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CrisisWatch N°91

  |  (01 Mar 2011)

Conflict Risk Alerts

Conflict Resolution Opportunities

Deteriorated Situations

Improved Situations

Popular revolt continued to convulse the Arab world in February. The rapid spread and escalation of unrest underlined the magnitude of events, but their pace makes the direction of change uncertain.

After almost three weeks of massive protests Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February. The Supreme Military Council took control and promised presidential and parliamentary elections within six months. On 22 February a new civilian cabinet was sworn in.

Just days after Mubarak's downfall protests broke out in Libya against Muammar Qaddafi's four-decade rule. Hundreds of civilians were feared killed and thousands injured as Qaddafi launched a brutal crackdown, prompting senior members of the regime and military to defect. By the end of the month Libya was in the throes of a full-scale rebellion, with large parts of the country under opposition control. The UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose sanctions and refer Libya to the International Criminal Court. Several states are reportedly considering military intervention. A mid fears of a further escalation of violence, the UN warned of a humanitarian emergency as over 100,000 refugees fled the country.

Protests intensified in Yemen, where dozens were killed in daily clashes between protesters and security forces from the middle of the month. The opposition has rejected President Saleh's offer of a national unity government and is supporting protests demanding his resignation and immediate regime change. But hopes for dialogue remain, and so CrisisWatch also identifies a conflict resolution opportunity.

Demonstrations for political reform in Bahrain also saw several protesters killed by security forces. Following international condemnation of the crackdown Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa ordered the withdrawal of security forces and offered dialogue with the opposition. Anti-government protests also took place in Oman and Djibouti.

In Afghanistan, the standoff continued between President Hamid Karzai and the opposition over the flawed September parliamentary election. A controversial special tribunal set up by Karzai - which the opposition condemns as unconstitutional - has started recounting votes in several provinces. With concerns growing over renewed tension if the tribunal reverses results, CrisisWatch identifies Afghanistan as a conflict risk alert for March. The political crisis came amid an upsurge of insurgent violence across the country.

Three Muscovite tourists were killed in a guerrilla attack on a North Caucasus ski resort, one of several attacks in the region's Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. The attack underlined the degree to which the previously relatively peaceful republic has become a target of Islamic guerrilla activity.

Conflict in Somalia escalated as government troops backed by AU peacekeepers battled against Islamic militant al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, and Ethiopian troops were reportedly involved in border clashes. In Somaliland, tensions increased in oil-rich Sool, Sanaag and Cayn region as government forces fought with rebel militia.

The collapse of a six-year ceasefire led to heightened tensions in Côte d'Ivoire and further warnings of an outbreak of civil war. Forces Nouvelles rebels backing President-elect Alassane Ouattara fought with the army in the western region, while in Abidjan troops loyal to ex-President Laurent Gbagbo clashed for the first time with army defectors now supporting Ouattara.

The situation in Thailand also deteriorated as hostilities broke out along the border with Cambodia in the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple. Compromised elections in Uganda saw President Yoweri Museveni win a fourth term.

February 2011 TRENDS

Deteriorated Situations 
Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, North Caucasus (Russia), Somalia, Somaliland, Thailand, Uganda, Yemen

Improved Situation 
Egypt

Unchanged Situations 
Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, 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, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan (Northern), Sudan (South), Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara,  Zimbabwe

March 2011 OUTLOOK

Conflict Risk Alert 
Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Yemen

Conflict Resolution Opportunity 
Yemen

*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.

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