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CrisisWatch Database

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416 results found
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Mauritania

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Opposition parties Rally for Democratic Forces (RFD), Coordination for Democratic Opposition and Islamist party Tawassoul threatened boycott of July presidential elections.

Libya

  |  1 Apr 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Crisis over blockade of oil export terminals continued, risking expansion into wider fight between Islamists and non-Islamists, and respective militia allies. Tensions between Tripoli and gunmen loyal to eastern pro-autonomy leader Ibrahim Jedran escalated after Jedran forces loaded crude oil on North Korean-flagged tanker in Sidra terminal 8-10 March in defiance of state authority; U.S. naval forces 16 March took control of tanker near Cyprus, returned it to Libyan govt authority. General National Congress (GNC) president ordered use of force to liberate terminals; clashes ensued in Sirte and Zillah oil field; GNC president 12 March suspended military action and gave 2-week deadline to vacate terminals peacefully or face force; pro-Jedran forces mid-March gathered at Wadi Ahmar in anticipation of further clashes. GNC 11 March passed no-confidence motion ousting PM Zeidan, ending long standoff over Zeidan’s failure to address oil crisis; defence minister Abdallah al-Thinni sworn in as interim PM. At international conference on Libya in Rome 6 March, NATO reaffirmed commitment to help with transition. UNSC 13 March renewed UNSMIL mandate, 19 March mandated international community to seize ships transporting Libyan oil acquired illegally. Bomb exploded at Tripoli airport 22 March.

Tunisia

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Jan political truce between Islamists and secularists continued. Ongoing debate over new electoral law in National Constituent Assembly; main issue is whether to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on same day and right of illiterate voters to use proxies. Independent Election Commission head 26 March said polls will go ahead in 2014 despite election law delays. Social tensions driven by economic insecurity increased, particularly in south: police and residents in Ben Guerdane clashed 11 March following temporary closure of border post with Libya. 6 security officers wounded 17 March in shootout in Jendouba, NW; 2 officers injured same day in Sidi Bouzid.

Algeria

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Preparations for 17 April presidential polls continued. Authorities 1 March dispersed youths protesting in Algiers against President Bouteflika’s intention to run for 4th term. Recently-formed citizen’s movement “Barakat” (“enough”) 2 March filed complaint at Constitutional Court against Bouteflika 4th term; protested outside Constitutional Court 4-6, 8 March. At least 264 arrested 1-6 March; presidential candidate and former PM Ali Benflis denounced wave of arrests; rights groups also denounced ongoing repression. Security forces killed over a dozen suspected terrorists in series of operations during month near Tizi Ouzou, Tébessa, Bouira. Intercommunal tensions in Ghardaïa continued: at least 10 injured in clashes between Mozabites (Berbers) and Chaambis (Arabs) 6 March; at least 1 injured 10 March in attacks on buses; at least 20 injured, 3 killed in clashes 11-16 March.

Libya

  |  1 Mar 2014

Deteriorated

Armed violence and unrest increased across country; UNSMIL 25 Feb expressed “deep concern” over ongoing assassinations, bombings and other attacks. Peaceful protests across country early Feb calling for General National Congress (GNC), whose mandate some argue ended 7 Feb, to disband; at least 8 congressmen resigned in protest at Jan extension of GNC’s mandate. Several armed groups threatened to disband GNC by force: Zintan military council 12 Feb accused GNC of being “new dictatorship”, announced intention to use force if necessary; brigades affiliated with pro-autonomy group in east 18 Feb supported calls to suspend GNC. Retired army commander Khalifa Hiftar, claiming to speak for national army, 18 Feb demanded GNC transfer power to interim presidential body entrusted with emergency legislative powers. Mostly Islamist rival armed groups across country publicly supported GNC. GNC early Feb accepted 8 possible candidates to replace PM Zeidan. 20 Feb polls to elect assembly to draft constitution marred by low turnout, minor violence that halted voting in Derna, Murzuk and Awbari. Assassinations continued across country including air force colonel killed 3 Feb and first post-Qadhafi prosecutor-general killed 8 Feb in Derna; residents of Benghazi protested assassinations, deteriorating security following 26 Feb killing of 2 policemen. Bodies of 7 Egyptian Christians found on beach near Benghazi late Feb; all killed execution-style.

“Libya’s turmoil: little to celebrate”, Economist, 22 Feb. 2014.

Algeria

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

PM Sellal 23 Feb announced President Bouteflika would seek re-election for 4th term; elections scheduled for 17 April against backdrop of rare public battle between presidential clan and military intelligence.

