Showing posts tagged as "crisiswatch"

Showing posts tagged crisiswatch

3 Jan
This month’s CrisisWatch map. Conflict risks in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Plus, lots of red. http://bit.ly/16WsmPX

This month’s CrisisWatch map. Conflict risks in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Plus, lots of red. http://bit.ly/16WsmPX

17 Dec
LINK

LOOK: The Monthly Conflict Situation Report

Thanks to the Huffington Post for featuring our new CrisisWatch map!

1 May
We just published the May issue of CrisisWatch, our monthly update on the most significant conflicts around the world. Click here (PDF) for the full issue, but here are the highlights:
The standoff in Iraq between Sunni Arab protesters and the central government intensified in the last week of April. Over 50 people were killed in an army raid on a Sunni protest camp in Hawija near Kirkuk on 23 April, following the death of an Iraq army officer in clashes with protesters. The incident prompted a series of retaliations against government forces, with scores killed across the country, and pushed the protesters to organise themselves militarily, claiming the need to defend themselves (see our Crisis Alert). What started as a political crisis risks evolving into a sectarian confrontation pitting government forces against the protesters’ armed factions, and could feed into a broader regional struggle. CrisisWatch highlights the risk of escalating violence in the coming month.
Lebanon was drawn further into Syria’s civil war, as Hizbollah fighters reportedly led a military operation against rebel forces in Al-Qusayr in western Syria, near the border with Lebanon. Syrian rebels retaliated with rocket attacks on border villages in Lebanon, killing 2 civilians. Syrian jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra threatened to attack Beirut if the government does not check Hizbollah’s involvement (see our recent report).
Security significantly deteriorated in the Central African Republic capital Bangui following last month’s coup by Seleka rebels (see our commentary, in French and English). The rebels reportedly killed at least 130 people, as Bangui also fell prey to looting, bank robberies and violence. Seleka leader Michael Djotodia was elected interim president in mid-April after regional leaders called for a transitional government and elections within eighteen months. So far, however, the Seleka leadership has been unable or unwilling to bring its fighters under control. Regional powers have resolved to deploy a further 2,000 peacekeepers to curb growing lawlessness.
In mid-April the U.S. judiciary unsealed narcotics and weapons-trafficking charges against Guinea-Bissau’s Chief of Staff General António Injai, sparking fears of increased tension and instability. The indictment of Injai, widely seen as one of Guinea-Bissau’s most powerful men, came just weeks after the country’s former navy chief and four others were arrested by U.S. forces on similar charges. The transitional government has called for their trials to be held in Guinea-Bissau.
April marked the deadliest month of 2013 to date in Afghanistan as Taliban attacks and bombings claimed the lives of over 70 people. On 28 April the Taliban announced the start of its spring offensive, heralding yet more violence ahead. President Hamid Karzai admitted that his office had received substantial sums of money from U.S. intelligence over the past decade.
Election-related violence intensified in Pakistan, with militant attacks on mainstream moderate parties killing over 60 and injuring scores more. Former president Pervez Musharraf’s plans to return to politics ran aground as the High Court barred him from public office for life. He was also placed under house arrest on charges relating to his dismissal of judges and his alleged role in former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007. Sectarian attacks and targeted killings continued in Karachi.
In Venezuela the disputed 14 April presidential election, held just over a month after the death of President Hugo Chávez, triggered a political crisis. Chavista Vice President Nicolás Maduro beat opposition candidate Henrique Capriles by less than two percentage points, a much narrower margin than polls had predicted. Amid acute polarisation, and controversy over the government’s use of state resources to support Maduro’s campaign, the opposition called for a full audit to verify paper ballots against the results reported electronically. The electoral authorities insisted the electronic results are irreversible, but agreed to a partial audit. Maduro blamed Capriles for deadly violence after the election, while human rights groups accused the government of using disproportionate force against protesters. Venezuela’s economic situation continues to deteriorate, with basic goods disappearing from the shelves and inflation rising steeply.
In Bangladesh the confrontation between protesters against and supporters of the country’s International Crimes Tribunal, combined with increasing friction between the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, have brought the country to a standstill.
Kosovo and Serbia reached a breakthrough deal at the tenth session of their EU-mediated dialogue in Brussels on 19 April (see our recent report). The agreement recognises Pristina’s authority over the whole territory of Kosovo while granting local autonomy for Kosovo Serbs based on provisions of the Ahtisaari Plan. It also creates a new post of police commander for northern Kosovo – a Serb to be appointed by Pristina based on the nomination of local authorities – and a chamber of the Court of Appeal in North Mitrovica with a majority of Serb judges. Although Serbs in northern Kosovo rejected the deal, the European Commission said it would recommend a start date for EU accession talks with Serbia now that it has normalised relations with Kosovo.
In Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos’s statement that he hoped peace talks with the ELN (the National Liberation Army) will begin “sooner rather than later” raised hopes of an official announcement in May of negotiations with Colombia’s second guerrilla group (the government is already engaged in talks with the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). CrisisWatch identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Colombia for the coming month.
crisisgroup.org
Photo: Looting in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, after Seleka fighters seized the city. Credit: PASHOPFAN/Flickr

We just published the May issue of CrisisWatch, our monthly update on the most significant conflicts around the world. Click here (PDF) for the full issue, but here are the highlights:

The standoff in Iraq between Sunni Arab protesters and the central government intensified in the last week of April. Over 50 people were killed in an army raid on a Sunni protest camp in Hawija near Kirkuk on 23 April, following the death of an Iraq army officer in clashes with protesters. The incident prompted a series of retaliations against government forces, with scores killed across the country, and pushed the protesters to organise themselves militarily, claiming the need to defend themselves (see our Crisis Alert). What started as a political crisis risks evolving into a sectarian confrontation pitting government forces against the protesters’ armed factions, and could feed into a broader regional struggle. CrisisWatch highlights the risk of escalating violence in the coming month.

