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CrisisWatch Database

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Tunisia

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Secular party Nida Tounes won 27 Oct parliamentary elections with 39% of votes, Islamist An-Nahda party second with 32%; drawn-out process of forming coalition majority expected as Nida Tounes considers national unity govt with An-Nahda or narrower secular coalition. Days preceding elections remained calm despite fears of attacks by militants, deepening divisions in secular political camp; An-Nahda party remained unified, reiterated determination not to field candidate for late Nov presidential election. Govt 23 Oct decided to close Libya border crossings of Ras Jedir, Dhehiba during polls as part of tightened security measures against spillover from Libya crisis; 70,000 security forces deployed during same period. Several suspected militants arrested including 30 in Oued Ellil town late Oct; six suspected militants, one police killed during police raid in Oued Ellil 24 Oct.

Mauritania

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Security forces arrested four on the 12 of October for having suspected links to Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL) in town of Zouérate. Government reportedly closed the border with Mali late October to block the spread of Ebola.

Libya

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Military and political crisis continued despite repeated UN calls for ceasefire: anti-Islamist militia coalition led by Zintan-based groups, rebranded as “tribal army”, attacked western Jebel Nefusa towns allied to Islamist leaning coalition Libya Dawn, at least 21 reported killed. Fighting continued in Benghazi: groups allied to general Khalifa Haftar clashed with Islamist rivals, including 22 reported killed 15 Oct during Haftar’s seizure of Ansar al-Sharia base; at least 130 reported killed across city over following ten days. Tobruk-based internationally recognised parliament, House of Representatives (HoR), 19 Oct formally aligned with Haftar: HoR spokesman Farraj Hasshem described Haftar’s “Operation Dignity” against Islamists as Libyan army operation despite reports most Haftar fighters young tribesmen with no military background, allegations of abuses including summary executions of captive Islamists and their families. UNSG Ban 11 Oct visited Tripoli, urged peace talks; condemned both Haftar and Ansar al-Sharia. Prime minister of Islamist-supported parallel govt in Tripoli, Omar al-Hasi, 21 Oct held first public diplomatic meeting with Turkish envoy. Egyptian airstrikes reportedly struck Islamist forces in Benghazi 15 Oct, Egypt denied involvement; HoR member Tareq al-Garrouchi alleged planes were Egyptian, pilots Libyan.

Egypt

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Scores killed in clashes between army and militants in Sinai, including 31 soldiers 24 Oct: govt declared three-month state of emergency in north and central Sinai, closed border with Gaza and evacuated 1,100 residents along border to create buffer zone; 26 Oct postponed indirect talks between Israel, Palestinian factions, scheduled to begin in Cairo late month, in reaction to attacks. Gaza reconstruction conference 12–13 Oct, co-hosted in Cairo by Egypt and Norway, trumpeted as sign of Egypt’s return to world stage in local media following similar reporting around President Sisi’s late Sept attendance of UNGA and meeting with U.S. President Obama. Renewed protests on university campuses across country beginning 11 Oct: several clashes between students and police including 149 students arrested over first three days of protests; student died following clashes at Alexandria University, eleven injured in bomb blast outside Cairo University 22 Oct. Twelve reported injured in bomb blast near Cairo courthouse 14 Oct; several bombings in northern city Tanta during Sufi religious festival 16 Oct, no casualties.

Algeria

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Army 10 Oct claimed to have killed five militants in retaliation for Sept beheading of French tourist. Three police killed by militants 16 Oct in Zemmoura, Relizane province. Hundreds of riot control police mid-Oct demonstrated in Algiers, southern town Ghardaia against poor working conditions in defiance of anti-protest law; protests followed several police injuries sustained during violent clashes between Arabs, Berbers in Ghardaia.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr was sentenced to death by Saudi government on the 15 of October on protest-related charges; two other Shiite protesters were also sentenced to death on the 21 of October.

