CrisisWatch N° 113, 30 December 2012
In the Central African Republic a new rebel alliance seized key towns in the north and east, including Sibut, only 185 kilometers from capital Bangui, and currently controls about a third of the country. Chadian troops arrived mid-month to help contain the rebels, and regional leaders later announced the deployment of additional troops. The UN has begun evacuating staff, and the U.S. government has called for its citizens to leave. The security situation is precarious as the rebels warned they may enter Bangui, despite agreeing late month to talks with the government.
Violence escalated in Syria's civil conflict, with reports of spiralling civilian death tolls and displacement. Fighting reached new levels of intensity in Damascus, particularly in southern suburbs where regime airstrikes and clashes between regime and opposition forces in Palestinian-dominated Yarmouk left scores dead and prompted tens of thousands to flee. Violence also increased in Hama province as rebels launched a new offensive. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned that the conflict was escalating and becoming increasingly sectarian.
The dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands escalated as China sent surveillance aircraft into airspace over the disputed islands. Japan responded by sending eight fighter jets, and made a formal diplomatic protest. Its defence minister said this was the first intrusion of Japanese airspace by China since 1958. Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to take a tough line and said there is "no room for negotiation".
North Korea launched the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 satellite into orbit on 12 December, violating UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit it from using ballistic missile technology. The U.S., the UN Security Council and Russia condemned the launch. China expressed regret and called on North Korea to abide by UN Security Council resolutions.
December 2012 TRENDS
Central African Republic, China/Japan, North Korea, Syria
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (Russia), Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
January 2013 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alert
Central African Republic
Conflict Resolution Opportunity