Tunisia

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

New technocratic govt headed by PM Mehdi Jomaa in place, easing political tensions. Islamist An-Nahda and secular Nida Tounes party struggling to reach agreement on legal framework for upcoming elections and unwritten rules to help avoid clashes. Security concerns remain: armed jihadis 16 Feb killed 4, including 3 security force members, near Jendouba city. Interior minister announced around 400 Tunisians returned from fighting in Syria. U.S. Sec State Kerry visited 18 Feb to discuss security, praised transition progress, promised help in fight against radical Islamist militants.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Security forces 15 Feb violently dispersed march in Laayoune chanting slogans calling for freedom, self-determination and extension of MINURSO prerogatives to include human rights monitoring in W Sahara.

Libya

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Political tensions remained high with General National Congress (GNC) still deadlocked over new transition roadmap and motion of no-confidence in PM Zeidan; majority of GNC members favour Zeidan’s removal, but key group refuses to hold no-confidence vote until successor agreed upon. Islamist Justice and Construction party 22 Jan quit Zeidan govt after failing to win support for no-confidence vote. Gunmen 14 Jan opened fire on GNC, demanded Zeidan’s resignation, threatened use of force against cabinet. Popular calls to dismiss GNC by 7 Feb. GNC 30 Jan set 20 Feb as date for election of constitution-drafting panel. Main oil export terminals in east remained closed. Following govt fire on Maltese tanker accused of heading to federalist-controlled al-Sidra port 4 Jan, federalist movement leader Ibrahim Jedran’s self-appointed Barqa (Cyrenaica) Council 6 Jan announced it would ensure safety of any tanker entering “Cyrenaican waters”. Religious authorities 15 Jan issued fatwa to free ports “by all possible means”. Over 86 killed after clashes erupted 9 Jan between Tebu and Awlad Sulayman tribesmen in Sebha and Murzuq, south. Govt 18 Jan ordered deployment of security forces following alleged show of force by Qadhafi loyalists in Sebha. At least 30 killed 13-18 Jan in clashes in Tripoli western suburbs and Aijelat between state security forces and criminal gangs accused of being pro-Qadhafi. Targeted violence continued, extending throughout Libya: UK and New Zealand nationals murdered 2 Jan in Sabratha; gunmen 11 Jan killed deputy industry minister in Sirt; gunmen 15 Jan killed political activist Amr Habil in Derna; deputy PM Sadiq Abdul-Karim survived assassination attempt in Tripoli 29 Jan. 2 Italians kidnapped 18 Jan in Derna; South Korean trade envoy kidnapped in Tripoli 20 Jan, released 23 Jan. Egypt evacuated embassy and Benghazi consulate following 25 Jan kidnap of 5 diplomats and embassy employee; hostages released 26 Jan in exchange for Egyptian release of Sabaann Hadia, prominent Islamist rebel commander, arrested 24 Jan in Alexandria.

Mauritania

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Malian President IBK visited 12 Jan, signed agreement to boost military cooperation and information sharing in regional fight against terrorist and armed groups.

Algeria

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

President Bouteflika hospitalised in France mid Jan renewing fears over his health. Bouteflika 17 Jan said elections scheduled for 17 April; Islamist parties Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) and Front for Change announced boycott. Ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) Sec Gen Amar Saadani reiterated Bouteflika likely candidate for polls; ex-PM Ali Benflis announced intention to run. Security forces 8 Jan killed 8 suspected terrorists near Bouira.

Tunisia

  |  1 Feb 2014

Improved

New constitution signed into law 27 Jan, day after passing National Constituent Assembly vote with 200 of 216 votes. Constitution clears way for new general elections, most secular democratic constitution in Arab world. Radical religious groups criticised secular orientation of constitution; internal tensions in Islamist an-Nahda party over compromises made to achieve breakthrough. PM Jomaa sworn in 10 Jan to replace an-Nahda-led Troika govt; Jomaa’s new caretaker cabinet approved by parliament 29 Jan. Scattered clashes and attempts to attack govt and political parties across country. Some opposition secularists appeared intent on “de-Islamising” administration, encouraging judges to start trials against an-Nahda ex-ministers over corruption accusations, links to terrorist groups. Protests over economic hardships increased: crowds protested new taxes in Tunis 10 Jan, tens reportedly arrested after clashing with police; same day man killed in clashes near Algerian border after protesters tried to storm customs office.

