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June 27-July 3, 2024 | Issue 26 - EUCOM and AFRICOM

Jayde Dorland, Jennifer Radlinsky, William Adams, Ludovica Leccese, Joseph Pollard, Leon Kille, Enrico Dal Cin, Meaghan Mackey

Alya Fathia Fitri, Editor; Evan Beachler, Senior Editor

ZRP Anti-riot police[1]

Date: June 27, 2024

Location: Harare, Zimbabwe

Parties involved: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa; Zimbabwe; Zimbabwean Republic Police (ZRP); Zimbabwean Magistrate Ruth Moyo; left-wing Zimbabwean political party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC); CCC interim leader Jameson Timba; jailed CCC activists; CCC supporters; unnamed eyewitnesses; Amnesty International; Human Rights Watch

The event: Formerly arrested CCC members and Timba attended a virtual hearing in a Magistrates court where Moyo denied them bail[2] based on concerns regarding the causation of public disturbances and the obstruction of investigation processes. ZRP anti-riot police positioned at the court entrance beat and arrested opposition supporters who gathered outside the court following Mnangagwa’s speech announcing that individuals creating trouble would “be dealt with.”[3] Witnesses claim that police arrested non-violent activists, holding some in police trucks while other activists fled the scene.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Past grievances with the Zimbabwean government, such as intimidation tactics, arbitrary arrests, and violence at political opposition gatherings, will almost certainly cause civilians and opposition, including the CCC, to unfavorably view a law enforcement presence, very likely increasing the threat of violence. The current government will very likely continue its pattern of harassment leading up to the elections, with post-election violence over allegations of election fraud likely increasing. The ruling party will very likely manipulate the younger population through social media campaigns to secure and gain votes.

  • Protesters’ treatment will likely draw condemnation from international human rights organizations, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and foreign governments, likely attracting significant media attention. These condemnations will likely increase scrutiny of their human rights record and calls for sanctions against them. There is a roughly even chance that increased international focus on human rights violations will empower local human rights groups and activists as they face gender-based violence, likely receiving greater support and increasing their work.

  • The CCC party will likely exploit climate change and extreme weather consequences, including reduced incomes from livestock and agriculture production, and highlight the current government’s failure to address these issues, invoking anger and retributive violence. Climate change and extreme weather events will almost certainly increase local grievances; droughts leading to stagnant water or heavy rainfall that overwhelms poor drainage systems will almost certainly create a recurring Cholera outbreak, straining the poor healthcare infrastructure and limiting citizens’ access to required treatment.

Date: July 1, 2024

Location: Brussels, Belgium  

Parties involved: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán; Hungary; Hungarian government; Council of the European Union (the Council); European Union (EU); Ukraine; Russia

The event: Hungary will assume the rotating Presidency of the Council from July 1, 2024, for six months.[5] As one of the primary decision-making centers of the EU, this change increases concerns regarding rising far-right sentiments across Europe. Orbán has been at opposing ends with EU colleagues regarding key issues, adopting a more Eurosceptic stance in supporting Ukraine and anti-immigration policies. Several pro-EU and pro-Western countries have expressed concerns about this rotation in the Council’s presidency, fearing that it may have significant implications for the EU's internal political unity and cohesiveness regarding crucial issues.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Orbán will almost certainly use the Council presidency to continue his anti-EU rhetoric, likely attempting to gain support from countries experiencing a rise in far-right populism. Orbán will very likely seek greater collaboration with EU member states with strong far-right political representation, such as Austria, which will likely strengthen long-term diplomatic relations and spread far-right populism. There is a roughly even chance Orbán will reinforce foreign policy with far-right EU member nations by promoting his anti-immigration views, likely conflicting with EU countries like Italy, and slowing the passage of Hungarian agenda items.  

  • Orbán’s tenure will very likely threaten EU support for Ukraine, likely further allowing a Russian strategic advantage over Ukraine. Orbán will very likely attempt to delay or end the EU’s military aid to Ukraine, likely preventing critical weapons and ammunition shipments. Orbán will likely restrain the EU’s financial aid directed at Ukraine, likely worsening humanitarian situations and the country's economy. Slowing down the EU military and financial aid will very likely weaken the Ukrainian resistance, likely allowing Russia to conduct a successful offensive.  

  • Orbán’s pro-Kremlin stance and his alignment with nationalist and populist movements will likely deepen divisions among member states, straining EU cohesion on critical issues like defense and security matters. Hungary’s Council presidency will likely increase scrutiny and criticism regarding adherence to EU democratic values and the rule of law, particularly media freedom, with Hungary's domestic laws and reforms likely to face legal challenges within EU institutions, emphasizing the importance of upholding EU legal standards. The challenges posed by Hungary's Council presidency will likely stimulate reforms in EU governance and decision-making processes to enhance enforcement mechanisms and safeguard democratic principles, likely leading the EU to become more rigorous during Hungary's presidency.

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[1] ZRP anti-riot police, generated by a third-party database

[3] Dozens beaten, some arrested after Zimbabwe opposition leader denied bail, Reuters, June 2024, 

[4] Ibid

[6] Orban-Led Hungary Assumes EU Presidency Amid Concerns Of Far-Right Rise, Radio Free Liberty, June 2024,



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