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A visitor walks toward the Dome of the Rock as he enters the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City 19 October 2014. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The Status of the Status Quo at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade

Middle East Report N°159, 30 June 2015

Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade remains at the epicentre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With the holy month of Ramadan underway and the Jewish high holidays soon to follow, tensions are likely to increase. Calming the conflict’s symbolic core requires more support for the site’s status quo, including Palestinian participation and encouraging religious dialogue.

South Sudan: No Sanctions without a Strategy
Security Council meeting on the situation in South Sudan, 14 May 2015. UN PHOTO

29 June 2015: As South Sudan’s civil war continues unabated and multiple peace processes and initiatives create little tangible progress, members of the UN Security Council are seeking to adopt sanctions against six generals, three each from the government and the opposition sides. This would in effect punish past wrongdoing and risk compromising ongoing peace efforts. It would also undermine the renewed impetus for a coordinated international approach to peacemaking in South Sudan.

A Truth Commission for Colombia


9 June 2015: As they move toward a final peace agreement, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have agreed to form a truth commission. Announced as the two sides met in the Cuban capital in talks aimed at ending Latin America’s longest war, the initiative, which is to be independent and impartial, will be implemented once the long-awaited peace agreement has been signed.

See the Spanish version of this blog post to read Crisis Group’s Storify on the issue.

Islamic State Threatens Central Asia
Tajikistan commander Gulmurod Khalimov, chief of Tajikistan’s paramilitary police unit (OMON), appeared on an ISIS propaganda video released on 27 May 2015.

8 June 2015: The appearance of Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov in an Islamic State (IS) propaganda video on 27 May has sent a chill across Central Asia. The head of Tajikistan’s Special Assignment Police Unit (OMON), a key element in President Emomali Rahmon’s security apparatus, had disappeared shortly before. A trained-in-Russia-and-America veteran of brutal Tajik government operations, Khalimov has the qualifications. And Tajikistan, a desperately poor country ruled by a venal elite, is a vulnerable target. In this blogpost, Crisis Gorup's Central Asia Project Director, warns that if other security figures in Central Asia follow Khalimov’s lead, the bill to pay could be steep, and there will not be credit left to pay it with.


Eritrea Briefing, August 2014  

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