Weekly Update | New Field Reporting & Analysis
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Weekly Update
Four conflict trends as seen by Crisis Group analysts  
➤ Yemen: A call on Tuesday by the U.S. for peace talks to begin within 30 days was followed by a dramatic escalation in fighting. Crisis Group expert Joost Hiltermann says UAE-backed Yemeni forces are billing their latest push on Hodeida as defensive, but rather than driving their Huthi adversaries to the table, it is more likely to provoke them to respond in kind.

➤ Somaliland-Puntland: Intense outbreaks of fighting since 22 October between clans in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland and the autonomous Somali region of Puntland have killed at least 100 people. Should further clashes erupt between Somaliland and Puntland forces, Crisis Group expert Rashid Abdi says, both regions will be vulnerable to greater political instability.

➤ Korean Peninsula: Talks between the U.S. and North Korea initially scheduled for Thursday have been postponed. Crisis Group expert Christopher Green says the stop-start nature of U.S.-North Korea dialogue since the Singapore summit in June highlights the difficulty of maintaining momentum when there is so little trust or flexibility on either side.

➤ Cameroon: Close to 100 schoolchildren were kidnapped and subsequently freed in Cameroon’s Anglophone North West region this week. As separatist armed groups and the government exchange accusations of blame and deny any responsibility, Crisis Group expert Richard Moncrieff says the incident shows how both sides are showing new sensitivity to national and international opinion.
The Weeks of 26 October – 9 November 2018

CRISISWATCH | Tracking Conflict Worldwide

October Trends, November Alerts

The latest edition of Crisis Group's monthly conflict tracker highlights dangers of escalating conflict in Sri Lanka and Yemen. CrisisWatch also notes improved situations in China/Japan and Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan).

Read the full issue

Rare Glimmers of Hope in Yemen and Nagorno-Karabakh

Our President Robert Malley's monthly column to accompany the CrisisWatch conflict tracker for October/November 2018 looks at how, amid growing tensions around the globe, there are new hopes for breakthroughs to peace in Yemen and between Armenia and Azerbaijan.


The United Arab Emirates in the Horn of Africa
The UAE, together with its ally Saudi Arabia, played a highly visible role in helping make peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. As its footprint across the Horn of Africa grows, the UAE should avoid having intra-Gulf competition colour its engagement. 
Sri Lanka: Stepping Back from a Constitutional Crisis
The return to power of controversial former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka's prime minister is unconstitutional and destabilising. International actors should make future security and economic cooperation contingent on parliament reconvening immediately to select a prime minister through legal channels. 
The Illogic of the U.S. Sanctions Snapback on Iran
The Trump administration believes that ratcheting up economic pressure on Iran will compel the Islamic Republic to curtail its disruptive Middle East policies. History suggests otherwise. Both Washington and Tehran should step off their current escalatory path.

Also available in: العربية


Uncertainties Deepen in Cameroon after Divisive Election
Cameroon went to the polls on 7 October amid several crises, notably the conflict between the government and Anglophone separatists. Crisis Group’s expert Hans De Marie Heungoup, in Cameroon during the vote, says it has compounded the country’s problems but also offered reason for hope.

Also available in: Français
Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry
The U.S. is pursuing a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran that includes the re-imposition of key energy and banking sanctions. With Tehran refusing to capitulate over its nuclear program or regional policies, the U.S.-Iran rivalry could escalate across the region.
Tunisia’s Political Polarisation Worsens after First Big Terrorist Attack in Two Years
A 29 October suicide bombing in the heart of Tunis dealt a blow to much-improved security since the last violent jihadist attacks in 2015-16. In this Q&A, our Senior Analyst for Tunisia Michael B. Ayari says it has also hammered a new wedge into Islamist-secularist political divides.
With Sanctions Renewal, Trump Administration Bets on Pressuring Iran
Robert Malley, President & CEO, Axios 
Downing of Russian Plane Redefines Israel's Syria Dilemma
Ofer Zalzberg, Senior Analyst for Israel/Palestine, Jerusalem Post
In Economic Reforms, A Chance for Libya to Move Forward
Claudia Gazzini, Senior Analyst for Libya, IRIN
اروپا از اميد تا عمل
Ali Vaez, Project Director for Iran, Etemad
Elections de mi-mandat : des effets contradictoires sur la politique étrangère américaine ?
Robert Malley, President & CEO, Le Monde 


