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CrisisWatch Database

Region / country

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688 results found
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Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged
Regional tensions escalated following execution of 47 convicted of terrorism 2 Jan, including prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, prompting violent demonstrations in Iran targeting Saudi missions (see Iran); protests also in Bahrain, Lebanon, Iraq. Al-Qaeda 11 Jan warned retaliation for execution of its members; leader 12 Jan issued message encouraging attacks against Saudi Arabia and Western allies. Mostly peaceful demonstrations against executions in Shia-majority Qatif district in east early Jan; man shot dead as security officers came under fire in Awamiya 4 Jan. Islamic State 5 Jan threatened destruction of prisons detaining jihadis. Two gunmen attacked Shia mosque in Mahasen 29 Jan, at least two killed. Saudi-led coalition continued military operations in Yemen (see Yemen).

Iraq

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged
Saudi Arabia’s 2 Jan execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr further polarised region along sectarian lines, complicating Iraqi government efforts to rebuild multilateral relations with its neighbours, particularly Saudi Arabia. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Shiite political forces 3 Jan denounced execution. Following spate of insurgent attacks 11 Jan in which dozens were killed, including IS attacks in Baghdad and Diyala, Shia militiamen reportedly carried out retaliatory attacks against Sunnis in Diyala province. Retaliatory attacks fuelled growing concern over sectarian violence in Diyala, which was cleared of Islamic State (IS) Jan 2015. Despite PM Abadi’s visit to Diyala 14 Jan in attempt to calm tensions, Sunni lawmakers walked out of parliament 19 Jan in protest at attacks and fact that Shia militiamen hold Diyala security file, not govt. Sistani 15 Jan urged unity. Five suicide bombers attacked military base north of Baghdad 3 Jan, fifteen security personnel killed. Coalition airstrikes destroyed IS cash distribution site in Mosul 12 Jan; U.S reported sixteen coalition airstrikes targeted IS 20 Jan, fourteen IS fighting positions in Sinjar destroyed. U.S. 5 Jan said IS-held territory in Iraq decreased by 40% in 2015. Three Americans and one Iraqi kidnapped in Baghdad 15 Jan, Iraqi officials said Shiite militia Asaeb Ahl al-Haq possibly responsible. UN report 19 Jan stated civilian suffering from violence “remains staggering”, at least 18,800 killed Jan 2014-Oct 2015. Amnesty International 20 Jan reported Kurdistan Regional Govt forces possibly committed war crimes in areas captured from IS. Police 26 Jan reported mass grave discovered in Ramadi. Finance ministry 6 Jan announced govt likely unable to pay salaries in 2016 due to financial crisis provoked by sharp drop in oil prices, stoking fears of increasing domestic tensions, strengthening anti-establishment forces such as Shia militias and weakening govt credibility. UN 31 Jan requested additional $861mn for humanitarian crisis.

Yemen

  |  1 Feb 2016

Deteriorated
Fighting intensified as Saudi-backed coalition stepped up air campaign, mostly targeting Sanaa, in response to Huthi/Saleh bloc cross-border incursions and rocket attacks, after ending temporary truce 2 Jan (which in practice was never honoured by either side); UNSC 5 Jan urged warring parties to resume ceasefire. Rights groups accused Saudi-led coalition of dropping cluster munitions in Sanaa 6 Jan. Leaked UN panel of experts report 27 Jan accused Saudi airstrikes of targeting civilians in a “widespread and systematic” manner; Saudi-led coalition 31 Jan said it had launched investigation. Huthi/Saleh forces and Saudi-backed coalition redoubling efforts to gain new territory in disputed areas: Saudi-backed govt forces 6 Jan reportedly landed by sea at Red Sea port of Maydee near border and on 24 Jan landed military vehicles and reinforcements to retake other border territories as well as Red Sea coast from Huthis; battle continued over western parts of Marib province and southern city Taiz, where Huthi/Saleh forces maintained blockade. Yemeni military officers supported by Saudi-led coalition 26 Jan announced preparations to “liberate” Huthi-controlled governorate Dammar, south of Sanaa. UN-sponsored talks scheduled for 14 Jan delayed as both sides made new demands for restarting negotiations: Huthis calling for ceasefire and Hadi govt insisting Huthis lift siege of Taiz, release additional political prisoners. Huthis 14 Jan released detained minister and four activists in move aimed at renewing ceasefire. Escalating regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran further complicated peace prospects (see Iran). Iran 7 Jan accused Saudi Arabia of airstrike on its embassy in Sanaa; Riyadh denied. Lawlessness and expansion of jihadi groups continued to plague south, particularly Aden; car bomb 17 Jan reportedly killed ten outside Aden security chief’s home; another suicide car bombing 28 Jan killed at least eleven outside presidential palace.