Iraq

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL) militants advanced in western province Anbar including around provincial capital Ramadi, mid-month seized town of Heet displacing up to 180,000 people according to UN. Provincial officials appealed for urgent military assistance, warned of potential fall of province; hundreds reported killed, including more than 200 anti-IS Sunni tribesmen executed late Oct. U.S.-led aerial campaign against IS continued: Kurdish forces reportedly gained ground against IS in north under cover of airstrikes, including seizing town of Zumar 25 Oct; govt forces, Shiite militias same day seized town of Jurf al-Sakhar near Baghdad, hundreds of casualties reported. Month saw increasing criticism of new PM Haider al-Abadi’s policies: Abadi early Oct established National Defence Guard, tasked with fighting IS using locally stationed Sunni recruits, adding another layer to malfunctioning security apparatus; move opposed by political factions advocating reliance on Shiite militias. Abadi’s efforts to rebuild army criticised as insufficient following late Sept disbandment of office of Commander in Chief of Armed Forces, dominated by high-ranking loyalists of former PM Maliki; critics warned firing Maliki-loyalists insufficient, new meritocratic appointment-mechanism required. Abadi 18 Oct appointed State of Law coalition MP Salem al-Ghabban as interior minister, Sunni MP from Mosul Khaled al-Obeidi as defence minister, signalling U.S.-Iran compromise. Hundreds reported killed in suicide bombings, other deadly attacks targeting mainly Shiite neighbourhoods in and around Baghdad throughout month.

Iran

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 continued in Vienna 15-17 Oct, including trilateral meeting between U.S. Sec State Kerry, Iranian FM Zarif and EU HR/VP Ashton; little progress reported despite impending 24 Nov deadline for reaching comprehensive agreement. IAEA and Iran 7-8 Oct held technical meetings in Tehran; IAEA suggested little progress made, Iran refused to issue visa for U.S. member of IAEA team. Two workers killed in 5 Oct explosion at Parchin military complex; site suspected of housing military nuclear research, raising suspicions of covert action. Several deadly incidents reported in Sistan and Balochistan province including three police, one border guard killed by suspected Sunni militants in 9 Oct bomb blast near eastern city of Saravan; two border guards reported killed in shootout along Pakistani border 16 Oct.

Bahrain

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Several opposition groups, including main opposition al-Wefaq, 11 Oct announced boycott of Nov parliamentary elections. Court 28 Oct suspended al-Wefaq’s activities for three months; authorities said implementation awaiting completion of group’s general conference where alleged violations could be addressed; al-Wefaq spokesman said conference to be held within two months. Crackdown on anti-govt activists continued, prominent activist Nabeel Rajab arrested 1 Oct for allegedly insulting state institutions.

Syria

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

U.S.-led airstrikes expanded despite continued lack of coherent strategy; over 500 jihadis, dozens of civilians reported killed since late Sept. U.S. mid-month increased air support for Kurdish forces, anti-regime rebels defending Kurdish city of Kobani after media uproar over attempts by Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL) militants to capture city; U.S. failed to strike IS fighters heading to Kobani in preceding days, downplayed battle’s importance. U.S. escalated pressure on Turkey to increase cooperation with anti-IS coalition; Turkey resisted, citing need for U.S. to address continued rule of President Assad. Turkey renewed calls for no-fly zone in northern Syria, blocked fighters and weapons from crossing border to assist Kurdish forces in Kobani before allowing up to 200 Kurdish peshmerga fighters equipped with heavy weapons to travel from northern Iraq to Kobani late month. U.S. commitment of resources toward moderate rebels remained limited despite rhetoric; rebels complained of inability to launch offensives against IS without increased U.S. support for fight against regime. Regime bombardment of anti-IS rebels continued in support of advances in Aleppo and Damascus suburbs; dozens reported killed in bombing of IDP camp in Idlib province 29 Oct. Regime 23 Oct recaptured central town of Morek in Hama province. Clashes between regime and IS fighters continued including scores reported killed in IS attack on regime-held gas field east of Homs 28 Oct. More than 40 children reported killed in twin suicide bombings targeting primary school in regime-controlled Homs city 1 Oct.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Month saw several clashes between Israeli police, Palestinian protesters seeking to prevent entry of religious Jews to Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade following escalation during July-Aug fighting in Gaza; Jerusalem mayor late Oct said monthly incidents of public disorder rose from 200 before Gaza conflict to 5,000 during and after. Israeli authorities 30 Oct closed Holy Esplanade to all visitors following police killing of Palestinian; Palestinian President Abbas said move “tantamount to declaration of war”, authorities lifted closure later same day, retained tight security. Closure followed increase in tensions during early to mid-Oct Jewish holiday of Sukkoth; strict entry limitations for Muslims in reaction to violent protests, unprecedentedly strong call from Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal to defend al-Aqsa mosque. Norwegian sponsors of 12 Oct donor conference on Gaza reconstruction announced pledge of $5.4bn over three years; roughly half for PA, apparently including regular PA aid. Israel took initial steps toward easing restrictions on Gaza including limited easing of movement by Gazans to Israel and W Bank, permitting entry of some reconstruction materials directed to Gaza warehouses pending implementation of monitoring mechanisms. Egyptian govt late Oct postponed indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks in Cairo following declaration of state of emergency in Sinai (see Egypt). Several deadly incidents reported in Jerusalem, W Bank including two Israeli citizens, Palestinian driver killed in vehicular attack on pedestrians in E Jerusalem 23 Oct; Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli forces during clash with residents in W Bank village of Silwad next day.

