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CrisisWatch Database

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Bahrain

  |  1 Jun 2013

Deteriorated

Political climate deteriorated during month: opposition suspended its participation in National Dialogue for 2 weeks in protest against 17 May security forces’ raid on house of senior Shiite cleric Eissa Qassem, reiterated its initial demands including media access, adequate representation of opposition. Raid sparked mass protest 24 May. Al-Wifaq general secretary 12 May called for intensifying protests in run up to 2014 polls. 7 police wounded in home-made bomb attack in Bani Jamri 29 May. Parliament 8 May proposed draft law on rallies which would require organisers to deposit $53,000 to gain licence to demonstrate. King 10 May defended previous reforms, said “terrorists” in country “losing steam”. Govt 27 May banned political groups from contact with Hizbollah. Repression continued including: 28 May arrest of 22 for role in anti-govt protests; 6 Twitter users sentenced to one year’s jail for remarks against king; man sentenced to 3 months’ jail for hanging flag from truck during 2011 protest.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

State media reported 10 additional suspects in Iranian spy ring arrested. For further information  please refer to “Saudi Arabia arrests 10 Iran-spy suspects”, AFP, 21 May 2013, here.

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.

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.

Yemen

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

In far-reaching military shake-up President Hadi mid-April removed Ahmed Ali Saleh, son of former president Saleh and commander of Republican Guards, and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of First Armoured Division, appointed leaders for 7 regional commands; several formerly powerful commanders also exiled to military-attaché positions outside country, including 2 nephews of Saleh. National dialogue continued without major setbacks. Court 27 April ordered investigation into March 2011 massacre, including role of Saleh and aides. Separatist sentiment in South high: unrest continued in major southern cities including Aden, Mukullah. Sporadic attacks against state security personnel continued: security officer killed 13 April in Hadhramawt province; intelligence officer shot dead 19 April in Mukallah; military intelligence chief assassinated 27 April in Hadrmout. 5 soldiers, 2 militants killed 27 April in attack on military checkpoint in Radda. 2 suspected U.S. drone strikes 17 April killed at least 5 suspected militants; drone strike 21 April killed 2 militants in Wadi Abida, Marib province. Saboteurs 8, 30 April sabotaged main oil pipeline in Marib province. Court 25 April sentenced 11 al-Qaeda militants to up to 10 years’ prison.

Iraq

  |  1 May 2013

Deteriorated Risk Alert
Standoff between Sunni protesters and govt intensified in last week of April, increasing fears that political crisis could evolve into conflict between govt forces and protesters’ armed factions. Over 50 killed in army raid on Sunni protest camp in Hawija near Kirkuk 23 April; raid followed killing of Iraqi army officer in clashes with protesters 19 April. Hawija incident prompted retaliation against govt forces with clashes in Sulaiman Bek city, Mosul, scores killed across country; also pushed protesters to organise militarily, claiming need to defend against security forces. Tensions increased in Sunni-dominated Anbar province 29 April as 5 members of security forces killed, army gave protesters 24 hours to hand over those responsible. Reports emerged that U.S. Sec State Kerry during late-March visit to Baghdad pressured Iraqi leaders to halt flow of Iranian weapons to Syria, find formula for domestic stability. Kurdistan Regional Govt president Barzani sent delegation to Baghdad 3 April to discuss issues that led to withdrawal of Kurdish ministers/MPs from Baghdad; no agreement reached. Following Kerry’s visit govt stated it was ready to negotiate with representatives of Sunni protesters, but no negotiations took place. Govt made selective concessions to some groups, further dividing protesters; Cabinet 8 April approved amendment to de-Baathification legislation known as Justice and Accountability Law, which could appease protesters affiliated with former regime granting them pensions, access to employment. Security continued to deteriorate in run-up to 20 April provincial elections in majority of governorates (not Anbar, Ninewa and Kirkuk), with frequent attacks on candidates, dozens killed in over 20 attacks March-April. Partial results suggest PM Maliki’s State of Law coalition confirmed its solid power base in south.

