Showing posts tagged as "conflict"

Showing posts tagged conflict

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

12 Sep
U.S. Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels With Loyalties All Over the Map | BEN HUBBARD, ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI
BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Obama’s determination to train Syrian rebels to serve as ground troops against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leaves the United States dependent on a diverse group riven by infighting, with no shared leadership and with hard-line Islamists as its most effective fighters.
After more than three years of civil war, there are hundreds of militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad — and one another. Among them, even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
“You are not going to find this neat, clean, secular rebel group that respects human rights and that is waiting and ready because they don’t exist,” said Aron Lund, a Syria analyst who edits the Syria in Crisis blog for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It is a very dirty war and you have to deal with what is on offer.”
FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)
Photo: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Liesl Marelli/The National Guard/flickr

U.S. Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels With Loyalties All Over the Map | BEN HUBBARD, ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI

BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Obama’s determination to train Syrian rebels to serve as ground troops against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leaves the United States dependent on a diverse group riven by infighting, with no shared leadership and with hard-line Islamists as its most effective fighters.

After more than three years of civil war, there are hundreds of militias fighting President Bashar al-Assad — and one another. Among them, even the more secular forces have turned to Islamists for support and weapons over the years, and the remaining moderate rebels often fight alongside extremists like the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

“You are not going to find this neat, clean, secular rebel group that respects human rights and that is waiting and ready because they don’t exist,” said Aron Lund, a Syria analyst who edits the Syria in Crisis blog for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It is a very dirty war and you have to deal with what is on offer.”

FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)

Photo: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Liesl Marelli/The National Guard/flickr

11 Sep
Water Pressures in Central Asia
Bishkek/Brussels  |   11 Sep 2014
Growing tensions in the Ferghana Valley are exacerbated by disputes over shared water resources. To address this, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan urgently need to step back from using water or energy as a coercive tool and focus on reaching a series of modest, bilateral agreements, pending comprehensive resolution of this serious problem.
Political rivalries, economic competition, heightened nationalism and mistrust hamper the search for a solution to the region’s growing water and energy needs. In its latest report, Water Pressures in Central Asia, the International Crisis Group 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 of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The report also analyses the international community’s potential to contribute to national and regional stability in Central Asia.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Kyrgyzstan is looking at a bleak winter of energy shortages because of low water levels at the Toktogul reservoir and hydropower plant. Energy insecurity and resentment are growing and have proved to be major catalysts in the downfall of successive Kyrgyz administrations. Only mass labour migration and authoritarian tactics have prevented similar upheavals in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Attempts at comprehensive regional solutions have foundered on mistrust. The three countries (and international backers) should act in the Ferghana Valley border areas to end annual competition and conflict over water by seeking step-by-step solutions rather than an all-inclusive resource settlement. If Uzbekistan will not join, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan should work bilaterally.
Uzbekistan’s irrigation system desperately needs modernisation. Researchers suggest that 50 to 80 per cent of water used for agricultural irrigation is lost.
The failure in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to provide basic services greatly increases the perception that their governments are weak and corrupt and provides a rallying point for opposition movements that seek to oust them.
The donor community, including China, the EU and Russia, should support the region in modernising its water infrastructure, building in effective anti-corruption measures and focusing on direct impact at community levels.
“Corruption, hidden interests and inflexible positions in all three states hinder a mutually acceptable solution. A common development strategy focusing on reform of agricultural and energy sectors would be in their interest”, says Deirdre Tynan, Central Asia Project Director, “but such an initiative requires a radical shift in the way regional leaders think”.
“The failure of Bishkek, Dushanbe and Tashkent to resolve cross-border water problems shows a worrying disregard for stability in their common area. Strained ethnic relations and competition over water and land could be a deadly mix. Conflict in this volatile part of Central Asia risks rapid, possibly irreversible regional destabilisation”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Europe and Central Asia Program Director.
FULL REPORT

Water Pressures in Central Asia

Bishkek/Brussels  |   11 Sep 2014

Growing tensions in the Ferghana Valley are exacerbated by disputes over shared water resources. To address this, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan urgently need to step back from using water or energy as a coercive tool and focus on reaching a series of modest, bilateral agreements, pending comprehensive resolution of this serious problem.

