Crisis Group (Continuación)

A failed summit in Hanoi between the U.S. and North Korea has resulted in a diplomatic stalemate. In this excerpt from the first update of our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to utilise its neutral position to re-energise the ailing peace process and adopt measures to ease the plight of North Koreans.

The tensions between Washington and Pyongyang that flared dangerously in 2017 have significantly abated, but for the moment so have hopes for a breakthrough that would end decades of conflict. North Korea and the U.S. pivoted from escalation to dialogue in 2018, resulting in the first leader-level summit between the two states and agreement on a broad set of shared principles.…  Seguir leyendo »

A tense standoff in Jerusalem and simmering tensions between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have heightened the risk of violence and unrest. In this excerpt from the first update of our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group outlines steps for the EU to help alleviate Gaza’s economic crisis and support the status quo in Jerusalem.

In the wake of Israel’s legislative elections, which appeared to hand another victory to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing partners (coalition negotiations are ongoing), the mood in the occupied Palestinian territories is tense. In Gaza, as in 2014, Hamas and Israel appear close to a conflagration that neither party desires.…  Seguir leyendo »

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths makes a speech during the UN Security Council meeting on Yemen at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 14 December 2018. Atilgan Ozdil / Anadolu Agency

This week, we return to the UN’s efforts to make the Hodeida agreement stick.

Trendline: Holdup in Hodeida

It is almost a year since an anticipated battle for the Red Sea port of Hodeida became the centre of gravity in Yemen’s civil war, as well as international efforts to end it.

In June 2018, Crisis Group described the conflict as having reached an inflection point. Along with other observers, we feared that a bloody battle between Huthi fighters in Hodeida and UAE-backed forces outside it would push the war into a new, more perilous phase and likely trigger a devastating famine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Combatir el crimen organizado ha sido el eje central de la plataforma de gobierno del presidente López Obrador, pero la tasa de homicidios de 2019 está alcanzando cotas máximas. En este extracto de la primera actualización de nuestra Watch List 2019 para políticos europeos, Crisis Group urge a la UE a apoyar el giro del gobierno mexicano hacia unas reformas integrales en materia de seguridad y el desarrollo de políticas orientadas hacia la construcción de paz.

El aumento de la tasa de delitos violentos sigue siendo la mayor amenaza para la seguridad pública y la estabilidad en México. En los últimos doce años, los grandes grupos delictivos se han fragmentado en grupos más pequeños, lo que ha desatado una gran cantidad de conflictos armados letales en diferentes regiones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Palestinian protestors use slingshot to throw stones in response to Israeli intervention during a protest within the "Great March of Return" at Israel-Gaza border located near Al Bureij Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on 5 April 2019. Hassan Jedi / ANADOLU AGENCY

Watch List Updates complement International Crisis Group’s annual Watch List, most recently published in January 2019. The Watch List Updates include situations identified in the annual Watch List and/or a new focus of concern.

Lowering Israeli-Palestinian Tensions

In the wake of Israel’s legislative elections, which appeared to hand another victory to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing partners (coalition negotiations are ongoing), the mood in the occupied Palestinian territories is tense. In Gaza, as in 2014, Hamas and Israel appear close to a conflagration that neither party desires. After an escalation on 26 March, the UN and Egypt have worked to guide the parties back to the ceasefire concluded indirectly in November.…  Seguir leyendo »

People walk past a school, damaged during the ongoing war in Taiz, Yemen 18 December 2018. REUTERS/Anees Mahyoub

This week, we explain why ending the internal conflict in Taiz should be a priority step toward national-level peacebuilding efforts.

Trendline: Trouble in Taiz

Taiz, Yemen’s largest pre-war manufacturing hub and cultural capital nestled in the country’s central highlands, is widely regarded by its inhabitants as a forgotten city. Any future political settlement will have to include a mechanism to end the struggle for Taiz, but internal wrangling among anti-Huthi forces may prove as much of a barrier to progress as their rivalry with the Huthis.

The site of some of the fiercest front-line fighting in the ongoing four-year war, Taiz was besieged by an erstwhile Huthi-Saleh alliance from 2015 until 2017 and has since connected to the outside world through a single, winding mountain road linking it with Turbah, a town 70 kilometres south.…  Seguir leyendo »

A child sits on a bed near a hut in an improvised camp for internally displaced people near Abs of the northwestern province of Hajja, Yemen February 18, 2019. Picture taken 18 February 2019. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

This week, we look at how tribal dynamics in the north could affect the stalled peace process.