Lebanon was drawn further into Syria’s civil war, as Hizbollah fighters reportedly led a military operation against rebel forces in Al-Qusayr in western Syria, near the border with Lebanon. Syrian rebels retaliated with rocket attacks on border villages in Lebanon, killing 2 civilians. Syrian jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra threatened to attack Beirut if the government does not check Hizbollah’s involvement (see our recent report).

Security significantly deteriorated in the Central African Republic capital Bangui following last month’s coup by Seleka rebels (see our commentary, in French and English). The rebels reportedly killed at least 130 people, as Bangui also fell prey to looting, bank robberies and violence. Seleka leader Michael Djotodia was elected interim president in mid-April after regional leaders called for a transitional government and elections within eighteen months. So far, however, the Seleka leadership has been unable or unwilling to bring its fighters under control. Regional powers have resolved to deploy a further 2,000 peacekeepers to curb growing lawlessness.

In mid-April the U.S. judiciary unsealed narcotics and weapons-trafficking charges against Guinea-Bissau’s Chief of Staff General António Injai, sparking fears of increased tension and instability. The indictment of Injai, widely seen as one of Guinea-Bissau’s most powerful men, came just weeks after the country’s former navy chief and four others were arrested by U.S. forces on similar charges. The transitional government has called for their trials to be held in Guinea-Bissau.

April marked the deadliest month of 2013 to date in Afghanistan as Taliban attacks and bombings claimed the lives of over 70 people. On 28 April the Taliban announced the start of its spring offensive, heralding yet more violence ahead. President Hamid Karzai admitted that his office had received substantial sums of money from U.S. intelligence over the past decade.

Election-related violence intensified in Pakistan, with militant attacks on mainstream moderate parties killing over 60 and injuring scores more. Former president Pervez Musharraf’s plans to return to politics ran aground as the High Court barred him from public office for life. He was also placed under house arrest on charges relating to his dismissal of judges and his alleged role in former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007. Sectarian attacks and targeted killings continued in Karachi.

In Venezuela the disputed 14 April presidential election, held just over a month after the death of President Hugo Chávez, triggered a political crisis. Chavista Vice President Nicolás Maduro beat opposition candidate Henrique Capriles by less than two percentage points, a much narrower margin than polls had predicted. Amid acute polarisation, and controversy over the government’s use of state resources to support Maduro’s campaign, the opposition called for a full audit to verify paper ballots against the results reported electronically. The electoral authorities insisted the electronic results are irreversible, but agreed to a partial audit. Maduro blamed Capriles for deadly violence after the election, while human rights groups accused the government of using disproportionate force against protesters. Venezuela’s economic situation continues to deteriorate, with basic goods disappearing from the shelves and inflation rising steeply.

In Bangladesh the confrontation between protesters against and supporters of the country’s International Crimes Tribunal, combined with increasing friction between the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, have brought the country to a standstill.

Kosovo and Serbia reached a breakthrough deal at the tenth session of their EU-mediated dialogue in Brussels on 19 April (see our recent report). The agreement recognises Pristina’s authority over the whole territory of Kosovo while granting local autonomy for Kosovo Serbs based on provisions of the Ahtisaari Plan. It also creates a new post of police commander for northern Kosovo – a Serb to be appointed by Pristina based on the nomination of local authorities – and a chamber of the Court of Appeal in North Mitrovica with a majority of Serb judges. Although Serbs in northern Kosovo rejected the deal, the European Commission said it would recommend a start date for EU accession talks with Serbia now that it has normalised relations with Kosovo.

In Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos’s statement that he hoped peace talks with the ELN (the National Liberation Army) will begin “sooner rather than later” raised hopes of an official announcement in May of negotiations with Colombia’s second guerrilla group (the government is already engaged in talks with the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). CrisisWatch identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Colombia for the coming month.

crisisgroup.org

Photo: Looting in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, after Seleka fighters seized the city. Credit: PASHOPFAN/Flickr