Libya

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

General National Congress (GNC) “roadmap” committee held consultations on length and modality of extension beyond Feb 2014; UNSMIL hosted several closed-door meetings; GNC 23 Dec voted to extend transition one year, set deadline for drafting constitution by Aug 2014. UNSC 19 Dec expressed concern over worsening security, political divisions, called on all parties to end violence and support democratic transition. GNC 4 Dec voted to make Sharia law foundation of national legislation. Militia blockading oil export terminals in east again called for autonomy of region, right to profit from oil exports, refused to end blockade; leader Ibrahim Jedran 15 Dec said he will begin selling oil outside govt channels and redistribute revenues to provinces according to pre-Qadhafi law; Libya Revolutionary Operations Room (LROR) 16 Dec said will liberate terminals by force. Assassination of security force members continued in east: at least 13 soldiers killed 21 Dec in car bomb explosion on checkpoint in Barsis, outside Benghazi. Benghazi military intelligence chief shot dead 21 Dec in Derna; army officer killed 26 Dec in Benghazi.

Mauritania

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Electoral commission 3 Dec announced results of legislative and municipal results held 23 Nov, said ruling party Union for the Republic (UPR) won landslide victory with 53 seats in national assembly; Islamist party Tawassoul came second with 12 seats. Thousands of Coordination for Democratic Opposition (COD) supporters protested 18 Dec in Nouakchott against “unilateral” elections.

Algeria

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Security forces 4 Dec killed leader of AQIM Ennour brigade Khalil Ould Addah (aka Abou Bassen) and 4 terrorists in Tamanrasset desert; 6-8 Dec continued combing operations near Ghardaïa in effort to root out “important AQIM group”; 13 Dec killed 2 alleged terrorists near Tizi Ouzou; 15 Dec shoot-out near Tizi Ouzou left 1 soldier injured. Intelligence services mid-month reportedly contacted Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghali to seek his assistance in liberating hostages abducted by MUJAO in Gao in April 2012. PM Abdelmalek Sellal 7 Dec said country will bolster security cooperation with Libya to stem arms proliferation. Govt 17 Dec said 220 terrorists killed since Jan 2013. Intercommunal clashes in Ghardaïa 25-27 Dec between Chaâmbis (Arabs) and Mozabites (Berbers) left dozens injured, including 40 policemen; govt deployed gendarmerie; president 31 Dec called for calm, dialogue.

Western Sahara

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Polisario Front 10 Dec declared that approval of new Protocol to EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) amounts to EU support for Morocco’s “illegal claims” on W Sahara; protests against agreement same day in Laayoune violently dispersed by police and army. UNGA 11 Dec adopted resolution reasserting support to negotiation process “to reach solution which allows Saharawi people to exercise right to self-determination”. Morocco, Polisario 1 Jan confirmed new round of talks will be held Jan in Sweden and Morocco.

Tunisia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

National Dialogue between governing Troika and opposition parties 14 Dec reached agreement on industry minister Mehdi Jomaa as technocratic caretaker PM to construct interim govt replacing Troika led by an-Nahda, and lead caretaker administration until elections. Jomaa 18 Dec said consultations on forming new interim govt “ongoing”. Compromises still needed on other issues including new constitution, new elections and reviewing some of an-Nahda’s public administration appointments. Landmine exploded 2 Dec during military operation against Islamist militants in Mount Chaambi, killing 1 soldier. President Marzouki provoked outrage with early Dec publication of “black book” detailing collaboration of public intellectuals, journalists and others with ousted Ben Ali regime. National Constituent Assembly 14 Dec adopted draft law on creation of transitional justice authority.

Algeria

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) 16 Nov designated President Bouteflika candidate for 2014 elections. Clashes between Chaambis (Arabs) and Mozabites (Berbers) 24 Nov in Ghardaïa wilaya left several injured. Hundreds of villagers east of Tizi Ouzou 7 Nov protested against insecurity.

Mauritania

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Legislative elections held 23 Nov with 60% turnout despite boycott by 10 parties belonging to Coordination for Democratic Opposition (COD), party of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Union for the Republic, likely winner; formerly banned Islamist party Tawassoul expected to win seats and come in second place.

Libya

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Misrata-affiliated armed groups 15 Nov opened fire against peaceful anti-militia demonstrators in Tripoli, killing over 40; public outrage and threat of further demonstrations pressured other armed militias to abandon capital and hand over bases. Army and civilians late Nov clashed with Ansar al-Sharia, armed Islamist group, in Benghazi; at least 9 killed. At least 10 killed in attack on weapons depot in Brak al-Shati 28 Nov. General National Congress (GNC) 12 Nov voted to place Libya Revolutionaries’ Operation Room (LROR), controversial security body accused of kidnapping PM Zeidan in Oct, under command of military Chief of Staff. Assassination of former security officials, especially in Benghazi and Derna, continued. Over 40 killed in explosion 29 Nov when locals tried to steal ammunition from weapons depot near Sabha in south.

