Showing posts tagged as "Conflict prevention"

Showing posts tagged Conflict prevention

17 Sep
Libya’s leaders shelter by the sea as country tilts toward civil war | LAURA KING AND YASMINE RYAN
The seaside hotel that serves as the last redoubt of Libya’s internationally recognized government is named Dar al-Salam, or House of Peace. But beyond the confines of this modest port city nearly a thousand miles from the capital, this country teeters on the brink of civil war.
In the three years since longtime dictator Moammar Kadafi was toppled and slain, the energy-rich North African nation has struggled fitfully to reach some power equilibrium among heavily armed groups, fractured along ideological, regional and tribal lines. But over the last four months, the level of violence has escalated as the various groups fight for influence and riches, and the very notion of Libya as a state is slipping away.
FULL REPORT (Los Angeles Times)
Photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr

Libya’s leaders shelter by the sea as country tilts toward civil war | LAURA KING AND YASMINE RYAN

The seaside hotel that serves as the last redoubt of Libya’s internationally recognized government is named Dar al-Salam, or House of Peace. But beyond the confines of this modest port city nearly a thousand miles from the capital, this country teeters on the brink of civil war.

In the three years since longtime dictator Moammar Kadafi was toppled and slain, the energy-rich North African nation has struggled fitfully to reach some power equilibrium among heavily armed groups, fractured along ideological, regional and tribal lines. But over the last four months, the level of violence has escalated as the various groups fight for influence and riches, and the very notion of Libya as a state is slipping away.

FULL REPORT (Los Angeles Times)

Photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr

16 Sep
Fears of unrest cloud Afghanistan as election dispute drags on | ALI M. LATIFI, SHASHANK BENGALI
As Afghanistan’s disputed presidential vote nears an uncertain conclusion, fears are mounting that post-election unrest could threaten the fragile political order that the United States has struggled for 13 years to help build.
Recent developments have raised questions about the ability of Abdullah Abdullah — the one-time front-runner who has alleged a conspiracy to rig the results against him — to pacify supporters if he, as expected, is declared the runner-up.
The concerns have increased as he has clashed with rival Ashraf Ghani over the details of a power-sharing proposal, brokered by the Obama administration, in which the new president would cede some decision-making authority to a chief executive from the opposing camp.
FULL ARTICLE (LA Times)
Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waeza/United Nations Development Programme/flickr

Fears of unrest cloud Afghanistan as election dispute drags on | ALI M. LATIFI, SHASHANK BENGALI

As Afghanistan’s disputed presidential vote nears an uncertain conclusion, fears are mounting that post-election unrest could threaten the fragile political order that the United States has struggled for 13 years to help build.

Recent developments have raised questions about the ability of Abdullah Abdullah — the one-time front-runner who has alleged a conspiracy to rig the results against him — to pacify supporters if he, as expected, is declared the runner-up.

The concerns have increased as he has clashed with rival Ashraf Ghani over the details of a power-sharing proposal, brokered by the Obama administration, in which the new president would cede some decision-making authority to a chief executive from the opposing camp.

FULL ARTICLE (LA Times)

Photo: UNAMA/Fardin Waeza/United Nations Development Programme/flickr

Where delaying elections can build peace | Landry Signé and Grace Kpohazounde
Elections are crucial to peace processes in post-conflict countries, but their organization before sufficiently addressing the root causes of conflict — and ensuring the serious political commitment of former belligerents — can jeopardize the achievement of sustainable peace and successful democratic transition.
On Jan. 28, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 2134 to address humanitarian, security and political concerns in the Central African Republic after a military coup and civil war, which had accelerated state collapse. Resolution 2134 called for the holding of elections “as soon as possible, but no later than February 2015 and, if possible, in the second half of 2014,” giving barely a year to the then-interim government and all the parties (or belligerents) involved to create trust among parties, reorganize the disintegrated administration, disarm factions, ensure security and create a credible electoral management body.
FULL ARTICLE (The Washington Post)
Photo: Catholic Relief Services/S.Phelps/UNHCR Photo Unit/Flickr

Where delaying elections can build peace | Landry Signé and Grace Kpohazounde

Elections are crucial to peace processes in post-conflict countries, but their organization before sufficiently addressing the root causes of conflict — and ensuring the serious political commitment of former belligerents — can jeopardize the achievement of sustainable peace and successful democratic transition.