1 Apr
CrisisWatch N°116 | 01 April 2013
In the Central African Republic, a peace deal signed two months ago in Libreville collapsed as the Seleka rebel alliance, having repeatedly violated the ceasefire, seized the capital Bangui on 24 March. President Francois Bozizé fled to Cameroon. Seleka leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president and suspended the constitution and National Assembly. The African Union condemned Seleka’s “unconstitutional change” of government, suspending CAR’s membership and imposing sanctions against Seleka’s leaders. Despite its rapid seizure of power, the Seleka coalition appears fragile and prone to fragmentation, prompting fears that factions may take up arms again. Crisis Group identifies a conflict risk for Central African Republic.
Tensions continued to escalate on the Korean peninsula. The UN Security Council’s 7 March resolution condemning North Korea’s February nuclear test prompted Pyongyang to threaten pre-emptive nuclear strikes against “invaders”. North Korea announced that it would no longer be bound by the 1953 Korean War armistice, and cut off communications hotlines with South Korea and the UN Command in Seoul. The North Korean army ordered all its rocket and long-range artillery units to be combat-ready and targeting U.S. bases and territory, and the government declared North Korea to be in a “state of war” with South Korea. In a show of force the U.S. flew B-52 and B-2 bombers over South Korea and deployed F-22 stealth fighters to the South as part of an ongoing military exercise. On 31 March, a rare Central Committee meeting in Pyongyang declared nuclear weapons are non-negotiable and North Korea’s nuclear status should be written into law.
In a new outbreak of intercommunal violence in Myanmar in the central town of Meiktila on 20-22 March, more than 40 people were killed and over 12,000 displaced, and hundreds of mainly Muslim-owned buildings destroyed, in attacks by Buddhist mobs. President Thein Sein imposed a state of emergency in the area and deployed the military to restore calm. Amid speculation that the attacks were pre-planned by extremists, there was widespread concern as the violence spread to towns and villages in other parts of the country in the following days, although there were no reported casualties from these other incidents.
The political uncertainty and paralysis gripping Lebanon worsened with the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati on 22 March following a standoff with Hizbollah. Political instability further fed ongoing sectarian tensions and clashes, mainly in the southern town of Saida and the northern city of Tripoli, where a dozen people were killed in clashes between Sunni and Alawite militants 22-24 March. Regular cross-border shelling by Syria continued, and the Syrian regime for the first time launched air strikes inside Lebanon.
Within Syria the first credible reports emerged of chemical weapons use in the ongoing conflict. The government and rebels accused each other of firing a rocket loaded with chemical agents near Aleppo on 19 March, and the opposition reported two people killed in an alleged chemical missile attack on Adra, near Damascus.
Iraq’s political crisis again deepened in March. Widespread demonstrations in Sunni areas of the country have met an increasingly hardline security response, with security forces killing two Sunni protesters in Mosul on 8 March. Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi resigned his post, as did Agriculture Minister Ezz al-Din al-Dawla, in solidarity with the protesters. Meanwhile Iraq’s parliament relied exclusively on votes from the Shia’s political blocs to pass the 2013 budget law, illustrating Baghdad’s increasingly sectarian politics.
As the stalemate between Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi and the opposition continued, violent clashes between opponents and supporters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood broke out outside the Islamists’ headquarters in Cairo on 22 March. Subsequent days also saw violent protests. President Morsi warned that he would take “necessary measures” to “protect the nation”, and the prosecutor general ordered the arrest of several activists. The violence took place as political demonstrations and riots in Egypt are increasingly giving way to socio-economic protest in the face of fuel shortages, inflation and price increases.
Nepal’s main parties ended months of political deadlock on 14 March. They agreed to hold elections to a new Constituent Assembly by 21 June under an interim election government, led by Supreme Court chief justice Khil Raj Regmi. The interim government will comprise retired bureaucrats, and be guided by a political committee of the four largest parties. If elections are not held in June, the government will be extended until 15 December.
Prospects for peace between Turkey’s government and Kurdish insurgents are improving after five months of negotiations between the national intelligence agency and the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan. The 21 March call by Öcalan for an eventual ceasefire and withdrawal to outside Turkish borders – and PKK’s military leader Murat Karayılan’s subsequent acceptance of the idea – are particularly positive signs.
FULL CRISISWATCH
Photo: hdptcar/Flickr

CrisisWatch N°116 | 01 April 2013

In the Central African Republic, a peace deal signed two months ago in Libreville collapsed as the Seleka rebel alliance, having repeatedly violated the ceasefire, seized the capital Bangui on 24 March. President Francois Bozizé fled to Cameroon. Seleka leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president and suspended the constitution and National Assembly. The African Union condemned Seleka’s “unconstitutional change” of government, suspending CAR’s membership and imposing sanctions against Seleka’s leaders. Despite its rapid seizure of power, the Seleka coalition appears fragile and prone to fragmentation, prompting fears that factions may take up arms again. Crisis Group identifies a conflict risk for Central African Republic.

Tensions continued to escalate on the Korean peninsula. The UN Security Council’s 7 March resolution condemning North Korea’s February nuclear test prompted Pyongyang to threaten pre-emptive nuclear strikes against “invaders”. North Korea announced that it would no longer be bound by the 1953 Korean War armistice, and cut off communications hotlines with South Korea and the UN Command in Seoul. The North Korean army ordered all its rocket and long-range artillery units to be combat-ready and targeting U.S. bases and territory, and the government declared North Korea to be in a “state of war” with South Korea. In a show of force the U.S. flew B-52 and B-2 bombers over South Korea and deployed F-22 stealth fighters to the South as part of an ongoing military exercise. On 31 March, a rare Central Committee meeting in Pyongyang declared nuclear weapons are non-negotiable and North Korea’s nuclear status should be written into law.

