October 2011 TRENDS
Deadly clashes between government forces and the insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) broke out in the troubled southern Philippines in October. On 24-25 October the army bombed a MILF area for the first time since peace talks broke down in 2008, causing over 10,000 inhabitants to flee. Earlier in the month, nineteen soldiers were killed in a botched operation to arrest a MILF fighter. The MILF argued that attacks on its bases violate the ceasefire; the military claimed to be acting against criminals. Both sides reiterated their commitment to long-running peace talks but the process has been stalled since the last round of negotiations in August.
Violence increased again in Yemen, on the verge of full-scale civil war between security forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and opposition forces. On 15 October security forces and Saleh supporters fired live rounds on protesters in Sanaa. Dozens of protesters died in the worst fighting since Saleh’s return from Saudi Arabia in September. On 21 October a UN Security Council resolution condemned the violence and called for a transition based on the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative.
Deadly clashes pitting Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government forces and allied militias against al-Shabaab rebels intensified throughout the month, leaving many dead. A suicide bomb in the capital Mogadishu on 4 October killed over 100 people, marking the deadliest al-Shabaab attack since the 2010 Kampala bombings. On 20 October al-Shabaab displayed what it claimed were the bodies of over 70 African Union soldiers it had killed in the preceding days.
Al-Shabaab also carried out attacks in neighbouring Kenya in response to the entry in mid-October of Kenyan troops into Somalia. The Kenyan military operation aims to drive back al-Shabaab from the border and capture the strategic port of Kismayo. Grenade explosions in Nairobi on 24 October killed one person and injured at least 20. An al-Shabaab attack on 27 October on a bus near the Somali border killed eight. A severe clampdown on suspected al-Shabaab supporters in Kenya accompanied the military operation in Somalia.
Tunisia’s historic elections for the Constituent Assembly on 23 October saw the moderate Islamist An-Nahda Party win 90 of 217 seats. Despite fears of violence before and after voting, the poll was praised by observers as clean and well-run. Economic, social and security conditions continue to worsen in the interior, however, particularly along the Libyan and Algerian borders. Economic difficulties remain the principal threat to the country’s stability.
The leader of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) declared the country liberated on 23 October, after the death of former dictator Muammar Qadhafi, and the seizure by NTC forces of remaining Qadhafi strongholds. Following the declaration, the UN Security Council terminated its authorisation of international military action and NATO officially ended its seven-month operation. A battlefield union of eastern and Misratan rebel brigades, coupled with a late September agreement between the Misratan brigades and the Tripoli Military Council over the policing of Tripoli, were positive signs of groundwork necessary for the emergence of a new national army. But significant concerns remain over the need to demobilise local brigades, tackle pockets of resistance, and improve coordination between rebel groups.
On 20 October the terrorist group ETA announced the “definitive cessation” of its 40-year armed campaign for Basque Country independence. Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero called the move a “victory for democracy, law and reason”.
Kenya, Philippines, Somalia, Yemen
Libya, Tunisia, Basque Country (Spain)
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (internal), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), North Caucasus (Russia), Northern Ireland, North Korea, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe
November 2011 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alert
Conflict Resolution Opportunity