Tunisia

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Political roadmap suffered setbacks as National Dialogue (ND) suspended after parties 4 Nov failed to reach consensus on PM candidate and opposition accused ruling Islamist party An-Nahda of stalling process to maintain power. Court 11 Nov rejected all nominees for Independent High Electoral Commission (ISIE) tasked with organising upcoming elections, said candidates failed to meet legal standards. Opposition politicians and ruling coalition member Ettakatol 7 Nov suspended participation in National Constituent Assembly (NCA) to protest amendments to NCA procedures by ruling Islamist party An-Nahda; An-Nahda 20 Nov withdrew amendments. President Marzouki 3 Nov extended state of emergency until June 2014. National Guard 12 Nov launched operations against radical Salafist group Ansar al-Sharia (AS): arrested AS deputy leader Wael Amami in Kairouan, spokesman Seifeddine Rais in Sidi Bouzid and released them few days later; killed 1 suspected militant, arrested 8 in Nagga firefight. 3 landmines exploded in Mount Chaambi area 17 Nov, woman injured; security forces said mines “recently planted by terrorists”. Police 6 Nov arrested suspect accused of involvement in 23 Oct Sidi Bouzid killing of 6 soldiers. Protests in towns of Siliana, Gafsa during general strike against govt on 26 Nov led to dozens wounded, rioting.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Following “acts of provocation and hostility” from Algeria, including 28 Oct African Conference of Solidarity with Sahrawi people in Abuja where speech read out on behalf of President Bouteflika called on UN to support efforts aimed at setting up international mechanism to monitor “massive and systematic human rights violations”, Morocco 30 Oct called back ambassador in Algiers. King Mohammed VI 6 Nov accused “foes” of buying opinions hostile to Morocco; Algerian PM Sellal 7 Nov said country “did not want to teach any of its neighbours lessons, and only wanted to live in peace”. Nationalist Istiqlal party called for Morocco to “recover territory in south east that Algeria took by force”.

Libya

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Gunmen 10 Oct kidnapped PM Ali Zeidan for several hours, allegedly in retaliation for Zeidan’s tacit approval of U.S.-led capture of former al-Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi early Oct. Zeidan blamed abduction on 2 congressmen Mohammed al-Kilani and Mustafa al-Triki and Libya Revolutionaries’ Operation Room (LROR), controversial security body with ties to Islamist groups that operates under authority of Libyan Congress (GNC) head. Abdelmonem Essid, member of other state-approved security group, subsequently took responsibility, said group seized Zeidan over drug and corruption allegations. 94 congressmen 27 Oct boycotted GNC to protest obstruction of investigation into Zeidan’s abduction, called for LROR’s dismissal. Russian embassy attacked 3 Oct, 2 killed and diplomatic staff evacuated; car bomb 11 Oct struck Swedish-Finish consulate in Benghazi. Attacks targeting security officials increased: gunmen 5 Oct killed 16 army officers at checkpoint near Tarhouna, SW of Tripoli; at least 10 security officials killed in separate attacks in Benghazi. Muslim cleric Abdulsalam al-Hassi of Benghazi killed 12 Oct. Oil shutdowns in west reduced crude exports to below 10% of capacity late Oct. ICC 12 Oct gave Libya green light to try Qadhafi-era security chief Abdullah Senussi.

Mauritania

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Opposition coalition Coordination for Democratic Opposition (COD) 2 Oct suspended participation in first dialogue with govt in 4 years, but authorities 3 Oct said they will maintain 23 Nov date for legislative elections. 10 of 11 COD parties 4 Oct announced boycott but Islamist party Tawassoul and Union of Forces of Progress (UFP) 5 Oct said they will participate, prompting uncertainty over future of coalition.

Algeria

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 2 Oct arrested 5 Tunisians belonging to Salafi movement Ansar al-Sharia; 16 Oct killed 1 suspected terrorist on Bejaia-Bordj Bou Arredji border; 16 Oct captured prominent AQIM member Bousad “Hanafi” Hammadi in Tamanrasset; 18 Oct arrested 2 alleged jihadis returning from Iraq. Bomb 3 Oct near Bouira left 3 injured; 15 Oct bomb targeted gendarmerie in Bordj Bou Arredji. Authorities reported 190 terrorists killed since beginning of year. Govt 1 Oct deployed security forces in Ghardaïa following intercommunal clashes between Chaâmbis (Arabs) and Mozabites (Berbers). Authorities mid-month reportedly arrested blogger Abdelghani Aloui on suspicion of inciting terrorism, criticising President Bouteflika.

