Crisis Group

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The progress Libya made toward stability in 2021 has all but vanished. Then, an interim leader unified two competing cabinets, and rival factions agreed to schedule parliamentary and presidential elections that would eventually lead to the formation of a new elected government. But the elections were cancelled at the last minute and now the country is once again stuck in a standoff between two rival executives, one based in the western city of Tripoli and the other currently operating from the coastal city of Sirt in central Libya, with no consensus on the way forward.

The feud has not relapsed into an outright conflict, as thus far both camps and their respective foreign sponsors (some of whom have recently achieved their own rapprochements) appear reluctant to resume fighting.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Malian government’s conflict with jihadist insurgents has entered its tenth year with no resolution in sight. The government that came to power in 2021 has adopted a populist, anti-Western stance, blaming France, its long-time ally in fighting the militants, for the deadlock, while doubling down on offensive military action that has resulted in a surge in civilian casualties. Alienated by Bamako’s rhetoric and its decision to bring in the Russian private security company Wagner, France and other EU member states are withdrawing their troops from Mali, except for those deployed in the UN’s mission there. Although the Malian army has recently won limited victories in the country’s centre, the departure of its best equipped allies could shift the conflict’s momentum, energise militants and worsen the protracted humanitarian crisis.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the shadow of Russia’s war in Ukraine, a series of clashes and a subsequent period of quiet have raised both fears about renewed fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and hopes that diplomacy might still bring the parties closer to peace. In March, Azerbaijani forces seized territory around Farukh, an ethnic Armenian-populated village that has been patrolled by Russian peacekeepers since a ceasefire ended the 2020 war that upended an almost three-decade status quo in the region. The Armenian government, along with Nagorno-Karabakh’s de facto authorities, worried that the move might herald a broader Azerbaijani offensive, taking advantage of Moscow’s focus on Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Though Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted through a democratic, constitutional process, he has denied the new government’s legitimacy, a tack that could lead to violence. The strategy Khan has relied on since parliament passed a no-confidence vote against him on 10 April has two goals: to undermine the coalition government led by Shehbaz Sharif and to galvanise popular support for new polls. Khan accuses his political opponents, now heading a new government, of conspiring with the U.S. to remove him, and is calling on his supporters to reject “foreign-imposed regime change”. He also bears grudges against the Supreme Court for upholding the constitutionality of the no-trust vote and against the country’s powerful military for refusing to back him in the standoff.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russia’s military assault on Ukraine, now in its fourteenth week, has deeply unsettled European security and is likely to have profound implications for the EU itself. On 24 February, Russian forces attacked Ukraine from the north, south and east, transforming a simmering eight-year conflict in the country’s eastern Donbas region into a war that arguably poses the gravest risk to international peace and security in decades. Russian forces encountered stiff Ukrainian resistance, soon reinforced by Western-supplied weapons and body armour, forcing Moscow at least to postpone its goals of overthrowing the government in Kyiv and bringing Ukraine back into Moscow’s sphere of influence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Refugees walk across train tracks to board a train to Bucharest at Suceava train station after fleeing Ukraine to the Siret border crossing in Romania, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Suceava, Romania, March 17, 2022. REUTERS / Clodagh Kilcoyne

As large-scale war in Ukraine enters its fourth week, Western governments backing Kyiv are balancing several imperatives. On one hand, they must support Kyiv as it resists a Russian invasion that is destroying much of the country and raise the costs of aggression to Moscow. On the other, they have to minimise risks of the war spiralling into a wider confrontation between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – a scenario both sides have worked for decades to avoid because of the possibility that it could all too easily turn nuclear. A third factor is no less important. The longer the war lasts, and the higher the human toll, the harder it will be for the West to leave room for a negotiated solution and the graver the risks of escalation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Libya's security forces parade at the Martyrs' Square in the capital Tripoli on February 17, 2022, as Libyans commemorate the 11th anniversary of the uprising that toppled longtime strongman Muammar Kadhafi. Mahmud Turkia / AFP

Libya is at a perilous crossroads – again. On 1 March, the country’s Tobruk-based parliament, the House of Representatives, voted to endorse a new interim government headed by former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, giving it the greenlight to take over from the sitting prime minister, Abdulhamid Dabaiba. The vote’s proponents insist that the procedure was sound, but factions in the capital Tripoli say it was fraudulent. The latter reject the new cabinet and oppose appointing a new executive entirely. As the camps square off, omens of renewed fighting are visible for the first time since an October 2020 ceasefire ended six years of political feuds and intermittent conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »

Descendants of Ukrainian immigrants, who are part of the largest Ukrainian community in Latin America, take part in a demonstration in support of Ukraine in Parana state, Brazil on 24 February 2022. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

On 2 March, the UN General Assembly voted by a huge margin for a resolution deploring Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. Fully 141 UN member states supported the measure. Only five (Belarus, DPRK, Eritrea, Syria and Russia itself) opposed it (see map above). This vote was a signal success for Ukraine and its mostly Western allies, who have argued throughout the crisis that Russia’s actions are of global concern – challenging the principles of sovereignty and non-use of force enshrined in the UN Charter – rather than solely a challenge to European security. U.S. President Joe Biden articulated the need for worldwide solidarity with Ukraine the night before the General Assembly vote in his State of the Union address, arguing that the war will leave “Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya looks at papers during the United Nations Security Council meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on February 27, 2022. Andrea Renault / AFP

The United Nations General Assembly will hold an Emergency Special Session on the war in Ukraine this week, beginning today. This is potentially a key moment for all members of the UN to condemn Russia’s aggression, call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and reaffirm Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The General Assembly must send a clear message in support of Ukraine, and African, Asian and Latin American members in particular should make their voices heard.