In a new outbreak of intercommunal violence in Myanmar in the central town of Meiktila on 20-22 March, more than 40 people were killed and over 12,000 displaced, and hundreds of mainly Muslim-owned buildings destroyed, in attacks by Buddhist mobs. President Thein Sein imposed a state of emergency in the area and deployed the military to restore calm. Amid speculation that the attacks were pre-planned by extremists, there was widespread concern as the violence spread to towns and villages in other parts of the country in the following days, although there were no reported casualties from these other incidents.

The political uncertainty and paralysis gripping Lebanon worsened with the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati on 22 March following a standoff with Hizbollah. Political instability further fed ongoing sectarian tensions and clashes, mainly in the southern town of Saida and the northern city of Tripoli, where a dozen people were killed in clashes between Sunni and Alawite militants 22-24 March. Regular cross-border shelling by Syria continued, and the Syrian regime for the first time launched air strikes inside Lebanon.

Within Syria the first credible reports emerged of chemical weapons use in the ongoing conflict. The government and rebels accused each other of firing a rocket loaded with chemical agents near Aleppo on 19 March, and the opposition reported two people killed in an alleged chemical missile attack on Adra, near Damascus.

Iraq’s political crisis again deepened in March. Widespread demonstrations in Sunni areas of the country have met an increasingly hardline security response, with security forces killing two Sunni protesters in Mosul on 8 March. Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi resigned his post, as did Agriculture Minister Ezz al-Din al-Dawla, in solidarity with the protesters. Meanwhile Iraq’s parliament relied exclusively on votes from the Shia’s political blocs to pass the 2013 budget law, illustrating Baghdad’s increasingly sectarian politics.

As the stalemate between Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi and the opposition continued, violent clashes between opponents and supporters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood broke out outside the Islamists’ headquarters in Cairo on 22 March. Subsequent days also saw violent protests. President Morsi warned that he would take “necessary measures” to “protect the nation”, and the prosecutor general ordered the arrest of several activists. The violence took place as political demonstrations and riots in Egypt are increasingly giving way to socio-economic protest in the face of fuel shortages, inflation and price increases.

Nepal’s main parties ended months of political deadlock on 14 March. They agreed to hold elections to a new Constituent Assembly by 21 June under an interim election government, led by Supreme Court chief justice Khil Raj Regmi. The interim government will comprise retired bureaucrats, and be guided by a political committee of the four largest parties. If elections are not held in June, the government will be extended until 15 December.

Prospects for peace between Turkey’s government and Kurdish insurgents are improving after five months of negotiations between the national intelligence agency and the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan. The 21 March call by Öcalan for an eventual ceasefire and withdrawal to outside Turkish borders – and PKK’s military leader Murat Karayılan’s subsequent acceptance of the idea – are particularly positive signs.

FULL CRISISWATCH

Photo: hdptcar/Flickr

1 Mar
CrisisWatch N°115  |  (01 Mar 2013)
The assassination on 6 February of opposition leader Chokri Belaïd sparked Tunisia’s worst political crisis since the 2011 revolution. The killing triggered mass protests throughout the country against the ruling Islamist party An-Nahda, and in turn counter-protests by An-Nahda supporters. Having dissolved the government in response to the assassination, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali later resigned after his plan to form an interim cabinet of technocrats collapsed in the face of opposition from his own An-Nahda party.
Syria’s conflict continued to exact a horrific toll, with the number of dead, wounded and displaced rising. The Assad regime further escalated violence, reportedly firing ballistic missiles into civilian neighbourhoods, while reports also emerged of its mistreatment of prisoners; the rebels continued to make steady gains; signs of intensifying communal and sectarian friction continued to emerge. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees called the humanitarian situation “dramatic beyond description”. As yet there is little sign of progress in advancing a political solution to the crisis.
The Syrian conflict continues to threaten to destabilise neighbouring Lebanon. Ever more refugees flow across the border and Hizbollah appears increasingly sucked into the fighting. Meanwhile recent controversy over a proposed new electoral law exposed rising sectarianism and mistrust between the various Lebanese communities.
In Yemen, tensions between southern separatists on the one hand and state security forces and the Islamist party, Islah, on the other reached their highest levels since early 2012, and could lead to further violence. Clashes between separatist protesters and security forces in the South left at least six people dead. The UN Security Council warned that the actions of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and separatist leader Ali Salim al-Bid threatened to undermine the country’s democratic transition.
North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on 12 February, a reaction to the UN Security Council’s January resolution condemning its satellite launch last December. As the Security Council held immediate emergency talks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the nuclear test as “deeply destabilising”. China also declared publicly its “firm opposition” to the test and summoned the North Korean ambassador to Beijing to express its dissatisfaction.
Tension increased ahead of Guinea’s forthcoming legislative elections. The electoral commission, accelerating its preparations for the vote scheduled for 12 May, controversially validated the choice of two companies to undertake a revision of voter rolls. The opposition, who believe the companies are open to political pressure, responded by withdrawing from electoral preparations, and opposition supporters protested in Conakry and other cities.
In Bangladesh, violent Islamist protests against the country’s 1971 war crimes tribunal intensified, as protesters faced off against a popular movement in support of death sentences for those accused, including senior leaders of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami. One of the organisers of the demonstrations in support of death sentences was hacked to death in a suspected Jamaat-e-Islami attack mid-February. Dozens have been killed in clashes since the tribunal sentenced a Jamaat-e-Islami leader to death on 28 February, and violence was continuing. The government faces growing calls to ban Jamaat-e-Islami.
In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe announced that the referendum on a new constitution would be held on 16 March, as worrying reports emerged of politically-motivated violence and intimidation, and of raids on non-governmental organisations (NGOs), confiscation of their documents and equipment, and police allegations that 99 per cent of NGOs are engaged in regime change.
FULL CRISISWATCH
Photo: Bronski Beat/Flickr

