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CrisisWatch Database

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Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Govt 7 March designated Muslim Brotherhood (MB) terrorist organisation.

Yemen

  |  1 Apr 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Violence in North increased: clashes between Huthis and opposing tribesmen in Jawf killed over 30 late Feb-early March. Fighting spread to Hamdan area near Sanaa, killing over a dozen early March; military entered Hamdan to separate warring factions; ceasefire negotiations ongoing. 12 killed 22 March when Huthis clashed with security forces near Amran city; tensions remain high. Govt 12 March concluded deal in Dalia governorate ending clashes between army and Hiraak. Hadramout tribal confederation mid-month accused govt of not following through on deal to provide financial compensation and jobs in exchange for end to hostilities. AQAP attacks continued including at least 20 soldiers killed 24 March at checkpoint in Hadramout; at least 5 drone strikes conducted. President Hadi 8 March replaced several officials including head of political security and interior minister; same day appointed constitution-writing committee. Thousands protested in Sanaa 21 March calling for release of political prisoners, trial of former President Saleh.

Iran

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Second round of negotiations on comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 held in Vienna 17-19 March, following expert-level talks early March. Escalating animosity between Russia and Western members of P5+1 over Ukraine crisis had no tangible impact, however Russian deputy FM Ryabkov subsequently threatened unspecified “retaliatory measures” against U.S. and EU in negotiations. Next round planned for 7-9 April. EU foreign policy chief Ashton 8-9 March visited Iran, first such visit since 2008; met with rights activists without govt approval, FM Zarif reportedly cancelled 17 March dinner ahead of Vienna talks to protest Ashton’s “uncoordinated” move. IAEA, monitoring compliance with Nov Joint Plan of Action (JPA), 20 March said Iran fulfilling obligations, govt to start conversion of enriched uranium stockpiles to below 5% 9 April. At least 14 border guards killed in attack near Pakistani border claimed by Sunni insurgent group Jaish al-Adl, 16 alleged “rebel” prisoners hanged by local authorities in apparent revenge killing; insurgents later reportedly killed 1 border guard held hostage since early Feb, 4 still in captivity.

Bahrain

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

3 police killed in bombing 3 March in Manama, opposition group Saraya al-Ashtar reportedly claimed responsibility; govt next day designated group terrorist organisation along with 2 others. More bombings followed, several police injured.

Iraq

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Amid ongoing fight against insurgents in Anbar province, Anbar Provincial Council accused Iraqi army of not seriously trying to solve crisis. Shia chairman of secular Iraqiya Alliance in parliament Iyad Alawi criticised lack of progress; criticism also from members of Sunni Mouttahidoun electoral list, with one MP calling govt operation “not a war on terrorism, but a war against Anbar and its people”. Local Mouttahidoun officials in Ramadi negotiated with central govt, including over deployment of army and enrolment of recruits in local police force; tribal leader Ahmed Abu Richa 16 March urged uniting army, Ramadi police forces and tribes in joint operation against insurgents controlling neighbouring Falluja. Ahead of April parliamentary elections, Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) discussed postponement of poll in Anbar due to ongoing turmoil and high numbers of displaced; UN 27 March said 400,000 displaced since beginning of year. IHEC commissioners resigned 25 March blaming political and judicial “interference” in electoral process; 30 March withdrew resignations following UN appeals, reports parliament ruled to limit judiciary’s powers to impose candidate bans. Widespread violence continued ahead of elections with bombings across Iraq claiming hundreds of lives: at least 45 killed 9 March in single car bombing in southern city Hilla, at least 80 killed 25 March including 41 soldiers.

Iraq

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Anbar province remained under siege by army following early-Jan seizure of key areas by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL): army continued shelling of Falluja and Ramadi suburbs, govt withheld electricity and water; hundreds killed during fighting which also saw militants bring down army helicopter 22 Feb killing all 4 crew. ISIL mid-month seized parts of northern town Suleiman Pek, govt forces 22 Feb retook city and surrounding areas after over a week of fighting which left dozens dead. Ahead of April elections Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr 16 Feb announced retirement from politics, saying no bloc in govt or parliament will represent Sadr Movement which had held 6 cabinet posts, 40 parliament seats; many Sadrists reacted by resigning their posts. Sadr 18 Feb called PM Maliki “tyrant”, “dictator”, govt corrupt. In first assassination of candidate for April election gunmen 7 Feb killed Sadr supporter in W Baghdad. Car bombings across central Iraq continued with multiple deadly attacks; at least 34 killed 5 Feb in central Baghdad, at least 49 killed 18 Feb in attacks in Baghdad and southern Hillah, at least 31 killed in 27 Feb blast in Baghdad.

Yemen

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged Risk Alert

Tensions in North continued, threatening shaky ceasefires in Dammaj, Arhab and Amran and rekindling of larger-scale violence, fracturing of delicate political consensus. Huthis 3 Feb won significant battle in Amran, defeating Ahmar fighters in Ahmar’s home village; Huthis consolidated gains through deals with Hahsid tribesmen. Security forces 28 Feb clashed with Huthis in Hizm, Jawf province, at least 13 killed. 2 weeks after its formation, presidential committee charged with defining federal structure 10 Feb announced Yemen to be divided into 6 regions, 2 in South and 4 in North. Rushed announcement stoked political opposition; majority of Hiraak rejected outcome, claiming not sufficiently included in process; Huthis also opposed. UNSC 26 Feb established sanctions regime to impose travel bans and asset freezes on individuals or entities obstructing transition. Mass anti-govt protest held in Sanaa 21 Feb. Suspected al-Qaeda militants 20 Feb killed Salafi Shaikh Ali Bawazir in Hadramawt. 29 prisoners freed 13 Feb in attack on central security prison in capital. 2 foreigners kidnapped early Feb in Sanaa. South remained volatile: military clashes with armed Hiraak in al-Dalia governorate and with tribesmen in Hadramawt continued including at least 12 killed, 14 soldiers kidnapped in Daleh province18 Feb. 

