Saturday, April 02, 2011

Conflict: CrisisWatch - Cote D'ivoire, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Nigeria, Benin

Source: International Crisis Group (ICG) and ReliefWeb

Date: 01 Apr 2011

Full_report (pdf* format - 697.7 Kbytes)

In Côte d'Ivoire, the security and humanitarian situation deteriorated as civil war reignited. The month saw continued heavy clashes between forces backing internationally-recognised president Alassane Ouattara and those loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo, with reports of sexual violence, summary executions, and direct shelling of civilians.

Gbagbo's hold on power appears to be unravelling, as Ouattara loyalists took control of strategic towns and, at the end of the month, entered Abidjan, attacking the presidential residence, seizing control of state television, and triggering high level army defections. The potential escalation of violence in the coming days is cause for grave concern; events are unfolding rapidly as CrisisWatch goes to press.

In Libya clashes between rebels and Muammar Qaddafi's security forces escalated into full-scale civil war. The UN Security Council authorised international military action to protect civilians; an international coalition initially led by the U.S., France and the UK launched missile and air strikes against the regime's military installations and ground and air forces, reversing its earlier gains. Heavy fighting continues, raising the spectre of a protracted conflict. The UN reports that some 350,000 refugees have already fled the country, amid fears that the crisis will continue to intensify.

The wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world reached Syria in March. Dozens were killed as security forces suppressed anti-regime protests. In an inflammatory speech at the end of the month, President Bashar al-Assad accused "foreign conspirators" of fomenting unrest, dampening hopes of reform. Despite concessions by the government and the cabinet's resignation, demonstrations continue, and CrisisWatch identifies Syria as another conflict risk alert for April.

Scores of protesters were killed in Yemen as nationwide anti-regime protests continued for a second month. The deadly crackdown has prompted a series of defections of prominent government officials. Talks between weakened President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition broke down, creating a dangerous political impasse and raising fears of civil war. However, as indirect dialogue continues and hopes for reconciliation and a unity government remain, CrisisWatch identifies Yemen as both a conflict risk alert and a conflict resolution opportunity for the coming month.

Violence flared in Bahrain in a new military crackdown on anti-government protests, which saw several protestors killed and hundreds more injured or arrested. In a move that observers fear may complicate rather than help resolve the political crisis, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates dispatched troops and police to help maintain order. Iran strongly criticised the move.

In Nigeria, an increase in communal and sectarian violence threatened the prospects of credible and peaceful general elections in April. As security forces deployed across the country, CrisisWatch identifies a risk of violence around the polls.

Tensions escalated in Benin as opposition supporters rejected the results of the 13 March presidential election, and police forcibly dispersed opposition protests in Cotonou. In neighbouring Burkino Faso, army grievances surfaced as gunfire broke out between soldiers in the capital Ouagadougou.

In Bosnia, the struggle for control of government at the state and entity level continued, raising the prospect of institutional paralysis and a deepening of the country's political crisis.

In Niger, however, the situation improved. The transition to civilian rule following last year's military coup was consolidated by a peaceful run-off presidential election on 12 March. Opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou was declared winner with 58 per cent of the vote; his opponent Seini Oumarou, accepted defeat. ECOWAS commended the polls and lifted economic sanctions in place since late 2009.

March 2011 TRENDS

Deteriorated Situations

Bahrain, Benin, Bosnia, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen

Improved Situation


Unchanged Situations

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuril Islands/Northern Territories (Russia/Japan), Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Nicaragua, North Caucasus (Russia), North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan (Northern), Sudan (South), Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ugan da, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe

April 2011 OUTLOOK

Conflict Risk Alert

Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen

Conflict Resolution Opportunity


*NOTE: CrisisWatch indicators - up and down arrows, conflict risk alerts, and conflict resolution opportunities - are intended to reflect changes within countries or situations from month to month, not comparisons between countries. For example, no "conflict risk alert" is given for a country where violence has been occurring and is expected to continue in the coming month: such an indicator is given only where new or significantly escalated violence is feared.