The war that now looms largest is a war nobody apparently wants. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump railed against the United States’ entanglement in Middle Eastern wars, and since assuming office, he has not changed his tune. Iran has no interest in a wide-ranging conflict that it knows it could not win. Israel is satisfied with calibrated operations in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza but fears a larger confrontation that could expose it to thousands of rockets. Saudi Arabia is determined to push back against Iran, but without confronting it militarily. Yet the conditions for an all-out war in the Middle East are riper than at any time in recent memory.… Seguir leyendo »
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de diciembre de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
In the fifth year of a pitiless war between Ansar Allah, the Iranian-supported movement known as the Houthis, and the Saudi Arabia-led and United States-backed coalition, Sana, the capital of Yemen, doesn’t see many American visitors. For good reason.
The Houthis control Sana and about a fifth of the country’s landmass in all; a majority of Yemen’s 30.5 million people live in Houthi-controlled areas. Misery extends far beyond. Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is ranked the world’s worst by the United Nations: Two-thirds of its population need some form of assistance, 10 million suffer malnutrition. Almost a quarter of a million are starving to death.… Seguir leyendo »
For an American who had a hand in shaping U.S. Mideast policy during the Barack Obama years, coming to Yemen has the unpleasant feel of visiting the scene of a tragedy one helped co-write.
It is a scene whose most heartrending aspects are not easily accessible to a visitor. It is still possible to travel north, to the war-battered capital, Sanaa, now controlled by the Houthi insurgent group, or up the Red Sea coast, where a catastrophic struggle for control over the port city of Hodeida still looms, but it’s a challenge. So when one of us recently ventured into the country, the journey went no farther than Aden, the southern port city over which the internationally recognised government regained control early in the conflict with the help of a Saudi-led coalition.… Seguir leyendo »
Last October, Ethiopia appointed its first woman president, the only female leader of an African state today. In many national parliaments, from Mexico to Rwanda, women now match or outnumber men. One of the most powerful transitional justice forums in recent memory, held in Tunisia, is overseen by a woman. That’s the good news. Yet alongside these visible gains for women in the realm of high-powered leadership, women also continue to fill the ranks of conflict victims and targets of sexual violence. They also more visibly join insurgent movements, helping fuel violent conflicts that are traditionally seen as the preserve of male fighters.… Seguir leyendo »
Es muy difícil para ambas partes del conflicto político venezolano llegar a acuerdos en prácticamente cualquier cosa, especialmente con presidentes encontrados, instituciones en competencia y visiones diametralmente opuestas. Pero en una corta visita a Caracas esta semana, hayamos un amplio consenso en un punto: todo depende de Donald Trump.
La crisis venezolana no es nueva. El presidente Nicolás Maduro y aquellos en su círculo cercano cargan la responsabilidad principal: han mal administrado el país, pisoteado sus instituciones democráticas, han celebrado elecciones fraudulentas, se han beneficiado de la corrupción masiva y han reprimido brutalmente a los manifestantes. Las consecuencias son evidentes, aunque casi imposibles de comprender.… Seguir leyendo »
With this commentary, coming in the wake of our annual Ten Conflicts to Watch and EU Watch List, Crisis Group turns to what 2019 will mean for the African continent and the African Union (AU) ahead of its February summit. The broad trends identified in those two preceding publications are mirrored here as well, to wit: a transition wrapped in a transition, wrapped in a transition.
The first transition is occurring at the local level, where entrenched governments face a perilous mix of social unrest and political contestation. 2019 is still young, but it already bears ugly scars of violent repression, in Sudan, Zimbabwe and Cameroon, as well as older wounds from persistent crises in places like the Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia or South Sudan.… Seguir leyendo »
Crisis Group’s early-warning Watch List identifies up to ten countries and regions at risk of conflict or escalation of violence. In these situations, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could generate stronger prospects for peace. It includes a global overview, regional summaries, and detailed analysis on select countries and conflicts.
The Watch List 2019 includes Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, South Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.Global Overview
The world order, or what remains of it, is undergoing a changing of the guard amid another changing of the guard, and Europe is caught in the middle of both.… Seguir leyendo »
In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot.