Tunisia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

National Dialogue (ND) began 25 Oct based on new political roadmap signed 5 Oct following months of negotiations. Roadmap stipulates govt to step down within 3 weeks of start of ND, Constituent Assembly to finish constitution within 4 weeks, with new technocratic caretaker govt to govern until elections (date of which to be set prior to govt dissolution). Ruling Islamist party An-Nahda signed document, but 15 Oct said it will only leave office once constitution is ratified, electoral law reformed, independent electoral commission established, dates set for parliamentary, presidential elections; opposition National Salvation Front 23 Oct held demonstrations in protest, said An-Nahda delaying transition. Security situation remained unstable amid increased Islamist militant attacks. Suicide bomber 30 Oct detonated bomb in tourist resort Sousse, no injuries; police arrested second would-be suicide bomber in Monastir and 5 suspects in Sousse, said all belong to Salafi group Ansar al-Sharia. Militants 23 Oct killed 7 security officers near Sidi Ali Ben Aoun in Sidi Bouzid governorate, 17 Oct killed 2 police in Goubellat. PM Laraayedh 18 Oct said Tunisia would defeat “terrorism”; army stepped up operations, 21 Oct killed 9 militants in Goubellat, including Lotfi Ezzine, allegedly involved in assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi; 20 Oct killed 10 militants allegedly belonging to Ansar al-Sharia near Algerian border.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Police 19 Oct violently dispersed pro-independence protesters in Laayoune during 3-day visit by UN envoy Christopher Ross aimed at breaking deadlock; 20 Oct reportedly wounded 20 protesters in Smara. Ross 30 Oct presented report to UNSC, announced launch of new phase in negotiations based on discreet and separate bilateral exchanges with each party. UN Special Committee on Decolonisation 14 Oct adopted resolution reiterating need for negotiated settlement. Morocco 30 Oct recalled ambassador to Algeria over President Bouteflika’s remarks accusing Morocco of “massive and systematic human rights violations” in W Sahara.

Algeria

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

President Bouteflika 11 Sept reshuffled cabinet: appointed close aides to defence and interior ministries; ally Abdelmalek Sellal retained PM post; 22 Sept appointed Gen Abdelhamid Bendaoud head of Department of Internal Security (DSI) and Gen Mohamed Bouzit head of intelligence service’s external relations directorate. Security forces 5 Sept killed 7 reported terrorists attempting to cross into Mauritania; 9 Sept killed 2 in Tizi Ouzou and Boumerdès regions; 23 Sept killed 2 in Boumerdès province. Govt 7 Sept deployed 3,000 additional soldiers along borders with Tunisia and Libya.

Libya

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Oil sector disruptions continued: General National Congress’ (GNC) Crisis Committee 16 Sept announced deal to end port blockade reached, but protesters who shut down oil terminals denied any negotiation with state officials. Key pipeline reopened mid-Sept after GNC-led negotiations. Protesters 29 Sept shut down major Wafa gas field along Algeria border; Berber protesters 30 Sept shut off gas pipeline citing marginalisation in new constitution. Political tensions increased with mounting calls for PM Zeidan’s departure; GNC Security Committee member Abdulomonen Alyaser late Sept said IMF raised “red flag” over economy and govt’s direction. SW region Fezzan 26 Sept reportedly declared itself autonomous federal province. Security remained fragile with continued targeted assassinations including 3 security officers killed 29 Sept in Benghazi, and explosions including bombing of Benghazi branch of Foreign Ministry 11 Sept.

Tunisia

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Ongoing mediation efforts attempting to end political deadlock between Islamist-dominated governing Troika and secular opposition. Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) 16 Sept pushed for new transition plan calling for ruling An-Nahda party to step down; An-Nahda initially rejected proposition. UGTT 28 Sept reported An-Nahda agreed to step down in Oct after 3 weeks of talks, hand over power to caretaker govt to oversee elections. An-Nahda leaders later said govt would not resign before agreement on constitution and launch of electoral campaign. Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou 13 Sept acknowledged his ministry received information from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) regarding potential threat to opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi prior to his assassination in July, prompting outrage, opposition demands for inquiry. Media strike 17 Sept following further arrests of journalists.

Mauritania

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

President Ould Abdel Aziz 19 Sept announced cabinet reshuffle, appointed 6 new ministers. UNHCR envoy Athar Sultan-Khan 22 Sept met with PM Laghdaf to discuss plight of Malian refugees in Mauritania. News agency ANI 16 Sept released AQIM video showing 4 Frenchmen abducted in Niger in 2010. 