Lebanon

  |  1 Nov 2014

Deteriorated

Continued fighting between Syrian rebels and Hizbollah, Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in north-eastern border areas: Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) attacks on Hizbollah strongholds geographically expanded war of attrition between parties, dozens reported killed 5 Oct in Shiite town of Britel. Clashes between LAF and Sunni militants in Tripoli intensified, including scores reported killed late Oct; fighting expanded to towns in Akkar and Dinniyeh region, LAF carried out raids, arrested tens of alleged “terrorists” in north, Saida and Beirut. Political factions repeatedly declared support for army despite numerous reports of indiscriminate crackdown on Islamist militants and Syrian refugees. Social affairs minister Rashid Derbas 20 Oct warned govt will soon adopt policy halting further refugee inflows from Syria.

Yemen

  |  1 Nov 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Huthi fighters continued to advance following mid-Sept seizure of Sanaa, bringing country’s political transition to brink of collapse despite nominal political process established through late Sept UN-brokered peace and power-sharing agreement. Huthis consolidated power in north, took control of large parts of Red Sea Coast including strategic port of Hodeidah 14 Oct; met with little resistance, at times facilitation, from govt and local population. Huthi expansion into central provinces met with resistance from supporters of Sunni Islamist party Islah, Ansar al-Sharia affiliates and al-Qaeda (AQAP); hundreds reported killed including over 250 in Baydah province. AQAP 9 Oct killed at least 47 in suicide attack targeting Huthi gathering in Sanaa. Huthis continued working with military and police to secure Sanaa, raided homes and offices of political enemies; supporters acted as shadow govt overseeing decisions of cabinet ministers. President Hadi 26 Oct criticized Huthi expansion, called for withdrawal from newly acquired territories including Sanaa. Hadi 13 Oct appointed broadly accepted candidate for PM, country’s UN representative Khalid Bahah, following criticism of previous nominee by Huthis and General People’s Congress; new cabinet yet to be formed. Huthis 31 Oct held tribal gathering in Sanaa, gave Hadi 10-day deadline to form govt. Southern separatists renewed call for independence, tens of thousands demonstrated in Aden and Mukullah 14 Oct; movement’s representatives gave govt until 30 Nov to remove all employees and security forces from south, demanded international oil companies halt exports until revenues redirected to new southern state.

Yemen

  |  1 Oct 2014

Deteriorated

Weeks of Huthi-led anti-govt protests in Sanaa degenerated into several days of fighting mid-month between Huthis and rival forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Sunni Islamist party Islah; over 200 killed, Huthis captured Mohsen-affiliated military camp, al-Iman University and nearby state TV station. Large parts of security forces sided with Huthis, allowing group to control govt buildings and security in city. New peace deal and power sharing agreement signed 21 Sept calling for implementation of national dialogue outcomes including govt inclusive of all groups, anti-corruption measures, timeline for disarmament of non-state actors; accord seen as favouring Huthis to detriment of other stakeholders, particularly Islah. Peace deal called for Huthis to withdraw from capital, replacement of govt; President Hadi has not yet appointed new premier. Prospects for Huthi withdrawal uncertain despite peace deal ending major combat in Sanaa: Huthis surrounded and entered homes of political enemies following agreement, 27 Sept attacked home of national security chief Ali al-Ahmadi. Widespread fears of retaliatory attacks against Huthis and govt, particularly from al-Qaeda (AQ); at least 20 reported killed in separate AQ attacks targeting Huthis 28 Sept.

