In The News

Le Beck analysts write about the conflict in Yemen post-Saleh in The Cairo Review

Regional Security Analyst (RSA) Team Lead Miriam Eps and RSA Intern Kierat Ranautta-Sambhi wrote about Yemen in the aftermath of former President Saleh’s death for The Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

“It is not clear, however, whether his death was a turning point. This still largely depends on Saleh’s former allies—the Houthis—and how they perceive their strategic and tactical position. On the one hand,  the collapse of the alliance impacted Houthi military capabilities and their upperhand position while Saleh’s assassination created an additional enemy from many of his supporters who are adhering to the alliance’s break. On the other hand, the Houthis are not without friends and they continue to receive external backing from Iran.

With Russia, one of the last diplomatic holdouts in Sanaa, recently moving its embassy to Riyadh due to the “deteriorating security situation” and Saleh’s son promising to destroy the Houthis, the needle seems to point more toward continued conflict than finding a political solution. However, because conflicts are tricky—and Yemen’s is particularly so—it is not impossible that Saleh’s death will, in fact, be a turning point that will help lead to a resolution rather than represent just another reason for the fighting to continue. So what happens next?

The worst case scenario will be to continue pursuing the military option. This will likely result in increased violence and an intensified campaign against the Houthis instead of a politically navigated path forward.”

Read the full oped here  

The Iranian talks to RSA Intern Kierat Sambhi about Saleh’s death

It’s important to remember that Saleh dissolved the alliance with the Houthis days before his demise, with some suggesting the plan had been in play for months. Furthermore, Saleh’s son, Ahmed, although a somewhat divisive choice of potential successor, was reportedly involved in discussions of a deal with Saudi, which means that there is still a potential for such an agreement.

Given that the Houthis are faced with a significant loss of military might and, consequently, a vital bargaining chip, they may come to realise that negotiations are the way forward regardless. Nevertheless, they are likely to look even more to Iran should the conflict continue due to the loss of their Yemen-based ally and, potentially, in order to improve their bargaining power by, for example, solidifying their control over the capital.

Read the full article here  

Bloomberg talks to RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps about Saleh’s death

“The big question related to Saleh’s death is who will take his place. A clear successor, with many pointing to his son Ahmed as a potential candidate, could allow for the continuity of Saleh’s position, including vis-a-vis any attempts at resolving the conflict,” said Miriam Eps, regional security analyst at Manama-based risk management consultancy Le Beck International.

In the short term, his death is likely to increase violence in Sana’a as Saleh forces will be looking to retaliate and the Houthis might attempt to retake areas of the capital lost in recent days, she said. Ultimately, the dissolution of the Houthis’ alliance with Saleh undermines their military might and their negotiating position, she said.

“Saleh’s death, therefore, is a major blow because it removes a key influencer, but the real question is how the Houthis intend to move forward,” she said. “Continued conflict is certainly an option, and they could turn to Iran for increased support, but they may also realize that the dissolution of their alliance means they have to negotiate.”

Read the full article here  

RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps writes about the Saudi corruption crackdown in Newsweek

Very rarely are major moves, or any event on the international stage for that matter, mono-causal, particularly ones that are—and I do not use this term loosely—unprecedented. But they do not answer some key questions: Why now and why so many individuals who are not members of the royal family?

What if their main goal really is to address white collar, financial crimes?


Saudi Arabia’s citizenry will increasingly be confronted with a centuries-old situation many before them have faced: Taxation without representation. The government realises this is problematic and a serious crackdown on corruption also sends a very clear message to the country’s population, of which two-thirds are under 30 and very aware of the world around them: We may be asking you to give us more money, but we’ll make damn sure that every riyal is spent on improving this country and your quality of life.

Read the full oped here  

The National talks to RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps about Yemen port closures

“It is not clear, however, that this will have a significant impact, with the current blockade and entry limits apparently not achieving this aim,” said Miriam Eps Regional Security Analyst at Le Beck International.

Although humanitarian activities are expected to continue, Ms Eps thinks that the closures are liable to slow down the entry of aid, “impacting the already existing crisis and affecting the average Yemeni more than Houthi fighters.”

Read the full article here  

Bloomberg talks to RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps about the Saudi corruption crackdown

“These arrests achieve three main objectives: Further consolidation of power, concrete action against corruption, and a clear message to all Saudi citizens,” said Miriam Eps, regional security analyst at Manama-based risk management consultancy Le Beck International. “Importantly, I think it also sends another, very clear message that domestic critics should think twice before speaking out, regardless of their position.”

The reaction of the Saudi business community “will really relate to how the arrests are perceived,” she said. “The main concern here is some uncertainty as to why these individuals were detained, i.e., questions as to whether it truly is just corruption-related or something more.”

Appointing less prominent royals from clans other than King Salman’s to official positions may address some concerns regarding power sharing, she said. But “it is also liable to cause apprehension that the lifestyle many royal family members are used to and expect could be threatened,” she said.

Read the full article here  

The National talks to RSA Team Lead Miriam Eps about joint US-GCC sanctions

“Given that one of the quartet’s primary complaints vis-a-vis Qatar relates to allegations of support to militant groups, this type of joint effort could be part of US efforts to bring the parties together,” said Miriam Eps, regional security analyst at Le Beck International.