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

4 killed 20 Feb in clashes in eastern Shiite area, including 2 police. 7 protesters jailed for up to 20 years for demonstrating against govt.

Bahrain

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Demonstrators 13 Feb clashed with police on first of 3 days of protest to mark third anniversary of uprising, 29 arrested; tens of thousands demonstrated 15 Feb, 1 policeman died in bomb blast. More clashes reported 24 Feb in Shiite villages west of capital 28 Feb following funeral for villager who died in detention 2 days earlier. King approved law imposing jail sentence of up to 7 years on anyone publicly insulting King, flag or national emblem.

Iran

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Talks on final comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program 18-20 Feb in Vienna ended with agreement on timetable, framework agenda; next technical level meeting 3 March and political level 17 March in Vienna, EU HR/VP Ashton to visit Tehran 9-10 March. Although conflicting interpretations remain regarding path set out for coming talks by Nov Joint Plan of Action, IAEA 20 Feb reported Iran complying with confidence-building measures. Iran and IAEA 8-9 Feb agreed on additional steps to clarify aspects of nuclear program to be implemented by 15 May 2014, including access to uranium mine in Yazd, Ardakan concentration plant, information on Iran’s stated need for exploding-bridgewire detonators; first time aspect of what IAEA considers program’s “possible military dimensions” will be addressed. U.S. 6 Feb targeted businesses for evading sanctions, second such move since Nov deal; President Obama 11 Feb warned U.S. will come down hard on companies breaching sanctions. President Rouhani same day vowed to pursue peaceful nuclear technology “forever”; Supreme Leader Khamenei 17 Feb said not opposed to talks but predicted they will lead nowhere. Sunni insurgent group Jaish al-Adl abducted 5 Iranian soldiers on border with Pakistan; interior minister 17 Feb threatened troop incursion into Pakistan to retrieve them, Iran-Pakistan border commission 21 Feb agreed on joint efforts to track them down. Reuters 24 Feb reported Iran Nov 2013 signed deal to sell arms to Iraq breaching UN weapons embargo; govt denied claims.

Iraq

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Month saw security further deteriorate in Anbar province following 30 Dec govt demolition of Sunni protest camp in Ramadi and negotiated withdrawal of govt forces from province: as govt forces withdrew, Islamic militants from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) 1 Jan seized key areas of Anbar’s main cities, Ramadi and Falluja. Fierce clashes followed between ISIL and govt forces backed by local allies, killing scores including over 100 killed in Ramadi and Falluja 3 Jan; despite local tribes, clerics and former officers regaining control of the city, govt made no distinction between Falluja locals and ISIL militants, announced Falluja in hands of ISIL, calling for national, international support in “war on terror”. UNHCR 24 Jan said 65,000 fled fighting in Falluja, Ramadi in past week alone fearing clashes between army, locals and ISIL militants. Govt forces 29 Jan regained control of areas west of Baghdad after weeks of fighting; militants next day attacked transport ministry building. PM Maliki 16 Jan requested new arms, training from U.S.; U.S. VP Biden 26 Jan said Maliki has U.S. support, Senate signed off on long-stalled sale of Apache helicopters. Bomb attacks across Iraq continued: at least 73 killed 15 Jan, 27 killed 20 Jan in Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad. Govt estimated 1,013 killed during month, highest number since April 2008. 26 hanged on terrorism charges 21 Jan; UN criticised “conveyer-belt of executions”. Kurdistan Regional Govt 8 Jan announced plans to sell 2mn barrels of oil to Turkey via newly-built pipeline by month’s end; PM Maliki 12 Jan threatened to cut region’s share of federal budget, Oil Minister Luaibi 17 Jan said govt preparing legal action against Kurdistan, Turkey.

Iran

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

P5+1 and Iran 10 Jan agreed on implementation of 6-month Joint Plan of Action (JPA) signed in Geneva in Nov. Plan took effect 20 Jan; IAEA confirmed Iran halted 20% uranium enrichment, also provided better access to IAEA inspectors, stopped installing new centrifuges, suspended construction of heavy water reactor in Arak; EU and U.S. initiated sanctions relief in return, in accordance with deal. Implementation agreement included specification that Iran gains access to $4.2bn of blocked assets in 8 instalments, first planned 1 Feb; also specified exact nature of JPA’s research and development provision. P5+1 and Iran to reconvene 18 Feb in Vienna for negotiations on final comprehensive agreement. IAEA 29 Jan inspected Gachin uranium mine in accordance with separate Nov Iran-IAEA agreement. U.S. Senate push to impose new sanctions appearing to lose momentum. Diplomatic row over “Geneva II” talks on Syria as UNSG Ban 19 Jan invited Iran to participate, 21 Jan withdrew invitation following U.S.; U.S. warned companies Iran still “not open for business” due to remaining sanctions. Violence in eastern border region continued; Baluchi Sunni separatist group Jaish al-Adl 25 Jan claimed attack on Revolutionary Guards killing 7.