Iraq

  |  1 Oct 2014

Deteriorated

Month saw strong Western reactions to Aug and Sept beheadings of U.S. journalists and British aid worker by Islamic State militants (IS; formerly ISIL): White House spokesperson said U.S. at “war” with IS, President Obama 24 Sept vowed to dismantle IS “network of death”. U.S.-led operation continued to rely on airstrikes, France and UK mid- to late month launched first strikes targeting IS in north; IS spokesman urged killing of citizens of coalition countries. Observers expressed concern regional partners continue to pursue policies partly responsible for IS’s initial rise including: Iran channelling money and weapons to sectarian Shiite militias in central Iraq; support for Kurdish Regional Govt (KRG) from U.S., France, UK, and Iran bypassing Baghdad at cost of advancing KRG’s ultimate goal of independence. Majority of incoming PM Abadi’s govt approved by parliament 8 Sept; proposed candidates for crucial posts of interior and defence minister rejected mid-month. Violence continued in Anbar province: over 30 militants reported killed 10 Sept in U.S. airstrike near Haditha dam; over 100 soldiers reported killed or missing after IS attack on army camp 21 Sept. Deadly attacks, suicide bombings continued in Baghdad including at least 30 killed 10 Sept, 35 killed 30 Sept.

Syria

  |  1 Oct 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

U.S. late month began airstrikes against Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL) militants and fighters linked to al-Qaeda (AQ) central leadership and AQ affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) inside Syria: dozens of IS fighters reported killed in Raqqah and Deir az-Zour provinces starting 23 Sept; Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE participated in or provided support for operation. Scores reported killed in U.S. strikes targeting AQ-linked fighters in northern Aleppo and Idlib provinces; JN threatened retaliation. Observers expressed fears intervention risks strengthening IS, alienating other rebel groups; IS continued gaining ground, mid-month seized dozens of towns around predominantly Kurdish city Kobani near Turkish border; at least 160,000 Kurds fled, initially refused entry into Turkey sparking protests and clashes inside Turkey. Most of senior leadership of influential Ahrar as-Sham group among dozens killed in unexplained bomb blast in Idlib province 9 Sept; dead included group’s leader Hassan Aboud also acting as political chief of major rebel alliance Islamic Front; deaths seen as heavy blow to mainstream armed opposition. Regime mid-month revealed previously undeclared chemical facilities to Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirming suspicions about earlier declarations, fuelling concerns toxic material could be seized by IS. Deadly regime airstrikes on rebel held areas continued including 25 reported killed in IS-held Raqqah city 6 Sept; at least 48 reported killed in Talbiseh north of Homs 16-17 Sept.

Lebanon

  |  1 Oct 2014

Deteriorated

Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL) militants early month beheaded 2 Lebanese soldiers captured along with 8 others during Aug clashes in eastern border town Arsal; al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) reportedly detained 18 others, 19 Sept executed soldier, demanded release of Sunni Islamist imprisoned in Lebanon and Hizbollah withdrawal from Syria. Executions exacerbated ethnic and communal tensions including sparking attacks on Syrian refugees, tit-for-tat abductions between Sunni and Shiite tribes in Bekaa Valley. Hizbollah sought to use events in Arsal to justify involvement in Syria by playing up jihadi threat, rejected any negotiations with IS, JN. 4 Hizbollah members among several casualties reported after clashes outside border village Ras Baalbek 10 Sept; 3 killed in attack on Hizbollah checkpoint near eastern village Khraibeh 20 Sept. Clashes between army and militants continued: Syrian militant killed 6 Sept in border town Al-Qaa; 2 soldiers killed in roadside bombing in Arsal 19 Sept, military subsequently arrested hundreds in raids. Several reported killed 22 Sept in Syrian regime airstrikes targeting rebels near Arsal. Deadly shootings reported in Tripoli late month including soldier killed by unknown gunmen 23 Sept.