Ms Eps said it could also be a message that, despite the ongoing rift and reports of a possible postponement of the annual GCC summit, the continuation of the organisation is not at risk.

Many were looking to the GCC summit, which is set to take place in December, as an opportunity for Kuwait to bring the two sides together, with Emir Sheikh Sabah the chief mediator in the dispute.

“Of course, with the parties seeming unable to agree to even talks, the involvement of Qatar in these sanctions could simply be notable but not representative of any change in the current status quo,” Ms Eps said.

Read the full article here  

Crisis Response Journal talks to CEO Anthony Tesar about Le Beck and the Middle East

Emily Hough speaks to Anthony J Tesar about how he enjoys working in the Middle East, with its challenges that range from terrorism and threats from various political and religious factions, to local geopolitical rifts.

Anthony Tesar started his independent specialist security and risk management consultancy Le Beck International – which specialises in the Middle East and North Africa region – in 2001. “I came to the Middle East in 2004, following the compound bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,” he says. This was a pivotal moment, Tesar observes, as one of the of the most secure and crime free countries in the world: “Suddenly became under threat, and it was never going to be the same again. “We moved our offices to Bahrain to set up our regional hub with dedicated offices in Riyadh and Jeddah,” he adds.

So, what brought him to this role? “My background is primarily in the British military and later on, a bomb disposal officer,” Tesar notes, explaining that he conducted operations across the globe.

“Following my career in the special forces, I decided to set up a counter terrorism advisory service,” he continues. One month into the job, the attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred. In immediate response to the events, he was invited to assist and work with the US federal and government agencies, US Special Forces and US Department of Defense. “My mandate was to train their Special Forces and intelligence operatives on counter terrorism techniques and methodology.

Seismic shift

“In 2004, I was recommended to assist a number of financial institutions in regard to their security frameworks and, within a few months, we had signed up some of the largest banks in KSA.”
 This was when he decided to move operations to Riyadh, mainly because: “I saw a seismic shift occur throughout the Middle East and a genuine business opportunity arise. In 2008, when the situation in Saudi started to calm down, we moved our regional hub to the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

The risks in the region are manifold, he explains, ranging from terrorism and threats from various political and religious factions,
to local geopolitical rifts. Tesar says that an intimate understanding of these risks is essential and that regional instability can ultimately affect reputational risk considerably, and subsequently, any inward investment. Careful management is important to mitigate this.

However, he tells me that the challenges of working in this complex region are what he enjoys most. “ The only frustration I experience is when companies come into the region without fully understanding its demands, professing to be able to do what we do and then, inevitably, let their clients down.”

This brings us to human capital, the bedrock
of his success. Tesar says: “Security generally, is one of those areas, which unfortunately you just cannot learn from a book. You really do need to have lived, worked and experienced the issues first- hand.” Le Beck’s advisors hail from government, special forces, military, intelligence, or specialist security policing backgrounds. “Unlike many other professions, there is a very narrow band
of people who are able to work in the field of threat analysis,” he notes. “It isn’t one of the most conventional career paths and there are even
fewer people who have the ability to successfully make the transition into the private sector and understand its very particular demands.”

GDN writes about Le Beck’s new mobile security application

MANAMA: Le Beck International, a security and risk management consultancy with offices in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, has launched a new security mobile application.

Called MENAlert, the app aims to provide real-time information and valuable analysis of the most current security events across the Mena region, as well as select major global incidents.

Deemed to be an industry first, the MENAlert application, a trademark of Le Beck, is an informative tool designed with a specific focus on this region, to promote safety awareness and preparedness among individuals and businesses.

MENAlert provides users with alerts, reports and analysis on the most significant security, political, economic and environmental events unfolding in the region.

All content is compiled by Le Beck’s expert analysts who are located in key regional and global touch points, enabling for extensive coverage with detailed context and forecast.

The app enables users to delve into pressing issues and gain an in-depth understanding of the wider impact that such events can have on one’s immediate environment, business and society.

According to Le Beck’s chief executive Anthony Tesar, “The MENAlert app has been developed to cut through the clutter and provide users with the most relevant and credible content.

“Our offering is also unique in that it focuses on MENA, which as a region is prone to volatility and fast-changing dynamics.”

Read the full article here 

Gulf Construction talks to CEO Anthony Tesar about tackling mega-city tasks

Le Beck International (Le Beck), a specialist security and risk management consultancy in Bahrain, says security of mega city and infrastructure projects is critical to their attractiveness and to providing ‘peace of mind’.

Speaking to Gulf Construction, Anthony Tesar, CEO of Le Beck International, says: “When looking at this region specifically, there are huge investments taking place in new mega-city developments in order to house the fast expanding population and attract foreign investment. It is essential that these cities are considered secure and safe by the people and companies they want to attract or who are already living and operating out of these facilities.”

He says there is a huge reputational risk that should also be considered and if people and organisations do not get the feeling the environment is safe and secure, they will consider alternatives in an ever-increasing list of choices and options that they have.

“Demonstrating from the outset that security is a major consideration and communicating the same, is critical to the attractiveness of the project and to providing peace of mind,” he adds.

Read the full interview here  

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