This week’s General Assembly session follows Russia’s predictable decision to block a Security Council resolution deploring its actions last Friday. On Sunday 27 February, the Council passed a procedural resolution – with eleven votes in favour, three abstentions and Russia’s no-vote (Russia could not veto the text under UN rules) – requesting the General Assembly to meet in line with the long-established but rarely used “Uniting for Peace” formula.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Russian army's military engineer in an explosive suit. Russia has deployed at least 100,000 troops along Ukraine border amid mounting tension in the Eastern Europe. EyePress News / EyePress via AFP

In a chilling act of aggression, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military assault on Ukraine in the early hours of 24 February. That Western leaders had warned of this possibility for weeks did little to cushion the shock. President Putin announced what he characterised as a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine, and made a barely coded threat of nuclear strikes upon any outside power that might come to its aid. Residents of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and cities throughout the country woke to explosions as Russian bombs and missiles fell on military facilities and infrastructure. The bombardment follows a months-long build-up of as many as 200,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders, to the north, west and south.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watc List 2022. Middle East & North Africa. Tunisia: Toward a Return to Constitutionality

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

On 25 July 2021, when President Kais Saïed invoked Article 80 of the constitution to suspend parliament and dismiss the prime minister, he introduced a state of emergency that threatens Tunisia with unprecedented instability. The country faces a daunting set of economic and social challenges. Yet its leaders have limited means with which to tackle these problems or meet the population’s high expectations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watc List 2022. Middle East & North Africa. Lebanon: Fending Off Threats from Within and Without

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

As Lebanon’s economic crisis deepens, its state institutions are also getting weaker, undermining the central security agencies’ capacity to maintain order amid a potential surge in social unrest. Self-dealing political elites have stymied the reforms necessary to keep the economy from further melting down and get it on the right track, and little progress seems possible before elections set to start in May.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch list 2022. Middle East & North Africa. Israel-Palestine: Getting Beyond Business as Usual

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Since a wave of violence swept through Israel and the Palestinian territories in April-May 2021 and grabbed international attention, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has again largely fallen off the world’s radar. Prospects for a viable peace process remain out of sight, and rhetorical commitments to a two-state solution by outside actors like the European Union (EU) and its member states seem more removed than ever from the steadily evolving reality on the ground.…  Seguir leyendo »

A screen grab captured from a video shows military units of the Southern Military District of Russia on their way to a training site in Rostov, Russia on 26 January, 2022. Russian Defence Ministry / Handout / Anadolu Agency via AFP

What’s happening now on the Russia-Ukraine border and where do diplomatic efforts to avert an escalation stand?

Ukrainian and Western intelligence reports say Russia has sent over 100,000 soldiers, plus aviation and other equipment, to its western, south-western and northern borders near Ukraine, as well as into Belarus, the latter ostensibly in support of exercises. Open-source assessments support these estimates, and report that Russian troop deployments are still increasing. The build-ups echo but magnify those of the spring of 2021, when Russia moved a substantial number of troops with heavy equipment to positions near its border with Ukraine, describing the activity as part of military drills.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Latin America & Caribbean. Venezuela: Maduro’s Timid Thaw Unsettles the Opposition

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Venezuela remains immersed in a complex humanitarian emergency whose principal component is political deadlock between President Nicolás Maduro’s government and an increasingly fragmented opposition. The U.S. and a handful of its close allies continue to recognise Juan Guaidó, former president of the National Assembly, as the country’s legitimate acting head of state. But Guaidó’s authority over the multiparty Unitary Platform alliance he nominally leads has waned since controversial legislative elections in December 2020 – boycotted by the main opposition parties – restored control of parliament to Maduro.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Latin America & Caribbean. Tackling Colombia’s Next Generation in Arms

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Colombia’s hard-won peace is withering in the countryside. Following the signing of the 2016 accord between the state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), levels of violence dropped across much of the country. But armed conflict is now escalating in a small but growing number of rural pockets, where communities report that violence and coercion are as bad as or worse than before the peace agreement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Europe & Central Asia. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Deterring Disintegration

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

The Dayton peace agreement that has held Bosnia and Herzegovina together since the 1991-1995 war is unravelling. For more than 25 years, that accord has united two self-governing entities – one dominated by ethnic Serbs and the other by Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) – in a single state. But now Serb leader Milorad Dodik is threatening to withdraw from state institutions, including the army, that are shared among the country’s three main ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, in a bid for greater autonomy that could be part of a drawn-out process of secession.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Asia. Keeping Kashmir on the Radar

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Away from the international limelight, the decades-old conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir grinds on, as New Delhi grapples with a Pakistan-backed but largely local separatist insurgency. In August 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government unilaterally scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, abrogated its statehood and redrew its geographic boundaries. The government claimed that its decisions would put an end to militancy in India’s only Muslim-majority region and ensure its economic development.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Asia. Stopping State Failure in Afghanistan

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Afghanistan is now the site of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, in which millions of children could starve to death. As Crisis Group and others have pointed out, the extension of Taliban-specific sanctions to the entire Afghan state is a primary cause of the Afghan economy’s freefall, along with the cutoff of non-humanitarian aid to the country and the freezing of Afghan state assets held in the United States and Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

Watch List 2022. Africa. Sudan: Toward a Reset for the Transition

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries facing deadly conflict, humanitarian emergency or other crises in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could save lives and enhance prospects for stability.

Sudan’s once-promising transition away from autocratic rule has veered off course. On 25 October 2021, the country’s generals deposed the civilian-led cabinet in a coup, abruptly ending the civilian-military power-sharing arrangement that was to steer the country to free elections. Under considerable international pressure, armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on 21 November. That concession did little to mollify protesters furious at the military’s power grab.…  Seguir leyendo »