 to 27 in its overall rating. The collapse of the Somali unity government and increasing influence of the Shabab militia have seen its political and military ratings fall, while Ethiopia’s imminent withdrawal could further destabilize the country.

Zimbabwe, already suffering from the worst economic stability ratings in the world, has seen its political and social ratings deteriorate in 2008. This is largely because negotiations between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have struggled to forge a workable government, while social conditions have worsened amid the economic crisis. Zimbabwe has thus entered the 10 least stable entities in the world.

Despite its worsening security environment, Pakistan has yet to be classified as one of the 10 least stable entities in the world.

With 2008 delivering a range of varying stability changes throughout the world, some more expected than others, caution would perhaps be advisable when attempting to forecast any further adjustments in 2009.

One overriding factor that will affect all countries will be the global liquidity crisis and lower oil prices. Already this has had an impact on states such as Pakistan, Venezuela, Iran and Russia

China, in particular, has seen its economic ratings fall rapidly as employment and labor have become major security issues. With the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 acting as a salutary lesson in how economic difficulties can feed a political movement, the overall ratings for the country have fallen from 64 to 60. Similar deteriorations can be expected from other states with export-led and/or commodity-focused economies.