| (01 Jun 2011)
Amid mounting tensions between North and South Sudan over the disputed border area of Abyei, clashes broke out between the two sides at the beginning of the month. Northern Sudanese forces invaded Abyei on 20 May and asserted control in breach of existing peace agreements. Tens of thousands are reported to have fled south. The attacks threaten renewed conflict and weaken confidence between North and South as critical post-referendum arrangements remain unresolved.
Tensions also increased over military control and the presence of armed forces in the transitional areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and CrisisWatch identifies a conflict risk alert for North Sudan for the coming month.
Violence escalated further in Yemen, where military forces loyal to President Saleh battled on several fronts, renewing fears that the continued political stalemate could erupt into civil war.
Saleh reneged on signing a political transition plan for the third time, despite months of anti-regime protests. In the capital Sanaa, loyalist forces clashed with anti-regime tribesmen, while in the southern city of Taiz security forces cleared the site of the country's largest anti-regime sit-in, killing dozens. Government forces shelled the coastal town of Zinjibar after it was seized by Islamic militants emboldened by the growing security vacuum. CrisisWatchidentifies a conflict risk alert for Yemen for the coming month.
President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria continued to use troops and tanks to violently suppress the ongoing revolt, with hundreds of protesters feared killed, thousands detained, and widespread reports of torture. The international community condemned the violence, with the EU and U.S. both expanding sanctions against the regime. The government maintains that the uprising is the work of Islamic extremists and armed gangs.
In Pakistan, the U.S. killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad at the beginning of the month again raised questions about the military's possible involvement with jihadist groups. Despite strong denials from the army leadership, intelligence service and the government of any knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts, the incident has worsened already tense relations with the U.S., and undermined the state's credibility domestically. Following the killing, the Taliban launched a string of high-profile attacks that have killed hundreds, including an assault on Karachi's Mehran naval base on 22 May.
Local elections in Albania on 8 May proved even more troubled than anticipated as the race for the Tirana mayor's seat ended deep within the margin of error. Uncertainty over the outcome, and a controversial recount which saw incumbent mayor Edi Rama of the opposition Socialist Party stripped of his initial lead in favour of the ruling party candidate, fuelled tensions between the sides.
In Guatemala, the Mexican Los Zetas cartel killed and decapitated 27 farm workers in the northern Petén department. The incident caused the government to declare a state of siege and send troops into Petén, and has again highlighted the growing influence of Mexican drug gangs in the country.
In Serbia, war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military leader accused of commanding the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, was arrested after 16 years on the run. He was extradited to The Hague, where he will stand trial for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. His arrest was welcomed across the Balkans and internationally as a major step towards post-war reconciliation and integration for the region, and removes a major obstacle to Serbia's progress on EU accession.
In Colombia, the Senate approved the Victims Law on 25 May, with full ratification expected shortly. The law provides land or financial compensation to more than four million victims of violence at the hands of paramilitaries, guerrillas or state security forces, and was hailed by the full political spectrum as a major step towards peace and reconciliation.
The situation also improved in Honduras, where a deal allowing the return of former President Manuel Zelaya, ousted in the 2009 coup, raised hopes of ending the country's international isolation.
May 2011 TRENDS
Albania, Guatemala, Pakistan, Sudan (Northern), Sudan (South), Syria, Yemen
Colombia, Honduras, Serbia
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (Russia), Northern Ireland, North Korea, Oman, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
June 2011 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alert
Sudan (Northern), Yemen
Conflict Resolution Opportunity
*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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