Iran

  |  1 Feb 2016

Improved

IAEA 16 Jan confirmed Iran has honoured commitments under July 2015 nuclear deal, triggering rollback of all nuclear-related UN, EU and U.S. sanctions. U.S. 17 Jan announced new sanctions on eleven entities and individuals involved in Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests, hours after U.S. and Iran announced prisoner exchange, ending fourteen months of secret negotiations. Countries also resolved long-standing financial dispute. Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr 2 Jan, along with 46 others convicted of terrorism, provoked backlash in Iran, where govt condemned executions, Supreme Leader Khamenei warned Saudi Arabia will suffer “divine retribution”. Mobs hijacked protests in front of Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and NE city Mashhad; Riyadh 3 Jan severed diplomatic relations with Tehran and cut all economic ties; allies followed suit including Bahrain, Sudan and others; Kuwait and UAE downgraded relations. Govt uniformly condemned attacks on Saudi missions, reportedly arrested over fifty suspected of storming embassy and held security officials to account for failing to protect diplomatic properties. Revolutionary Guards 13 Jan released ten U.S. sailors detained previous day when U.S. Navy patrol boats drifted into Iran’s territorial waters.

Bahrain

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Police 6 Jan seized suspected Iranian-linked cell reportedly planning attacks in Bahrain. Several clashes between protestors and security forces after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shia cleric early Jan, including west of Manama and in Sitra. Demonstrations erupted across country 13 Jan demanding release of Sheikh Salman, head of main opposition group al-Wefaq, detained Dec 2014 and charged with attempting to overthrow Al Khalifah regime.

Saudi Arabia

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

At least seventeen women reportedly elected to municipal councils in 12 Dec elections; marked first time women in country allowed to run for public office. Military operations against Huthis in Yemen continued (see Yemen).

Yemen

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Second round of UN-sponsored peace talks between warring parties in Switzerland 15-20 Dec failed to produce diplomatic breakthrough following disagreements over proposed prisoner exchange and repeated violations of a ceasefire; Hadi govt remains focused on implementing UNSC Resolution 2216, Huthi/Saleh bloc on changing govt. Military stalemate continued despite some gains by anti-Huthi forces in the north. Saudi-led coalition 15 Dec announced seven-day ceasefire, immediately broken by both sides; ceasefire announcement came day after coalition airstrikes reportedly killed at least nineteen civilians in north and south. Huthis and aligned military forces increased cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia; rocket attack near Bab al-Mandeb 14 Dec killed dozens of coalition forces, including two senior Saudi and Emirati army commanders. Huthi/Saleh bloc continued blockade of Taiz, repelling ground campaign organised by coalition to capture city. Govt/Saudi-led coalition 15 Dec launched offensive on Huthi strongholds in north, gaining territory in Hajjah, Jawf and Marib and pushing into Sanaa province 21 Dec. Fighting between Huthi/Saleh bloc and govt/Saudi-led coalition 19 Dec killed at least 68 including 28 govt troops and 40 Huthi fighters near NW town of Haradh.

Iraq

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Coalition air-bombings helped government forces to retake central neighbourhoods of Ramadi, Anbar province capital, seized in May by Islamic State (IS), on 28 Dec. Despite Iraqi govt’s celebration, liberation remains incomplete: most govt infrastructure heavily damaged and portions of city remain under IS control. Coordinated assault by IS on Kurdish peshmerga positions near Mosul repulsed by Kurdish forces backed by coalition airstrikes mid-Dec. Regional and international tensions continued as Turkey, with tacit agreement of Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leadership, deployed some 150-300 soldiers and 25 tanks to Ninewa province, northwest; Russia 7-8 Dec forced Iraqi Kurdistan to shut down its airspace. PM Abadi denounced Turkey’s move as violation of sovereignty, appealed to UN, issued ultimatum for troops to be withdrawn within 48 hours; Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani 11 Dec condemned foreign intervention in Iraq in any form. Turkey mid-Dec began to withdraw troops, late Dec said it would continue withdrawal but PM Abadi 30 Dec said Turkey has not withdrawn. Qatar stepped up efforts to unite Iraq Sunni forces by organising a second meeting in its capital to devise a post-IS plan for Iraq’s Sunni provinces; triggered prompt reaction from Iran-affiliated forces in south Iraq. Some 100 gunmen 16 Dec kidnapped 26 Qatari nationals hunting in south near Saudi Arabia border.

Iran

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

IAEA 2 Dec released long-awaited report, concluded Iran conducted coordinated “range of activities relevant to development of nuclear explosive device” prior to late 2003, some activities continued between 2003 and 2009. IAEA board of governors 15 Dec passed resolution ending twelve-year investigation into Iran’s nuclear weapons research; President Rouhani 16 Dec said closure of probe was “political victory”. Iran 19 Dec announced plans to ship out enriched uranium stockpile to Russia and Kazakhstan as part of July nuclear deal implementation in order to secure relief from international sanctions. U.S. mid-Dec condemned Iran’s reported test-firing of second medium-range ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear warhead late Nov in violation of UNSC Resolution 1929. FM Zarif 18 Dec called on U.S. and Britain to “join hands” to defeat Islamic State (IS) and end war in Syria. Security forces reportedly arrested 53 people for running pro-IS websites.

Bahrain

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Man sentenced to death, 22 others sentenced to life in prison 31 Jan in connection to 2014 bomb attack in Dimistan village; 29 sentenced from five to 25 years in prison for involvement in Dec 2014 bomb attack in al-Budaiya.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Military operations continued in Yemen (see Yemen). State media 20 Nov announced country will host conference mid-Dec aimed at unifying Syrian opposition. State media 26 Nov reported sanctions imposed on at least twelve senior Hizbollah figures under terrorism crimes and financing laws. Two policemen shot dead mid-Nov in Qatif, eastern province.

