CrisisWatch No. 62, 01 Oct 2008
In DR Congo, a January peace deal between the government and rebel groups in the east lay in tatters after serious clashes throughout the month between General Laurent Nkunda's CNDP rebels and the Congolese army. Following a late August resumption in hostilities, the CNDP advanced from ceasefire positions towards Goma; the UN said 100,000 were displaced in the attendant fighting. Violence surged again in Nigeria's Niger Delta, where MEND rebels vowed an "oil war" and led assaults on Shell and Chevron sites in Rivers State; some 100 are believed to have been killed. A ceasefire was declared on 21 September, but MEND threatened to step up violence if provoked.
In Pakistan, a powerful bomb at Islamabad's Marriott hotel killed 53 people, heightening fears regarding the country's insecurity. The bombing came as domestic resentment grew over U.S. cross-border raids, following a ground attack by U.S. commandos in North Waziristan. Concerns over civilian casualties increased in Sri Lanka's Vanni region, where the government withdrew all humanitarian agencies as the army made continued advances in its stepped-up offensive against LTTE rebels.
In Ingushetia, outrage following the August killing of opposition journalist Magomed Yevloyev led hundreds onto the streets in anti-government protests amid growing violence between security forces and militants. The situation also deteriorated in North Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Yemen.
A sharp intensification of Bolivia's violent demonstrations over the upcoming constitutional referendum led the country deeper into crisis, and CrisisWatch identifies the situation there as both a Conflict Risk Alert and Conflict Resolution Opportunity. At least 30 were killed in clashes in Pando department early in the month leading to a declaration of martial law there, and the country's deep-seated divisions may erupt into further violence. But the opening of talks mid-month between the government and opposition, observed by both the OAS and UN, offers a new opportunity to reach agreement on departmental autonomy and modification of the new constitution.
In Zimbabwe, a power-sharing deal was reached between ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC, after 7 weeks of talks. A government of national unity has yet to be formed, however, and the deal leaves difficult questions regarding the distribution of executive power unanswered. The situation also improved in Cyprus, where full-fledged reunification talks began between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders.
September 2008 TRENDS
Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Thailand, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), Yemen
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bosnia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti/Eritrea, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara
October 2008 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alerts
Conflict Resolution Opportunities
*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.