Yemen

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

National dialogue launched March 2013 officially concluded 25 Jan; new federal political system endorsed, president’s term extended by 1 year to oversee constitution drafting and referendum before elections. Dialogue outcomes included “solutions document” that agrees on federalism in principle and empowers President Hadi to appoint small negotiating team to determine number of federal units. Document failed to win support of entire Hiraak (southern seccessionist movement) delegations. Security continued to deteriorate. Houthi representative Ahmed Sharaf el-Din killed 21 Jan on way to conference. In North Huthis and Salafis 11 Jan agreed to ceasefire after months of clashes in Dammaj; Salafi spokesman 13 Jan said at least 210 Salafis killed in fighting in last 2 months; fighting between Huthis and various opponents continued in other areas including Jawf, Amran, Sadaa and Sanaa governorates. Tensions in south continued: clashes erupted 17 Jan between armed residents and military al-Dalia governorate; southern separatists demonstrating against national dialogue 27 Jan clashed with troops in Ataq, 4 wounded. Tribesmen attacks on oil infrastructure in Hadramout and Shabwa continued. Suspected al-Qaeda militants 16 Jan attacked military camp in al-Baydah, killing 9 soldiers; 31 Jan killed 17 soldiers in 2 attacks in Hadramout. Unknown assailants 19 Jan killed Iranian diplomat in Sanaa. 3 suspected al-Qaeda killed in drone strike in Marib province 24 Jan.

Bahrain

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Opposition groups 9 Jan withdrew from national dialogue talks; talks reconvened next day following intervention by Crown Prince, parties agreed to basis for further negotiations. Hundreds protested in Shiite village Diraz 17 Jan saying talks meaningless.

Iran

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Govt, P5+1 and IAEA 9-13 Dec met to discuss technical details of 24 Nov Geneva nuclear deal, but Iran pulled out of talks after U.S. 12 Dec blacklisted 19 companies linked to Iran’s nuclear program; Tehran said new sanctions “violated” the spirit of Geneva agreement. Talks further jeopardised after bipartisan group of U.S. senators 19 Dec introduced new sanctions bill that would strengthen existing sanctions if Iran breaks interim deal; President Obama threatened to veto bill if it passed. 100 hardline Iranian parliamentarians 25 Dec introduced bill obliging govt to increase uranium enrichment to 60% if U.S. introduces new sanctions. Head of Iranian negotiating team 1 Jan said sides had proposed 20 Jan for Geneva deal to go into effect. IAEA 8 Dec inspected Arak nuclear plant; govt and IAEA 12 Dec agreed to meet 21 Jan to discuss “practical steps” to improve transparency of nuclear program. Public row erupted between President Rouhani’s govt and Revolutionary Guards commander Ali Jafari: FM Zarif 3 Dec said U.S. could eliminate Iran’s defensive systems “with one bomb”; Jafari called comments “incorrect”, said govt “infected by Western doctrine” and “fundamental change must occur”. Nuclear chief Salehi 1 Dec said govt in talks with Russia to build another nuclear plant at Bushehr, construction to begin in 2014. Govt 5 Dec announced it executed 4 Ahwazi Arab political activists on charges of enmity against God and threatening national security. Upsurge in violence on Iran’s eastern and western borders: gunmen killed 15 Iranian and 3 Iraqi workers on gas pipeline near Balad Ruz village NE of Baghdad 13 Dec; 3 Revolutionary Guards killed in SE by roadside bomb believed to be planted by Baluchi Sunni separatist group Jaish al-Adl 18 Dec.

Yemen

  |  2 Jan 2014

Deteriorated

Security deteriorated after armed forces early-month killed prominent Hadrami sheikh; Hadrami tribes, supported by Hiraak, set 20 Dec as deadline for handing over killer, transferring governorate security responsibilities to them. Thousands protested in South, including Qaten, Seiyun and Tarim cities in Hadramout, and clashed with armed forces. Army 27 Dec struck funeral of southern separatist in al-Dalia, killing 19 including 4 children. Tribal attacks on oil pipelines continue: unknown assailants 27 Dec blew up main oil pipeline from Masila field. At least 56 killed, 215 injured 5 Dec in al-Qaeda attack on defence ministry complex in Sanaa. At least 4 soldiers killed 31 Dec in suicide bombing of security HQ in Aden. 15 killed 12 Dec in U.S. drone strike on reported wedding convoy; parliament 15 Dec issued non-binding agreement banning drones. In north, fighting between Huthis and Salafis continued. Several political parties 23 Dec signed agreement granting some autonomy to South and supporting federalism as basis of new state structure. New as-yet undrafted constitution to decide on number of regions and their authorities.

Iraq

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Daily violence continued with UN reporting over 700 killed including over 661civilians: at least 42 killed, 84 injured in series of bomb attacks 25 Dec; series of bombings in Baghdad Shia neighbourhoods 30-31 Dec killed 23; over 70 killed 16 Dec; at least 18 military personnel killed 21 Dec in ambush by Islamic State of Iraq. UN reported at least 7,818 civilians killed in 2013, marking deadliest year since 2008. Security forces 28 Dec raided home of Sunni lawmaker Ahmed al-Alwani, arrested him on terrorism charges; 7 killed in ensuing gun-battle. At least 10 killed 30 Dec when security forces dismantled Sunni protest camp in Ramadi, al-Anbar province, calling for removal of PM Maliki. 44 MPs resigned 30 Dec over demolishing of camp, arrest of Alwani. U.S. reportedly shipped Hellfire missiles, reconnaissance drones to help govt combat militants. Govt 25 Dec closed border with Syria following start of military operation against al-Qaeda in western desert.

Bahrain

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Courts handed series of prison sentences to Shiite activists. Govt denied entry to UK rights lawyer who was to observe trial of opposition Al-Wefaq leader Khalil Al-Marzooq. Govt 29 Dec detained Al Wefaq leader Ali Salman on charges of “inciting hatred”, imposed travel ban after his release. Homemade bomb wounded 2 police near Manama 17 Dec.

Iraq

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Violence across country continued including: at least 34 killed, 61 wounded in series of attacks 25 Nov; 25 killed in car bombing 21 Nov in Sadiya; at least 60 killed in bombings and shootings 20 Nov; over 50 reportedly killed execution-style across Iraq 29 Nov. Shia militia 21 Nov fired mortars across border with Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia deployed troops to border. UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov 25 Nov said Syrian conflict fuelling terrorism and sectarian tensions in Iraq; France 25 Nov offered weapons, training to combat violence. Turkish FM visited 10-11 Nov, met Iraqi counterpart and PM Maliki; officials pledged to cooperate further, end tensions between two states. Justice ministry official 26 Nov reported 12 hanged for terror-related charges.