Trendline: As Stockholm Stutters, a Tribal Showdown in Yemen’s North

As UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths continued to push for the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement to demilitarise the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, images circulated on social media on 4 March purporting to show Katyusha missiles hitting houses in Kushar, a small settlement in Yemen’s northern Hajja governorate.

The alleged Huthi missile strikes marked an escalation in a local conflict that has been gathering momentum for almost two months. The trigger of the fighting around Kushar remains uncertain, with Huthis and members of the Hajour, a tribe based in the Kushar basin, each blaming the other for breaching a truce instituted between them in 2013.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Venezuelan policeman stands in a cordon as Venezuelan citizens demand them to let the aid in, at the Simon Bolivar bridge, in Colombia after President Maduro's government ordered to temporary close down the border with Colombia on 23 February 2019. SCHNEYDER MENDOZA / AFP

Un mes después de que Juan Guaidó reclamara la presidencia interina y Washington impusiera sanciones al petróleo, la estrategia del ala dura de la oposición venezolana para destituir al presidente Nicolás Maduro no ha generado resultados inmediatos. Aunque se encuentra bajo una extrema presión financiera y a pesar de la decisión de docenas de países de transferir el reconocimiento de Maduro al líder de oposición Guaidó, el gobierno se rehúsa a entregar el poder. El enfoque de los opositores férreos, que se desarrolló con la colaboración de la administración de Trump, amenaza con empeorar la crisis de Venezuela en lugar de resolverla.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Yemeni man walks carrying food aid provided by a local charity to families affected by the ongoing conflict, in the capital Sanaa on 14 February 2019. MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP

This week, we look at how economic issues will affect future peacebuilding efforts.

Trendline: Putting Yemen to Work

Late February brought some hope to Yemen’s embattled population, large segments of which were on the verge of starvation at the end of 2018. The UN announced that it had both raised billions of dollars to pay for its humanitarian work over the coming year and had regained access to the Red Sea Mills, an important food storage and distribution hub outside the port city of Hodeida for the first time in five months. But without a peace deal and, in the longer term, significant economic reform, the most the UN and other organisations can do is arrest the sharp humanitarian decline of the past eight years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is seen during a swearing in ceremony of new officials after he dissolved the central and state governments in Khartoum, Sudan February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

President Omar al-Bashir’s address to the nation on the evening of 22 February attempted to defuse the crisis that has engulfed his administration in the longest wave of protests in decades. Instead, the president’s words infuriated protesters and steered the confrontation, pitting the regime against a diffuse, still-peaceful protest movement into a new, more dangerous phase. Bashir spoke of the need for dialogue but in declaring a state of emergency, he placed more obstacles in the way of talks. He dissolved the government at the federal and provincial levels and, shortly after his speech, appointed security chiefs to head all 18 of the country’s regional states.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yemeni soldiers guard during the meeting of the national assembly of Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council in Mukalla, Yemen 16 February 2019. REUTERS/Fawaz Salman

This week, we look at how simmering tensions in the south of the country threaten the prospects for long-term peace, and give insight into ongoing attempts to demilitarise the country's Red Sea trade corridor.

Trendline: Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council Isn’t Backing Down

As the UN makes progress on mediating a redeployment of rival fighters from areas in and around Hodeida on the Red Sea coast (see below), tensions in southern Yemen between the government of Yemen and secessionist groups continue to simmer with the potential to undermine any peace process that emerges in the north.

A year ago, many foreign officials working on Yemen were asking what could be done about the southern question.…  Seguir leyendo »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #4

This week we look at fighting near the Saudi-Yemeni border and strains on the ceasefire around Hodeida, as well as international developments.

Trendline: The Overlooked Battle for Yemen’s Northern Border

Though the battle for the Red Sea port and city of Hodeida is paused until the UN-brokered deal to demilitarise the area succeeds or collapses, fighting on other fronts has intensified, particularly along the Saudi-Yemeni border.

Since the Hodeida ceasefire took effect in December, the battleground has partly shifted to the northern governorates around the Huthi rebels’ heartland of Saada. According to the Yemen Data Project, an independent data collection initiative that tracks airstrikes in Yemen, Saada governorate has faced more Saudi bombardments than any other part of Yemen since the war began in March 2015, with the majority of strikes taking place near the border.…  Seguir leyendo »

IDP camp in Yemen, 2018 CRISISGROUP/Peter Salisbury

The trend we identify in this edition is new hope for a political compromise to end the four-year-old civil war and ease the country’s grave humanitarian crisis.

Trendline: A Shift to the Political in 2019?