The Fallacy of U.S. Sanctions on Iran
Crisis Group's Iran Project Director Ali Vaez explains why U.S. sanctions on Iran risk provoking a confrontation between the two countries and further destabilising an already turbulent region.


China Expands Its Peace and Security Footprint in Africa
At the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and China-Africa Defence and Security Forum, Beijing showcased an increasingly strategic approach to its defence relations with African countries and its role in managing challenges to peace and security on the continent.

Now available in: 简体中文


Wim Kok, 1938-2018
International Crisis Group is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Wim Kok, who served as a Crisis Group Trustee from April 2003 to June 2018. Wim died on 20 October 2018, aged 80.


Роберт Малли: США заплатят за выход из ядерной сделки с Ираном
Robert Malley, President & CEO, talks to RIA Novosti about the potential fallout of U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
U.S. Reimposes Sanctions Expected To Cripple Iranian Economy
Ali Vaez, Project Director for Iran, speaks to NPR's Michel Martin about the likely impact of President Trump's re-imposition of sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. 


Europe and its Neighbourhood: Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management in the 21st Century

International Crisis Group is hosting its fourth annual conference in partnership with Chatham House, Al Sharq Forum, and Institut Montaigne in London on 6 December.


“If men [in Iran] can't provide for their families in a society that is still largely traditional and patriarchal, if they can't fulfil the [perceived] duties of their gender role, it does tend to create tension and encourage forms of more assertive masculinity that are not as constructive to women having a say in the family unit”. 

Azadeh Moaveni, Senior Analyst for Gender, Al Jazeera
“The depth of poverty [in Madagascar] appears to be growing exponentially every year. Now the the big challenge of course is, how does any new government turn around the economic prospects with limited raw materials, limited resources and limited opportunity?” 

Piers Pigou, Senior Consultant for Southern Africa, Voice of America
“[It would be difficult for Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to attend a January summit in the U.S.] given what happened and how raw the feelings are. I’m not sure he would want to come to the United States right now”. 

Robert Malley, President & CEO, Reuters
“When you have a populist authoritarian, militaristic ruler in [Brazil], he isn't just a laughing stock – as Trump often is – he is actually a very serious challenger to civil rights, and human rights and basic freedoms. It's the appeal of the strong leader, it's the slightly vague political program, it's the promise of 'trust me, I will do the job' - it's the style”. 

Ivan Briscoe, Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, AFP
Tehran has continued to pursue policies it deems central to its national security no matter its degree of economic well-being at home. The extent to which the Islamic Republic feels threatened or senses opportunity in its neighborhood largely defines its conduct”.

Ali Vaez, Project Director for Iran, Vox
“[Recent airstrikes by coalition fighter jets on mosques in Syria] could be a case where [Islamic State] tried to cynically manipulate the laws of war, and the U.S. decided to call in the strike. If so, the questions here are mainly how [such strikes] fit within rules of engagement, and whether the harm to civilians and civilian objects is proportionate for purposes of the law of war”.

Stephen Pomper, Program Director for the U.S., Al-Monitor 
“The local population [in DR Congo] is very distrustful of the government. Their default mode is not to trust the government”.

Ashih Pradhan, Senior Analyst for UN Advocacy and Research, NPR
“For a long time, there have been questions among the Taliban — that the five were released from Guantánamo but then their freedom was restricted in Doha. Some viewed their transfer to Qatar as no big victory. Their return to the scene, in whatever capacity, might ease those concerns”. 

Borhan Osman, Senior Analyst for Afghanistan, The New York Times


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