Libya

  |  1 Sep 2013

Deteriorated

Oil exports dropped 70% after protests by armed groups protecting ports shut down oil terminals late July; groups involved in the ports’ closure 17 Aug declared Barqa (Cyrenaica) autonomous federal province, attempted black market sale of Libyan oil; govt threatened use of force against group and any oil companies’ vessels trading with them. Insecurity and targeted assassinations continued in Benghazi including killing of reporter Izzedin Qassad 9 Aug and anti-explosive officer Mustafa al-Maghribi 23 Aug. Attack on police station in Sebha, SW, 26 Aug reportedly killed 11. At least 4 killed, several injured 25 Aug in clashes between Wersheffana tribe and residents of Zawiya town near Tripoli; govt late month said “Shield” forces intervened to end clashes following mediation. Ethnic Berbers 13 Aug stormed National Congress calling for greater recognition, PM Zeidan 25 Aug announced launch of national dialogue initiative. Deputy PM Awad Baraasi resigned 3 Aug over “dysfunctional govt”; Interior Minister Mohammed Khalifa al-Sheikh resigned 18 Aug after 3 months in post citing lack of support from PM Zeidan, interference by National Congress members. Prosecutor 27 Aug said Saif Gadhafi trial to begin in Tripoli 19 Sept.

Algeria

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Authorities reported thwarting multiple terrorist attacks targeting govt infrastructure. Security forces 20 Aug defused 3 bombs in separate operations in Dellys and Bouira provinces, 19 Aug engaged in violent shootout with gunmen near Lakhdaria following bomb explosion targeting gendarmerie. Other reported incidents during month included: bomb explosion near Tizi Ouzou 4 Aug which wounded 2 soldiers; 3 police, 1 gunman killed in shoot-out near Tizi Ouzou 6 Aug; shoot-out in Bouira province left gunman dead 8 Aug; 2 alleged terrorists killed 13-14 Aug in shootout between towns of Bouira and Bordj Bou Arreridj. Former AQIM emir and current head of Blood Signatories jihadi group Mokhtar Belmokhtar 22 Aug said joining forces with Mali-based MUJAO to create new “Al-Murabitounes” group; also swore allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Police 4 Aug detained former VP of Islamic Salvation Front Ali Benhadj. Clashes between Tuareg Idnan and Berabish Arab tribes in Bordj Badji el-Mokhtar 13-17 Aug left at least 15 dead, 50 injured. Military 1 Aug announced deployment of additional battalions to Tunisian border, raising forces to estimated 8,000-strong. President Bouteflika 21 Aug reportedly authorised ruling National Liberation Front to convene central committee with view to electing new secretary general, putting end to 6-month deadlock within party; central committee 29 Aug elected new secretary general Amar Saadani, reportedly close to Bouteflika.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Senior Polisario Front leader Mustapha Bachir Essaid 14 Aug said Polisario “does not exclude return to armed struggle” if Morocco continues to delay negotiation process. Controversy over extension of MINURSO mandate continued: Mahrez Lamari, chairman of Algerian National Committee for Solidarity with Sahrawi People (CNASPS), 17 Aug called on UN to protect human rights in W Sahara; President of European Conference of Coordination and Support to the Sahrawi People (EUCOCO) 15 Aug denounced France’s “perverse” role in blocking enlargement of MINURSO mandate.

Tunisia

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Ongoing pro- and anti-govt protests and sit-ins as political crisis remained unresolved. Early month saw exchange of fire with counter-terrorism units as they raided private homes. After extensive negotiations within governing Troika and with opposition, ruling Islamist An-Nahda party 22 Aug agreed to start national dialogue with opposition using framework proposed late-July by Tunisian General Labour Union, which entails forming new govt and expert constitutional committee to review constitution draft. However opposition 23 Aug rejected An-Nahda proposal, 24 Aug started week of protest called Rahil (“Departure”) aiming to dissolve govt and National Constituent Assembly, remove An-Nahda-appointed officials. Army 12 Aug launched airstrikes against Islamist militants in Mount Chaambi near Algerian border, after 1 soldier killed and 7 wounded in landmine explosion 4 Aug.

Mauritania

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Govt 3 Aug scheduled legislative, municipal elections for 12 Oct; opposition movement Coordination for Democratic Opposition (COD) called move “unilateral provocation”, threatened boycott; National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) 22 Aug postponed polls to 23 Nov. Govt signed military cooperation agreement with Niger. President Abdel Aziz confirmed country will participate in UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Algeria

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

President Bouteflika 16 July returned following 82-day stay in France for medical reasons. Reported incidents during month included: security forces 6 July killed 7 Malian AQIM members near border; 19 July killed 4 gunmen during raid in Bouira province; same day killed 3 gunmen and destroyed vehicle carrying military equipment, reportedly from Libya; 27 July killed 2 “terrorists” in Illizi. Govt reported AQIM detonated bomb in Tizi Ouzou 16 July, ahead of visit by PM Sellal. Bomb explosion in Bouira province 23 July killed 2. 1 soldier reported killed 29 July in bomb explosion in Yakourène region, near Tizi Ouzou.