Political rivalries, economic competition, heightened nationalism and mistrust hamper the search for a solution to the region’s growing water and energy needs. In its latest report, Water Pressures in Central Asia, the International Crisis Group 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 of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The report also analyses the international community’s potential to contribute to national and regional stability in Central Asia.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • Kyrgyzstan is looking at a bleak winter of energy shortages because of low water levels at the Toktogul reservoir and hydropower plant. Energy insecurity and resentment are growing and have proved to be major catalysts in the downfall of successive Kyrgyz administrations. Only mass labour migration and authoritarian tactics have prevented similar upheavals in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
  • Attempts at comprehensive regional solutions have foundered on mistrust. The three countries (and international backers) should act in the Ferghana Valley border areas to end annual competition and conflict over water by seeking step-by-step solutions rather than an all-inclusive resource settlement. If Uzbekistan will not join, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan should work bilaterally.
  • Uzbekistan’s irrigation system desperately needs modernisation. Researchers suggest that 50 to 80 per cent of water used for agricultural irrigation is lost.
  • The failure in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to provide basic services greatly increases the perception that their governments are weak and corrupt and provides a rallying point for opposition movements that seek to oust them.
  • The donor community, including China, the EU and Russia, should support the region in modernising its water infrastructure, building in effective anti-corruption measures and focusing on direct impact at community levels.

“Corruption, hidden interests and inflexible positions in all three states hinder a mutually acceptable solution. A common development strategy focusing on reform of agricultural and energy sectors would be in their interest”, says Deirdre Tynan, Central Asia Project Director, “but such an initiative requires a radical shift in the way regional leaders think”.

“The failure of Bishkek, Dushanbe and Tashkent to resolve cross-border water problems shows a worrying disregard for stability in their common area. Strained ethnic relations and competition over water and land could be a deadly mix. Conflict in this volatile part of Central Asia risks rapid, possibly irreversible regional destabilisation”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Europe and Central Asia Program Director.

FULL REPORT

10 Sep
Northern Nigerians live in fear of Boko Haram | Hilke Fischer
At night he lies awake and hears gun shots from a distance. “Nobody can sleep anymore,” explained a DW listener from Maiduguri, who wanted to remain anonymous. Over one million people live in the city of the northern Nigerian state of Borno and Boko Haram fighters are moving ever closer.
Gwoza, Bama, Gulak, Michika, Duhu, Shuwa, Kirshinga – the Islamists have been capturing new cities on an almost daily basis. They arrive in hijacked army vehicles, fight off the Nigerian troops and terrorize the residents. “Boko Haram are committing all kinds of atrocities killing and raping. At the same time they are taking young girls in batches and the city is littered with dead bodies,” says Ahmed Zanna, a member of the Nigerian Senate for the town of Bama says. Bama is just 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Maiduguri and fell to the Islamists four days ago. Zanna recounts how the soldiers who were supposed to defend Bama, refused to advance any further. “They were ill equipped and they just stayed in Kondudga.”
FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: OxfamNovib via European Commission DG ECHO/flickr

Northern Nigerians live in fear of Boko Haram | Hilke Fischer

At night he lies awake and hears gun shots from a distance. “Nobody can sleep anymore,” explained a DW listener from Maiduguri, who wanted to remain anonymous. Over one million people live in the city of the northern Nigerian state of Borno and Boko Haram fighters are moving ever closer.

Gwoza, Bama, Gulak, Michika, Duhu, Shuwa, Kirshinga – the Islamists have been capturing new cities on an almost daily basis. They arrive in hijacked army vehicles, fight off the Nigerian troops and terrorize the residents. “Boko Haram are committing all kinds of atrocities killing and raping. At the same time they are taking young girls in batches and the city is littered with dead bodies,” says Ahmed Zanna, a member of the Nigerian Senate for the town of Bama says. Bama is just 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Maiduguri and fell to the Islamists four days ago. Zanna recounts how the soldiers who were supposed to defend Bama, refused to advance any further. “They were ill equipped and they just stayed in Kondudga.”

FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: OxfamNovib via European Commission DG ECHO/flickr

4 Sep
Barack Obama looks to Muslim countries for help in crushing Isis | Ian Black
Barack Obama has called for a “broad-based international coalition” to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State (Isis) after the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff. But it is not clear which countries would take part in such a grouping and, crucially, whether its mission would be limited to Iraq or include fighting the jihadis in their Syrian strongholds.
In Washington and London, government officials say they had long known that their nationals were being held hostage by the extremist group, so the latest killing, plus the now explicit threat to murder a UK captive, will not change their fundamental calculations.
Talk of building a coalition to tackle Isis has been in the diplomatic air for the past two weeks, but Obama gave deeper insight into his thinking on Wednesday: “The question is going to be making sure we have the right strategy but also making sure that we have got the international will to do it,” the president said. “What we have got to make sure is that we are organising the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community to isolate this cancer.”
FULL ARTICLE (The Guardian)
Photo: Christopher Dilts for Obama for America/flickr

Barack Obama looks to Muslim countries for help in crushing Isis | Ian Black

Barack Obama has called for a “broad-based international coalition” to “degrade and destroy” Islamic State (Isis) after the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff. But it is not clear which countries would take part in such a grouping and, crucially, whether its mission would be limited to Iraq or include fighting the jihadis in their Syrian strongholds.

In Washington and London, government officials say they had long known that their nationals were being held hostage by the extremist group, so the latest killing, plus the now explicit threat to murder a UK captive, will not change their fundamental calculations.

Talk of building a coalition to tackle Isis has been in the diplomatic air for the past two weeks, but Obama gave deeper insight into his thinking on Wednesday: “The question is going to be making sure we have the right strategy but also making sure that we have got the international will to do it,” the president said. “What we have got to make sure is that we are organising the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community to isolate this cancer.”

FULL ARTICLE (The Guardian)

Photo: Christopher Dilts for Obama for America/flickr

2 Sep
CrisisWatch | A monthly bulletin on current and potential conflicts
August 2014 - Trends
Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen
Conflict Risk Alerts: Libya, Pakistan, Yemen
FULL BULLETIN
INTERACTIVE CONFLICT MAP

CrisisWatch | A monthly bulletin on current and potential conflicts

August 2014 - Trends

Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen

Conflict Risk Alerts: Libya, Pakistan, Yemen

FULL BULLETIN

INTERACTIVE CONFLICT MAP

29 Aug
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)
Photo: Seamus/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)

Photo: Seamus/flickr

27 Aug
Libya’s Crisis: A Shattered Airport, Two Parliaments, Many Factions | Leila Fadel
As Libya has descended into chaos, it has split into two broad camps. On one side is Libya Dawn, an Islamist-backed umbrella group; on the other is a renegade general, Khalifa Hifter, who is based in the eastern part of the country along with his allies.
As this power struggle has escalated, it is no longer just an internal Libyan conflict. It is now being fought regionally, with parallels to other battles playing out in North Africa and the Middle East.
U.S. officials say Egypt and the United Arab Emirates carried out secret airstrikes in recent days directed against the Islamist factions, which was first reported in The New York Times. This direct involvement in the Libyan fighting came as a surprise, though both of these countries have staked out positions opposing Islamist groups in their own countries and abroad.
"We see in the battle that is being fought out in Libya between these two broad coalitions is a battle that is already being fought out regionally," says Claudia Gazzini, a Libya researcher at the International Crisis Group.
FULL ARTICLE (NPR)
Photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr

Libya’s Crisis: A Shattered Airport, Two Parliaments, Many Factions | Leila Fadel

As Libya has descended into chaos, it has split into two broad camps. On one side is Libya Dawn, an Islamist-backed umbrella group; on the other is a renegade general, Khalifa Hifter, who is based in the eastern part of the country along with his allies.