Iran

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

P5+1 nuclear talks in Kazakhstan 5-6 April failed to achieve breakthrough, parties agreed to disband meeting, reconsider positions. U.S. Sec State Kerry said talks on nuclear program “cannot last forever”. President Ahmadinejad 9 April unveiled 2 new uranium mining facilities declaring “mastery over the entire nuclear fuel cycle”. Iranian ambassador to IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh 23 April said Iran would be “reliable partner” in Middle East if Western countries took “more cooperative approach” in nuclear talks. Former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani, considered pragmatist, 11 April announced he will run for president in June elections. 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit SE 9 April, Gulf Cooperation Council called for inspections to nearby Bushehr nuclear plant, Iran media reported plant unaffected. Israeli Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs 18 April said international community should issue deadline, timetable or military threat for Iran. U.S. Sec Defence 21 April signed arms deal with Israel, said agreement sends “clear signal to Iran that military action remains an option”. U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee 17 April passed bill supporting possible Israeli strike on Iran.

Bahrain

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Ongoing National Dialogue overshadowed by growing street agitation in run-up to 21 April Formula 1 grand prix. Atmosphere in Dialogue sessions deteriorated as participants accused each other of stalling, traded personal attacks. MP Latifa al-Ghaoud accused opposition of leaking updates, receiving instructions from U.S.. Ahead of F1 race Human Rights Watch reported govt carried out house raids and round-ups in rebel villages near race circuit. Opposition called for mass demonstrations 12-20 April. Al-Wifaq sought to use protests to draw attention to its peaceful demands; Coalition of the Youth of the 14 February Revolution called for cancelling race, threatened further violence. Group claimed responsibility for burning 4 stolen cars, one in high-security financial district 15 April, hours after information minister claimed situation “very reassuring”; group’s first use of such tactics.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Tensions following 20 March statement by 37 Shiite leaders accusing govt of using arrest of 18 people on spying charges to stir sectarian tension, detract attention from other issues particularly Sunni demand for reform. Further reports of protests in eastern city Qatif 4 April, Qassim Province 27 April, over political prisoners. Prosecutor 27 March demanded death penalty by crucifixion for Nimr al-Nimr, radical Shiite cleric arrested July 2012 on charges including instigating unrest, “waging war on God”.

Jordan

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

As number of Syrian refugees in Jordan reached 450,000, police and refugees clashed in Zaatari camp 20 April over poor conditions. U.S. Sec Defence 17 April announced U.S. sending 200 army planners to Jordan to help prevent spillover of Syrian crisis. Authorities 13 April arrested 8 Jordanians attempting to join Syrian rebel fighters. 4 killed in clashes between students at university in southern city Maan.

Jordan

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

U.S. President Obama 22 March met King Abdullah II in Amman, discussed Syria and Israel/Palestine conflict; Obama pledged $200 million in aid for Syrian refugees. Jordan 25 March closed border with Syria due to clashes in area.

Yemen

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

National Dialogue Conference tasked with drafting new constitution and preparing for Feb 2014 elections opened 18 March in Sanaa after numerous delays; conference attended by President Hadi, 565 delegates. Thousands of southern separatists protested in Aden and Hadramout, rejecting dialogue and calling for immediate secession. Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman boycotted dialogue in protest over failure to restructure army, former president Saleh’s continued political influence and marginalisation of youth, civil society and women. Gunmen 23 March shot dead 3 in failed attempt to assassinate Abdo Abu Ras, Houthis’ representative at negotiations. State’s Land Real Estate Chair Abdullah al-Fadhali escaped 25 March assassination attempt. 5 killed 21 Mar in pro-govt militia attack on al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in Abyan province. Pro-govt fighters 24 March recaptured Batis town, Abyan province, after 3 days’ fighting that left 6 militants, 3 pro-govt militiamen dead. Suicide bomber 4 March killed at least 12, wounded 15 in attack on pro-govt militia office in Lawdar, Abyan province. Main oil pipeline in central Maarib province sabotaged 6 March.