Egypt

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Muslim Brotherhood (MB) appeared to be losing support as protest turnout declined. Salafi al-Watan party 17 Sept withdrew from MB-led Alliance to Support Legitimacy (ASL) after earlier withdrawal of moderate al-Wasat party; both said planning to act as opposition groups, indicating participation in coming elections. Non-Islamist criticism of regime continued: at least 105 detainees, mostly secular activists, on hunger strike to protest unjust detentions under 2013 Protest Law; many in pre-trial detention. High-profile activist Alaa Abdelfattah, 2 others released from pre-trial detention 15 Sept; 116 students, arrested during demonstrations, released 17 Sept. MB leader Mohamed Badie handed another life sentence 15 Sept; prominent MB politician Mohamed Beltagy sentenced to 20 years imprisonment early month. Attacks by jihadi group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (ABM) continued in Sinai including 11 soldiers killed 2 Sept, 6 police killed 16 Sept; 4 ABM militants reported killed 23 Sept. ABM continued beheadings of local Sinai residents accused of cooperating with Israeli intelligence: corpse discovered 19 Sept marking eleventh such execution since mid-Aug. Three police killed in bombing outside foreign ministry in Cairo 21 Sept, claimed by militant group Ajnad Misr.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

UN-mediated agreement to allow increased entry of commodities into Gaza, including dual-use construction materials, reached mid-Sept; concerns inflow of materials insufficient to address enormous reconstruction needs following July-Aug fighting. Both sides claimed Aug ceasefire not fully implemented: Hamas said Israel violated Gaza fishing rights, entered Gaza’s perimeter; Israel pointed to mortar fire on southern Israel. Indirect Israel-Hamas negotiations resumed in Cairo late Sept. Egypt convened Fatah-Hamas talks 23-24 Sept; agreement reached on salary payments for all civil servants and security force members of previous Hamas-led govt starting late Sept. Palestinian President Abbas announced intention to submit resolution to UNSC calling for end date to Israeli occupation; PA, Fatah officials vowed to join UN agencies and International Criminal Court in case of failure. E Jerusalem protests continued: over 700 youths arrested since early July, 1 died early Sept following clashes with police. Israeli troops 10 Sept killed Palestinian in W Bank refugee camp; 23 Sept killed 2 alleged perpetrators of June murders of 3 Israeli youths in Hebron.

Algeria

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Algerian AQIM faction 13 Sept announced split from group, creation of Jund Al-Khilafa (“Soldiers of the Caliphate”), pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL); late month beheaded French citizen Hervé Gourdel following 21 Sept abduction and demands for halt to French airstrikes against IS in Iraq.

Libya

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Military and political standoffs continued as Islamist-leaning militia coalition continued to clash with anti-Islamist groups, country’s 2 rival legislatures refused to recognise each other’s legitimacy; state institutions in increasing disarray as neither Council of Representatives (CoR) based in Tobruk nor General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli exert control. More than 100 killed in clashes between supporters of Islamist-leaning Operation Libya Dawn and rivals on outskirts of Tripoli; dozens killed in Benghazi including 9 in clashes between Islamist groups and Khalifa Haftar’s troops 9 Sept; several assassinations by suspected Islamists targeting activists and journalists, including 14 killed 18-20 Sept. Up to 12 reported killed in clashes between militias and police near El Shahara oil field 17 Sept. CoR 4 Sept reportedly signed military agreement with Egypt following alleged Egyptian airstrikes on Islamist positions in Tripoli in Aug; more airstrikes reported mid- to late Sept. CoR 22 Sept approved PM al-Thinni’s new cabinet. Head of GNC-backed administration Omar al-Hassi 15 Sept called for international recognition; GNC mid-month sent emissaries to Chad and Sudan. Rival parliamentary factions 29 Sept held talks under UN auspices in Western town of Ghadames, reportedly agreed to call for ceasefire; Libyan Dawn rejected call, demanded disarmament of rivals; earlier unsuccessful mediation attempts in early-Sept and 17 Sept international conference in Madrid produced no clear plan of action, only agreement not to recognise Tripoli-based govt."