On Jan. 28, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 2134 to address humanitarian, security and political concerns in the Central African Republic after a military coup and civil war, which had accelerated state collapse. Resolution 2134 called for the holding of elections “as soon as possible, but no later than February 2015 and, if possible, in the second half of 2014,” giving barely a year to the then-interim government and all the parties (or belligerents) involved to create trust among parties, reorganize the disintegrated administration, disarm factions, ensure security and create a credible electoral management body.

FULL ARTICLE (The Washington Post)

Photo: Catholic Relief Services/S.Phelps/UNHCR Photo Unit/Flickr

Violence and Kidnappings Lead UN to Relocate Golan Heights Peacekeepers | Samuel Oakford
After weeks of violent confrontations and the kidnapping of 45 peacekeepers by Syrian rebel groups, the UN said Monday that members of their observation force in the Golan Heights will be evacuated to Israeli-controlled territory.
"Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers along the "bravo" line and in Camp Faouar," where the mission is headquartered, UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "All the UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the "alpha" side."
FULL ARTICLE (VICE NEWS)
Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr

Violence and Kidnappings Lead UN to Relocate Golan Heights Peacekeepers | Samuel Oakford

After weeks of violent confrontations and the kidnapping of 45 peacekeepers by Syrian rebel groups, the UN said Monday that members of their observation force in the Golan Heights will be evacuated to Israeli-controlled territory.

"Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers along the "bravo" line and in Camp Faouar," where the mission is headquartered, UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "All the UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the "alpha" side."

FULL ARTICLE (VICE NEWS)

Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr

12 Sep

Crisis Group President Jean-Marie Guéhenno discusses Syria and the UN on the BBC.

Central Asia’s intensifying water dispute | Gabriel Domínguez
A new report finds political rivalries, economic competition and nationalism are hampering efforts to solve Central Asia’s growing water and energy needs; a situation that may lead to conflict says analyst Deirdre Tynan.
Water management in Central Asia has long been a controversial issue. It is a region where major rivers cross international borders and water and energy production are closely intertwined. In 2012, a dispute over water resources risked provoking military conflict among the former Soviet republics, due to plans by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to dam rivers for hydropower projects. Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most populous country, depends on the rivers that rise in these neighboring countries to irrigate farmland and it has long been opposed to plans to revive Soviet-era projects to build dams upstream.
In a recently released report, the International Crisis Group (ICG) says that political rivalries, nationalism and mistrust have also been increasing tensions. The paper titled Water Pressures in Central Asia, examines the impact of water issues on shared border areas in the volatile Ferghana Valley; water shortages in urban areas; and competing water and energy needs among the three riparian states.
FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: Matluba Mukhamedova/World Bank/flickr

Central Asia’s intensifying water dispute | Gabriel Domínguez

A new report finds political rivalries, economic competition and nationalism are hampering efforts to solve Central Asia’s growing water and energy needs; a situation that may lead to conflict says analyst Deirdre Tynan.

Water management in Central Asia has long been a controversial issue. It is a region where major rivers cross international borders and water and energy production are closely intertwined. In 2012, a dispute over water resources risked provoking military conflict among the former Soviet republics, due to plans by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to dam rivers for hydropower projects. Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most populous country, depends on the rivers that rise in these neighboring countries to irrigate farmland and it has long been opposed to plans to revive Soviet-era projects to build dams upstream.

In a recently released report, the International Crisis Group (ICG) says that political rivalries, nationalism and mistrust have also been increasing tensions. The paper titled Water Pressures in Central Asia, examines the impact of water issues on shared border areas in the volatile Ferghana Valley; water shortages in urban areas; and competing water and energy needs among the three riparian states.

FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: Matluba Mukhamedova/World Bank/flickr

How not to demilitarize Hamas  | Ofer Zalzberg 
In a few weeks, indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas are to take place in Cairo with the aim of consolidating a durable ceasefire. The problem is that the two sides have two quite different agendas – while Hamas chiefly seeks the removal of the siege over Gaza, the Israeli government is primarily interested in demilitarizing Gaza.
But is pushing for demilitarization of Hamas in Gaza alone really in Israel’s interests?
FULL ARTICLE (CNN)
Photo: Dale Spencer/flickr

How not to demilitarize Hamas  | Ofer Zalzberg 

In a few weeks, indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas are to take place in Cairo with the aim of consolidating a durable ceasefire. The problem is that the two sides have two quite different agendas – while Hamas chiefly seeks the removal of the siege over Gaza, the Israeli government is primarily interested in demilitarizing Gaza.

But is pushing for demilitarization of Hamas in Gaza alone really in Israel’s interests?

FULL ARTICLE (CNN)

Photo: Dale Spencer/flickr

10 Sep
Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War
Beirut/Brussels  |   9 Sep 2014
Syria is sliding toward unending war between an autocratic, sectarian regime and the even more autocratic, more sectarian jihadi group that has made dramatic gains in both Syria and Iraq. Without either a ceasefire in Aleppo or greater support from its state backers, the mainstream opposition is likely to suffer a defeat that will dash chances of a political resolution for the foreseeable future.
It is hard to overstate the importance of the battle for greater Aleppo: continued gains there by the regime and Islamic State (IS) threaten the viability of the mainstream opposition as a whole, the defeat of which would be an unprecedented boon to IS and would render a negotiated resolution of the conflict all but impossible. In its latest report, Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War, International Crisis Group focuses on Aleppo’s importance, analyses regime and IS strategies and examines the decision-making and political evolution of rebel forces.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
There are two means of averting Aleppo’s fall. The first – immediately negotiating and implementing a ceasefire there between the regime and anti-IS rebels, including a regime withdrawal from recently captured territory – is unlikely because it would require a fundamental shift in Damascus’ objectives and strategy. The second – improving and increasing support by the opposition’s Western and regional state backers to local, non-jihadi rebels in Aleppo – is risky.
Risks notwithstanding, augmenting support to mainstream rebels would offer potential benefits such as shifting the intra-rebel balance of power toward non-ideological groups and encouraging greater pragmatism among other factions. Their backers must jointly apply carrots and sticks to promote pragmatic political engagement with the regime and respect for local civil society, while penalising criminal behaviour, indiscriminate tactics and sectarian rhetoric.
Calls for Western partnership with the Assad regime against jihadis are ill-conceived, unless Damascus and its allies fundamentally revise their postures. As long as the regime’s strategy strengthens the ji-hadis it claims to combat, a rapprochement would redound to IS’s advantage.
At least in the absence of a coherent strategy to empower credible Sunni alternatives to IS, proposals for expanding U.S. airstrikes into Syria are similarly problematic; the resulting boost to IS recruitment might outweigh the group’s tactical losses.
“At stake in Aleppo is not regime victory but opposition defeat” says Noah Bonsey, Syria Senior Analyst. “If that occurs, the war would continue, pitting regime and allied forces lacking capacity to reconquer north and east Syria against an emboldened IS strengthened by recruits from rebel remnants”.
“If the regime and its Iranian and Russian backers truly wish to diminish jihadi power in Syria, they must change their strategy from pursuing the military defeat of the mainstream opposition to identifying jihadis as the primary threat”, says Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Crisis Group’s President. “Otherwise, they are leaving it to the opposition’s backers to determine whether and how to fight IS”.
FULL REPORT

Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War

Beirut/Brussels  |   9 Sep 2014

Syria is sliding toward unending war between an autocratic, sectarian regime and the even more autocratic, more sectarian jihadi group that has made dramatic gains in both Syria and Iraq. Without either a ceasefire in Aleppo or greater support from its state backers, the mainstream opposition is likely to suffer a defeat that will dash chances of a political resolution for the foreseeable future.