CrisisWatch N°115  |  (01 Mar 2013)

The assassination on 6 February of opposition leader Chokri Belaïd sparked Tunisia’s worst political crisis since the 2011 revolution. The killing triggered mass protests throughout the country against the ruling Islamist party An-Nahda, and in turn counter-protests by An-Nahda supporters. Having dissolved the government in response to the assassination, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali later resigned after his plan to form an interim cabinet of technocrats collapsed in the face of opposition from his own An-Nahda party.

Syria’s conflict continued to exact a horrific toll, with the number of dead, wounded and displaced rising. The Assad regime further escalated violence, reportedly firing ballistic missiles into civilian neighbourhoods, while reports also emerged of its mistreatment of prisoners; the rebels continued to make steady gains; signs of intensifying communal and sectarian friction continued to emerge. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees called the humanitarian situation “dramatic beyond description”. As yet there is little sign of progress in advancing a political solution to the crisis.

The Syrian conflict continues to threaten to destabilise neighbouring Lebanon. Ever more refugees flow across the border and Hizbollah appears increasingly sucked into the fighting. Meanwhile recent controversy over a proposed new electoral law exposed rising sectarianism and mistrust between the various Lebanese communities.

In Yemen, tensions between southern separatists on the one hand and state security forces and the Islamist party, Islah, on the other reached their highest levels since early 2012, and could lead to further violence. Clashes between separatist protesters and security forces in the South left at least six people dead. The UN Security Council warned that the actions of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and separatist leader Ali Salim al-Bid threatened to undermine the country’s democratic transition.

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on 12 February, a reaction to the UN Security Council’s January resolution condemning its satellite launch last December. As the Security Council held immediate emergency talks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the nuclear test as “deeply destabilising”. China also declared publicly its “firm opposition” to the test and summoned the North Korean ambassador to Beijing to express its dissatisfaction.

Tension increased ahead of Guinea’s forthcoming legislative elections. The electoral commission, accelerating its preparations for the vote scheduled for 12 May, controversially validated the choice of two companies to undertake a revision of voter rolls. The opposition, who believe the companies are open to political pressure, responded by withdrawing from electoral preparations, and opposition supporters protested in Conakry and other cities.

In Bangladesh, violent Islamist protests against the country’s 1971 war crimes tribunal intensified, as protesters faced off against a popular movement in support of death sentences for those accused, including senior leaders of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami. One of the organisers of the demonstrations in support of death sentences was hacked to death in a suspected Jamaat-e-Islami attack mid-February. Dozens have been killed in clashes since the tribunal sentenced a Jamaat-e-Islami leader to death on 28 February, and violence was continuing. The government faces growing calls to ban Jamaat-e-Islami.

In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe announced that the referendum on a new constitution would be held on 16 March, as worrying reports emerged of politically-motivated violence and intimidation, and of raids on non-governmental organisations (NGOs), confiscation of their documents and equipment, and police allegations that 99 per cent of NGOs are engaged in regime change.

FULL CRISISWATCH

Photo: Bronski Beat/Flickr

1 Feb
CrisisWatch N°114  |  (01 Feb 2013)
In Mali France launched a military operation to oust the coalition of rebel Islamist groups that has controlled the north of the country for the past year and who in December suddenly began advancing further south. Combined French and Malian forces swiftly recaptured the main northern towns from the rebels, and moved on their last stronghold, Kidal, at the end of the month, raising hopes that the region will swiftly return to government control. Military advances have, however, also prompted fears of further destabilisation, abuses of the civilian population, especially ethnic Tuaregs, by the Malian armed forces, a spillover into neighbouring states, and a backlash from extremists. The military approach also risks diverting attention from the fragile political process in Bamako, where deep divisions and the potential for further military meddling raise questions about the ability of Mali’s leaders to secure the transition and adequately address northern grievances. 
In Egypt, the second anniversary of the revolution and a court ruling on football violence in Port Said stadium last year ignited days of violent demonstrations and unrest across major cities which left dozens dead. President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency and curfew in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. As a senior military official warned that the state verged on collapse, rival political groups met on 31 January, pledging to support a serious dialogue and condemning violence. Protests are expected to continue in February. 
In Iraq demonstrations against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, sparked by the arrest in December of Sunni Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi, gathered pace, threatening political stability. What initially looked like a confrontation between Sunni political leaders and a Shia-led government soon escalated into a broader campaign against al-Maliki, as Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and personalities associated with the highest Shiite religious authority, the Marjaiya, threw their weight behind the opposition. On 26 January, Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite lawmakers voted to block al-Maliki from seeking a third term, but al-Maliki’s supporters have rejected the law as illegal.
Myanmar’s government stepped up its military campaign against the Kachin Independence Organisation. Government troops advanced on the ethnic rebel group’s headquarters in Laiza close to the Chinese border, as fighter jets bombed Kachin rebel positions. The U.S., UK and other international actors expressed concern over civilian casualties and displacement and the potential impact of the campaign on efforts to deepen Myanmar’s reforms and national reconciliation. 
FULL CRISISWATCH
Photo: Mary Newcombe/Flickr

