CrisisWatch No. 55, 1 March 2008

Report
from International Crisis Group
Published on 01 Mar 2008
Twelve actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated in February 2008, and four improved, according to the new issue of CrisisWatch, released today.

The situation deteriorated in Armenia, where - as CrisisWatch went to press - a violent crackdown sought to suppress eleven days of protests after presidential elections that the opposition claimed were rigged. A state of emergency has been declared, and armed forces are reportedly mobilising for broader repression.

Attacks on Timor-Leste's president and prime minister underlined the need for security sector reform in the fragile country. Yet their aftermath - including the killing of former head of military police Alfredo Reinado, who led the attack on the president - presents an opportunity for the government to address key issues.

Rebels in Chad launched a major assault on the capital N'Djamena in which hundreds were killed and thousands displaced. A state of emergency is still in place amid reports of a heavy government crackdown. In Darfur, the Sudanese government attacked three towns and an IDP camp from both ground and air, marking the worst violence in the region in months.

The situation also deteriorated in Cameroon, Comoros Islands, DR Congo, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Israel/Occupied Territories, Philippines, Serbia and Somalia.

The situation improved in Kosovo, as its 17 February declaration of independence was met with widespread celebrations and limited unrest in Serb enclaves. In Kenya, a power-sharing deal ended a month of difficult negotiations between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, as the country began to move forward from its post-election political crisis, though the situation is still very fragile. In Pakistan, opposition parties swept to power in relatively peaceful mid-month elections. And in Cyprus, President-elect Christofias vowed to meet at the 'earliest possible date' for reunification talks with his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart.

For March 2008, CrisisWatch identifies Armenia, Comoros Islands and Kenya as Conflict Risk Alerts. It identifies Cyprus, Pakistan, Timor-Leste and Uganda as Conflict Resolution Opportunities.

FEBRUARY 2008 TRENDS

Deteriorated Situations

Armenia, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros Islands, DR Congo, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Israel/Occupied Territories, Philippines, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Timor-Leste

Improved Situations

Cyprus, Kenya, Kosovo, Pakistan

Unchanged Situations

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chechnya (Russia), Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), North Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

MARCH 2008 OUTLOOK

Conflict Risk Alerts

Armenia, Comoros Islands, Kenya

Conflict Resolution Opportunity

Cyprus, Pakistan, Timor-Leste, Uganda

*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.