It is hard to overstate the importance of the battle for greater Aleppo: continued gains there by the regime and Islamic State (IS) threaten the viability of the mainstream opposition as a whole, the defeat of which would be an unprecedented boon to IS and would render a negotiated resolution of the conflict all but impossible. In its latest report, Rigged Cars and Barrel Bombs: Aleppo and the State of the Syrian War, International Crisis Group focuses on Aleppo’s importance, analyses regime and IS strategies and examines the decision-making and political evolution of rebel forces.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • There are two means of averting Aleppo’s fall. The first – immediately negotiating and implementing a ceasefire there between the regime and anti-IS rebels, including a regime withdrawal from recently captured territory – is unlikely because it would require a fundamental shift in Damascus’ objectives and strategy. The second – improving and increasing support by the opposition’s Western and regional state backers to local, non-jihadi rebels in Aleppo – is risky.
  • Risks notwithstanding, augmenting support to mainstream rebels would offer potential benefits such as shifting the intra-rebel balance of power toward non-ideological groups and encouraging greater pragmatism among other factions. Their backers must jointly apply carrots and sticks to promote pragmatic political engagement with the regime and respect for local civil society, while penalising criminal behaviour, indiscriminate tactics and sectarian rhetoric.
  • Calls for Western partnership with the Assad regime against jihadis are ill-conceived, unless Damascus and its allies fundamentally revise their postures. As long as the regime’s strategy strengthens the ji-hadis it claims to combat, a rapprochement would redound to IS’s advantage.
  • At least in the absence of a coherent strategy to empower credible Sunni alternatives to IS, proposals for expanding U.S. airstrikes into Syria are similarly problematic; the resulting boost to IS recruitment might outweigh the group’s tactical losses.

“At stake in Aleppo is not regime victory but opposition defeat” says Noah Bonsey, Syria Senior Analyst. “If that occurs, the war would continue, pitting regime and allied forces lacking capacity to reconquer north and east Syria against an emboldened IS strengthened by recruits from rebel remnants”.

“If the regime and its Iranian and Russian backers truly wish to diminish jihadi power in Syria, they must change their strategy from pursuing the military defeat of the mainstream opposition to identifying jihadis as the primary threat”, says Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Crisis Group’s President. “Otherwise, they are leaving it to the opposition’s backers to determine whether and how to fight IS”.

FULL REPORT

9 Sep
Conflict Alert: Unrest in Sanaa
Sanaa/Brussels  |   8 Sep 2014
Yemen’s troubled transition is at a crossroads more dangerous than any since 2011. The Huthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement also known as Ansar Allah, are mobilising in the capital, organising demonstrations calling for the government’s demise and reinstating the fuel subsidies that were lifted in July. More worrying, their tribal supporters, many of whom have ties to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted in the 2011 uprising, are setting up protest camps on the outskirts of the city, implicitly threatening a siege or military invasion. The situation is tense and the possibility of violence real. Overcoming the impasse requires returning to the basic principles agreed upon in the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) that concluded in January 2014: rejecting political exclusion and resolving differences through peaceful negotiation.
FULL CONFLICT ALERT

Conflict Alert: Unrest in Sanaa

Sanaa/Brussels  |   8 Sep 2014

Yemen’s troubled transition is at a crossroads more dangerous than any since 2011. The Huthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement also known as Ansar Allah, are mobilising in the capital, organising demonstrations calling for the government’s demise and reinstating the fuel subsidies that were lifted in July. More worrying, their tribal supporters, many of whom have ties to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted in the 2011 uprising, are setting up protest camps on the outskirts of the city, implicitly threatening a siege or military invasion. The situation is tense and the possibility of violence real. Overcoming the impasse requires returning to the basic principles agreed upon in the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) that concluded in January 2014: rejecting political exclusion and resolving differences through peaceful negotiation.