CrisisWatch N°114  |  (01 Feb 2013)

In Mali France launched a military operation to oust the coalition of rebel Islamist groups that has controlled the north of the country for the past year and who in December suddenly began advancing further south. Combined French and Malian forces swiftly recaptured the main northern towns from the rebels, and moved on their last stronghold, Kidal, at the end of the month, raising hopes that the region will swiftly return to government control. Military advances have, however, also prompted fears of further destabilisation, abuses of the civilian population, especially ethnic Tuaregs, by the Malian armed forces, a spillover into neighbouring states, and a backlash from extremists. The military approach also risks diverting attention from the fragile political process in Bamako, where deep divisions and the potential for further military meddling raise questions about the ability of Mali’s leaders to secure the transition and adequately address northern grievances. 

In Egypt, the second anniversary of the revolution and a court ruling on football violence in Port Said stadium last year ignited days of violent demonstrations and unrest across major cities which left dozens dead. President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency and curfew in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez. As a senior military official warned that the state verged on collapse, rival political groups met on 31 January, pledging to support a serious dialogue and condemning violence. Protests are expected to continue in February. 

In Iraq demonstrations against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, sparked by the arrest in December of Sunni Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi, gathered pace, threatening political stability. What initially looked like a confrontation between Sunni political leaders and a Shia-led government soon escalated into a broader campaign against al-Maliki, as Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and personalities associated with the highest Shiite religious authority, the Marjaiya, threw their weight behind the opposition. On 26 January, Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite lawmakers voted to block al-Maliki from seeking a third term, but al-Maliki’s supporters have rejected the law as illegal.

Myanmar’s government stepped up its military campaign against the Kachin Independence Organisation. Government troops advanced on the ethnic rebel group’s headquarters in Laiza close to the Chinese border, as fighter jets bombed Kachin rebel positions. The U.S., UK and other international actors expressed concern over civilian casualties and displacement and the potential impact of the campaign on efforts to deepen Myanmar’s reforms and national reconciliation. 

FULL CRISISWATCH

Photo: Mary Newcombe/Flickr

3 Jan
CrisisWatch N°113  |  (30 Dec 2012)
In the Central African Republic a new rebel alliance seized key towns in the north and east, including Sibut, only 185 kilometers from capital Bangui, and currently controls about a third of the country. Chadian troops arrived mid-month to help contain the rebels, and regional leaders later announced the deployment of additional troops. The UN has begun evacuating staff, and the U.S. government has called for its citizens to leave. The security situation is precarious as the rebels warned they may enter Bangui, despite agreeing late month to talks with the government.
Violence escalated in Syria's civil conflict, with reports of spiralling civilian death tolls and displacement. Fighting reached new levels of intensity in Damascus, particularly in southern suburbs where regime airstrikes and clashes between regime and opposition forces in Palestinian-dominated Yarmouk left scores dead and prompted tens of thousands to flee. Violence also increased in Hama province as rebels launched a new offensive. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned that the conflict was escalating and becoming increasingly sectarian.
The dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands escalated as China sent surveillance aircraft into airspace over the disputed islands. Japan responded by sending eight fighter jets, and made a formal diplomatic protest. Its defence minister said this was the first intrusion of Japanese airspace by China since 1958. Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to take a tough line and said there is “no room for negotiation”.
North Korea launched the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 satellite into orbit on 12 December, violating UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit it from using ballistic missile technology. The U.S., the UN Security Council and Russia condemned the launch. China expressed regret and called on North Korea to abide by UN Security Council resolutions.
FULL CRISIS WATCH 
Photo: hdptcar/Flickr

CrisisWatch N°113  |  (30 Dec 2012)

In the Central African Republic a new rebel alliance seized key towns in the north and east, including Sibut, only 185 kilometers from capital Bangui, and currently controls about a third of the country. Chadian troops arrived mid-month to help contain the rebels, and regional leaders later announced the deployment of additional troops. The UN has begun evacuating staff, and the U.S. government has called for its citizens to leave. The security situation is precarious as the rebels warned they may enter Bangui, despite agreeing late month to talks with the government.

Violence escalated in Syria's civil conflict, with reports of spiralling civilian death tolls and displacement. Fighting reached new levels of intensity in Damascus, particularly in southern suburbs where regime airstrikes and clashes between regime and opposition forces in Palestinian-dominated Yarmouk left scores dead and prompted tens of thousands to flee. Violence also increased in Hama province as rebels launched a new offensive. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned that the conflict was escalating and becoming increasingly sectarian.

The dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands escalated as China sent surveillance aircraft into airspace over the disputed islands. Japan responded by sending eight fighter jets, and made a formal diplomatic protest. Its defence minister said this was the first intrusion of Japanese airspace by China since 1958. Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to take a tough line and said there is “no room for negotiation”.

North Korea launched the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 satellite into orbit on 12 December, violating UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit it from using ballistic missile technology. The U.S., the UN Security Council and Russia condemned the launch. China expressed regret and called on North Korea to abide by UN Security Council resolutions.

FULL CRISIS WATCH 

Photo: hdptcar/Flickr

5 Nov
CrisisWatch N°111, 1 November 2012
Renewed violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on 21 October involving Muslim and Buddhist communities. Official figures report the death toll from the latest outbreak of inter-communal tensions, which mostly involved Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine, to be at least 89, with 136 injured and over 5,000 houses torched. More than 30,000 people were officially displaced. Human rights groups have used satellite imagery to show that Rohingya and other Muslim communities are being explicitly targeted in this latest wave of violence.
On 19 October a car bomb in Beirut killed eight people, including Lebanon’s intelligence chief Brigadier-General Wissam al-Hassan, and wounded dozens. The opposition alleged Syrian involvement and demanded the resignation of the pro-Syrian Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his government. The attack triggered demonstrations and clashes in the capital and elsewhere, deepening sectarian tension as Lebanon struggles to contain spill over from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
On the Korean peninsula, Seoul announced on 7 October a deal with the United States to extend the range of its ballistic missile system. North Korea condemned the move as part of a plan to invade, and claimed it has missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. On 19 October Pyongyang – in its most strident warning for months – threatened military strikes on a location from which South Korean activists planned to launch an airdrop of propaganda leaflets to the North.
In Guinea-Bissau, an alleged coup attempt on 21 October by a group of ethnic Felupe soldiers failed. Suspected coup leader Captain Pansau N’Tchamá was swiftly arrested and three accomplices were reportedly killed, sparking fears of a backlash against the Felupe minority. The government accused Portugal, former army Chief of Staff Zamora Induta and ousted Prime Minister Carlos Júnior of involvement in the coup. Opposition leaders, on the other hand, maintain the coup was a government ploy aimed at giving it a pretext to clamp down on its critics.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino’s government signed a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s largest and best-armed insurgent group. The agreement, which envisions the creation of a new autonomous regional government called the Bangsamoro to replace the failed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is the best chance for peace with the MILF for years. Both parties have been careful to underscore the hard work that lies ahead in implementing the agreement’s terms.
Historic parliamentary elections in Georgia marked the country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence. President Saakashvili quickly conceded the defeat of his United National Movement to the opposition coalition Georgian Dream, led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, which took 55 per cent of the vote. International observers praised the conduct of the elections. The change in government might signal a thaw in Georgia’s relations with Russia, although the new government has ruled out restoring diplomatic ties as long as Moscow continues to recognise the independence of breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
FULL CRISIS WATCH 
Photo: Oscar Buhl/Wikimedia Commons

CrisisWatch N°111, 1 November 2012

Renewed violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on 21 October involving Muslim and Buddhist communities. Official figures report the death toll from the latest outbreak of inter-communal tensions, which mostly involved Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine, to be at least 89, with 136 injured and over 5,000 houses torched. More than 30,000 people were officially displaced. Human rights groups have used satellite imagery to show that Rohingya and other Muslim communities are being explicitly targeted in this latest wave of violence.

On 19 October a car bomb in Beirut killed eight people, including Lebanon’s intelligence chief Brigadier-General Wissam al-Hassan, and wounded dozens. The opposition alleged Syrian involvement and demanded the resignation of the pro-Syrian Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his government. The attack triggered demonstrations and clashes in the capital and elsewhere, deepening sectarian tension as Lebanon struggles to contain spill over from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

On the Korean peninsula, Seoul announced on 7 October a deal with the United States to extend the range of its ballistic missile system. North Korea condemned the move as part of a plan to invade, and claimed it has missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. On 19 October Pyongyang – in its most strident warning for months – threatened military strikes on a location from which South Korean activists planned to launch an airdrop of propaganda leaflets to the North.

In Guinea-Bissau, an alleged coup attempt on 21 October by a group of ethnic Felupe soldiers failed. Suspected coup leader Captain Pansau N’Tchamá was swiftly arrested and three accomplices were reportedly killed, sparking fears of a backlash against the Felupe minority. The government accused Portugal, former army Chief of Staff Zamora Induta and ousted Prime Minister Carlos Júnior of involvement in the coup. Opposition leaders, on the other hand, maintain the coup was a government ploy aimed at giving it a pretext to clamp down on its critics.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino’s government signed a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s largest and best-armed insurgent group. The agreement, which envisions the creation of a new autonomous regional government called the Bangsamoro to replace the failed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is the best chance for peace with the MILF for years. Both parties have been careful to underscore the hard work that lies ahead in implementing the agreement’s terms.