Libya

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Tensions between armed groups over lucrative rights to protect petroleum facilities continued to rise in Tripoli following late June clashes. Brigade early July occupied interior ministry, prompting National Forces Alliance coalition to boycott congress sessions. Congress approved electoral law 17 July; Congress deputy president resigned same day, followed by 4 congressmen from minority groups who said law did not include previously agreed “consensus clause”. Hundreds demonstrated in Tripoli 7 July to demand departure of militias, creation of national security services. Attacks in east continued: military chief of Cyrenaica Council Hamed al-Hassi injured in gunman attack in Benghazi 4 July; air force Colonel Fathi al-Omami killed in Derna 15 July; retired air force colonel and senior policeman killed in separate attacks in Benghazi 27 July; bomb attack on Benghazi police station 24 July; activist Abdelsalam al-Mismari assassinated 27 July; over 1,000 inmates fled Benghazi prison after riot 28 July. UAE embassy targeted in rocket attack 25 July. ICC denied govt request to suspend surrender of Saif Qadhafi to The Hague.

Tunisia

  |  1 Aug 2013

Deteriorated

Assassination of opposition MP Mohammed Brahmi by salafi in Tunis 25 July, reportedly using same gun that killed leading opposition figure in Feb, prompted widespread protests, increased political polarisation across country. 2 major opposition parties Nidaa Tounes and Popular Front called for dissolution of govt and National Constituent Assembly (NCA), on basis that ruling Islamist An-Nahda has failed to govern and maintain security and lacks legitimacy in light of failure to complete constitution-drafting process. 65 opposition members withdrew from NCA following assassination, demanding national salvation govt. Tunisian General Labour Union called for “competence govt” and establishment of expert constitutional committee, supported by other unions. Governing troika member Ettakatol 29 July joined calls for govt resignation. PM Larayedh 29 July declared govt will “continue to perform its duties”, urged adopting constitution by end Aug, finalising electoral law Oct to hold presidential elections on 17 Dec. One hour later army reported al-Qaeda-linked militants killed 9 soldiers near Mount Chaambi at Algerian border; emotions running high in wake of attack. Following Brahmi assassination, thousands of pro- and anti-govt protesters staging sit-ins in front of NCA, tensions increasing between camps. An-Nahda end-month said open to forming new govt. Discussions within governing troika and with opposition focused on form of govt: political led by An-Nahda or neutral (competence govt or national salvation govt); and whether to dissolve NCA, opposed by An-Nahda. Bomb exploded on road near Tunis 31 July.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Following acquisition of 24 U.S.-made F-16 jetfighters and 200 Abrams-type tanks by Morocco, Algerian army announced allocating additional $300m in military equipment to Polisario Front.

Mauritania

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 7-9 July arrested at least 22 “Black” Mauritanians and Senegalese following intercommunal clashes in Kaedi; various rights groups called for their release. Islamist Tawassoul party 13 July accused govt of failing to respond adequately, authorities 15 July released 9 detainees.

Algeria

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Month saw increased tension within elites and ruling parties as uncertainty over President Bouteflika’s health and succession continued. Security forces 31 May-4 June clashed with students at Bejaïa University, 9 June arrested 15 students attempting to stage rally. Institute for Security Studies 21 June said Algeria at “epicentre” of 10,000 terrorist attacks in Africa in last decade. Terrorist attack near Bouira injured 2 soldiers 8 June; suspected terrorists 17 June launched mortar attack on Zbarbar army barracks. Security forces killed, captured several terrorists during month. U.S. offered up to $5m for information leading to capture/death of former AQIM emir Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa 24 June said willing to exchange Algerian hostage for 3 jihadis.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma 4 June called on Morocco to end occupation of Western Sahara, stop persecuting Sahrawi people. EU parliamentary delegation 24 June visited territory capital Layyoune to inquire about rights situation.