Yemen

  |  1 Dec 2013

Deteriorated

Violence in northern provinces between Huthis and various adversaries increased. Serious clashes in Dammaj, Sadaa governorate, killed over 100 early Nov; Huthis claimed self-defence against influx of foreign fighters, Salafis said Huthis launched unprovoked strike; presidential mediation committee has proven unable to secure enduring ceasefire. Abdulkareem Jadban, Huthi MP participating in national dialogue (NDC), assassinated in Sanaa 22 Nov. NDC faltered when southern conference leader, Mohammed Ali Ahmed, withdrew 27 Nov. No agreement yet reached on implementing dialogue and continuing transition after Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) roadmap, originally scheduled to end in Feb 2014. Thousands demonstrated 30 Nov in Aden, called for independence of South. UN envoy Jamal Benomar 27 Nov warned spoilers against derailing transition process, said UN supports achieving tasks of transition, not specific timeline. 2 Belarusian military instructors shot 26 Nov in Sanaa. At least 5 killed in drone strike 7 Nov in Abyan; air raid reportedly killed 12 suspected al-Qaeda terrorists in Abyan 26 Nov. Tribesmen 29 Nov blew up main oil export pipeline east of Sanaa.

Bahrain

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Thousands of Shiites 22 Nov protested in Manama against continued govt convictions of high-profile activists. Courts 3 Nov charged Sheikh Salman, head of main opposition group al-Wefaq, with “insulting” interior ministry, 17 Nov extended travel ban on al-Wefaq member Khalil al-Marzooq; al-Wefaq 20 Nov said it was being “systematically targeted”. Court 4 Nov sentenced 4 Shiites to life, 6 to 15 years’ jail over alleged Iranian-backed plan to assassinate public figures; 10 Nov sentenced 2 to life, 2 to 15 years’s jail for planning July car bomb outside al-Riffa mosque. Protesters 13 Nov threw petrol bomb at Manama police patrol, wounding 1 officer.

Iran

  |  1 Dec 2013

Improved

Govt and P5+1 countries 24 Nov reached historic interim agreement over Iranian nuclear program in Geneva after decade of deadlock; described as first step towards final negotiations on normalisation of Iran’s nuclear dossier. Agreement outlined mutual confidence-building measures to be executed over 6 months: Iran to restrict uranium enrichment, not install more centrifuges, freeze work on Arak heavy water reactor, and establish unprecedented transparency mechanisms in cooperation with IAEA; in return P5+1 will refrain from further sanctions, allow Iran to maintain current levels of oil export and establish channel for humanitarian trade, release over $4bn in Iranian oil sales revenue from frozen accounts and suspend restrictions on key sectors of economy. U.S. President Obama 24 Nov hailed deal as historic “first step” to “roll back” Iranian nuclear program; Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei 24 Nov said talks served as “basis for further intelligent actions”; 3 Nov had warned Iranian hardliners not to obstruct negotiations. Saudi Arabia and Israel led opposition to deal, demanding complete dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran 12 Nov made separate agreement with IAEA, allowing IAEA inspections of Arak nuclear facility and Gachin uranium mine ahead of 11 Dec IAEA-Iran talks; govt 28 Nov invited IAEA to inspect Arak. Govt 4 Nov acknowledged death of Mohammad Jamali Paghalleh, Revolutionary Guard Corps general killed in Syria during firefight near Shiite Sayyida Zainab shrine in Damascus. Unidentified attacker 10 Nov shot and killed Safdar Rahmat Abadi, deputy industry minister. Iran executed 16 rebels 26 Oct in reprisal after Sunni group killed 14 guards near Pakistan border.

Bahrain

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Court 1 Oct sentenced 50 activists to 5-15 years’ jail for links to February 14 movement, spying for Iran; police 5 Oct charged prominent al-Wefaq opposition member Khalil al-Marzooq with “inciting terrorist crimes” and supporting February 14. Al-Marzooq joined thousands of people 25 Oct in nationwide anti-govt protest. Security forces 12 Oct violently dispersed protests in Manama after funeral of Yousif Ali al-Nashmi, detainee who died in hospital 11 Oct with signs of torture. Homemade bomb 27 Oct injured unspecified number of police in Demistan near Manama.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

U.S.-Saudi relations deteriorated after U.S. withdrawal of threat of military intervention in Syria and Iranian-Western diplomatic thaw: intelligence chief 22 Oct vowed govt will undertake “major shift” in relations with U.S.. Govt 18 Oct rejected 2-year UNSC seat in protest at deal, denounced UNSC’s “inability to perform its duties” on Syrian conflict.

Yemen

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Political tensions within National Dialogue grew more acute: Huthi and part of Hiraak delegation 8 Oct boycotted opening plenary session, arguing their issues, including regarding state structure and number of federal units, had not been fully resolved in working groups. Divisions continued within Hiraak delegation over acceptable compromises; tensions between head of delegation and President Hadi increased. State Minister Hassan Sharafuddin 30 Oct resigned from national consensus govt. Thousands of Hiraak rallied in Aden mid-month commemorating anniversary of independence from British, demanding independence from “northern occupation”. Tenuous truce between Huthis and Salafis in Dammaj began to unravel mid-month with renewed clashes; at least 30 reportedly killed, over 100 injured. German security guard killed 6 Oct in Sanaa; same day, UNICEF employee kidnapped on airport road. At least 5 soldiers killed, 15 injured 18 Oct in attack on base in Abyan province; 2 soldiers and civilian killed at checkpoint in Abyan province 31 Oct. Al-Qaeda leader Omar Salem arrested 29 Oct in Hadramawt province.