Iraq

  |  1 Apr 2013

Deteriorated

Political crisis continued, with signs of increasing sectarianism: parliament 7 March passed 2013 budget law relying exclusively on votes from Shia political blocs; Kurdish MPs boycotted vote in protest at amount allotted to pay oil companies operating in autonomous north. Council of Ministers 20 March announced elections in Anbar and Nineveh provinces, set for 20 April, to be postponed by up to 6 months due to violence, threats to election workers. Hardline security response to ongoing Sunni protests: security forces 8 March fired on stone-throwing Sunni demonstrators in Mosul, killing 2. Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi resigned his post, as did Agriculture Minister Ezz al-Din al-Dawla, in solidarity with protesters. Series of car bombs and suicide blasts 19 March killed 50, wounded 160 on 10th anniversary of U.S.-led invasion. String of attacks 24 March left at least 5 dead in Mosul; candidate in provincial elections assassinated in Baghdad. 25 killed, 50 injured 14 March in series of attacks on govt buildings in Baghdad; al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) claimed responsibility. 4 killed in series of attacks near Baghdad 27 March; over 20 reported killed, dozens injured in series of attacks against Shiite mosques in Baghdad 29 March. Armed group 6 March ambushed Syrian soldiers attempting to reenter Syria with the Iraqi army’s help, killing 51 Syrian soldiers and 9 Iraqis; ISI claimed responsibility.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Police 1 March arrested 176 in Buraida, Qassim province after another protest over prisoners’ incarceration without charge or trial; 5 March freed 109 protesters. Security forces mid-month arrested 18 Shiites, including an Iranian and a Lebanese citizen, accused of spying.

Bahrain

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Amid ongoing violence, national dialogue continued. Over a month into process, parties yet to set agenda despite 9 rounds of talks, sides blame each other for being uncooperative; tenth session began 31 March. King Hamad 11 March appointed Crown Prince Sheikh Salman, considered reformist, as vice-PM. Clashes between opposition forces and police in Manama 14, 29 March left several injured on both sides. Court sentenced 17 Shiites to 15 years’ jail for role in April 2012 ambush in Eker. 2 policemen sentenced to 10 years’ jail for torturing protester to death Feb 2011. Court of Appeals sentenced activist Zainab al-Khawaja to 3 months’ prison for “insulting and humiliating a public employee.” Court of Appeals 28 March acquitted 21 medics accused of supporting 2011 protests.

Iran

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Following late Feb talks with Iran, P5+1 arms control experts met in Istanbul 18 March to draft proposal detailing possibility of relieving sanctions in exchange for Iran suspending some nuclear activities, to be presented to 5-6 April meeting in Kazakhstan. Russian Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov 21 March said P5+1 talks are “real progress” but “not sufficient to talk of irreversible trend”. U.S. President Obama 15 March declared Iran is “1 year from developing nuclear weapons”, U.S. will first pursue diplomatic means to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arsenal but “all options are on the table”. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei 21 March said Iran will “destroy Israeli cities if attacked”. NATO cyber warfare centre 24 March declared U.S.-Israel 2009 cyber attack on Iran an illegal act of force. International Energy Agency 19 March reported Iran’s crude oil production capacity significantly reduced due to sanctions.

Iran

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

At first Iran-P5+1 talks in 8 months 26-27 Feb, negotiators offered Iran limited sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran curbing most sensitive aspects of nuclear activities; Iran said negotiations “turning point”; further talks scheduled. New U.S. sanctions took effect 6 Feb; next day Iran rejected U.S. offer of direct talks saying it would not negotiate under pressure of sanctions. Foreign Ministry 12 Feb said country ready for “comprehensive agreement” with IAEA including visit to Parchin military complex if nuclear rights recognised; IAEA-Iran talks 13 Feb failed again to reach deal. IAEA 21 Feb confirmed Iran had started to install new generation of centrifuges at Natanz enrichment plant; U.S. called it “yet another provocative step”. EU Court 5 Feb ruled sanctions on Iranian Bank Saderat should be lifted due to insufficient evidence bank involved in nuclear program. Currency reached all-time low, registering more than 21% drop in 2 weeks against US$. President Ahmadinejad 3 Feb accused parliament speaker Ali Larijani’s family of corruption; rival politicians 17 Feb apologised to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for public feud.

