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CrisisWatch Database

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Western Sahara

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
UNSC 29 April passed U.S.-drafted resolution renewing MINURSO mandate for one year, urging return of political component of mission, expelled by Morocco in March, within 90 days. Gulf Cooperation Council rulers in Riyadh 20 April backed Morocco after March spike in tensions with UN.

Tunisia

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Security forces 7 April killed two alleged jihadists in NW. IMF 15 April agreed in principle to four-year $2.8bn loan to support economic reforms. Police violently repressed protests early April on Kerkennah island against British oil company Petrofac over jobs it pledged for youth, provoked riots that led to army replacing police and national guard.

Mauritania

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Appeal court in SW Nouadhibou 21 April upheld death sentence for blogger Mohamed Mkhaitir convicted of apostasy Dec 2014, referred case to Supreme Court which can reduce sentence if it finds defendant repentant. Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders condemned ruling, called on court to repeal sentence. OHCHR 26 April deplored confirmation of sentence.

Libya

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
UN-backed PM Serraj made some progress putting in place Govt of National Accord (GNA) after arriving in Tripoli 30 March with six Presidential Council (PC) members. Despite clashes between rival militia in Tripoli 30 and 31 March, several local armed groups declared loyalty to GNA, many municipalities in west and main financial institutions recognised Serraj’s authority. Pre-existing rival Tripoli-based PM Khalifa Ghweil reported 5 April to have handed over power, 6 April denied it. Several armed groups in Tripoli announced their opposition to Serraj’s rule starting 6 April. Tripoli-based Mufti al-Sadeq al-Ghariani continued to consider GNA illegitimate. Disaffection with GNA grew in east following Serraj’s co-option of members of Tripoli-based Libya Dawn military alliance, election 6 April of Abderrahman Swehli as head of new advisory State Council loyal to PC, and visits of several European FMs to express support. Members of eastern-based House of Representatives (HoR) opposed to GNA repeatedly delayed vote to endorse it. GNA 18 April took over two ministries in Tripoli; 25 April said it had taken control of five others, including foreign ministry. GNA 28 April announced plans to establish joint military command against Islamic State. In defiance of GNA, eastern-based authorities approved export of crude oil that left Tobruk by sea 26 April. Tripoli said sale illegal, UN added tanker to sanctions blacklist; Malta, where transfer to take place, blocked tanker’s arrival.

Egypt

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Italy 8 April withdrew ambassador to protest authorities’ lack of collaboration investigating killing of Italian student Giulio Regeni whose body was found Feb with signs of torture, urged other EU members to press Egypt on case. Reuters 21 April reported that security services had detained Regeni 25 Jan, contradicting previous denial by Egyptian officials that he had been in custody. Saudi King Salman, French President Hollande, U.S. Sec State Kerry and others visited during month, pledged security support. Govt’s 9 April announcement that it would hand over to Saudi Arabia two strategic Red Sea islands as kingdom pledged $20bn aid and investment package sparked public indignation; demonstrators 15 April called for “downfall of regime” in largest protests since 2013, authorities 25 April dispersed crowds with teargas. Lawyers 23 April said dozens of anti-govt activists arrested since 21 April. Violence in Sinai continued: at least six soldiers and one civilian killed 7 April in two roadside bomb blasts, Islamic State claimed responsibility; four soldiers killed in ambush 9 April.

Algeria

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Tensions marred French PM Valls’s visit 9-10 April: govt denied visas to two French media outlets, prompting several others to not cover trip; Valls’s tweet of picture of President Bouteflika looking ill provoked backlash from Algerian authorities. Valls reiterated France’s aim to remain Algeria’s “leading economic partner”, a dozen contracts signed. Security forces continued raids. In south, army 4 April killed four armed Islamists, seized arms in El Oued; found arms caches south of Adrar 10 April and in Kouinine 15 March. In north, army 28 April killed two armed Islamists, recovered arms in Boumerdes province; 29 April killed three in Skikda region.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Apr 2016

Deteriorated
Tensions between Morocco and UN spiked after UNSG Ban early March referred to “occupation” of Western Sahara during visit to Polisario Front-controlled Bir Lehlou in Western Sahara and refugee camps in Algeria. Morocco 8 March accused Ban of bias; hundreds of thousands protested 13 March in Rabat. Morocco 16 March announced $3mn cut for MINURSO peacekeeping mission; 20 March expelled over 80 civilian MINURSO staff from Western Sahara; next day asked UN to close its military liaison office in Western Sahara; called these decisions “irreversible”. Polisario Front 17 March said Morocco intended to end MINURSO mission, which would hasten “resumption of war”. UN spokesman 28 March said Ban regrets “misunderstanding”, UN remains neutral; Morocco 29 March rejected UN explanation, claimed Ban’s words were premeditated but said it was ready to engage in dialogue with UN.

Tunisia

  |  1 Apr 2016

Deteriorated

At least 50 Islamic State (IS) militants 7 March stormed Ben Guerdane, 30km from Libyan border, attempting to overwhelm key security installations; reportedly called for insurrection of local population, tried to distribute weapons. Several hundred armed forces eliminated around 40 fighters in ensuing battle, ten more (mostly Tunisians) killed over following days; thirteen security personnel and seven civilians died during clashes. Intelligence sources suggest attack long-planned, brought forward after 19 Feb U.S. strike on IS training camp in Libya in which 49 suspected militants were killed, mostly Tunisians. Authorities 22 March reopened border crossings with Libya after two-week closure. President Essebsi 22 March said state of emergency imposed following Nov 2015 bomb attack on bus in Tunis extended for three months.