Iran

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Govt continued diplomatic offensive at 15-16 Oct P5+1 talks in Geneva where FM Zarif and deputy FM Araqchi discussed nuclear program with UNSC P5 plus Germany; no details released, off-record U.S. negotiator called meetings “first true negotiations” on Iranian nuclear program. IAEA and Iranian representatives met 28-29 Oct to discuss IAEA investigation into “possible military dimensions” of Iranian nuclear program; 29 Oct jointly stated talks “very productive”, next meeting 11 Nov in Tehran. U.S. Sec State Kerry 3 Oct said it would be “diplomatic malpractice of the worst order” not to engage Iranian offer to negotiate nuclear program; 17 Oct announced it might offer Iran access to $billions in frozen funds if govt takes certain actions to curb nuclear program. 230 out of 290 MPs 2 Oct signed statement supportive of President Rouhani’s conciliatory UNGA speech in Sept. Supreme leader Khamenei 5 Oct expressed support for strategy but said some parts “improper”, possibly hinting at 27 Sept phone call between Rouhani and U.S. President Obama. On Syria, U.S. 7 Oct said Iran could join Geneva II peace conference if it publicly backed 2012 Geneva Communique calling for transitional govt; Iran called condition “unacceptable”. Baluchi Sunni group Jaish al-Adl 25 Oct killed 14 border guards in ambush near Saravan in retaliation for unspecified Iranian “massacre” in Syria and “cruel treatment” of Sunnis in Iran; govt 26 Oct executed 16 men allegedly linked to Jaish al-Adl.

Iraq

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Parliament 8 Oct set national parliamentary elections for 30 April 2014; political forces began vying to change election laws in their favour. PM Maliki 29 Oct visited U.S., discussed need for arms to stem Iraq violence, terrorism. Govt figures suggested Oct deadliest month since April 2008 with over 900 killed including: some 35 killed in 10 car explosions in predominantly Shia areas in Baghdad 27 Oct; at least 19 police and 3 civilians killed 22-23 Oct in series of bomb attacks in Anbar; 13 children killed 6 Oct in attack on school in Qabak; string of car and roadside bombings 14 Oct killed at least 44.

Bahrain

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Largest opposition party Al-Weqaf 18 Sept suspended participation in national dialogue process after continued govt crackdown on opposition and Shia groups. Tens of thousands 27 Sept protested in Manama against govt and in support of arrested politician Khalil al-Marzooq. Court 29 Sept sentenced 50 accused of forming “Feb 14 revolution youth coalition” to up to 15 years’ prison, including Iraqi cleric Hadi al-Mudaressi. Police 18 Sept arrested opposition figure Khalil Al Marzooq on charges of “inciting and advocating terrorism”; 15 Sept jailed 3 Shia men for 10 years for “attempting to kill police” during Feb protests. Govt 16 Sept filed lawsuit to close Shia Muslim clerics’ council, accused of operating illegally and political involvement. Govt 4 Sept issued resolution requiring that political groups contacting foreign organisations seek prior approval from foreign ministry.

Iran

  |  1 Oct 2013

Improved

New President Rouhani took unprecedented steps towards ending sanctions regime against Iran, negotiating nuclear program: 27 Sept spoke with U.S. President Obama in first direct talks between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979 revolution; 24 Sept visited New York for annual UNGA meeting, said Iran ready for “time-bound and results-oriented” nuclear talks; 23 Sept met with EU foreign policy chief Ashton. Hardliner Saeed Jalili replaced as chief negotiator 5 Sept when nuclear portfolio handed to FM Mohammad Zarif; Zarif declared nuclear program must remain peaceful and be conducted under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supervision, 29 Sept said right to enrich “not negotiable” but prepared to negotiate aspects of nuclear program. U.S. Sec State Kerry 29 Sept said deal could be reached within 3-6 months. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei 17 Sept endorsed Rouhani’s approach, calling for Iran to show “heroic leniency” in nuclear negotiations. Head of Revolutionary Guards General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Rouhani’s 27 Sept conversation with Obama “tactical error”, should have waited for U.S. to take practical steps showing no hostile intent towards Iran. Govt 18 Sept released 80 prisoners ahead of UNGA, including human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and reformist politician Mohsen Aminzadeh; also used social media to suggest softer line on Israel. On Syria, Khamenei 5 Sept said chemical weapons “pretext” for U.S. invasion for which it would “suffer”; FM Zarif 10 Sept supported Russian proposal to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control. Ex-president Rafsanjani 1 Sept quoted by Iranian Labour News Agency as stating Syrian regime used chemical weapons; foreign ministry 2 Sept said remarks “distorted”. Russia 11 Sept agreed to supply Iran with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and build additional nuclear reactor at Bushehr nuclear site.

Iraq

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

UNHCR 24 Sept expressed concern over increased sectarian violence; UNSG Ban 30 Sept expressed concern, called for serious political dialogue. Attacks continued with over 660 reported killed including 18 in bombing of Sunni mosque near Samarra 20 Sept; 73 killed 21 Sept in bomb attack on Shiite area of Baghdad; 27 killed 24-25 Sept in clashes between insurgents and security forces; 51 killed 30 Sept in car bombings. Series of bombings in Erbil 29 Sept killed 11, first such attack since 2007. Political leaders early Sept united in opposition to possible U.S. military strike on Syria. Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders increasingly aligned with Iran; Iran FM Mohammed Jawad Zarif visisted Baghdad; Sunni leader Osama al-Nujayfi visited Iran 12 Sept. Kurdistan elections held 21 Sept; Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won comfortable majority.