Bahrain

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Govt, opposition participated in 5 “National Consensus Dialogue” sessions aimed at ending political deadlock; scheduled 13 Feb session suspended due to protests. Late-month reports of disagreements when opposition insisted that representatives of king should join talks; demand rejected by govt. As demonstrations intensified in run-up to 2-year anniversary of 14 February uprising, teenage protester and security official reported killed 14 Feb in clashes west of Manama, further protestor later died from injuries; protesters clashed with police following teenager’s funeral 16 Feb. 8 militants with alleged links to Iran, Iraq, Lebanon reported arrested mid-Feb; govt accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of establishing terror cell. Court sentenced policeman to 7 years’ jail over fatal shootings of protesters during 2011 uprising, acquitted 4 others. Human Rights Watch said rulers had made no progress on promised reforms, official impunity continues, activists remain imprisoned.

Yemen

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged Risk Alert

Tensions between separatists and security forces, Islamist party Islah reached highest levels since early 2012, sparking fears of further violence. At least 6 killed, 49 wounded 21 and 23 Feb in clashes between separatist protesters and security forces in South marking 1-year anniversary of President Hadi’s election. UNSC 15 Feb expressed concern former president Saleh and separatist leader Ali Salim al-Bid undermining democratic transition, warned of further measures against spoilers including sanctions. At rally in Sanaa 27 Feb former president Saleh called for national reconciliation. President Hadi 6 Feb announced 18 March date for start of drafting new constitution and national dialogue. Govt 2 Feb confirmed ship intercepted 23 Jan was Iranian ship smuggling weapons; Iran denied connection. Military 2 Feb killed 10 suspected militants in air strikes, drove group of al-Qaeda-linked insurgents from mountain hideout in South. Security chief Abdulwahab al-Wali 23 Feb survived assassination attempt in South. Main oil pipeline in central Maarib province sabotaged 8 Feb.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 9 Feb arrested several women and children following demonstrations in Riyadh and Buraidah calling for release of prisoners detained without charge. U.S. media 6 March reported CIA use of Saudi Arabian airbase for Yemen drone strikes. Police reported 3 incidents 23 Feb of unknown gunmen opening fire at prison and police targets in Shiite-populated Eastern Province.

Iraq

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Protests against PM al-Maliki continued: tens of thousands of Sunni protesters 1 Feb marched throughout country, thousands of Sunnis protested 22 Feb in Ramadi, Baghdad, Mosul, Fallujah. Suicide bombers 6 Feb killed Iraqi army intelligence officer Awni Ali and 2 bodyguards in Tal Afar, 11 Feb killed at least 8 at military checkpoint in Mosul, 3 Feb killed at least 33 outside police HQ in Kirkuk, 5 Feb killed at least 3 at Taji checkpoint, 4 Feb infiltrated meeting of Sahwa tribal fighters in Taji and killed at least 22. Masked gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms 22 Feb shot dead 7 members of govt-backed militia Sahwa near Tuz Khurmato. Car bombs 8 Feb throughout country killed at least 34. Car bombs across Baghdad 17 Feb killed 28; al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility. Car bomb 28 Feb killed several in Baghdad Shia neighbourhood. Gunman 11 Feb killed bodyguard of Kurdish member of Mosul provincial council and 3 others. Dispute between Baghdad govt and autonomous Kurdish region over oil rights delayed attempts to pass draft legislation for budget. Attack 9 Feb on Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) residents at former U.S. base killed at least 5, wounded over 25. Oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi 25 Feb said Turkey rejected possibility of extending oil, gas export pipelines from Kurdistan region through Turkey without Baghdad govt’s approval.