Yemen

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Fighting intensified in and around Taiz province as both Huthi/Saleh bloc and govt/Saudi-led coalition sought military gains ahead of second round of UN-sponsored peace talks. Huthis and aligned military forces early Nov captured lost border territories in Dalia and Lahj governorates; tightened blockade of Taiz, south of capital Sanaa. Govt/Saudi-led coalition 16 Nov announced major ground operation to recapture Taiz; hundreds of additional Sudanese troops arrived in Aden 9 Nov; President Hadi 17 Nov returned from exile in Saudi Arabia to oversee offensive. Coalition airstrikes in Sanaa decreased in response to international pressure. Govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc remain committed to UN-sponsored talks, scheduled for December. Lawlessness, including assassination of two security officers 1 Nov, and al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) attacks continued in South: roadside bomb 9 Nov reportedly killed at least sixteen govt soldiers in Marib province. IS 20 Nov reportedly killed at least nineteen govt soldiers and 35 militants in E Hadramout.

Iraq

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Iraqi Kurdish forces 12 Nov launched long-awaited operation to flush Islamic State (IS) from Sinjar in Ninewa province, with air support from anti-IS coalition. Sinjar rapidly liberated, though Intra-Kurdish rivalries between Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) evident. Mass grave discovered mid-Nov in east of Sinjar town. Clashes in Anbar province between IS and govt backed by anti-IS coalition airstrikes continued: Iraq’s military command late Nov advised all civilians to leave provincial capital Ramadi prompting speculation of imminent operation to retake city from IS. IS suicide bombings killed tens throughout month. Political tensions in Baghdad continued despite late Oct reforms to public sector salaries. Turkish airstrikes against PKK in northern Iraq continued (see Turkey).

Iran

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

IAEA 18 Nov reported Iran started dismantling parts of its nuclear program at Natanz and Fordo enrichment facilities, as agreed in July nuclear deal; twenty hardline politicians early Nov complained deactivation of centrifuges contradicted directives of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. President Rouhani 5 Nov and UN human rights experts 11 Nov condemned new security crackdown after Revolutionary Guards rounded up Baha'is, Iranian-Americans, journalists, activists and dissidents citing fears of Western “infiltration”. FM Zarif attended both rounds of multilateral negotiations over Syria’s fate in Vienna 30 Oct and 11-14 Nov, Supreme Leader Khamenei 23 Nov met Russian President Putin in Tehran to discuss Syria. Israeli intelligence 19 Nov said at least 50 Iranian military personnel killed in Syria. Rouhani 14 Nov cancelled first European trip to Italy and France after Paris terrorist attacks 13 Nov; Iran's Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi cautioned attacks represented “serious warning” for Iran.

Bahrain

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Authorities 4 Nov said 47 arrested on suspicion of links with “terrorist elements in Iran”, planning attacks in Bahrain; several arrested 27 Nov on suspicion of “terror” links to Iran. Foreign ministry late Nov summoned Iranian chargé d’affaires to formally protest Iran’s perceived interference in internal affairs. Public prosecutor 5 Nov announced five convicted of conspiring with Iran to launch attacks in Bahrain, sentenced to life in prison and citizenship revoked; 10 Nov said eight sentenced to three to ten years’ jail for terrorism. Majeed Milad, senior member of opposition Al Wefaq, sentenced 11 Nov to two years’ prison for incitement to public disobedience; U.S. 7 Nov called for charges against Al Wefaq leader Ali Salman to be dropped following UN declaration his imprisonment is “arbitrary detention”. Govt late Nov rejected Human Rights Watch report documenting ongoing rights abuses, torture of detainees.

Saudi Arabia

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

At least one killed 26 Oct in suicide bombing targeting worshipers leaving mosque in Najran, in SW. U.S. Sec State Kerry late Oct visited Riyadh, agreed to increase support for Syrian moderate opposition. Supreme Court 25 Oct rejected appeal to commute death sentence against Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Saudi-led coalition continued military operations in Yemen (see Yemen).

Yemen

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
Large-scale deadly violence continued throughout month: military stalemate between Huthi/Saleh bloc and govt/Saudi-led coalition ongoing, with both sustaining heavy losses. Saudi-led coalition early Oct made gains in coastal areas around Bab al-Mandeb. Huthis increased cross-border missile attacks: fighters 15 Oct launched Scud missile at Saudi air base in Kharnis Mushait provoking barrage of Saudi airstrikes on Sanaa. Some diplomatic progress: President Hadi 18 Oct accepted invitation from UNSG Ban to resume peace talks. Security continued to deteriorate in south: Islamic State (IS) branch 6 Oct claimed responsibility for series of deadly car bombs targeting govt facilities in Aden that killed at least eleven Yemenis and four UAE soldiers. Criminality and political tensions also on rise: southern resistance fighters appropriated private houses and stormed govt facilities in Aden. Thousands rallied 14 Oct, anniversary of start of 1960s war against British occupation, calling for independence. Médecins Sans Frontières 26 Oct claimed field hospital in Saada destroyed by coalition airstrikes.