Yemen

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

National Dialogue 18 Sept deadline passed without agreement on southern issue. Hiraak activists in south preparing to oppose dialogue outcome through protests, civil disobedience campaigns. Suspected al-Qaeda militants 20 Sept killed at least 38 soldiers in several attacks on military bases in Shabwa province, south. 20 injured 26 Sept in twin explosions in Sanaa, al-Qaeda denied responsibility. Sabotage of oil and electricity infrastructure by tribesmen in Marib caused widespread blackouts. Assassinations continued including 2 military officials killed 23-24 Sept in Sanaa in targeted shootings, army officer killed 25 Sept by car bomb. Gunmen 30 Sept seized military HQ in Mukalla, Hadramaut province, 4 killed. Tensions between Huthis and adversaries including Salafis, Islah and Ahmars continued, with over 60 killed in Amran alone in fighting between Huthis and Ahmars; one-year ceasefire reached by presidential mediation committee 14 Sept but situation remains tense.

Iran

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

President Rouhani sworn in 4 Aug, presented new cabinet consisting mainly of technocrats who served in Rafsanjani/Khatami administrations; parliament 15 Aug approved 15 of 18 nominees, rejected 3 minor candidates. Iran and U.S. 4 Aug both expressed desire to end Iranian nuclear program dispute: Rouhani called for end to “antagonism and aggression”, U.S. said would be “willing partner”. IAEA 28 Aug reported that Iran has slowed down several sensitive nuclear activities. Govt 27 Aug warned against U.S. military attack in Syria.

Iraq

  |  1 Sep 2013

Deteriorated

Security continued to deteriorate including: at least 46 killed, 80 injured 25 Aug in bombings in Baghdad and Baquba; at least 26 killed 23 Aug in suicide bombing targeting Qahira neighbourhood park in Baghdad. Over 70 killed 28 Aug by coordinated car bombs targeting Shiite areas; PM Maliki linked attacks to Syria conflict, warned against increased terrorism in region, denounced possibility of armed attack against Syria. Govt launched Operation Martyrs’ Revenge on outskirts of Baghdad, reportedly arresting over 670 suspected terrorists early-Aug. Meanwhile, head of pro-govt Sahwa tribal corps “New Sahwa” requested authorisation to arrest suspects without warrants in Sunni-populated areas where group deployed. PM Maliki’s State of Law coalition 15 Aug proposed parliamentary discussion on enacting state of emergency or martial law. FM Hoshyer Zeibari 15 Aug met with U.S. Sec State Kerry, requested U.S. weaponry and intelligence support to “combat terrorism” in Iraq. Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Ammar al-hakim and religious authority Ali Sistani’s spokesman Abdul Mahdi al-Karbaly early Aug both criticised govt for failing to tackle insecurity.

Bahrain

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Govt launched pre-emptive crackdown ahead of 14 Aug Rebel “Tamarod” protest; Bahrain Center for Human Rights 13 Aug reported over 100 house raids per day. Opposition said some 60 demonstrations held across country 14 Aug; police reportedly closed off villages, cut telecommunications network, arrested 13 protesters and forcibly dispersed demonstrations. Bomb attacks continued, often targeting security personnel: car bomb exploded in Budaiya, west of Manama 3 Aug, no casualties reported; 5 police injured 18 Aug by bomb in Dair village; 4 police injured 30 Aug by bomb in Sahla village near Manama.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Govt 7 Aug offered Russia major arms deal and pledge not to challenge Russian gas sales if Moscow decreases support for Syrian President Assad; 27 Aug called on international community to take “decisive and serious” position against Syrian regime. King Abdullah 16 Aug expressed further support for Egyptian military; FM Al-Faisal 18 Aug warned West against pressuring Egypt’s military to halt crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood, 19 Aug pledged to fill financial gaps left by Western aid withdrawal. Police 8 Aug arrested 2 men from Yemen and Chad suspected of planning suicide attacks, days after U.S. closed embassies citing al-Qaeda threat.

Yemen

  |  1 Sep 2013

Deteriorated

Month saw surge in U.S. drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda (AQAP) militants killing tens including senior AQAP leader Qaid Ahmad Nasser al-Dhahab 30 Aug. U.S., British, French, Dutch and other foreign embassies closed early Aug for approx 2 weeks after U.S. govt 2 Aug announced AQAP planned attack; Yemeni authorities 7 Aug said AQAP attack on southern port and oil and gas facilities thwarted. Attacks on security personnel left 29 dead in first half of Aug; 2 soldiers killed, several wounded 23 Aug in suicide bomb attack on checkpoint in Shibam, Hadramawt province; intelligence official and son killed 28 Aug in Aden. At least 3 killed, 23 wounded in attack on military bus in Sanaa 25 Aug. Clashes between Huthis and various opposing groups in Amran, Saada and Ibb killed dozens, including 13 killed 13 Aug and 8 killed 28 Aug in Amran. Land disputes in capital intensified. Tensions rose ahead of 18 Sept deadline for conclusion of national dialogue: southern separatists failed to return to negotiations following Eid holidays; negotiations ongoing to secure their return; govt 21 Aug apologised to southerners for 1994 civil war.

Iraq

  |  1 Aug 2013

Deteriorated

Violence continued throughout month with at least 800 killed in series of bombings, insurgent operations and sectarian attacks across country; July reported to be deadliest month since April 2008. Interior ministry late month said country facing “open war” with sectarian forces. Al-Qaeda branch Islamic State of Iraq 23 July launched 2 simultaneous raids on Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons, said over 500 inmates freed. Militant groups conducted series of operations in Sunni-populated Salah al-Dine province, northern Iraq: 150 gunmen attacked Sulaiman Bek 24 July. 14 killed 28 July by suicide bomb in Tuz Khormato. 10 co-ordinated car bombs hit Shiite-majority areas of Baghdad 29 July, killing over 50. Shiite militants continued to cross border to join Syrian conflict. Kurdistan regional president Barzani 9 July met PM Maliki in Baghdad, discussed relationship between central and Kurdistan regional govt. UNSC 24 July extended UNAMI mandate to July 2014.