Libya

  |  1 Apr 2016

Deteriorated Risk Alert
UN-backed PM Serraj 30 March arrived by sea in Tripoli after U.S. and several European countries 13 March recognised new Govt of National Accord (GNA) as only legitimate govt without waiting for formal vote of endorsement of Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) and without official backing of country’s military factions. Tripoli-based PM Khalifa Ghweil 15 March said he would consider GNA operating in capital illegal, 27 March closed city’s airport, allegedly to prevent arrival of GNA members, while Tobruk-based govt 18 March warned that moves to impose GNA risk deepening crisis. Commanders of armed brigades in Tripoli 23 March rejected GNA and denounced efforts to bring it to capital. Pro- and anti-GNA militias clashed in Tripoli 28 March. UN envoy Martin Kobler 30 March urged “peaceful and orderly handover of power”. Foreign backers of UN process giving contradictory signals: Egyptian President Sisi 17 March urged Western countries to support eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of anti-GNA General Haftar, which in late Feb made advances in Benghazi against forces allied to Benghazi Shura Council coalition of Islamist militias; Special Forces from several Western and regional powers allegedly provided support to LNA in Benghazi. New Islamic State (IS) leader in Libya Abdul Qadr al-Najdi 10 March said group gaining strength. Suspected IS militants 14 March attacked water plant 80km from major Sarir oil field. Kobler 17 March said situation “going from bad to worse”, warned of IS expansion.

Egypt

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
President Sisi 22 March convened emergency security meeting, called for complete coordination between army and police after recent uptick in militant attacks in N Sinai, where incidents included: two members of security forces and medic killed in ambush 6 March; roadside bomb killed two police 7 March; at least five soldiers killed in attack on base 16 March; fifteen police killed and three reportedly taken hostage 19 March in attack claimed by Islamic State (IS) affiliate. Security forces registered some successes, including: 20 suspected militants reported killed in airstrike 1 March; fighter jets 9 March targeted IS affiliate training camp, leaving seventeen dead. Egyptian-led committee investigating Oct 2015 crash of Russian passenger plane in Sinai said it was referring case to Egypt’s attorney general, giving first indication it suspects plane was brought down intentionally. PM Sherif Ismail 23 March announced cabinet reshuffle, ten new ministers including finance and investment sworn in; govt 27 March presented program of economic and other reforms to parliament, said any spending cuts will be accompanied by protection net for poor. Central Bank mid-March devalued Egyptian pound 15%; move welcomed by many to fight black market trading, but concerns about impact on inflation. Judicial commission 18 March ordered freezing assets of four rights activists, including investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat and lawyer Gamal Eid, on charges they received $1.5mn from foreign parties; Cairo Criminal Court 24 March postponed decision to 20 April. UN human rights chief 23 March expressed grave concern over prosecutions of human rights defenders and shutdown of civil society.

Algeria

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Army 10 March killed three al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militants including emir Abou Hatim, in El Oued near Tunisian border and seized significant weapons cache; 21 March killed six suspected militants also in El Oued. Militants 18 March fired grenades at gas plants at In Salah field in Krechba area, Ghardaia province, no reported casualties; AQIM claimed responsibility, army reportedly killed four militants responsible. Police 23 March shot dead militant wearing suicide belt in Maatkas near Tizi Ouzou. Security forces 26 March killed three suspected militants in Tizi Ouzou. Dozens of sub-Saharan African migrants injured in clashes with Algerians in western Bechar 25 March.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Morocco suspended contact with EU institutions 25 Feb over a Dec European Court of Justice decision to void trade deal because it included disputed Western Sahara territory. EU appealed decision 23 Feb, Morocco believed to have objected to wording of appeal. UN spokesman said UNSG Ban would travel to Moroccan capital and Western Sahara later in the year rather than during regional tour planned for March.

Tunisia

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

President Essebsi consulted with former and current prominent political figures on how to avoid political crisis, following social unrest 16-22 Jan at level unseen since 2010-2011. Protests called for action on youth unemployment, regional inequalities and clientelism in filling public-sector jobs, also calls for new govt. Amid political pressure from opposition including dissident wing of Nida Tounes party, govt reportedly considering replacing PM Essid. Authorities 4 Feb lifted curfew imposed 22 Jan. Essebsi 21 Feb said state of emergency imposed following Nov 2015 bomb attack on bus that killed twelve in Tunis extended for another month until 22 March. Construction of barrier along border with Libya completed 6 Feb. FM Jhinaoui 14 Feb declared opposition to international intervention against Islamic State (IS) in Libya. U.S. strike on IS training camp in Libya 19 Feb reportedly killed 39 Tunisians, including extremist leader believed to be behind 2015 Tunis and Sousse attacks. UK announced it will send troops to help stop IS crossing into Tunisia from Libya.