Iraq

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

Baghdad govt late Oct said it would authorise Russian airstrikes against Islamic state (IS) in Iraq weeks after first Russian strikes in Syria. Iraqi security forces backed by U.S.-led coalition continued fight against IS, early Oct retook several areas north and west of Ramadi, Anbar province. At least 26 killed late Oct in rocket attack on Camp Liberty housing exiled Iranian opposition. IS attacks continued including at least 50 killed, 100 injured 5 Oct by series of car bombs in Baghdad. UN reported over 700, including 559 civilians, killed in Oct. Parliamentary Shiite factions 29 Oct threatened to withdraw support from PM Abadi’s govt if it fails to deliver genuine reform. Serious political turmoil in Iraqi Kurdistan over presidency, occupied for over a decade by Massoud Barzani, undermining U.S. anti-IS strategy of arming Kurds to fight jihadi group. Kurdish Regional Govt (KRG) PM Nechirvan Barzani 13 Oct sacked Gorran cabinet members, including peshmerga, finance and religious affairs ministers, and announced reshuffle. Demonstrators early Oct began protests in cities of Suleimaniya governorate against Kurdish govt’s failure to pay employees including teachers, civil servants and peshmerga fighters; nine protesters injured 10 Oct in clashes with police; protests increasingly partisan.

Iran

  |  2 Nov 2015

Improved
July nuclear deal formally adopted by all sides 18 Oct. Iranian authorities 13 Oct completed review of deal following passage of bill requiring Iranian govt to withdraw from deal if P5+1/EU3+3 fail to fulfil commitments under accord. Bill also included provisions requiring Iran to prioritise use of released assets to strengthen private sector and national development fund. U.S. President Obama 18 Oct issued two memoranda to administration instructing them to lay legal groundwork for lifting U.S. nuclear-related sanctions; EU published Council Regulation for lifting sanctions that will come into force once IAEA verifies Iran has completed key nuclear commitments under accord. President Rouhani estimated Iran could complete these steps within two months; U.S. officials gave six-to-nine month estimate. Joint Commission created under deal held first session 19 Oct. IAEA 15 Oct announced investigation into past possible military dimension of nuclear program, will submit final report by 15 Dec. Iran 11 Oct tested new medium-range ballistic missile. Iran’s military presence deepened in Syria, four high-ranking Revolutionary Guard commanders killed including General Harmedani 9 Oct.

Bahrain

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
Appeals court 21 Oct upheld conviction of opposition activist Zainab al-Khawaja for insulting king. Public prosecutor’s office 21 Oct announced 24 to face trial for attempting to establish Islamic State branch and promoting overthrow of monarchy. FM Sheikh Khalid mid-Oct said Iran on “path of conquest and power projection” against neighbouring states, sponsoring terrorism.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Letters published mid-late Sept from senior Saudi prince calling for regime change; calls coincided with annual hajj pilgrimage during which some 1,000 pilgrims reported killed in 24 Sept stampede in Mina valley, outside Mecca, and at least 107 killed 12 Sept by collapse of construction crane at Mecca’s Grand Mosque; Iranian President Rouhani called for investigation.Offensive against Huthi/Saleh block in Yemen continued (see Yemen).

 

Yemen

  |  1 Oct 2015

Deteriorated

Violence increased again as front lines in battle between Huthi/Saleh forces and Saudi-backed coalition moved north, reaching stalemate around Taiz city to south and Marib to east of capital Sanaa. Airstrike on reported wedding party in Al-Wahijah village, Taiz province, 29 Sept killed dozens: widely condemned including by UNSG Ban; coalition denied responsibility. Fighting especially intense in Marib province, source of Sanaa’s gas and electricity supplies and home to strong anti-Huthi, Sunni tribal resistance: 77 coalition forces killed 4 Sept in reported rocket attack by Huthi/Saleh fighters; coalition responded with heaviest aerial bombardment of Sanaa to date, targeting military camps and buildings but also striking civilian areas. Progress on political front remained minimal: UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed 10 Sept announced Yemeni govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc agreed to talks; govt withdrew 13 Sept. FM Riyadh Yassin 26 Sept criticised UNSC response to crisis, said it had not put sufficient pressure on Huthis. Huthi/Saleh delegation 20 Sept met with UN special envoy, released two U.S., one UK and three Saudi hostages. PM Baha and several other ministers 16 Sept returned to Aden, President Hadi visited 22 to 25 Sept. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for 24 Sept suicide bombing of mosque in Sanaa that killed at least 25. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula increased presence and activities throughout south.

Iraq

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Reforms in response to Aug street protests continued: PM Abadi 9 Sept fired 133 deputy ministers and director generals, following dismissal of three VPs and cuts in number of bodyguards allotted to senior politicians; Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani continued to support reforms, called on protesters to show patience, warned against manipulation by Shiite factions keen to oust PM, and called for prosecution of corrupt officials. Tensions between four main Kurdish parties continued in Kurdistan Regional Administration following end of President Barzani’s term 18 Aug. Islamic State (IS) attacks and bombings continued including 17 Sept bombing of Baghdad market that killed at least 23; ongoing clashes with govt troops and affiliated militias around Ramadi. Turkish airstrikes against PKK rebels continued, Turkish ground forces crossed into Iraq (see Turkey).

