CrisisWatch | A monthly bulletin on current and potential conflicts
September 2014 - Trends
Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen
Conflict Risk Alerts: Syria
Conflict Resolution Opportunities: Sudan
The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.
Crisis in Venezuela worsening | Mark Schneider
The lull in the street battles that raged across many of Venezuela’s cities this spring belies the violent civil conflict still threatening the country. From February to June, dozens of people died, hundreds were wounded and several thousand more were detained during conflict between protesters and government security forces.
Repression, exhaustion and disorganization have quieted protesters for the moment, but they will certainly return given the government’s failure to address the causes of the country’s polarization. With its vast oil reserves — by some measures the world’s largest — and its complex network of regional relations, Venezuela’s meltdown would be a disaster not only for its people but for the entire hemisphere.
FULL COMMENTARY (Miami Herald)
Fighting rages in Yemeni capital as deal with Shia Houthi rebels stalls | Peter Salisbury
Fighting has intensified in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in the biggest challenge to the country’s transition to democracy since former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in 2012.
As violence raged for a fourth day the prime minister Mohammed Salem Bassindwa resigned, accusing president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi of being “autocratic”, senior officials said. State news agency Saba reported Basindawa’s resignation, but without giving the reason.
The UN envoy to the conflict-stricken country struggled to broker a last-minute peace deal between Houthi rebels – a militant Shia movement – and the government. The city has reverberated with the sound of shelling, gunfire and fighter jets. Hundreds of people have been displaced from their homes and dozens killed in the fighting, which has spread through much of the west of the capital.
FULL ARTICLE (The Guardian)
Photo: Al Jazeera English/flickr
Dozens killed in Tripoli suburb under siege | Tom Stevenson
On the outskirts of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the residents of an area known as Warshefana are surrounded on all sides by armed militias who, in addition to attacking built-up areas, have imposed what amounts to a siege, blocking the entry of food and medicine.
The fighters form part of a militia coalition that took effective control of Tripoli two weeks ago. They have been heavily shelling Warshefana from their surrounding positions for the last week and have so far killed more than 70 residents, including at least 12 children. An additional 140 are believed to be injured.
The Warshefana are a tribe often seen as having been loyalists to Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. They once supported militias from Zintan, including Othman Mlekta’s al-Qaqaa, in their long battle in Tripoli against allies of their attackers. The militias now besieging the tribe see its members as traitors to Libya’s revolution, which they claim to be upholding.
FULL ARTICLE (Al-Monitor)
Photo: European Commission DG ECHO/flickr
Female teacher killed in Thai Muslim south | Anadolu Agency
BANGKOK - Thailand’s south awoke to fresh violence Thursday morning, as the military government continues to plan peace talks with insurgents, which have been suspended for nine months.
Police lieutenant Pramote Chuichuey told the Anadolu Agency that a bomb exploded as a group of officers escorted teachers to a school in the Kokpo district of Pattani, killing a 28-year-old female and injuring another and a policeman.
"The bomb, contained in a gas tank, was buried on the side of the road," he said, adding that insurgents had detonated it remotely as the motorbike convoy passed.
Teachers are the frequent targets of insurgents in the south - whose population is majority ethnic Malay Muslim - as they are considered symbols of the Thai central State, against whom insurgents are fighting.
FULL ARTICLE (Anadolu Agency)
Corridor of Violence: The Guatemala-Honduras Border
Guatemala City/Bogotá/Brussels | 4 Jun 2014
Ending bloodshed in this neglected border region requires more than task forces: credible institutions, access to state services and continuing security are also needed.
Competition between criminal groups over drug routes has made the frontier between Guatemala and Honduras one of the most violent areas in Central America, with murder rates among the highest in the world. In the absence of effective law enforcement, traffickers have become de facto authorities in some sectors. Crisis Group’s latest report, Corridor of Violence: The Guatemala-Honduras Border, examines the regional dynamics that have allowed criminal gangs to thrive and outlines the main steps necessary to prevent further violence as well as to advance peaceful economic and social development.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
“Troops alone will not stop bloodshed where the state has long failed to provide law enforcement and economic growth” says Mary Speck, Mexico and Central America Project Director. “Tackling criminal violence requires sustained, concerted efforts to promote local development and guarantee rule of law”.
“Thus far, most international help has focused on border control and drug interdiction”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Latin America Program Director. “Guatemala and Honduras need a more comprehensive approach and the advice and support of other Latin American countries with similar experiences”.
"The [Syrian] regime deliberately and systematically starves people in a new tactic of modern war."
—from today’s statement on Syria
Two killed in Bahrain ‘terrorist’ explosions, authorities say | Los Angeles Times
By Emily Alpert
Two foreigners were killed and a third injured when a series of explosions rocked Bahrain, government officials said Monday, a new eruption of violence that authorities labeled as terrorist acts bent on destabilizing the divided country.
The three men, all Asians, were victims of homemade bombs, one man dying after kicking a device and another killed near a movie theater, Bahraini police told state media.
The third man, a cleaner, was reported to be in serious condition. Like many Gulf countries, Bahrain brings in a large number of foreign laborers from Asia, including many workers from Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia.
Photo: Zeep van der Kist/Flickr
"It’s a serious issue that will hurt Myanmar’s reputation in the long term… If Myanmar wants to enter the fold of modern and democratic states, it needs to grapple with this very fundamental issue to give equal rights to all ethnic groups, all religious groups."
Jim Della-Giacoma, Southeast Asia project director for Crisis Group
in Bloomberg News: “Myanmar Rape-Murder Sparks Outrage Over Abuse of Muslims" By Flavia Krause-Jackson and Daniel Ten Kate
Papuan Patience Worn Thin | Jakarta Globe
By John Mcbeth
German biologist Pieter Helmut and his wife were walking up the beach after swimming near the Papua provincial capital of Jayapura when a bearded gunman suddenly got out of a van and opened fire. Helmut, 54, had emergency surgery for life-threatening bullet wounds to the stomach and thigh. He was lucky to survive the May 29 attack, unusual even by Papuan standards.