Jordan

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Number of Syrian refugees entering Jordan reportedly reached 400,000; violence erupted 24-25 Feb in Zaatari camp over poor conditions. In first protests since 23 Jan parliamentary election, hundreds of opposition Muslim Brotherhood supporters demonstrated in Amman 22 Feb to demand faster political reform; opposition protests also held throughout country. Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh 20 Feb continued consultations with parliament to choose PM.

Yemen

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

U.S. drone strikes continued, killing at least 23 suspected al-Qaeda militants. Second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Said al-Shehri confirmed dead late Jan. Govt 27 Jan launched major military offensive against AQAP militants in Baydah accused of holding Finnish couple and Austrian man hostage; next day AQAP retaliated with suicide bombing killing at least 11 soldiers at military checkpoint, and attack on separate checkpoint killing 3 soldiers, both in Baydah. Hundreds of AQAP militants arrived next day to give support; govt suspended military operation while tribal leaders attempted to secure release. Tribal leader Al Mullah Zabahra, known for mediating between govt and al-Qaeda, killed 10 Jan at checkpoint in Abyan province. Deputy security chief of Dhamar province, Abdulwahab al-Mushki, killed 16 Jan by gunmen. 2 al-Qaeda militants arrested 14 Jan near Sanaa, security forces seized suicide bomb vests, assassination manuals, lists of targets. Main oil pipeline in central Maarib province sabotaged 10, 26 Jan by armed tribesmen. Southern movement Harak organised festival of reconciliation and tolerance to mark anniversary of 1986 civil war; over 100,000 gathered in Aden. President Hadi 7 Jan formed land, employment committees for southern governorates. UNSC envoys 27 Jan arrived in Yemen to show support for U.S.-backed power transfer deal. Ship carrying large weapons cache intercepted 23 Jan, suspected weapons smuggled from Iran for Yemen insurgents. 2 militants, 5 soldiers killed 31 Jan during army raid on mountainous area where al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia have been taking refuge since being driven out of Jaar and Zinjibar last year.

Bahrain

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Govt 23 Jan invited opposition to nominate delegates for national dialogue talks to break 2-year deadlock. Court of Cassation 7 Jan upheld prison sentences of 13 leaders of 2011 uprising, including activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja; opposition al-Wefaq, U.S., UNSG Ban condemned ruling. 2 policemen sentenced 30 Dec to 7 years’ jail for killing Shi’ite opposition activist in custody during 2011 uprising. Appeals court 23 Jan upheld death sentence against anti-govt protester Ali al-Taweel, convicted of murdering policeman March 2011. Princess Noura Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa appeared in court accused of torturing 3 anti-govt protesters in detention. Several police injured 30 Jan by bomb near Manama.

Jordan

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Muslim Brotherhood boycotted 23 Jan parliamentary elections claiming electoral system rigged in favour of govt; approximately 2,000 demonstrated in Amman in favour of boycott, demanding King Abdullah II cede some powers.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Prince Saud Bin Nayef appointed governor of restive, oil-rich Shiite minority-dominated Eastern Province 14 Jan. Group of women with children arrested in Buraida 5 Jan following small, rare, peaceful protest against long-term detention of relatives without trial; security forces 6 Jan dispersed protest outside prison where 3 of the women were still held. Clerics 15 Jan protested outside royal palace against King’s decision to appoint 30 women to Shura Council.

Iran

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

11 journalists arrested 27 Jan, accused of cooperation with foreign-based media. EU 15, 22 Jan offered to resume negotiations over nuclear crisis. Iran rejected terms; Iranian FM Ali Akbar Salehi 23 Jan proposed different venues but UNSC P5+1 disagreed. Iran-IAEA meeting 16-17 Jan failed to secure agreement on resolving outstanding issues; next meeting scheduled for 13 Feb. Iran 23 Jan reportedly told IAEA it plans to accelerate Uranium enrichment. U.S. 2 Jan broadened sanctions targeting Iran’s energy, shipping sectors. Central Bank disclosed record 27.4% inflation for 2012. Iran 28 Jan launched monkey into space, increasing concerns over nuclear technology.