Iran

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Parliament’s special agreement for reviewing nuclear agreement held numerous sessions to debate content amid deepening political infighting ahead of Feb 2016 elections to parliament and Assembly of Experts; committee seen as unlikely to block agreement. U.S. Senate Democrats early Sept blocked legislation to quash Iran nuclear deal. IAEA 21 Sept said significant progress made in investigation into possible military dimensions of nuclear program, Iran submitted environmental samples from Parchin military site. President Rouhani 25 Sept said “conditions were ripe” to begin implementing nuclear agreement. Rouhani late month attended UNGA, 26 Sept called for investigation into reported deaths of some 1,000 at hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

FM 10 Sept said explosives smuggled from Iran and seized by authorities in July sufficiently powerful to destroy Manama, urged Iran to stop interfering in Bahrain’s internal affairs and rethink its foreign policy. Govt late Sept announced 1.4 tonnes of explosives found in Nuwaidrat district south of Manama, several arrests made. Bomb attack targeted police station in Khamis village 10 Sept, no injuries. Prosecutor 7 Sept said man arrested for “insulting” troops participating in Yemen campaign on social media. 32 countries mid-month expressed concerns over Bahrain’s human rights record at UN HRC.

Iraq

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged Risk Alert

Continued wave of anti-establishment protests in Baghdad and southern provinces over corruption and systematic inadequacy of service delivery brought country to edge of yet more serious conflict. Top religious authority Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani 7 Aug attempted to de-escalate tensions by denouncing corruption and calling on PM Abadi to undertake reforms to address problems. Parliament 11 Aug approved sweeping reform package that included reducing number of ministries, eliminating multiple deputy PM and VP positions. Kurdistan region also experienced political crisis: regional President Barzani’s term formally ended 19 Aug; Gorran and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), two of region’s largest political parties, challenged Barzani’s wish to serve third term, drafted law that would empower region’s parliament to elect new president. Clashes with Islamic State (IS) and IS attacks continued: at least 67 killed 14 Aug by truck bomb in Baghdad; at least 58 killed, 100 wounded 10 Aug in bomb attacks in Diyala province; five including two generals killed by suicide bomber 27 Aug near Ramadi. U.S. reported senior IS leader Haji Mutazz killed in drone strike 18 Aug. Turkey strikes on alleged PKK bases in Kurdistan Regional Govt territory continued (see Turkey).

Iran

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Country passed first compliance test 15 Aug by submitting information on past nuclear activities to IAEA; IAEA will review and ask any additional questions within one month. Debate in U.S. administration over passage of nuclear deal by Congress continued ahead of Sept vote: two senior Democrats early Aug voiced opposition to deal, vote of ten undecided senators expected to be key. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) early Aug offered support for deal. Iran’s FM Zarif early Aug continued regional tour of Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Lebanon and Syria. Two sentenced 30 Aug to ten years’ prison for spying for U.S. and Israel. Authorities 22 Aug unveiled new solid-fuel surface-to-surface missile. Official news agency 22 Aug reported reconnaissance drone shot down in west near Iraq border. UK 23 Aug reopened embassy in Tehran.

Bahrain

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Interior ministry 13 Aug confirmed arrest of five suspected of involvement in 28 July Sitra bombing, said suspects had links to Iran Revolutionary Guards and Hizbollah. Prominent cleric and former lawmaker Hasan Isa detained 18 Aug following visit to Iran, charged with financing terrorism and involvement in Sitra bombing; opposition al-Wefaq said Isa targeted under laws that criminalise peaceful political activism. Opposition figure Ibrahim Sharif, arrested mid-July, 24 Aug pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to overthrow govt, inciting hatred. Authorities early Aug temporarily suspended independent newspaper al-Wasat for “dissemination of information that affects national unity”. Police officer killed, seven wounded 28 Aug by bomb in Karana village.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Saudi Arabia: [no change] At least a dozen killed 6 August in bomb attack in Abha, near Yemen border; Islamic State (IS) claimed attack. See news article, Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2015: “Deadly suicide blast strikes Saudi security forces at mosque near Yemen”.

Yemen

  |  1 Sep 2015

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Anti-Huthi ground forces moved into southern governorates throughout Aug after capturing Aden late July, took al-Anad airforce base 3 Aug then pushed Huthis from Lahj, Dalia, Ayban and Shebwa. Anti-Huthi coalition airstrikes 18 Aug crippled Hodeida port which serves north of country. Huthis reinforced positions in Sanaa and took back some territory in Taiz during intense clashes. Huthis for first time offered significant concessions at UN mediation 8-9 August, including withdrawal from cities in accordance with UNSCR 2216. Govt rejected negotiations; both sides now preparing for potential battle in capital. Saudi-backed coalition began deployment of ground troops and heavy weapons to Marib governorate, east of capital. Amnesty International 18 August accused both sides of killing civilians, possible war crimes; UN aid official condemned Hodeida attack as violation of international law.

Iraq

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) attacks and suicide bombings continued throughout month including 18 July car bomb in Khan Bani Saad town that killed some 120 and injured at least 130. Shiite militias and central govt 12 July announced beginning of second large-scale military operation to retake Anbar governorate from IS, 27 July launched attack on Ramadi. Fighting around first target, Falluja, quickly reached stalemate: IS reportedly planted booby-traps around city blocking militias from entering and confining Falluja’s residents to city. UN report released mid-month estimated nearly 15,000 civilians killed Jan 2014-April 2015 by conflict in Iraq. Kurdistan Regional Govt (KRG) early month said it was exporting crude oil from Kirkuk fields independently of Baghdad; move violates earlier agreement between KRG PM Barzani and Iraq’s Oil Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi. KRG placed in difficult position of choosing between solidarity with longstanding economic partner Turkey or Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after Turkey launched strikes against PKK militants in northern Iraq late July (see Turkey).