Iran

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Following P5+1 meeting in Brussels, FM Salehi 17 July said Iran ready to hold nuclear talks in Aug after president-elect Rouhani assembles negotiating team. Rouhani 18 July said will improve relations with neighbours, EU member states; 17 July pledged support for Syrian govt. Israeli PM Netanyahu 14 July called Rouhani “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” called for increased sanctions, threat of military force, said Israel “won’t wait to act until it’s too late”. U.S. House of Representatives 31 July approved legislation which amounts to total oil embargo on Iran.

Bahrain

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Trial of 50 defendants charged with terrorism and belonging to Feb 14 Youth Coalition began 11 July; claims of govt torture by 2 defendants sparked large demonstrations by activists, Al-Wifaq supporters across country 12 July. Rebel “Tamarod” Movement 3 July called for mass demonstration 14 Aug; interior ministry 13 July threatened legal action against participants. Parliament 28 July recommended tougher laws against upcoming protests and those who incite/commit “terrorism crimes”, ban on protests in capital, re-declaration of National Safety Law; King issued new laws 1 Aug. Al-Ashtar Brigade, suspected of links to Iran, claimed responsibility for 18 July car bomb near Sunni mosque in Riffa, 3 arrested. Interior ministry responded with crackdown on Shiite villages: Bahrain Center for Human Rights 22 July reported 60 arrests, 140 injuries, over 150 house raids. Bombs 7, 14, 27 July left 1 policeman killed in Sitra, several injured. MP Abbas Isa al-Madi’s residence reportedly fire-bombed 15, 21 July; 3 arrested.

Yemen

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

National Dialogue continued with little progress on solutions to core issues like future state structure; reports Southern Movement activists preparing to boycott dialogue outcomes by obstructing constitutional referendum and any subsequent elections. Huthi protests continued including large 19 July demonstration in Sanaa demanding justice for members killed by regime forces 8 June, calling for release of political prisoners, regime downfall. Huthis and Sunni al-Islah party supporters clashed over control of mosques including in capital; Huthis allegedly reinforcing fighting positions around Salafi Dammaj institute in north. Iranian embassy employee abducted 21 July in Sanaa. Gunmen 8 July shot dead high-ranking army officer in Hadramaut province; roadside bomb in Sanaa 6 July killed 3 soldiers. Land disputes in Sanaa left several dead. Attacks on oil, electric and internet infrastructure continued. Al-Qaeda affiliate group AQAP 17 July said deputy leader Saeed al-Shihri killed in U.S. drone strike; 6 AQ-affiliated Ansar al-Sharia suspects killed 28 July by U.S. drone in Abyan province; 3 AQ suspects killed by U.S. drone in Shebwa 30 July. Journalist Abdulelah Haider released 24 July after serving 3 of 5 years prison for aiding AQAP.

Bahrain

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Interior ministry 12 June announced 44 suspected terrorists arrested, including purported leaders of Feb 14 Youth Coalition; Bahrain National TV alleged group received financial and logistical help from Iran, controlled by Iraq-based Shiite cleric Sheikh Sayyed Hadi al-Mudarissi. Demonstrators 26 June protested in Saar village, west of Manama, following death of local Feb 14 movement leader Hussein Abdullah, who police said died in explosion while making bomb. Interior ministry 5 June announced security agencies investigating activities of Hizbollah in Bahrain, 25 June announced 9 Shiites suspected of links to Iran, planning prison attack, arrested. Court 25 June sentenced pro-democracy activist Zainab al-Khawaja to additional 2 months’ jail for insulting police. High Criminal Court 14 June sentenced 3 protesters to up to 15 years’ prison for charges including participating in anti-govt protests, attempted murder of policeman. 6 sentenced to 10 years’ prison for 2012 bombing; 7 sentenced to 1 year for “participating in illegal gatherings”; teenager sentenced to 1 year jail for insulting king. Crown Prince and first PM Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa visited UK, U.S. and Canada early June.

Jordan

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

U.S. 9 June began military exercises in Jordan after sending Patriot missile battery and F-16 fighters 3 June; at Jordan’s request U.S. Sec Defence Hagel 15 June and President Obama 21 June agreed to leave missiles, jets and several hundred troops to deal with potential spillover from Syria; Russia expressed concern. Authorities 11 June arrested 3 reportedly travelling to join Syrian conflict; 1 reported killed, 2 wounded 19 June in clashes at border between security forces and Syrians trying to enter Jordan. EU allocated $65.5mn to help with Syrian refugee influx.

Iraq

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

PM Maliki and Kurdish President Masoud Barzani met 9 June for first time since Nov 2010, stressed commitment to resolving issues such as resource revenue sharing, security deployments in disputed territories. But Kurdish armed Peshmerga fighters early month advanced into disputed cities Tuz Khormato and Sulaiman Bek; over 1,000 Kurdish soldiers in Iraqi army defected, threatened to join Peshmerga. Kurdish Regional Govt 30 June delayed presidential elections to 2015, extended term of Barzani; Kurdish opposition said move illegal. Meeting between Maliki and Sunni leader Osama al-Nujayfi 1 June yielded no tangible result, and month saw continued widespread violence in both majority Sunni- and Shiite-populated areas including 12 bombings in and near Baghdad 24 June that left 41 dead, over 100 injured; at least 22 killed 27 June in countrywide bombings. Scores killed late June in series of bombings targeting football players. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant group merging al-Qaeda Iraq’s and Syria branches, mid-June refused AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call to dissolve new union. Govt 22 June announced deployment of additional forces in Anbar province along Syrian border, reshuffle of high-ranking army officers.

