Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in August 2010, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch, released today.
The situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate as al-Shabaab stepped up its attacks and fighting intensified in Mogadishu. Late in the month the militant Islamist group stormed a hotel in the capital killing at least 35 people, including six MPs; days later four AMISOM peacekeepers were killed when insurgents shelled the presidential palace. There were also worrying developments in the previously stable semi-autonomous region of Puntland when Islamist militants under Mohamed Said Atom clashed with government troops.
Kyrgyzstan’s provisional government was further weakened in August. The month began with an attempted coup and culminated with the mayor of the southern city of Osh – the epicenter of June’s pogroms – defying the President’s orders to resign.
As the government fails to consolidate its authority in the restive south and the international community remains inactive, there are real concerns about the prospect of renewed ethnic violence, as well as a growing threat from Islamic militancy and an expansion of the narcotics trade and organised crime. An impending humanitarian crisis, with 1.4 million people expected to experience food shortages this winter, is likely to compound further the already precarious security situation.
In Kashmir, anti-Indian protests that began in June worsened in August with at least 40 demonstrators killed in clashes with the police, bringing the total death toll to over 60. Although the situation appeared to have calmed by the month’s end, these have been the most deadly protests since separatist revolt first broke out in 1989 and reflect resurgent tensions and anti-Indian sentiment in the Kashmir Valley.
In Northern Ireland dissident Republicans launched a spate of bomb attacks throughout the month in an attempt to derail the peace process. Meanwhile, in Bahrain over 200 people, including high-level Shiite political leaders, have been reported arrested in a government crackdown ahead of October’s parliamentary elections, fuelling almost daily clashes between security forces and Shiite opposition supporters.
CrisisWatch identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Kosovo in September, as the EU makes intensive diplomatic efforts to produce a UN General Assembly resolution acceptable to both Serbia and Kosovo that could serve as a basis for a comprehensive settlement. The obstacles to resolving this conflict are formidable, not least because of the mutual suspicion and incompatible agendas of both sides. However, enough has changed recently, not least the development of more realistic attitudes in Belgrade and Pristina, to suggest that a solution is possible.
CrisisWatch also identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Israel, as direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine – the first in almost two years – are due to restart in Washington on 2 September. However, the gap between the two sides’ positions remains large despite intense U.S. diplomatic pressure, and both have potentially disruptive domestic constituencies.
August 2010 TRENDS
Bahrain, Kashmir, Kyrgyzstan, Northern Ireland, Somalia
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Armenia/Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), China (internal), Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uz bekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
September 2010 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alerts
Conflict Resolution Opportunities
Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kosovo