Iran

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity

Historic agreement between Iran and P5+1 (EU3+3) on Iran’s nuclear program reached 14 July after twelve years of crisis and 22 months of arduous negotiations. Resulting Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) established most rigorous verification and inspection mechanism ever negotiated, rolls back extensive sanctions regime imposed on Iran. U.S. Obama administration 19 July submitted deal to Congress, triggering 60-day review period; Iranian parliament will also scrutinise deal but without deadline or obligation to vote. UNSC 20 July unanimously endorsed agreement, triggering 90-day period to “adoption day” when Iran will begin implementing key nuclear commitments and U.S. and EU will issue waivers and regulations necessary for lifting of sanctions. Iran and IAEA 14 July also reached agreement on roadmap for resolving outstanding issues by 15 December.

Bahrain

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

Two policemen killed, six injured in bomb explosion in Shiite village Sitra 28 July, several reportedly arrested amid speculation over “foreign” link to attacks; Iran denied responsibility. Tensions with Iran deepened: authorities 25 July announced ambassador to Iran recalled after repeated “hostile” Iranian statements, said arms smuggling plot by two Bahrainis with reported ties to Iran foiled. EU parliament 9 July passed resolution calling for ban on exports of tear gas and crowd-control equipment to Bahrain, end to rights abuses. Rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab pardoned by King Hamad mid-July after serving three months of six-month sentence for insulting public institutions on Twitter. Sunni Muslim opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif arrested 12 July for incitement to overthrow govt and “hatred of the regime” in 10 July speech; U.S. expressed concern.

Yemen

  |  3 Aug 2015

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Fighting intensified throughout month as hopes for Ramadan ceasefire failed to materialise and Saudi/anti-Huthi coalition launched new military offensive. Huthi/Saleh alliance 14 July suffered first major defeat since start of war in March when Yemeni fighters trained in Saudi Arabia and backed by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes captured Aden international airport. Fighters consolidated control over most of Aden, made some progress in southern governorates including retaking military bases in Shebwa and Lahj, during military push dubbed “Operation Golden Arrow”; coalition forces said will use Aden to launch further military operations. UN-brokered ceasefire announced for 10 July broken almost immediately by coalition airstrikes; Huthis 10 July threatened significant military escalation in response to increased airstrikes. Saudi-led coalition 25 July announced unilateral five-day ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid, immediately broken by both sides. Ceasefire announcement came day after coalition airstrike killed at least 65 civilians in residential compound in Mokha, Human Rights Watch said killings an apparent war crime. UN 2 July raised Yemen to level-three humanitarian crisis; humanitarians continued to warn of coming famine if naval blockade is not eased; World Food Program’s ship berthed in Aden 21 July for first time since conflict began. UN raised civilian death toll to 1,900 as of 28 July, with 202 deaths in previous twelve days.

Iraq

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Iraqi soldiers, militias and Kurdish forces continued to clash with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) throughout month; U.S. coalition strikes against IS continued. IS suicide bombers killed some 40 Iraqi soldiers in attack on police HQ near Ramadi 1 June; attacks in and near Baghdad continued including at least twelve killed in series of bombings in Baghdad commercial areas 27 June. Seventeen killed 15 June in clash between pro-govt forces and IS in Baiji town. U.S. President Obama 10 June approved deployment of additional 450 U.S. troops to advise and train Iraqi army. PM Abadi suggested U.S. lacked real commitment to troop training, 27 June said Iraqi troop withdrawal from Ramadi in May “unauthorised”, 30 June “retired” army chief-of-staff. U.S. Defense Sec Ashley Carter mid-June noted Iraqi soldiers unwilling to fight, Iraqi govt unable to provide over half of the 24,000 soldiers U.S. is proposing to train. U.S. Congress 17 June voted down amendment to National Defense Authorisation Act that would have allowed U.S. to send weapons to Iraqi Kurdish forces without approval of Baghdad central govt. UN late June said over three million displaced by conflict in Iraq since early 2014.

Iran

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Deadline for completion of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear accord extended from 30 June to 7 July: drafting continued throughout June but at slow pace due to loopholes in Lausanne Framework agreed 2 April, domestic sensitivities and continued push for concessions by both sides.

Bahrain

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Leader of opposition al-Wefaq movement Sheikh Ali Salman, arrested Dec 2014, sentenced 16 June to four years’ prison for promoting disobedience, insulting public institutions, disturbing the peace and inciting hatred; acquitted of seeking to overthrow monarchy. 57 Shia citizens jailed, 56 of whom were stripped of their nationality for allegedly planning attacks on police, security institutions and embassy; rights groups condemned trial and sentences. Authorities 4 June said ten members of terrorist cell accused of bomb attacks on police and civilians arrested, 7 June said terrorist plot by Iraqi-trained militants foiled. U.S. 30 June announced resumption of military aid to Bahrain.