Iraq

  |  1 Feb 2013

Deteriorated

Protests against PM al-Maliki, sparked by arrest of Finance Minister al-Issawi’s bodyguards in Dec, continued despite al-Maliki 31 Dec warning rallies would not be tolerated indefinitely. Banned Baath party leader Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri 5 Jan urged Sunni protesters to continue until al-Maliki is toppled; Sunni and Kurdish ministers 8 Jan boycotted cabinet session to show solidarity with protesters; al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq 31 Jan urged Sunni protesters to take up arms against al-Maliki. Speaking on crisis, Shiite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani mid-Jan called for “building a civil state based on constitutional institutions” . Troops 7 Jan dispersed hundreds of protesters in Mosul; anti-govt protester 20 Jan self-immolated. Traibil border post with Jordan closed 9 Jan due to protests. Sunni, Kurdish, Shiite lawmakers 26 Jan voted for law blocking al-Maliki from 3rd term; legislation needs president’s approval. Al-Maliki’s supporters rejected law as illegal. Bomb hit FM al-Esawi’s convoy 13 Jan. Around 7,000 marched 8 Jan in support of al-Maliki in Basra, Kerbala. Govt 14 Jan released 335 detainees held under anti-terrorism laws to appease demonstrators; 22 Jan claimed to have freed 888 prisoners over 2 weeks. Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq 21 Jan claimed responsibility for 15 Jan suicide bomb attack killing Sunni lawmaker Efan al-Esawi. Sectarian violence continued with suicide bombings, blasts across country killing at least 124, wounding over 100.

Iran

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Govt 4 Dec announced capture of U.S. surveillance drone; U.S. rejected claim. Iranian National Security Committee member 12 Dec said Iranian experts now capable of manufacturing copies of advanced U.S. drone captured last year. U.S. and Iran stated willingness to re-engage in stalled P5+1 talks. U.S. 13, 21 Dec and EU 21 Dec announced new additions to sanctions list. Iran 25 Dec reported recent cyber attack, accused Israel and U.S. of planting malware.

Yemen

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

President Hadi 19 Dec restructured armed forces, abolishing Republican Guard and First Armoured Division, as part of effort to unify military. Assassinations of military-security personnel continued: 2 high-ranking officers killed in Sanaa 25 Dec; intelligence officer Shaker al-Bani killed 17 Dec; deputy head of political security office Ahmed Barmadah killed 11 Dec; chief-of-staff for central military region in Maarib province killed 8 Dec. 2 Finnish, 1 Austrian tourist kidnapped 21 Dec in capital’s central square. Military court 15 Dec sentenced 93 Republican Guards to prison terms up to 7 years for Aug attack on military complex. Army 2 Dec launched major assault on tribesmen suspected of repeatedly blowing up main oil export pipeline, attacking power lines; 8 Dec ambush on army patrol at pipeline killed 17 army officers, soldiers; military 10 Dec retaliated with aerial attack on al-Qaeda insurgents suspected of carrying out ambush, at least 4 killed. Military 25 Dec launched new offensive against Marib tribes killing 10 and injuring dozens. At least 5 suspected al-Qaeda militants killed 24 Dec in 2 drone strikes in south; 2 suspected al-Qaeda militants killed 28 Dec in Hadramut province; at least 3 al-Qaeda-linked militants killed 29 Dec in al-Bayda province. Former South Yemen interior minister Mohammed Ali Ahmed 19 Dec said several southern groups had accepted offer of 50% of seats at proposed national reconciliation talks.