Bahrain

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Several activists reported arrested throughout month including well-known activist Maryam al-Khawaja, later released awaiting trial. Police early month dispersed anti-govt protesters near Manama using tear gas.

Tunisia

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Tensions and divisions grew among secular politicians ahead of parliamentary election campaign: leading secular party deputy Nida Tounes 1 Sept escaped assassination attempt; party leader and presidential candidate Beji Caid Essebsi 12 Sept claimed top party dissidents and security officials plotting his assassination; two top party officials opposing Essebsi’s candidacy fired following day. Islamist An-Nahda party appeared calm and confident, maintained not planning to field candidate for upcoming presidential election; former leader Hamdi Jebali 19 Sept echoed stance, declining to run and citing wish for Tunisia’s democracy to mature without Islamist-secular divide. Security situation remained stable despite border tensions; police 17 Sept killed 2 armed jihadis on border with Algeria.

Iran

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 resumed 18-26 Sept in New York following bilateral Iran-U.S. talks in Geneva 4-5 Sept and Iran-EU3 (EU, UK, France and Germany) talks in Vienna 11 Sept; ministerial level talks on sidelines of UNGA seen as possible “make or break” moment determining chances of success before 24 Nov negotiating deadline. IAEA early month indicated technical talks slowed in Aug, parallel to slow-down in diplomatic engagement: 5 Sept released report suggesting Iran failed to provide sufficient information on “possible military dimensions” of past nuclear research; Iran reaffirmed commitment to meeting obligations. Tensions continued ahead of UNGA meetings including over late-Aug U.S. imposition of new sanctions on several Iranian organisations; Iran argued move violated Nov Joint Plan of Action, contradicted spirit of current negotiations. Despite signs of possible readjustment of regional policy, including Iranian silence on U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and FM-level meeting with Saudi Arabia 21 Sept, Supreme Leader Khamenei indicated change limited and tactical; 15 Sept said refused U.S. requests for cooperation in Iraq. 

Libya

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Fighting between Islamist leaning Misrata-led militia coalition and anti-Islamist Zintan-led coalition continued in Tripoli, UN attempt to broker ceasefire failed mid-month; Misrata-led forces 23 Aug captured Tripoli’s international airport and Zintanis withdrew from the capital, but armed confrontations likely to continue. Fighting fuelled by instalment of new parliament, Council of Representatives (CoR), in eastern city Tobruk: 158 of 188 newly elected MPs 4 Aug convened for swearing-in ceremony; pro-Misrata factions disputed relocation from Tripoli, claimed transfer of authority to new parliament unconstitutional, CoR biased against Islamist factions; appealed to Supreme Constitutional Court. Former parliament General National Congress (GNC) 25 Aug reconvened in Tripoli, elected Islamist backed Omar al-Hasi PM in challenge to CoR’s authority. Acting PM al-Thinni 28 Aug announced resignation to allow CoR to form new govt. Multiple unidentified air strikes through month targeting Islamist positions; U.S. officials late month said Egypt and UAE responsible, Egypt denied involvement. Fighting between former General Hiftar’s forces and Islamist militants continued in Benghazi. UNSC 27 Aug imposed sanctions on individuals fuelling the fighting, ordered all arms transfers to be approved by UN sanctions committee.