As this power struggle has escalated, it is no longer just an internal Libyan conflict. It is now being fought regionally, with parallels to other battles playing out in North Africa and the Middle East.

U.S. officials say Egypt and the United Arab Emirates carried out secret airstrikes in recent days directed against the Islamist factions, which was first reported in The New York Times. This direct involvement in the Libyan fighting came as a surprise, though both of these countries have staked out positions opposing Islamist groups in their own countries and abroad.

"We see in the battle that is being fought out in Libya between these two broad coalitions is a battle that is already being fought out regionally," says Claudia Gazzini, a Libya researcher at the International Crisis Group.

FULL ARTICLE (NPR)

Photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr

Afghan forces battle for control of symbolic Kunduz province | MIRWAIS HAROONI
(Reuters) - Afghan security forces are battling the Taliban for control of the northern province of Kunduz, where insurgents are threatening to overrun the capital and terrorising residents who have fled to nearby districts.
The battle for Kunduz, as politicians wrangle amid a deadlocked presidential election in the capital, has special significance for people on both sides: it was the Taliban’s last stronghold before the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance drove them out in 2001.
The fighting in Kunduz reflects a broader trend of insurgent attacks across the country involving hundreds of fighters at a time.
Most Western troops are due to leave Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting, leaving a security vacuum some fear the Taliban could quickly fill as Afghan security forces grapple with maintaining law and order on their own.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/flickr

Afghan forces battle for control of symbolic Kunduz province | MIRWAIS HAROONI

(Reuters) - Afghan security forces are battling the Taliban for control of the northern province of Kunduz, where insurgents are threatening to overrun the capital and terrorising residents who have fled to nearby districts.

The battle for Kunduz, as politicians wrangle amid a deadlocked presidential election in the capital, has special significance for people on both sides: it was the Taliban’s last stronghold before the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance drove them out in 2001.

The fighting in Kunduz reflects a broader trend of insurgent attacks across the country involving hundreds of fighters at a time.

Most Western troops are due to leave Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting, leaving a security vacuum some fear the Taliban could quickly fill as Afghan security forces grapple with maintaining law and order on their own.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/flickr

26 Aug
Hero of Libya’s revolution wages war on government | Borzou Daragahi
Salah Badi has a reputation for resorting to other means when politics do not go his way.
A hero of the 2011 uprising against Muammer Gaddafi and head of a militia affiliated with the coastal city of Misurata, the former member of parliament is now waging war in the capital, Tripoli, as he tries to maintain the dominance of Islamists – and his home town – in the face of overwhelming voter opposition to his agenda in June 25 general elections.
“He reflects a certain component of Libyan politicians who see themselves as still fighting out the revolution,” said Claudia Gazzini, Libya researcher for the International Crisis Group. “They don’t care that they’re not popular. They see themselves as righteous defenders of Libya and saviours of a Libya that is gradually returning into the hands of the former regime.”
FULL ARTICLE (The Financial Times)
Photo: mojomogwai/flickr

Hero of Libya’s revolution wages war on government | Borzou Daragahi

Salah Badi has a reputation for resorting to other means when politics do not go his way.

A hero of the 2011 uprising against Muammer Gaddafi and head of a militia affiliated with the coastal city of Misurata, the former member of parliament is now waging war in the capital, Tripoli, as he tries to maintain the dominance of Islamists – and his home town – in the face of overwhelming voter opposition to his agenda in June 25 general elections.

“He reflects a certain component of Libyan politicians who see themselves as still fighting out the revolution,” said Claudia Gazzini, Libya researcher for the International Crisis Group. “They don’t care that they’re not popular. They see themselves as righteous defenders of Libya and saviours of a Libya that is gradually returning into the hands of the former regime.”

FULL ARTICLE (The Financial Times)

Photo: mojomogwai/flickr