Libya

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Efforts to form Govt of National Accord (GNA) remain unsuccessful. Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) 23 Feb postponed by one week vote on slimmed-down cabinet of thirteen ministers plus five ministers of state, presented by Presidency Council 15 Feb after HoR 25 Jan rejected first cabinet line-up. PM-designate Serraj’s renewed nomination for defence minister of Benghazi army commander Mahdi al-Barghathi triggered opposition from supporters in HoR of eastern strongman General Haftar; inclusion of two former senior officials from Qadhafi regime provoked resentment among constituencies in western Libya initially supportive of UN-led mediation, now calling for removal of Serraj and reshuffling of presidential council. Illegal war economy becoming further entrenched amid plummeting state reserves, weakening Libyan dinar black market exchange rate and rising living costs; protesters in Shahat 7 Feb denounced deteriorating living conditions including blackouts, shortages of cash, bread, and fuel; UN humanitarian coordinator 22 Feb said country faces severe medicine shortages. Erratic violence continued. Eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) 23 Feb said it had taken control of Benghazi’s Boatni and Laithi districts and claimed advances in several other areas, despite two LNA MIGs crashing/being shot down over Derna and Benghazi early Feb. U.S. airstrike against suspected Islamic State (IS) training camp near Sabratha 19 Feb killed around 40 people. Clashes between IS affiliates and fighters loyal to Tripoli-based govt from Sabratha and nearby cities left dozens dead over following days, including some eleven security officers beheaded by IS supporters in Sabratha police station. UN human rights chief late Feb reported all sides committing human rights abuses possibly amounting to war crimes.

Egypt

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Hundreds protested outside Cairo security directorate 18 Feb after policeman shot dead civilian; policeman held responsible reportedly detained. Thousands of doctors 12 Feb protested against police abuses following accusations policemen beat two doctors in Cairo 28 Jan. Missing Italian student found dead outside Cairo 3 Feb with signs of torture; interior minister 8 Feb denied allegations security forces responsible. President Sisi 19 Feb told interior minister to crack down on police abuse. In first address to new parliament Sisi 13 Feb praised transition but noted problems including slow economy and extremism. In 24 Feb speech Sisi railed against “unjustified” media criticism of govt, said national unity, not democracy, should be priority. Two suspected militants killed in police raid in Cairo 3 Feb; police 7 Feb shot dead four suspected members of militant group Ajnad Misr near Cairo. Gunmen 16 Feb opened fire on checkpoint in southern Cairo, one policeman killed. Health ministry 17 Feb ordered closure of prominent human rights organisation for allegedly violating permit; prominent rights activist Hossam Bahgat banned from traveling 23 Feb. Court 3 Feb overturned death sentences for 149 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, ordered retrial.

Algeria

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Parliament 7 Feb overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments proposed by President Bouteflika; 74 amendments include reinstating two-term limit for president, making Tamazight an official language and banning binationals from senior govt posts. Head of leading human rights organisation and five trade unionists arrested at peaceful meeting early Feb. Defence Ministry reported soldiers 17 Feb killed two suspected terrorists in Douar Bousmail.

Tunisia

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged
PM Habib Essid 2 Jan announced cabinet shuffle changing two-thirds of ministers including justice, interior and foreign affairs. Splits in President Essebsi’s Nida Tounes (NT) continued over growing role of president’s son Hafedh Béji Caïd Essebsi’s in party: over two dozen lawmakers resigned 8, 13 Jan. Hafedh Béji Caïd Essebsi sought rapprochement with An-Nahda party, inviting party leader Rached Ghannouchi to NT congress mid-Jan. Following NT resignations, Islamist party An-Nahda became largest party in parliament 11 Jan with 69 seats, although Nida Tounes (now with only 64 seats) continues to lead governing coalition. Social unrest sparked off by protests against unemployment 19-20 Jan spread across country; clashes with police, arson attacks on four police stations, looting of banks and shops, roadblocks reported nights of 18-21 Jan. Nationwide night curfew 22 January helped calm situation.

Libya

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged
Setback for implementation of 17 Dec Libya Political Agreement (LPA) and formation of Govt of National Accord (GNA) after some 104 members of Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) 25 Jan rejected cabinet line-up proposed by Presidency Council 18 Jan, asked PM-designate Serraj to resubmit proposal with fewer ministers. Two of nine Presidency Council members opposing new govt suspended their participation from body, then returned after HoR decision. Disagreements persist over HoR’s insistence on removal of Article 8 of LPA regarding transfer of military power to Presidency Council if no agreement reached on Supreme Commander of Armed Forces within twenty days of ratification; Tripoli-based General National Congress 27 Jan said it opposed any change to LPA. Nomination for defence minister of Mahdi al-Barghathi, critic of commander of eastern-based Libyan National Army General Haftar, accelerated splits within army. Islamic State (IS) affiliates increased raids on oil infrastructure, including 4-6 Jan attack on Sidra terminal in Sirte basin, resulting in eleven guards and dozens of militants reported killed; and attacks on nearby Ras Lanuf oil port 7 and 21 Jan. Militants 8-9 Jan attacked power plant in Benghazi. At least 50 killed by truck bomb targeting police academy in Zliten 7 Jan; IS claimed responsibility. IS affiliates consolidated authority in Ben Jawwad town west of Sidra terminal. Deadly fighting reignited between Tebu and Tuareg armed groups in Obari 10 Jan despite local peace deal.