Bahrain

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Bahrain Police 17 Dec violently dispersed rally commemorating 2 protesters killed in 1994; over 20 arrested including leading rights activist Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda. Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah 7 Dec called for negotiations; opposition al-Wefaq welcomed appeal for dialogue, insisted outcome must be approved in referendum. Anti-govt activist Zainab al-Khawaja arrested 9 Dec for protesting abuses by security forces. 8 policemen charged 10 Dec with torturing detainees; jail sentence of rights activist Nabeel Rajab reduced next day from 3 to 2 years. Court of Appeals 26 Dec overturned death sentences, prison sentences of 2011 anti-govt protesters.

Jordan

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

King Abdullah II 6 Dec visited West Bank city Ramallah to congratulate President Abbas and Palestinian people on new UN status. King 11 Dec ordered release of over 100 protesters detained during Nov fuel protests.

Iraq

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi, member of Sunni-backed Iraqiya, 20 Dec said bodyguards, staff snatched illegally, blamed Shiite PM al-Maliki; thousands protested in Anbar province next day demanding Maliki’s resignation. Protests continued following days, tens of thousands late Dec blocked main trade route to Syria, Jordan, demanded fall of regime. Security forces 20 Dec raided house, office of Finance Minister. Ongoing tensions between central Baghdad govt and autonomous Kurdish region: troops in Kurdistan 17 Dec fired on army helicopter north of Kirkuk, reportedly to prevent surveillance of military positions; Kurdistan regional govt president Barzani 10 Dec vowed to protect Kurdish interests during visit to Kirkuk. Plane bringing Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız to energy conference in Kurdistan denied permission to land by Baghdad govt 4 Dec. Setback in prospects for mediation between Baghdad and Kurds as President Talabani suffered stroke 17 Dec, transferred to Germany for treatment. Several killed by car bombs, roadside bombs targeting Shia places of worship in Kirkuk 16 Dec; car bomb near Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) office north of Baghdad killed 2 security recruits. Gunmen opened fire in several northern towns, villages 17 Dec, killing over 20. UNSG Ban arrived in Baghdad 6 Dec for talks with Iraqi leaders.

Saudi Arabia

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Activists accused police of firing “indiscriminately” on protesters demonstrating against detentions in oil-rich Shiite dominated Qatif district 27 Dec; 1 teenager shot dead, 6 injured; authorities confirmed incident but said security patrol had come under fire first. Saudi novelist Turki al-Hamad taken into custody 24 Dec by order of interior ministry for tweets criticising Islamists. Raif Badawi charged with apostasy 17 Dec for insulting Islam through his “Free Saudi Liberals” website. Saudi Arabia 24 Dec called for “strong and solid Gulf Union with shared defense and security systems” at Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, leading to decision on unified command for all GCC military forces. Govt 20 Dec invited Pakistan foreign minister to Riyadh to discuss bilateral relations and, reportedly, to persuade Islamabad to cancel gas pipeline project with Iran.

Yemen

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

15 Nov National Dialogue postponed 3 weeks on request of preparatory committee; UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar 28 Nov announced political parties had resolved issue of seat distribution for dialogue. During 19 Nov visit UNSG Ban pledged to help rescue efforts to implement power transfer deal. Al-Qaeda-linked suicide bomber 16 Nov killed himself, 3 others inside HQ of govt-allied militias in Zinjibar. Gunman 7 Nov killed security officer near interior ministry in Sanaa. At least 3 killed 24 Nov in bomb targeting Shiite ceremony in Sanaa; no one claimed responsibility. Drone strike reportedly carried out by U.S. 8 Nov near Sanaa killed 3 suspected al-Qaeda members. Saudi diplomat, Yemeni bodyguard killed in Sanaa 28 Nov, govt offered $25,000 reward for help catching killers. Repeated explosions targeting oil export pipeline; soldiers 21 Nov fought with gunmen preventing restoration of pipeline.