As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international order has been thrown into turmoil. More leaders are tempted more often to test limits, jostle for power, and seek to bolster their influence – or diminish that of their rivals – by meddling in foreign conflicts. Multilateralism and its constraints are under siege, challenged by more transactional, zero-sum politics.
Instruments of collective action, such as the UN Security Council, are paralysed; those of collective accountability, including the International Criminal Court, are ignored and disparaged.… Seguir leyendo »
Les élections parlementaires américaines de mi-mandat ont livré leur verdict, mais pas encore toutes leurs implications concernant la politique étrangère des Etats-Unis. Conquise par les démocrates, la Chambre des représentants n’a qu’une influence partielle en ce domaine. Elle pèse sur les questions budgétaires, et donc sur les dépenses militaires.
Elle peut créer des commissions d’enquête et examinera sans nul doute les accointements particuliers de la famille Trump avec certaines puissances étrangères – la Russie en premier lieu, mais aussi l’Arabie saoudite et d’autres pays du Golfe ; les complaisances qui semblent en avoir découlé ; les possibles connivences électorales avec Moscou ; et le meurtre de Jamal Khashoggi, pour n’en mentionner qu’une poignée.… Seguir leyendo »
The Gulf crisis that began last year appears to be living by reverse Las Vegas rules: What happens in the Gulf doesn’t stay in (or even have much impact on) the Gulf. Last June, a Saudi-led coalition cut off relations with and imposed a blockade on Qatar, invoking various and shifting rationales—Qatar was, allegedly, supporting terrorist groups, interfering in Saudi internal affairs, and displaying excessive closeness to Iran. Little progress been made in resolving the dispute, and all parties seem ready to withstand it for the foreseeable future. Qatar of course would much prefer to see its foes lift their blockade.… Seguir leyendo »
En quittant la Maison Blanche au soir du 19 janvier 2017, j’étais, autant le confesser, parmi ceux qui nourrissaient quelque hésitation et même quelques naïfs espoirs quant à la trajectoire de la présidence Trump. Un homme d’affaires sans convictions, opportuniste et sans idéologie, aux commandes : on pouvait certes bien mieux faire mais également faire bien pire. Mal m’en a pris. Sa décision infondée et aventureuse de se retirer de l’accord nucléaire avec l’Iran aura confirmé les pires soupçons.
On devait s’y attendre. Les destitutions consécutives de Rex Tillerson et de H. R. McMaster (le premier, piètre gestionnaire du département d’Etat, mais tout au moins personnage raisonnable dans la galaxie Trump ; le second, qui aurait fait figure de faucon au sein de n’importe quelle autre équipe mais qui faisait office d’adulte au sein de celle-ci), étaient autant de signes préoccupants.… Seguir leyendo »
Had I been writing this monthly column since 2011, Syria could well have figured every month since. Many bear responsibility for what’s become a war without end for a people without hope – myself included, in my former official capacity in the U.S. White House. It begins with the brutality of a regime intent on maintaining power at all costs, and ranges from the projection of regional and international power struggles, to outside actors’ inability or unwillingness to separate humanitarian (civilian protection) from political (regime change) ends, to the mingling of rebels and jihadists.
This past month, the tragedy took two more bloody turns: on the one hand, the siege and pummeling of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Eastern Ghouta; on the other, the pivot to a now open confrontation among outside actors fighting not for Syria, but over it – Israel against Iran and Hizbollah; Turkey against the Kurds; the U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
In ancient Greece, any and all warfare would pause ahead of the Olympic Games so that athletes and spectators could travel safely to the big event.