Egypt

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged
Parliament 10 Jan convened first session since June 2012, marking official completion of transitional roadmap announced July 2013. Independents form majority of seats reserved for individual candidates, with 318 of 448 seats; 67 seats for largest party Free Egyptians. 120 seats reserved for party-based lists all went to pro-regime “For the Love of Egypt” coalition. Some independent candidates initially refused to swear constitutional oath of loyalty because it praised Jan 2011 revolution, prompting controversy. Parliament set to review hundreds of laws issued by executive decree since July 2013; approved some controversial laws including counter-terrorism law, passed 17 Jan. Violence continued in N Sinai as phase two of counter-insurgency campaign launched early Jan: unidentified attackers fired at police 20 Jan killing five; militants and soldiers clashed 14 Jan, four soldiers and 30 militants reported killed; three police killed by IED 19 Jan; four children killed in fighting 28 Jan; roadside bomb killed two security officials 31 Jan. President Sisi expressed displeasure at non-implementation of development and economic assistance for Sinai early Jan; assured visiting CIA chief John Brennan that Egypt fully in control of peninsula. Attacks in tourist areas in Cairo and Hurghada by Red Sea, where two tourists wounded by gunmen 8 Jan, and three tourists stabbed 9 Jan. Bomb attack 21 Jan killed six including three police in Giza, Muslim Brotherhood blamed. One police, one soldier killed near Cairo 10 Jan; IS claimed responsibility. Heavy security deployed ahead of 25 Jan anniversary of 2011 uprising ending Mubarak’s rule and protests severely curtailed amid crackdown on activists. 

Algeria

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged
Cabinet Chief Ahmed Ouyahia 5 Jan unveiled long-awaited draft constitutional reforms: mostly technical revisions include reintroduction of presidential term limitations of two-five years in office, or one re-election; declaration of Tamazight as official language; exclusion of binationals from higher ranks of public office; increased press freedoms; decriminalisation of media offenses. Reforms to be submitted to parliament in several months for final approval. Opposition criticised revisions as insufficient, also restriction of constitutional consultations to small group of president’s supporters. Security forces 12 Jan arrested seven Libyan gunmen in Amenas, seized weapons and three vehicles; defence ministry reported soldiers killed four Islamist gunmen west of capital 29 Jan.

Western Sahara

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Polisario Front 11 December welcomed the European Court of Justice’s 10 December order annulling 2012 European Union and Morocco trade deal due to the inclusion of Western Sahara.

Tunisia

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Govt 1 Dec dismissed five senior officials including sec of state for security and interior ministry’s security chief following Nov bomb attack on bus that killed twelve in Tunis; authorities arrested dozens, placed several suspected militants under house arrest; Interior Ministry said 17,046 arrested in Nov on various charges. State of emergency extended 22 Dec for two months. Two suspected jihadis arrested 4 Dec allegedly planning suicide attacks in Tunis. Govt 21 Dec announced terrorist cell dismantled in Bizerte after anti-terrorist units launched operations against radical Islamist network, four arrested. Tensions between security forces and judges increased as police trade unions blamed judges for releasing terrorist suspects, including perpetrator behind Nov bus attack. Anti-Islamist discourse targeting Ennahda Party intensified. Tensions inside President Essebsi’s party Nida Tounes growing: Gen Sec of Nida Tounes Mohsen Marzouk resigned 15 Dec. Former President Moncef Marzouki claimed “catastrophic” situation in country highlighting poverty issues and jihadi threats, 20 Dec launched new political party. Several protest movements erupted in south amid ongoing conflicts over agricultural lands following imposition of Libyan tax on Tunisian vehicles entering Libya.

Mauritania

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) 7 Dec released a video of Mauritanian and two Malian nationals allegedly confessing to spying for the French and Mauritanian military; all three executed. Govt 11 Dec called for establishment of courts specifically for slavery cases.

Egypt

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Criticisms of security officials’ brutality continued: protests erupted in Luxor following death of man in police custody 1 Dec; President Sisi 3 Dec promised punishment of guilty police officers; nine police arrested 6 Dec in connection with case; two police officers 12 Dec convicted of torturing lawyer accused of links to Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to death in Feb. One soldier killed, four wounded in explosion after military vehicle hit IED in N Sinai 6 Dec; Islamic State affiliate “Sinai Province” claimed responsibility. Army 27 Dec announced security forces killed two suspected militants in N Sinai. Egyptian investigators 14 Dec reported no proof of terrorism behind Russian plane crash in 31 Oct in Sinai. Sisi 31 Dec called for new parliament elected late 2015 to assemble on 10 Jan in 2016, first time since old Islamist-dominated parliament dissolved mid-2012. At least twelve killed, six wounded after firebomb thrown into restaurant in Cairo 4 Dec. Court 3 Dec overturned death sentence and ordered retrial of MB leader Mohamed Badie and 36 co-defendants. 120 supporters of former President Morsi sentenced 7 Dec to two years in prison for rioting in 2013. Researcher Ismail Alexandrani arrested 2 Dec, charged for spreading false news; Committee to Protect Journalists 15 Dec recorded more journalists arrested in 2015 than previous years. Govt 3 Dec opened borders with Gaza strip, following months of closure.

Algeria

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Speculation over who holds true power in presidency continued following President Bouteflika’s 3-5 Dec visit to France for medical check. Bouteflika 14 Dec chaired meeting with ministers and advisors discussing constitutional reforms: President Bouteflika 28 Dec approved draft constitutional revision; National Liberation Front Sec-Gen Amar Saadani 18 Dec said constitutional reforms to be presented next month. FM Ramtane Lamamra 1 Dec said foreign intervention in N Africa may contribute to greater problems rather than be a solution. Defence Ministry publication 28 Dec said 109 alleged terrorists killed, 36 arrested in 2015.