Jordan

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

13 Nov announcement that govt fuel subsidies to be removed sparked nationwide protests, rioting, strikes 13-18 and 23 Nov, calls for PM Nsour’s resignation. Protests in Amman 16 and 30 Nov drew thousands, some protesters reportedly called for King’s downfall. Over 100 arrested, scores injured when police violently dispersed several protests; 1 killed 14 Nov in Irbid, police claim he attacked police station. Former head of intelligence Mohammed al-Dahabi sentenced 11 Nov to 13 years in prison, $30m fine for embezzlement, money laundering, abuse of office.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

King Abdullah 5 Nov replaced Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, King’s nephew. Saudi Arabia and Iran exchanged accusations and threats over alleged violations of each other’s waters. Suspected al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula gunmen 5 Nov clashed with Saudi border guards while trying to cross into Yemen from Najran province, killing 2; 10 Saudi Arabians, 1 Yemeni arrested. Gunmen 28 Nov killed Saudi diplomat, bodyguard in Yemeni capital. Dozens arrested, reports of violence 27 Nov following rare protest in Riyadh demanding release or immediate trial of jailed relatives.

Iran

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Iranian warplanes 1 Nov fired at U.S. surveillance drone claiming it had entered Iranian airspace; U.S. officials maintain it was in international airspace. Iran 23 Nov formally accused U.S. Navy of “illegal and provocative acts” near its coastline and of violating its airspace in letters to UNSG Ban and UNSC. U.S. 8 Nov unveiled new sanctions targeting top Iranians and national bodies related to media and internet censorship. MPs 21 Nov withdrew motion calling for questioning of President Ahmadinejad regarding Iran’s economic problems following public intervention by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iraq

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Tensions between Baghdad, autonomous Kurdish region increased late Nov with week-long standoff along contested internal border. Military leaders from both sides 26 Nov agreed to work to defuse tensions; bombs 27 Nov killed 4 ethnic Kurds in Kirkuk. 1 died 16 Nov in clashes between Iraqi forces, troops guarding office of Kurdish political party in Tuz Khurmato. Car bombs 6 Nov killed at least 27 outside army base in Taji, 9 Nov killed over 30 and injured over 100 in Shiite cities outside Baghdad, 14 Nov killed at least 14 across country. PM al-Maliki’s rivals mid Nov began campaigning for introduction of term limits in attempt to block Shiite leader running for 3rd term in 2014. Court 1 Nov again sentenced fugitive VP al-Hashemi to death for alleged involvement in plot to assassinate interior ministry official. 2 Iraqi civilians killed, 3 wounded 6 Nov in Turkish air strike targeting PKK separatist rebels. Suspected Hezbollah operative Ali Musa Daqduq freed 16 Nov following acquittal by Iraqi court of involvement in killing of 5 U.S. soldiers.

Bahrain

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Coordinated bombs blasts in central Manama 5 Nov killed 2, injured 1; main opposition al-Wefaq condemned attack, opposition activists suggested security forces might have planted bombs to justify strong response. Authorities 6 Nov arrested 4 suspects, said bombings “bear hallmarks of Hezbollah”. Authorities 7 Nov revoked citizenships of 31 Shiite activists, including 2 former MPs, for having “undermined state security”. Police 30 Nov violently dispersed demonstrators outside Manama protesting “undeclared siege” beginning 7 Nov on Mahazza village, Sitra island. Opposition al-Wefaq 24 Nov said street protests will resume despite govt ban. Court 21 Nov sentenced 23 medical workers to 3 months jail for participation in “unauthorised demonstrations” during 2011. Security forces 26 Nov violently dispersed hundreds marching towards central Manama after Ashura ceremonies.

“Bahrain revokes nationality of 31 over national security”, Reuters, 7 Nov. 2012.

Jordan

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

King Abdullah 4 Oct dissolved parliament, called for early elections before end 2012, 10 Oct appointed Abdullah Nsour as new PM; thousands of Islamists demonstrated in Amman 5 Oct calling for further reforms. Soldier killed at Syrian border 22 Oct, several arrested. 11 militants arrested 21 Oct for allegedly planning attacks on Western diplomats, shopping centres in Amman.

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