That’s not too far from what’s happening on the Korean Peninsula. After a year of mounting tension, North and South Korea have stumbled into a period of self-imposed calm. It’s not just that in the lead-up to the Pyeongchang games, which start on February 9, the two neighbors have agreed to field a unified women’s hockey team and parade together at the opening ceremony under a single flag. It’s that they’ve quietly entered into a de facto Olympic truce.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s become an article of faith that the U.S. is withdrawing from the world, and a reflex to blame Donald Trump for it. It’s also largely fictitious. Some 34,000 U.S. troops are in the Gulf, at least 14,000 in Afghanistan, 70,000 or so in North East Asia, and roughly 62,000 in Europe. Many of those numbers are growing under his presidency, alongside the list of countries in which the U.S. wages counterterrorism military operations. The picture President Trump presented in his State of the Union was not, in fairness, that of a detached America. It was of a chest-thumping America that wishes to free itself of the shackles supposedly hindering an already aggressive war on ISIS.… Seguir leyendo »
President Trump’s recent “help-me-before-I-do-something-really-irresponsible” statement on the Iran nuclear deal could have been worse. But it should have been better. And it will almost certainly end badly.
Contrary to what many had feared, Trump didn’t void the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While he imposed some new penalties on Iranian officials, they were not of the sort that put the deal in immediate danger. He nonetheless chose yet again to attack and undermine an international agreement that, by all accounts, is working, to which America’s allies and partners are committed, and whose collapse would both severely undermine U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s not all about Donald Trump.
That’s a statement more easily written than believed, given the U.S. president’s erratic comportment on the world stage — his tweets and taunts, his cavalier disregard of international accords, his readiness to undercut his own diplomats, his odd choice of foes, and his even odder choice of friends. And yet, a more inward-looking United States and a greater international diffusion of power, increasingly militarized foreign policy, and shrinking space for multilateralism and diplomacy are features of the international order that predate the current occupant of the White House and look set to outlast him.
The first trend — U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
The Arab uprising that started in Tunisia and Egypt reached its climax on February 11, the day President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down. It was peaceful, homegrown, spontaneous, and seemingly unified. Lenin’s theory was turned on its head. The Russian leader postulated that a victorious revolution required a structured and disciplined political party, robust leadership, and a clear program. The Egyptian rebellion, like its Tunisian precursor and unlike the Iranian Revolution of 1979, possessed neither organization nor identifiable leaders nor an unambiguous agenda.
Since Mubarak’s ouster, everything that has happened in the region has offered a striking contrast with what came before.… Seguir leyendo »
Desperate to survive at all costs, Bashar al-Assad’s regime instead appears intent on digging its own grave. It didn’t have to be this way. The protest movement is strong and getting stronger but has yet to reach critical mass. Many Syrians dread the prospect of chaos and their nation’s fragmentation. But the regime is behaving like its own worst enemy, cutting itself off from key pillars of support: its social base among the poor, Syria’s silent majority and possibly even its security forces.
Syrian authorities allege that they are fighting criminal gangs, an Islamist insurgency and a global conspiracy. There is some truth to these claims.… Seguir leyendo »
The protesters on the streets of Cairo who, in just 18 days, ended the three-decade rule of Hosni Mubarak were not merely demanding the end of an unjust, corrupt and oppressive regime. They did not merely decry privation, unemployment or the disdain with which their leaders treated them. They had long suffered such indignities. What they fought for was something more elusive and more visceral.
The Arab world is dead. Egypt’s revolution is trying to revive it.
From the 1950s onward, Arabs took pride in their anti-colonial struggle, in their leaders’ standing and in the sense that the Arab world stood for something, that it had a mission: to build independent nation-states and resist foreign domination.… Seguir leyendo »
Ces deux dernières années, le processus de paix israélo-palestinien a subi de sérieux revers. A l’exception d’un bref et éphémère instant, Israéliens et Palestiniens n’ont eu aucun contact politique direct. Et il existe peu d’espoir, pour le moment du moins, que cette situation évolue.
Les Etats-Unis, mécènes de ce processus, ont vu leur crédibilité sérieusement entamée. L’administration Obama a été rabrouée à maintes reprises – par Israël, à qui elle a demandé un arrêt total de la construction des colonies; par les Palestiniens, qu’elle a pressés de s’engager dans des négociations directes; par les Etats arabes, dont elle espérait qu’ils prendraient des mesures pour normaliser leurs relations avec Israël.… Seguir leyendo »