Libya

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity

Representatives of rival parliaments House of Representatives (HoR) and General National Congress (GNC) 17 Dec signed UN-brokered agreement. Agreement, endorsed by UNSC 23 Dec, establishes a new govt of national unity headed by PM Faez Serraj; lawmakers who support agreement to remain in office under new power-sharing framework. Uncertainties remain over level of support for agreement: HoR and GNC parliament chiefs 15 Dec met and rejected agreement, devising separate peace plan; GNC president 16 Dec said delegates intending to sign UN deal lacked legitimacy. Tripoli remained tense: fighting erupted in Tajoura suburb and near airport road; clashes in Ajdabiya increased between forces loyal to Libyan National Army, which opposes UN-brokered agreement, and local groups who support new govt. UN 1 Dec warned of increasing Islamic State (IS) presence in Libya; IS 14 Dec killed Palestinian man in Sirte for alleged spying. Western govts urged Libyan factions to authorise airstrikes against IS in Libya but country’s envoy to UN Ibrahim Dabbashi 23 Dec said Libya does not plan to request Western airstrikes any time soon.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Moroccan King Mohammed visited early Nov, said there would be no further concessions regarding sovereignty but vowed revenues would be reinvested locally and announced large new infrastructure investment in region. UN Envoy to Western Sahara Christopher Ross late Nov visited region in bid to relaunch negotiations between Morocco and Polisario Front.

Tunisia

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Political, social and security tensions continued. Bomb attack on bus in Tunis carrying presidential guard left twelve dead 24 Nov; Islamic State claimed responsibility. Authorities announced state of emergency throughout country, curfew in capital; 30 Nov announced arrest of two militants in connection with bombing and seizure of weapons cache. Jihadis linked to al-Qaeda 13 Nov beheaded teenage shepherd in Mount Mrihila, sparking widespread indignation against authorities for failure to rapidly visit family; Tunisian army launched retaliatory operation in area, three jihadis and soldier killed. Tensions within ruling Nida Tounes party as various groups vied for control: 31 deputies threatened to resign from parliamentary group raising possibility of An Nahda party becoming largest political force in Assembly; deputies threating resignation eventually reversed decision. Internal dissent also continued within opposition An-Nahda, particularly over dismissal of several imams from Lakhmi mosque as part of policy of controlling extremist religious discourse. Weekly protests against policy organised by imams’ syndicate affiliated with Islamist trade union federation (OTT) ongoing.

Libya

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Political dialogue aimed at ending rivalry between two parliaments remained deeply troubled. New UN SRSG Martin Kobler 17 Nov replaced Bernardino León, assumed responsibility for political dialogue process. Ongoing disagreement over which draft agreement should be approved: July draft that favours the internationally recognised Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) or latest Oct draft incorporating some Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) objections to July draft. HoR and GNC presidents refused to allow formal vote on Oct draft; anti-deal constituencies on both sides claim majority of each parliament opposes agreement, pro-deal factions make opposite claim. Kobler 17 Nov stated “small number of outstanding issues” remained but process continues to be marred by insecurity and spoilers. Fighting in Benghazi and Derna continued; at least sixteen killed in clashes between forces allied to HoR and Islamic State (IS) fighters in Benghazi 11 Nov; IS consolidated control in Sirte as foreign fighters from Syria and Iraq increased group’s ranks. Car bomb 24 Nov killed at least five guards and injured sixteen others at checkpoint east of Tripoli. UN report 16 Nov documented indiscriminate shelling, executions, torture, property destruction, and abduction of civilians by all parties 1 Jan-31 Oct. Tebus and Tuaregs in south signed peace agreement brokered by Qatar 23 Nov, but fighting reportedly resumed soon thereafter.

Egypt

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Second and final round of parliamentary elections held 22-23 Nov amid poor voter turnout and boycott by key opposition parties; “For the Love of Egypt” coalition again expected to win all of the 20% of seats reserved for party lists. Violence in Sinai province continued: suicide bomber and vehicle packed with explosives killed at least four police officers and wounded at least five civilians in N Sinai 4 Nov, Islamic State (IS) affiliate “Sinai Province” (SP) claimed responsibility; at least three killed and fourteen wounded by car bomb explosion outside hotel housing election judges in N Sinai 24 Nov, SP claimed responsibility; SP leader Ashraf Gharabli reportedly killed in shootout in Cairo 9 Nov. Six Sudanese migrants killed, seventeen wounded during clash between security forces and smugglers 23 Nov in N Sinai. Gunmen attack on police checkpoint killed four security personnel 28 Nov in Saqqara; militant group affiliated to IS claimed responsibility. UK, U.S. and Russia early and mid-Nov suggested bomb explosion brought down Russian plane in 31 Oct crash in Sinai, Egyptian authorities yet to reveal conclusions. Prior to UK visit President Sisi in BBC interview 4 Nov suggested outlawed Muslim Brotherhood could have role in public life. Prominent journalist and rights activist Hossam Bahgat detained by military 8-10 Nov, released after international outcry but could still be charged for disseminating false news.

Algeria

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

President Bouteflika 1 Nov announced long-promised constitutional amendments to be made public soon: main Pro-Bouteflika political parties welcomed news as part of democratisation process; others expressed concerns Bouteflika’s brother Said is really in control due to Bouteflika’s illness. View echoed by “Group of 19” including liberation war veterans and senior political figures who presented letter to presidency 7 Nov requesting meeting with Bouteflika; presidency chef de cabinet Ahmed Ouyahia said letter “harms the institutions of the state and the interests of Algeria”. Former counter-terrorism chief Gen Hassan convicted late Nov of destroying documents and disobeying military orders, sentenced to five years’ prison. Economic crunch continued to loom following steep decline in oil prices: 2016 budget presented to Assembly 22 Nov, including some light austerity measures.