Iran

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Hassan Rouhani, seen as moderate pragmatist, elected president 14 June, securing 50.7% of votes with approx 73% turnout, in largely unexpected result. Rouhani 17 June said Iran on path of reformation, called his election victory of moderation over extremism, promised “hope and prudence”, greater transparency on nuclear program and committed to build trust with West, 24 June said “ties with Russia will be key part of foreign policy”. Senior U.S. official 16 June said Rouhani’s election presents opportunity for renewed nuclear talks. State TV 16 June announced Ayatollah Khamenei issued “necessary guidelines” for President Rouhani in their first meeting. Ayatollah Khamenei 27 June said nuclear solution “easy” if West is serious about seeking an agreement. Head of Iran Atomic Energy Organisation 28 June said Iran to “press ahead with uranium enrichment program”. IAEA Chief 17 June said Iran making steady process in expanding its nuclear program despite sanctions. U.S. President Obama 3 June imposed sanctions on operations with Iranian currency; U.S. 4 June blacklisted 37 ostensibly private companies it alleged were controlled by Iran. UNSC 5 June extended Panel of Experts on Iran Sanctions mandate until July 2014. Iran State TV 20 June said location for new nuclear research reactor selected in Zarghan, S Iran.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Police 12 June arrested dozens protesting detention of relatives in Buraida; 21 and 22 June shot dead 2 Shiites in Qatif area, one reportedly wanted for causing unrest. Founder of Saudi Political and Civil Rights Association Abdulkarim al-Khader sentenced to 8 years’ prison for inciting sedition. 7 activists sentenced to 5-10 years’ prison for inciting protests on Facebook. Sectarian tensions increasing in response to events in Syria.

Yemen

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Govt early June announced major offensive against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Hadramout governorate; 3 soldiers and 7 militants reportedly killed 5 June in clashes at Ghail Bawazeer. Huthis in Saada Governorate 5 June buried leader Badr al-Deen al-Huthi, tens of thousands attended ceremony. 10 killed, dozens wounded 8 June when security services fired on Huthis demonstrating outside National Security (Intelligence) Bureau in Sanaa to demand release of political prisoners, disbanding of intelligence agency. Incident significantly escalated tensions between Huthis and Hadi govt, Islah and Salafis. Suicide bomber 19 June attacked market in Huthi-controlled Saada killing at least 3. Repeated protests in areas bordering Red Sea and South following daily blackouts, ongoing sabotage of oil and electricity infrastructure. Tribesmen 13, 27, 30 June sabotaged main oil pipeline in central Maarib province.

Iraq

  |  1 Jun 2013

Deteriorated

Ongoing political crisis saw rising violence, with prospects of political breakthrough decreasing as PM Maliki and parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nijaifi continued to trade accusations, branches of govt failed to reach power-sharing agreement. Security continued to deteriorate following govt’s April deadly crackdown on Sunni protests, with sectarian attacks and bombings killing over 1,000 in May, deadliest month in 5 years. Armed forces 25 May launched military operation in west, reportedly to tackle dangers of Syrian conflict spillover. Kurdish ministers 3 May returned to cabinet following almost two-month boycott.

Iran

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

IAEA-Iran nuclear talks 15 May failed as govt again refused IAEA access to nuclear sites. Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili 16 May met with EU foreign policy chief Ashton, said Iran ready for nuclear talks with P5+1. IAEA quarterly report 23 May said Iran installed almost 700 advanced centrifuges in Natanz nuclear plant, compared to 180 in Feb; IR-40 reactor, which could provide second path to nuclear weapons through plutonium reprocessing, nearing completion. U.S. Congress 9 May imposed new sanctions on 4 Iranian companies; bill introduced 8 May proposed blocking Iran access to some $100bn in overseas banks. U.S. Treasury Dept 30 May announced exemptions from sanctions for U.S. companies supplying “Iranian people with communications equipment to communicate among themselves and with the outside world”. Iran 19 May executed two individuals accused of being Mossad and CIA agents. List of 8 presidential candidates approved by Guardian Council for 14 June elections published 21 May, all close allies of Supreme Leader Khamenei. President Ahmadinejad 22 May said he will appeal exclusion of his Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei from final list; exclusion of former president Rafsanjani also controversial. Iranian General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan 5 May said Iran ready to offer training support to Syrian army.

Jordan

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

UN 23 May confirmed Jordan now hosting nearly 500,000 registered Syrian refugees; World Bank pledged $150mn loan, Russia earmarked $3.5mn through UNHCR to help with influx. Parliament 8 May called on govt to expel Israeli ambassador, recall Jordan’s ambassador from Tel Aviv, in protest at dispute over al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem (see Israel/Palestine).

Yemen

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Southern separatist movement Hiraak staged large pro-separation demonstrations in southern city Aden 21, 22 May. Police 27 May forcibly dispersed protesters attempting to storm hotel in Aden where National Dialogue meeting being held, 5 wounded. Hundreds staged sit-in outside prosecutor’s office in Sanaa 28 May demanding release of detainees arrested for participation in 2011 uprising. Suspected U.S. drone 27 May killed 2 militants outside Radda, Bayda province; reported drone strike killed at least 4 militants 18 May in Abyan governorate. Gunmen 27 May kidnapped 2 South Africans from Taiz prompting demonstrations 30 May; 3 journalists kidnapped 16 May by local tribesman in Maarib, later released. Maarib tribesmen 11,19, 27 May attacked electrical grid causing severe power outages; main export pipeline sabotaged 24 May in Maarib province. Attacks on security officials continued: gunmen 26 May shot dead security official in Hadhramawt, east; 2 soldiers killed 25 May by roadside bomb in Hadhramawt; 3 airforce pilots shot dead 8 May in Lahj province. Media 30 May reported Huthi rebels participating in Syrian conflict.

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CrisisWatch N°128

Read the latest edition of CrisisWatch in full.