The Political violence market remains cautious for business in the Middle East with newspaper columns headlining daily with news of Syria as it appears to stand on the brink of civil war. The blame for the bloodshed rests solely on the shoulders of its president Bashar al-Assad, according to some commentators, with the death toll now rising to in excess of 7,000 people. It appears that sectarian tensions could flare out of control in a country that up until now has been a model of secular tolerance.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Syria sits on the fault line of one of the world’s most volatile regions, with neighbours that include Israel, Iraq and Lebanon, and there is fear among diplomats that civil war could turn rapidly into a proxy war.
According to reports, neither Washington, particularly with Obama looking towards November and the presidential elections, nor London want to get embroiled in committing ground forces. The only real hope currently is that another round of dogged diplomacy can prevent the alleged atrocities being carried out by the regime.
The London market continues to see an increase in the number of submissions for business in this region, with few markets looking to commit capacity for full political violence.
Underwriters who are prepared to ‘take the risk’ do so with high rates and small participation.