Tunisia

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
Pessimism prevailed despite award of Nobel Peace Prize to National Dialogue Quartet 9 Oct. Young street vendor died 9 Oct after self-immolating in front of Sfax governorate HQ; customs officer also died after self-immolating. Nida Tounes MP 8 Oct escaped assassination attempt; attack reportedly linked to party infighting over control of party apparatus and challenges to President Essebsi, amid rumours of growing “mafia” involvement in politics and imminent assassinations. An-Nahda leader Rached Ghannouchi also facing increasing dissent, criticisms over authoritarian governance of party and anti-Islamist policy of religious affairs ministry. State of emergency imposed after June Sousse attack lifted 2 Oct. Interior Ministry 27 Oct said seven members of jihadi cell arrested in NE. Small-scale Islamist militant attacks continued despite arrest of thousands in previous months: two soldiers killed 12 Oct in clashes near Algeria border after militants killed local shepherd, reportedly for spying. Dozens of Tunisians kidnapped 12 Oct by gunmen in NW Libya in response to arrest of Libyan official at Tunis airport, released 13 Oct.

Libya

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

UN SRSG León 8 Oct announced proposal for Government of National Accord (GNA). Western govts declared support for proposed line-up, urged lawmakers from Libya’s two rival parliaments – internationally recognised House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk and rival General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli – to endorse agreement. HoR, which early Oct voted to extend mandate beyond 20 Oct expiration, rejected agreement; GNC unlikely to endorse. León’s last-minute amendments to draft agreement and decision to announce suggested line-up of GNA’s cabinet and two other institutions triggered negative reactions within Libya, even among previously supportive factions. León 21 Oct said talks to continue. At least twelve killed, nine wounded after shells hit rally in Benghazi protesting proposed agreement; perpetrators still unclear as residents remain divided between those who accuse army and others who blame Islamist factions. Attacks by Islamic State (IS) affiliates and military operations against them continued including strikes on areas of Sirte controlled by IS militants, attack by IS on forces guarding Es Sider oil port 1 Oct. Helicopter transporting military commanders of Tripoli-aligned security forces gunned down 27 Oct in Maya, west of Tripoli, killing nineteen; east-based military coalition (Libyan National Army, LNA) took responsibility for attack (although others disputed claim), sparking renewed tensions between pro-Libya Dawn coalition and local forces allied to LNA.

Egypt

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
First round of long-delayed parliamentary elections held 18-19 Oct, second round scheduled for 22-23 Nov. Low voter turnout of 26.56% reported. President Sisi’s “For the Love of Egypt” electoral list took all 60 seats allocated to party list system; “Call of Egypt” list 24 Oct withdrew from elections, said will challenge first round results at Supreme Administrative Court. Run-offs for individual seats held 27-28 Oct, pro-Sisi parties did well while sole Islamist party al-Nour fared poorly. Security operations and militant attacks continued in Sinai province: security forces 25 Oct said at least 25 militants killed in joint “Martyr’s right” military-police operation in N Sinai; gunmen 25 Oct killed Al-Nour parliamentary candidate in Al-Arish, N Sinai; at least two killed, six conscripts injured 14 Oct in bombing in Al-Arish; three fighters from pro-govt militia reportedly kidnapped, two wounded 15 Oct in attack on checkpoint near Sheikh Zuweid town by Islamic State (IS) affiliate “Sinai Province”. Interior Ministry 23 Oct announced arrest of Hassan Malik, senior Muslim Brotherhood leader and businessman, for “exacerbating the instability of the dollar exchange rate”. Court 12 Oct ordered release of former President Mubarak’s sons, arrested after 2011 uprising and sentenced to three years’ prison for embezzlement.

Algeria

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
President Bouteflika’s supporters continued talk of transition to civilian state following Sept dismissal of intelligence chief General Mohamed “Toufik” Mediène. Presidency 8 Oct released communiqué saying these recent measures are part of security and political reforms that will be “crowned” by project to revise constitution. National Liberation Front (FNL) party chief Amar Saadani announced new “presidential alliance”, invited unions, political parties, media and NGOs to take part; constitutional reform, economic liberalisation and transition to civilian state on alliance’s agenda. Head of National Rally for Democracy party Ahmed Ouyahia rejected call. Police 12 Oct raided and shuttered private Islamist-leaning television Channel El Watan after it aired interview with former chief of armed wing of National Salvation Front (Front islamique du salut, FIS) Madani Mezrag in which Mezrag threatened Bouteflika; no charges brought against Mezrag. Security operations against Islamist militants continued: officials 20 Oct said at least three killed in counter-terrorism operation in north.

Libya

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

UN-led attempts to reach political agreement and consensus on Govt of National Accord continued to falter. 20 Sept deadline set by UN Special Envoy Bernardino León missed as delegations representing Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) and Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) continued to disagree on proposed text. GNC continue to insist on vacation of top military post, held by controversial Tobruk-backed General Haftar, if future PM and his two deputies fail to reach agreement on post within fourteen days of signing agreement; also want text to explicitly state all current GNC members will be included in future State Council. León included requests in new draft: HoR 15 Sept refused to accept changes, some 50 members called for withdrawal from talks; GNC 17 Sept reiterated refusal to support deal without changes. Various local constituencies lobbied for alternative plans to overcome political impasse. Meanwhile, violence continued including heavy clashes in Benghazi late Sept pitting forces loyal to HoR against fighters allied to Tripoli government and Islamist groups (including affiliates of Islamic State, IS). Intra-tribal clashes killed dozens in Kufra and Sebha early Sept. IS-affiliates attacked prison near Tripoli airport 18 Sept.