Historic parliamentary elections in Georgia marked the country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence. President Saakashvili quickly conceded the defeat of his United National Movement to the opposition coalition Georgian Dream, led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, which took 55 per cent of the vote. International observers praised the conduct of the elections. The change in government might signal a thaw in Georgia’s relations with Russia, although the new government has ruled out restoring diplomatic ties as long as Moscow continues to recognise the independence of breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

FULL CRISIS WATCH 

Photo: Oscar Buhl/Wikimedia Commons

1 Nov
CrisisWatch N°111
Renewed violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on 21 October involving Muslim and Buddhist communities. Official figures report the death toll from the latest outbreak of inter-communal tensions, which mostly involved Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine, to be at least 89, with 136 injured and over 5,000 houses torched. More than 30,000 people were officially displaced. Human rights groups have used satellite imagery to show that Rohingya and other Muslim communities are being explicitly targeted in this latest wave of violence.
On 19 October a car bomb in Beirut killed eight people, including Lebanon’s intelligence chief Brigadier-General Wissam al-Hassan, and wounded dozens. The opposition alleged Syrian involvement and demanded the resignation of the pro-Syrian Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his government. The attack triggered demonstrations and clashesin the capital and elsewhere, deepening sectarian tension as Lebanon struggles to contain spill over from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
On the Korean peninsula, Seoul announced on 7 October a deal with the United States to extend the range of its ballistic missile system. North Korea condemned the move as part of a plan to invade, and claimed it has missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. On 19 October Pyongyang – in its most strident warning for months – threatened military strikes on a location from which South Korean activists planned to launch an airdrop of propaganda leaflets to the North.
In Guinea-Bissau, an alleged coup attempt on 21 October by a group of ethnic Felupe soldiers failed. Suspected coup leader Captain Pansau N’Tchamá was swiftly arrested and three accomplices were reportedly killed, sparking fears of a backlash against the Felupe minority. The government accused Portugal, former army Chief of Staff Zamora Induta and ousted Prime Minister Carlos Júnior of involvement in the coup. Opposition leaders, on the other hand, maintain the coup was a government ploy aimed at giving it a pretext to clamp down on its critics.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino’s government signed a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s largest and best-armed insurgent group. The agreement, which envisions the creation of a new autonomous regional government called the Bangsamoro to replace the failed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is the best chance for peace with the MILF for years. Both parties have been careful to underscore the hard work that lies ahead in implementing the agreement’s terms.
Historic parliamentary elections in Georgia marked the country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence. President Saakashvili quickly conceded the defeat of his United National Movement to the opposition coalition Georgian Dream, led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, which took 55 per cent of the vote. International observers praised the conduct of the elections. The change in government might signal a thaw in Georgia’s relations with Russia, although the new government has ruled out restoring diplomatic ties as long as Moscow continues to recognise the independence of breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
CrisisWatch
Photo: Austcare/Flickr

CrisisWatch N°111

Renewed violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on 21 October involving Muslim and Buddhist communities. Official figures report the death toll from the latest outbreak of inter-communal tensions, which mostly involved Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine, to be at least 89, with 136 injured and over 5,000 houses torched. More than 30,000 people were officially displaced. Human rights groups have used satellite imagery to show that Rohingya and other Muslim communities are being explicitly targeted in this latest wave of violence.

On 19 October a car bomb in Beirut killed eight people, including Lebanon’s intelligence chief Brigadier-General Wissam al-Hassan, and wounded dozens. The opposition alleged Syrian involvement and demanded the resignation of the pro-Syrian Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his government. The attack triggered demonstrations and clashesin the capital and elsewhere, deepening sectarian tension as Lebanon struggles to contain spill over from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

On the Korean peninsula, Seoul announced on 7 October a deal with the United States to extend the range of its ballistic missile system. North Korea condemned the move as part of a plan to invade, and claimed it has missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. On 19 October Pyongyang – in its most strident warning for months – threatened military strikes on a location from which South Korean activists planned to launch an airdrop of propaganda leaflets to the North.

In Guinea-Bissau, an alleged coup attempt on 21 October by a group of ethnic Felupe soldiers failed. Suspected coup leader Captain Pansau N’Tchamá was swiftly arrested and three accomplices were reportedly killed, sparking fears of a backlash against the Felupe minority. The government accused Portugal, former army Chief of Staff Zamora Induta and ousted Prime Minister Carlos Júnior of involvement in the coup. Opposition leaders, on the other hand, maintain the coup was a government ploy aimed at giving it a pretext to clamp down on its critics.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino’s government signed a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s largest and best-armed insurgent group. The agreement, which envisions the creation of a new autonomous regional government called the Bangsamoro to replace the failed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is the best chance for peace with the MILF for years. Both parties have been careful to underscore the hard work that lies ahead in implementing the agreement’s terms.

Historic parliamentary elections in Georgia marked the country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence. President Saakashvili quickly conceded the defeat of his United National Movement to the opposition coalition Georgian Dream, led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, which took 55 per cent of the vote. International observers praised the conduct of the elections. The change in government might signal a thaw in Georgia’s relations with Russia, although the new government has ruled out restoring diplomatic ties as long as Moscow continues to recognise the independence of breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

CrisisWatch

Photo: Austcare/Flickr

5 Aug

CrisisWatch N°108, 2 August 2012

This month’s podcast reviews developments for the month of July, highlighting deteriorated situations in India, Madagascar, Mali, Syria and Tajikistan.