| (01 Mar 2012)
In Syria, the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters and civilians, including the continued shelling of central city Homs, reached an unprecedented scale, exacerbating fears of outright civil war. The UN reported over 7,500 killed in the violence thus far. Country-wide clashes between security forces and the Free Syrian Army showed no sign of abating. Increased bloodshed prompted UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay to press for the “rapidly deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation” to be referred to the International Criminal Court. The international community, however, remains divided on how to respond, with Russia and China vetoing a proposed Security Council resolution early in the month. Crisis Group identifies a conflict risk for Syria.
Reports that U.S. troops burnt dozens of copies of the Qu’ran sparked outrage across Afghanistan. Violent demonstrations against ISAF and the UN left scores dead, despite President Karzai’s calls for calm. The murder of two senior U.S. officers inside the Afghan Ministry of Interior prompted NATO states to withdraw all personnel from Afghan ministries. Crisis Group also identifies a conflict risk for Afghanistan.
In Haiti, the resignation of Prime Minister Garry Conille after only four months in office threatens yet another power vacuum. It may also set back critical reform and reconstruction. Conille – the latest casualty of the political logjam between the executive and legislative branches of government – was forced to resign on 24 February after disagreements with President Michel Martelly.
In Mali, continued clashes between the army and National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) rebels left dozens dead and over 130,000 displaced. Retaliatory attacks on Tuareg and Arabic-speaking communities in the south throughout February suggest a burgeoning internecine conflict.
The Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed resigned after days of protests over his arrest of the Chief Justice, and a police mutiny. Nasheed subsequently claimed his resignation was forced at gunpoint by security officials in a coup. Clashes between pro-Nasheed demonstrators and police left 32 seriously wounded in capital Malé.
Crisis Group identifies a conflict resolution opportunity in Colombia after the FARC guerrilla movement announced on the 26 February it would free all remaining military and police prisoners, and end its longstanding practice of kidnappings for ransom. The FARC’s announcement boosted hopes for a settlement to the country’s half-century old internal armed conflict. President Juan Manuel Santos declared it an “important though insufficient step in the right direction”.
February 2012 TRENDS
Afghanistan, Haiti, Maldives, Mali, Syria
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagacar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh(Azerbaijan), Indonesia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (Russia), North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe
March 2012 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alert
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.