Egypt

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged
Govt of PM Mohammed Mehleb resigned en masse 12 Sept following corruption scandal; former Oil Minister Sherif Ismail appointed as new PM. Preparations underway for Oct and Nov parliamentary elections: Love of Egypt party list comprising most major political parties expected to take most of 120 seats reserved for party lists; observers predict competition between rival pro-regime factions and concentrated around, other 448 seats reserved for individual candidacies. President Sisi 27 Sept said Egypt in “ferocious war” with terrorists. Military operations against Islamist militants in Sinai continued: two police killed, sixteen injured 26 Sept in attack claimed by Islamic State. Twelve killed, including eight Mexican tourists, by army helicopter attack in western Wahat region 12 Sept, raising questions about country’s campaign against terrorism. Interior Ministry 25 Sept said security forces killed nine suspected terrorists near Cairo who were planning attacks to coincide with Eid al-Adha. Sisi 23 Sept pardoned and released some 100 prisoners including two Al Jazeera journalists jailed for disseminating “false news”.

Tunisia

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Some 1,500 activists demonstrated in Tunis 12 Sept against President Essebi’s proposed economic reconciliation law, which opposition says could endanger transitional justice process. UNSG Ban 28 Sept welcomed Tunisia’s counter-terrorism efforts and work to establish foundations of democracy and respect for human rights.

Algeria

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged
President Bouteflika 13 Sept announced retirement of General Mohamed “Toufik” Mediene after 25 years as head of intelligence services (DRS), to be replaced by General Athman Tartag, former DRS top officer and presidential adviser on security. Govt 12 Sept confirmed Aug arrest of former head of counter-terrorism General Hassan. Iranian FM visited 1 Sept to discuss joint efforts to stabilise Syria and Yemen, bilateral cooperation.

Mauritania

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Authorities 6 Aug reportedly freed Malian Islamist militant and former Ansar Dine spokesman Sanda Ould Bouamama from detention despite international arrest warrant. New anti-slavery law adopted early Aug doubling prison terms for offenders.

Libya

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Residents of Sirte mid-Aug clashed with Islamic State (IS) fighters in city; at least twenty reportedly killed, though some claim as many as 100. Both Tobruk and Tripoli-based govts denounced IS and pledged help but neither sent ground forces. Almost no military factions loyal to Tripoli General National Congress (GNC) responded to GNC president’s 13 Aug call to rally in Sirte; Misratan brigades stationed near Sirte refused to deploy in absence of other groups from western Libya. Forces loyal to Tobruk-allied General Haftar’s Libyan National Army conducted airstrikes in the Sirte area but failed to hit IS targets. PM of Tobruk-based parliament Thinni 14 Aug said loyalist forces unable to take on extremist group, 18 Aug appealed to Arab League for military assistance and weaponry to fight IS. Fighting overshadowed UN peace talks held in Geneva 11-12 Aug and Skhirat (Morocco) 27-29 Aug, SRSG for Libya Bernardino León called on rival govts to unify. GNC continued to demand amendments to provisional July Skhirat Agreement; pro-Tobruk military leaders issued further threats they will oppose any deal made with Tripoli govt. Head of GNC delegation to talks resigned 25 Aug in protest at GNC president’s position opposing dialogue, delegation did not attend Skhirat talks. Pro-Tobruk military alliance further fragmented: Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) early Aug announced it does not recognise Haftar’s leadership.

Algeria

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Two soldiers killed in ambush 14 Aug in Skikda province, north, following reports group of some 30 militants operating in area. Security forces 23 Aug said two militants killed during operation in Skikda province; defence ministry 26 Aug said five militants killed in operations in east. Madani Mezrag, amnestied former chief of armed wing of National Salvation Front (Front islamique du salut, FIS) 27 Aug announced intention to create new party, Front de l’Algérie pour la réconciliation et le salut.

Tunisia

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

President Essebsi 7 Aug signed into law controversial new anti-terrorism bill following parliament’s approval late July, despite widespread concerns from civil society, rights groups. Large-scale security sweeps and arrests continued, including a dozen reportedly attempting to cross border into Libya to join terrorist group. Suspects in Bardo Museum attack released 5 Aug, reportedly due to lack of evidence. Two soldiers killed 17-18 August by landmine in Kasserine region near Algeria border; police officer shot dead by gunmen in Sousse 19 Aug. Two customs officers killed, three wounded 23 Aug in shoot-out with militants in Bouchebka, near Algeria border.

Egypt

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Govt 17 Aug passed counter-terrorism legislation giving police greater powers of detention and surveillance, criminalising public statements contradicting defence ministry; law widely condemned by rights organisations. Law also introduced punishments for public or private expressions of support for certain crimes. U.S. Sec State Kerry visited early Aug for security talks, warned success fighting terrorism depended on respect for human rights, trust between authorities and public. Counter-terrorist operations continued to intensify in North Sinai as militant attacks continued; multiple bombing attempts against security forces in al-Arish foiled early Aug. Islamic State-Sinai Province (SP) militants 13 Aug kidnapped and beheaded Croatian engineer in Cairo; bomb explosion claimed by SP targeting security facility in Cairo 19 Aug wounded at least 30. Two policemen killed, 24 wounded by roadside bomb targeting bus carrying conscripts in Beheria Province 24 Aug. President Sisi mid-Aug announced formation of Supreme Electoral Committee for upcoming parliamentary elections; Committee 30 Aug announced two-stage polls scheduled for 19-18 Oct and 22-23 Nov. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leader Mohamed Badie and several other MB members sentenced 22 Aug to life in prison for murder and inciting violence, in connection to 2013 attack on police station in Port Said. Three Al Jazeera journalists convicted of “spreading false news”, sentenced to three years’ prison 29 Aug.