FULL CONFLICT ALERT

4 Sep
Cameroon: Prevention Is Better than Cure
Nairobi/Brussels  |   4 Sep 2014
Cameroon’s apparent stability belies the variety of internal and external pressures threatening the country’s future. Without social and political change, a weakened Cameroon could become another flashpoint in the region.
Thirty-two years into the presidency of Paul Biya, Cameroon is weakened by social discontent and political deadlock. In the north and east, security forces struggle to keep at bay incursions by Nigeria’s Boko Haram and armed groups from the Central African Republic. With its security forces under pressure and tensions rising within the ruling party, the pillars of the regime have begun to crack. President Biya is giving no indication that this is his last term in office and no plans are in place to ensure a transition before or after the 2018 election. Neither the opposition nor civil society is strong enough to foster social and political change. In its latest briefing, Cameroon: Prevention is Better than Cure, the International Crisis Group examines the risk of violent transition and outlines urgently needed measures to prevent a conflict that could impact on regional stability.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
While relying on well-tried mechanisms to control the opposition, the regime bets on the population’s resilience. But in the face of high youth unemployment and corruption, social protests – so far limited – could turn into a violent uprising against the regime, led by an alienated younger generation.
To reduce the risk of violent transition, Cameroonian authorities, the opposition and civil society need to reopen dialogue, negotiate a political and institutional reform package, and reach an agreement on a post-Biya transition, guaranteed by the African Union.
This agreement should include: 1) President Biya’s promise not to contest the 2018 presidential election in exchange for a guarantee that no legal actions will be undertaken against him and that he can retain his assets; 2) new appointment mechanisms for the members of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Council and the electoral commission to enhance their independence; 3) introduction of age quotas to inject new blood into leadership structures and political parties; and 4) primaries for all political parties before 2018.
“Cameroon needs a reality check” says Hans Heungoup, Crisis Group’s Cameroon Analyst. “With growing militant threats at its borders, the country can no longer afford political uncertainty, institutional fragility and the disenfranchisement of its youth”.
“A badly managed succession could plunge Cameroon into a dangerous conflict and would prove detrimental for West and Central Africa by creating an axis of instability from north-east Nigeria to Central African Republic and South Sudan”, says Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa Project Director. “Cameroon’s political establishment should put its disputes aside and agree on the fundamentals of what could be a post-Biya transition before it is too late”.
FULL BRIEFING (currently only available in French)

Cameroon: Prevention Is Better than Cure

Nairobi/Brussels  |   4 Sep 2014

Cameroon’s apparent stability belies the variety of internal and external pressures threatening the country’s future. Without social and political change, a weakened Cameroon could become another flashpoint in the region.

Thirty-two years into the presidency of Paul Biya, Cameroon is weakened by social discontent and political deadlock. In the north and east, security forces struggle to keep at bay incursions by Nigeria’s Boko Haram and armed groups from the Central African Republic. With its security forces under pressure and tensions rising within the ruling party, the pillars of the regime have begun to crack. President Biya is giving no indication that this is his last term in office and no plans are in place to ensure a transition before or after the 2018 election. Neither the opposition nor civil society is strong enough to foster social and political change. In its latest briefing, Cameroon: Prevention is Better than Cure, the International Crisis Group examines the risk of violent transition and outlines urgently needed measures to prevent a conflict that could impact on regional stability.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • While relying on well-tried mechanisms to control the opposition, the regime bets on the population’s resilience. But in the face of high youth unemployment and corruption, social protests – so far limited – could turn into a violent uprising against the regime, led by an alienated younger generation.
  • To reduce the risk of violent transition, Cameroonian authorities, the opposition and civil society need to reopen dialogue, negotiate a political and institutional reform package, and reach an agreement on a post-Biya transition, guaranteed by the African Union.
  • This agreement should include: 1) President Biya’s promise not to contest the 2018 presidential election in exchange for a guarantee that no legal actions will be undertaken against him and that he can retain his assets; 2) new appointment mechanisms for the members of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Council and the electoral commission to enhance their independence; 3) introduction of age quotas to inject new blood into leadership structures and political parties; and 4) primaries for all political parties before 2018.

“Cameroon needs a reality check” says Hans Heungoup, Crisis Group’s Cameroon Analyst. “With growing militant threats at its borders, the country can no longer afford political uncertainty, institutional fragility and the disenfranchisement of its youth”.

“A badly managed succession could plunge Cameroon into a dangerous conflict and would prove detrimental for West and Central Africa by creating an axis of instability from north-east Nigeria to Central African Republic and South Sudan”, says Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa Project Director. “Cameroon’s political establishment should put its disputes aside and agree on the fundamentals of what could be a post-Biya transition before it is too late”.

FULL BRIEFING (currently only available in French)