After a year of unrelenting military pressure along Yemen’s Red Sea coast, there are some indications that the Saudi-led coalition may be pivoting toward a greater recognition that a political compromise is needed to end the war. Military pressure succeeded in bringing the Huthis to the table, the coalition argues, but a different toolkit will be needed to end the war.

The language marks a shift from the rhetoric of mid-to-late-2018, when United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia officials argued that the only way to end the war in Yemen was by removing the Huthis from Hodeida port and city by military force, sparking fears of a battle for Hodeida that could cut off the flow of some 70 per cent of all goods shipped into the heavily import-dependent country.…  Seguir leyendo »

The war in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas between Kyiv and Moscow-backed separatists will soon begin its sixth year. Its resolution seems ever further away. While death counts and civilian casualties in Donbas are down, a new flashpoint in the Sea of Azov adds another potentially explosive layer to hostilities between Ukraine and Russia. The Minsk II agreement that sets forth a way out of the conflict and which both sides signed in 2015 remains unfulfilled, with Moscow unwilling to withdraw its troops and material from separatist-held areas of Donbas, and Kyiv seemingly uninterested in devolving power to those areas or taking other steps that could prepare for the reintegration of the territory it has been battling for.…  Seguir leyendo »

Divisions within Tunisia’s political leadership are preventing the government from addressing the country’s political and socio-economic challenges. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to support measures that will prevent further polarisation.

Tunisia’s political transition is in trouble. Hopes that the country’s post-uprising leadership would successfully tackle its myriad of political and socio-economic challenges have started to dim. The economy is in the doldrums and the political leadership is increasingly split between Islamists and non-Islamists, both competing for control of state resources. This confluence of problems is stirring a general crisis of confidence in the political elite, and there is reason to fear that the country may backslide from its post-2011 democratic opening ahead of presidential and parliamentary polls at the end of the year.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man carries aid from WFP's monthly food distribution on 9 May 2018, in Al Misrakh Distric, Taiz Governorate. WFP/Ahmed Basha

Prefaced with a new introductory trendline – this week, fear of famine – it provides up-to-the minute insights into the four-year-old civil war and the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

The Present Context

For more than six months the primary focus for diplomats, policymakers and analysts working on Yemen has been the now-frozen offensive on the Red Sea port city of Hodeida. (You can read our analysis of why Hodeida is important here, and what was in the agreement here. The UN, which brokered the deal, has since struggled to turn the agreement into a reality. You can learn more about the barriers to implementation here).…  Seguir leyendo »

Destroyed buildings in the Mansoora district of Aden, Yemen. Mansoora suffered from heavy fighting between advancing Huthis and Saudi-led coalition forces defending the city in 2015. CRISISGROUP

As part of its Yemen Campaign, Crisis Group will be publishing a weekly update on Yemen, providing up-to-the minute insight and analysis of the latest events in the country’s four-year-old civil war, which has sparked the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

The Present Context:

For more than six months the primary focus for diplomats, policy makers and analysts working on Yemen has been the now-frozen offensive on the Red Sea port city of Hodeida. Then, in December, the Yemeni government and Huthi rebels who overthrew the government’s leader, President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in January 2015, agreed to a deal, the so-called Stockholm Agreement, that prevented a battle for the port and city.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Martin Fayulu chant slogans and carry placards as he delivers his appeal contesting the CENI results of the presidential election at the constitutional court in Kinshasa, on 12 January 2019. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

A dispute over the results of the DR Congo’s 30 December election cast a dark shadow over what should be a historic transition of power but a surprisingly robust reaction by regional actors offers a genuine chance for a course correction. According to official tallies, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was the winner, but these stood in stark contrast to a parallel count by Congolese Catholic Church observers, which indicated a landslide for Martin Fayulu, another opposition leader. Data leaked from sources within the electoral authorities confirm the church’s figures, strongly suggesting an effort to rig the vote in favour of the opposition candidate more palatable to incumbent President Kabila and his allies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Myanmar law enforcement authorities seized illegal drugs worth 187 million USD marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking during a ceremony in Yangon on June 26, 2018. YE AUNG THU/AFP

What’s new? Shan State has long been a centre of conflict and illicit drug production – initially heroin, then methamphetamine tablets. Good infrastructure, proximity to precursor supplies from China and safe haven provided by pro-government militias and in rebel-held enclaves have also made it a major global source of high purity crystal meth.

Why does it matter? Drug production and profits are now so vast that they dwarf the formal sector of Shan State and are at the centre of its political economy. This greatly complicates efforts to resolve the area’s ethnic conflicts and undermines the prospects for better governance and inclusive economic growth in the state.…  Seguir leyendo »