Libya

  |  1 Jul 2013

Deteriorated

Violence increased throughout month sparking fears in some quarters of renewed civil conflict. Over 30 killed 8 June during infighting in Benghazi between army and govt-allied Libya Shield unit; army chief of Staff Youssef al-Mangoush resigned following incident. Gunmen 14 June attacked at least 6 security buildings in Benghazi, killed 9 soldiers in Benghazi and Mizda; gunmen 19 June bombed empty National Security Directorate building in Benghazi, opened fire on Border Guard Authority. UK and Italy offered training for 7,000 National Guard members following call from PM Zeidan for increased international support for rebuilding army. Disputes over oil continued: protesters repeatedly halted production, armed groups continue to compete over rights to secure oil terminals; drop in oil production increasing risks of destabilisation. Pro-revolution militia infighting 24-26 June in Tripoli, which began over guarding of an oil facility, left 10 dead and over 100 wounded; Defence Minister Mohammed al-Bargathi resigned. Car bombings in Sebha 25 June killed 2, injured 17.

“Deathtoll from Libyan clashes rises to five, 97 wounded”, Reuters, 27 June 2013.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Widening rift between secularists and Islamists with several arrests of secular activists. Draft constitution completed 1 June, prompted further debate in National Constituent Assembly on role of Islam in Tunisian state and long-term aims of coalition-leading Islamist party An-Nahda. Standoff between govt and Islamist groups including Ansar al-Sharia continued; operation against jihadi militants near Algerian border left 3 soldiers wounded 1 June, 3 soldiers killed 6 June (2 by mine explosions) in Chaambi mountains.

Algeria

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Security forces 8 May killed 4 suspected terrorists in Tizi Ouzou, 3 in Bouhmidane region; 26 May violently dispersed youths protesting against unemployment near PM’s office. Military operations against AQIM in Bouira 14 May left 3 soldiers dead. Bomb attack near Boumerdès 8 May left 2 dead, several injured. Govt 15 May deployed 6,000 troops to Tunisia border to “prevent infiltration of armed Islamist groups”. Court 5 May sentenced 2 Islamists for complicity in murder and rape of some 500 people between 1996 and 2004; court 20 May sentenced 14 members of Malian National Movement for Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) for arms trafficking, entering illegally. Political uncertainty related to President Bouteflika’s health since hospitalisation in Paris in April continued; govt 19 May censored Mon Journal and Djaridati newspapers for attempting to report on president’s “coma”; press denounced lack of transparency from govt. Bouteflika transferred to Hôpital des Invalides 21 May, prompting speculation that his condition has worsened. Socialist Forces Front leader Hocine Aït Ahmed 24 May announced resignation.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Pro-independence rallies held almost daily following April renewal of MINURSO peacekeeping mandate, especially in Laâyoune, Smara and Boujdour. Amnesty International 23 May condemned authorities’ use of “excessive force” to quell protests and continued targeting of Sahrawi human rights defenders and self-determination advocates. MINURSO 17 May discharged Egyptian soldier accused of inciting young Sahrawis from Tindouf to “claim their rights”.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Tensions between An-Nahda govt and Salafi group Ansar al-Sharia increased. Ansar al-Sharia 20 May staged banned rally; 1 killed, 15 wounded, 274 arrested in clashes with police in Tunis and Kairouan. Group’s annual meeting scheduled for 19 May banned by govt; PM Larayedh 19 May called group “illegal”, said group “involved in terrorism”. Troops deployed 1 May to Mount Chaambi region to hunt al-Qaeda-affiliated group believed responsible for increase in landmines in area; 12 security officers reportedly injured 6 May by landmines; pursuit of another jihadist group in the northern Kef region, near Algerian border, ongoing.

Libya

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

General National Congress (GNC) 5 May passed controversial and sweeping “political isolation” law following severe pressure from militias, sparking protests in major cities; law prohibits high-ranking Qadhafi-era officials from political office for decade. Implementation of law expected to result in major cabinet reshuffle, replacement of some 30 GNC members; GNC president and former Qadhafi-era diplomat Mohammed Magharief resigned 28 May. New interior minister Mohammed al-Sheikh took office 30 May following resignation of Ashour Shwayel. 4 killed, 20 injured 13 May in explosion at Benghazi hospital; govt said explosion accident but residents blamed govt for failing to protect city and take action against militias. Govt forces 22 May reportedly arrested armed group in Benghazi, seized 22 anti-tank mines. Militia 26 May reportedly attacked gas complex near Zwara in West. Interior Affairs Minister Omar al-Khadraoui 27 May announced new security plan for foreign embassies following increased threats. ICC 31 May rejected Libya’s admissibility challenge in Saif al-Islam Qadhafi case, said Libya not ready to conduct trial.

Mauritania

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

Court 13 May sentenced Canadian citizen Aaron Yoon to 10 years’ prison for links with terrorist group responsible for Jan 2013 In Amenas hostage crisis. Court 14 May sentenced gendarme convicted of spying for al-Qaeda to 10 years’ hard labour. Mali Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine spokesman surrendered to authorities 18 May.

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CrisisWatch N°128

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