Yemen

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

UN-brokered consultations between warring parties in Geneva 15-19 June failed to reach agreement on ceasefire or humanitarian pause. Huthi/Saleh bloc continued to view exiled Yemeni govt as illegitimate and largely irrelevant; govt maintained unrealistic demands for Huthi disarmament and withdrawal from large blocs of territory. Huthi/Saleh coalition continued to advance: captured capital of Jawf province on border with Saudi Arabia 14 June; made gains in Marib province; 6 June fired scud missile into Saudi territory. Saudi military and Yemeni fighters reinforced border position, increased cross-border rocket attacks ahead of Geneva consultations. Hiraak fighters gained upper hand against Huthis in Dalia governorate. Humanitarian situation continued to worsen: UN mid-June said over 80% of population in need of aid, $1.6bn needed to tackle “looming catastrophe”. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) 17 June killed over 30 in series of bombings at Zayid mosques and Huthi HQ in Saana. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader killed 16 June in U.S. drone strike.

Iraq

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) mid-May seized Ramadi, last govt stronghold in Anbar province; Iraqi forces launched counter-attack late May led by Iran-backed Shiite “popular mobilisation” militias, U.S. announced it is “expediting” weapons shipments to Iraq, increased airstrikes against IS. At least seventeen troops reportedly killed by IS suicide attacks in western Anbar province 26-27 May. At least five killed in car-bomb attacks on two Baghdad hotels 28 May, IS claimed responsibility. Dozens of inmates broke out of prison in Al-Khalis 8 May, several guards killed in clashes, IS claimed responsibility.

Iran

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Drafting of final nuclear agreement continued throughout month, advanced despite some backtracking on both sides. U.S. Congress and Senate mid-May passed Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act with large majorities, bill signed into law 22 May by President Obama; Iran agreed to grant UN inspectors “managed access” to military sites. FM Zarif late May said he hoped for final nuclear deal “within a reasonable period of time”, warned against making “excessive demands” on Iran. Trial began 26 May of U.S. journalist arrested July 2014 accused of espionage. Tehran continued to offer support to anti-Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) forces in Iraq and Syria (see Iraq and Syria). Tensions in Persian Gulf continued to escalate: Iranian ships 14 May fired warning shots at Singapore-flagged tanker that allegedly damaged Iranian oil platform; Iran cargo ship reportedly carrying 2,500 tonnes of aid supplies for Yemen diverted to Djibouti 22 May (see Yemen).

Bahrain

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Appeals Court 14 May upheld six-month jail sentence against rights activist Nabeel Rajab, found guilty of tweet insulting defence and interior ministries; former MP Khalid Abdul Aal sentenced 27 May to one year prison for insulting Interior Ministry on Twitter. Interior Ministry 10 May said group suspected of terrorist attacks arrested, explosives stockpile seized in Janusan and Sitra.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Saudi-led air campaign against Huthis in Yemen continued amid ongoing tensions with Iran (see Yemen). Suicide bombing of Shiite mosque near Qatif in East 22 May left 21 dead; Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) claimed responsibility; tens of thousands joined mass funeral 25 May; four killed 29 May in suicide bomb attack on Shiite mosque in Dammam. Authorities late May imposed sanctions on two top Hizbollah commanders already sanctioned by U.S. for alleged involvement in terrorism. King Salman declined to attend U.S.-Gulf Camp David summit mid-May.

Yemen

  |  1 Jun 2015

Deteriorated

Conflict increasingly intractable as it becomes tied to regional Saudi-Iran power struggle. Saudi coalition and Huthi/Saleh bloc feeding cycle of escalating violence: small group of special forces, reportedly Emirati, 4 May landed in Aden raising spectre of ground invasion; in retaliation Huthi-affiliated tribes 5-6 May launched cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia killing several civilians; Saudis responded with intense air raids in Sanaa and Huthi stronghold Saada. Huthi/Saleh bloc gained ground throughout month despite air campaign and blockade, especially in Aden, Taiz and Shebwa. Iran made several attempts to break blockade, including sending ship ostensibly loaded with humanitarian supplies sparking war of words with Saudis; tensions lessened when UN 20 May announced ship would dock for inspection in Djibouti. Five-day ceasefire held 12-16 May; Saudi-led airstrikes resumed 18 May in response to repeated Huthi violations of truce; 27 May killed at least 80 near Saudi border and in Sanaa, deadliest day since strikes began. New UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed working to revive negotiations including proposed consultations 28 May but neither side ready for genuine compromise: Hadi govt said Huthi withdrawal from captured territory precondition for negotiations. Saudis 16 May convened GCC-sponsored conference in Riyadh: Yemeni participants called for joint Arab force to oversee Huthi withdrawal from cities, speedy return of govt in exile, provision of anti-Huthi resistance with weapons and logistical support. UNCHR estimated at least 1,037 civilians killed and 2,453 injured 26 March to 20 May.