Libya

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

UN-led talks between rival Libyan factions resulted in preliminary political agreement signed 11 July by several participants but not Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC). Agreement envisions creation of consensus-based national unity govt in Tripoli with power over foreign and security policy and oversight of state finances and institutions; would also extend term of Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) for at least another year and establish a “State Council” absorbing GNC members. Role and powers of this Council remained unclear prompting GNC’s refusal to sign agreement. Despite partial signing of agreement, country remains profoundly unstable: fighting between rival armed groups in Benghazi continued throughout early July; clashes between groups affiliated with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) and other Islamist groups continued in Derna. In West, IS-affiliated groups launched two successful attacks in Misrata including 6 July attack that destroyed two fighter jets in city’s military airport. Four Italian construction workers kidnapped 19 July in Zawiya, 100km west of Tripoli. In South, fighting between Tebu and Tuareg militias reignited in towns of Sebha and Ubari; tentative new ceasefire reached 25 July. Former dictator Qadhafi’s son Seif, former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and former PM sentenced to death by Tripoli court 28 July.

Tunisia

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

National state of emergency extended 31 July for two more months in wake of June Sousse attack, with security forces granted exceptional powers to bar strikes or public meetings dangerous to public order and to increase media controls. Parliament 24 July passed anti-terror law introducing death penalty for terrorism, fifteen days detention without lawyer; rights group criticised law as draconian. Govt continued overtly anti-Islamist measures in aftermath of Sousse attack including closure of some 80 mosques, banned public recitation of prayers marking end of Ramadan Eid feast mid-July. Interior Ministry late July said almost 100,000 arrested Jan-July 2015 in fight on terrorism and crime. Govt 13 July announced leader of al-Qaeda-linked Oqba Ibn Nafaa brigade killed, group nearly wiped out. Authorities 8 July announced construction of protective wall along border with Libya.

Algeria

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

At least 22 killed early July in outbreak of communal violence on unprecedented scale between Malekite Arab and Ibadite Amazigh (Berber) communities in Ghardaia region. President Bouteflika 8 July deployed army to region to restore calm; PM Sellal vowed to “impose peace by force”. Dozens arrested including activist Kameledine Fekhar, who previously called for UN intervention to end “genocide” against Amazigh community. Bouteflika 4 July announced project for constitutional revision in final stage, but gave no date for reform; also countered opposition demands for early presidential elections amid concerns about his health, stressing he would finish his term. At least eleven soldiers killed 18 July in suspected Islamist ambush in Ain Defla. Bouteflika late July reportedly replaced three senior army officers: head of counter-espionage unit, presidential security and Republican Guard amidst rumours of foiled coup attempt.

Egypt

  |  3 Aug 2015

Deteriorated

Militant attacks continued to rise ahead of 3 July anniversary of former President Morsi's 2013 overthrow and following late June assassination of general prosecutor: at least 100 militants, seventeen soldiers reportedly killed 1 July in major clashes and attack on military checkpoints and town of Sheikh Zuwayed in North Sinai; Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) Egyptian affiliate “Sinai Province” claimed responsibility. Authorities countered 2 July launching airstrikes against militants, 19 July said 59 militants killed in previous two days as part of ongoing campaign. IS claimed 16 July strike on naval ship near Sharm al-Sheikh. Govt 25 July extended state of emergency in N Sinai by three months. Italian consulate in Cairo bombed 11 July; one killed, nine injured. At least six killed mid-month in clashes between security services and demonstrators protesting in support of ousted President Morsi and banned Muslim Brotherhood. Cabinet early July drafted law criminalising reporting of terrorism statistics that contradict govt figures; widely criticised as attack on free speech. President Sisi 9 July signed new electoral law, removing final block to delayed parliamentary elections expected to be held by year-end.

Mauritania

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

CrisisWatch N°143, 1 July 2015: In Mauritania this month, three convicted 17 June of belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL), sentenced to five-to-ten years’ prison. See:

Libya

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Fourth UN-proposed draft agreement to end political standoff and internal conflict unveiled early June: Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC) delegation satisfied with proposal, which allows for former GNC members to remain under umbrella of proposed State Council; Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) 24 June voted to continue participation in peace talks, said would accept proposed plan subject to several amendments, including reducing powers of State Council. Some hardliners affiliated with both GNC and HoR rejected agreement. In attempt to push for deal, UK, France, U.S. and Spain supported UNSC resolution imposing sanctions on Abderrahman Swehli and Othman Mlegta, affiliated with pro-GNC and pro-HoR blocs respectively, for obstructing UN talks on forming national unity govt; resolution blocked by Russia and China. Jihadi groups affiliated with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) expanded grip in Sirte region, but suffered setbacks in Derna region. U.S. 14 June launched airstrike in Ajdabiya, allegedly to hit wanted al-Murabitoun leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar; some twenty Ansar Sharia militants killed, Belmokhtar’s death unconfirmed.

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