Iraq

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) militants early April reportedly retreated from Tikrit, under IS control since June 2014, after three-week siege by Shiite militias operating under “popular mobilisation forces” umbrella. Militias together with Iraqi govt units took over city under cover of U.S. airstrikes. Following victory PM Abadi made first visit to Washington, secured almost $200mn humanitarian assistance support, refrained from explicitly requesting increased U.S. military assistance, discussed Iraq’s budget crisis with World Bank and IMF. Reports emerged mid-April suggesting IS leader al-Baghdadi seriously wounded in airstrikes mid-March. In western Iraq, govt forces early April withdrew from eastern Ramadi, govt’s only remaining foothold in Anbar province, paving way for IS advance; 90,000 displaced. Police official 27 April said some 30 police killed mid-April in clashes between local security forces and IS in Ramadi. IS 16 April seized parts of Iraq’s biggest oil refinery in Bajii city. Amid rise in intra-Kurdish rivalries and external interference in Kurdish affairs, Kurdistan Democratic Party working to secure allegiance of Ninewa province officials, minorities and tribes; KDP security forces 5 April arrested Yazidi leader Haider Shasho, who allied with KDP rival People’s Protection Units (YPG). IS claimed 18 April bombing outside U.S. consulate in Erbil; five arrested.

Iran

  |  30 Apr 2015

Improved

Iran and P5+1 (EU3+3) 2 April announced initial agreement on key parameters of “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” on Iran’s nuclear enrichment. Iran and IAEA 15 April met to resume cooperation. Parties reconvened 22-25 April to discuss technical details and implementation plan, talks continued 27 April on sidelines of Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference. If implemented, Plan of Action parameters will reduce enrichment capacity by two thirds, reduce stockpile of enriched material by 97% for ten years, lengthening breakout time from two-three months to twelve months. Will also limit research and development to laboratory scale for ten to fifteen years, modify Arak heavy-water reactor to eliminate weapons-usable plutonium, establish safeguards and rigorous inspections and provide phased sanctions relief. Suspicions in Tehran about U.S. President Obama’s ability to deliver on final agreement exacerbated by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s 14 April approval of bill requiring Obama to submit any deal for Congress vote. Charges against U.S. journalist Jason Rezaian, detained July 2014, made public 20 April: Rezaian charged with espionage, “propaganda against the establishment” and “collaborating with hostile govts”. Marshall Islands ship seized 28 April, reportedly in connection with court case involving unresolved cargo claim.

Bahrain

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Renewed Shiite protests ahead of 19 April Formula 1 race: hundreds marched in Shiite village Duraz. Court 5 April adjourned case of rights activist Nabeel Rajab, appealing six-month jail sentence for insulting govt, after he was arrested again 2 April following comments on treatment of inmates at Jaw prison; Rajab charged 26 April with “disseminating false news in time of war” and “openly discrediting a statutory authority”. Interior Ministry 27 April announced 28 suspected terrorists arrested.

Saudi Arabia

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Regime 21 April declared end to Yemen airstrikes (see Yemen); said new phase to begin focused on rebuilding and preventing Huthi operational movements. Interior Ministry 28 April said 93 suspected Islamic State operatives arrested. King Salman 29 April appointed Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as Crown Prince and Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman as deputy crown prince.

Yemen

  |  30 Apr 2015

Deteriorated

Saudi Arabia 21 April announced end to five-week air campaign against Huthis and security forces aligned with former President Saleh. Both Saudi and Huthi actions suggest preparing for long fight: Huthi leader, Abdulmalik al-Huthi 19 April refused to surrender; Saudi-led air attacks ongoing, intensifying in southern and western provinces, bombed Sanaa airport late-month. Naval and air blockade to stop Huthis from resupplying still in place, preventing food, medical supplies and other products entering country; Huthis preventing aid convoys from entering Aden. ICRC said humanitarian situation catastrophic; UNOCHA estimated over 300,000 displaced. UNSC 14 April imposed arms embargo on Huthis and allied military units. Iranian-dispatched ships reportedly bound for Yemen turned around 23 April; U.S. dispatched two additional warships to Yemeni waters, reportedly to deter arms shipments to Huthis. UNSG Ban 25 April appointed Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as Yemen special envoy to replace Jamal Benomar, who left post amid criticisms from Gulf countries. Al-Qaeda 3 April captured govt buildings, freed prisoners and looted central bank in Al-Mukalla, Hadramout.

Iraq

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Iran-backed Shiite militias 2 March launched ambitious operation to retake Tirkrit, central Iraq, from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL): operation involves 20,000-30,000 Shiite fighters directed and armed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard; role of Iraqi state security forces marginal. Militias 11 March entered al-Alam district, SE Tirkrit, progress slowed by IS fighters and IED cordon. U.S. 25 March initiated strikes against IS targets in Tikrit, reportedly to aid Iraqi army forces though in practice helping militia-led operation; PM Abadi 31 March said Tikrit back under govt control. Draft legislation discussed in parliament 3 March proposed merge of Shiite militias into National Guard prompting fears militias will be given cover of regular force without addressing larger issue of their sectarian nature.

Iran

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Nuclear talks ongoing as 31 March deadline for preliminary accord missed, broad agreement reportedly reached but details still under negotiation. Discussions focussed on issues of research and development, and schedule for UNSC sanctions relief. 47 U.S. Republicans attempted to sabotage talks by writing open letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei warning any deal could be reversed by next U.S. president. Hardline conservative Mohammed Yazdi 10 March defeated former president and moderate Rafsanjani, to be elected Chairman of the Assembly of Experts, group responsible for choosing next Supreme Leader.

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CrisisWatch N°150

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