Yemen

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Month saw mass Huthi-organised protests in Sanaa against govt's late July lifting of fuel subsidies, including rallies of tens of thousands starting 18 Aug demanding new govt, lower fuel prices; reports armed Huthi supporters gathered around Sanaa. Govt 23 Aug offered resignation within month and formation of economic committee to evaluate subsidies; Huthi leaders rejected offer, reemphasised demands including strengthening authority of body charged with overseeing national dialogue implementation, greater inclusion of Huthis in state institutions. President Hadi late month supported counter rallies largely attended by Sunni Islamist Islah party; hundreds of thousands reportedly rallied across country 29 Aug. Protests underscored growing political polarisation between pro-and anti-Huthi factions: some framed protests as real revolution, others as Iranian-inspired religious coup. Violence continued between Huthis and various adversaries in far north including in Jawf; at least 2 ceasefires collapsed during month. Scores reported killed in clashes between govt forces and al-Qaeda (AQAP) affiliates in southern Hadramout province; militants 8 Aug provoked widespread public anger by killing 14 unarmed soldiers in retaliation for govt strikes. AQAP leadership mid-month praised recent gains by jihadi group Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL or ISIS) in Iraq without pledging allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Iraq

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

U.S. President Barack Obama 7 Aug announced renewed U.S. military action after Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL or ISIS) fighters took control of northern Yazidi town Sinjar: scores of Yazidis reported killed, unknown number taken hostage; up to 200,000 fled, thousands trapped in Sinjar mountain range besieged by IS. Obama identified goals of U.S. airstrikes as breaking siege to prevent “genocide" and protecting U.S. personnel and assets “anywhere in Iraq”, emphasising need to stop IS from advancing closer toward Erbil; officials later expanded objectives to include protection of critical infrastructure, including Mosul dam captured by IS early month. Subsequent U.S. airstrikes near Erbil, Sinjar and Mosul dam mid-month helped Kurdish forces recapture dam with help from elite army units, break Sinjar siege: thousands of Yazidis escaped into Syria aided by PKK-linked Syrian Kurdish fighters; reports later emerged hundreds remained stranded. Army, Kurdish forces and Shiite militias supported by U.S. air strikes 31 Aug reportedly broke IS siege of northern Shiite Turkmen city Amerli. U.S. delivered arms to Kurds, indicated increased support to army contingent upon formation of new broad-based govt. PM Maliki 14 Aug stepped down after Iran, U.S., Saudi Arabia and about half of Maliki’s State of Law coalition joined leading Shiite rivals in supporting fellow Dawa party member Haider al-Abadi for PM. FM Zebari, dismissed by Mailiki mid-July, 20 Aug rejoined govt along with other Kurdish ministers. Numerous other deadly incidents across country: at least 60 reported killed in army air strikes targeting IS militants in Mosul 6 Aug, 47 killed in car bombing in Baghdad Shiite neighbourhood; govt forces 19 Aug launched another failed attempt to retake Tikrit; Shiite militiamen 22 Aug shot dead at least 68 Sunni worshipers in Diyala province; at least 35 killed next day in Baghdad, Kirkuk bombings, including in suicide attack on Baghdad intelligence HQ.

Syria

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Situation continued to worsen for northern armed opposition: regime advance continued in Aleppo, jihadi Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL or ISIS) gained north of city including capturing series of towns; Aleppo’s rebels expressed fears of impending defeat: regime pushing to encircle rebels inside city, IS fighting to recapture additional territory in northern countryside and push further west. Hostilities between regime and IS intensified: regime continued air strikes on IS-held territory near Aleppo and further east, including dozens reported killed in Raqqah city mid-month; IS 8 Aug reportedly captured army base in Raqqah province, scores killed; hundreds reported killed, including in IS mass executions, after several days of fighting concluding in IS capture of Taqba air base, last regime stronghold in Raqqah province, 24 Aug. IS early to mid-month reportedly executed 700 members of al-Sheitat tribe in Deir al-Zour province in response to local uprising against IS rule. Tensions between al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) and former rebel allies continued in Idlib province; local JN chief reportedly assassinated 2 Aug. Regime and allied forces continued campaign around Damascus, scores reported killed in air strikes: mid-month seized most of Mleiha town in eastern suburbs after months-long battle; area seen as strategic entry-point to eastern Ghouta, most significant remaining rebel stronghold in greater Damascus. U.S. late month reportedly started surveillance flights following military intervention against IS in Iraq (see Iraq).

Lebanon

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Month saw heavy clashes between Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Syrian rebels in border town Arsal, first major Syrian rebel incursion directly challenging LAF: close to 100 soldiers, rebels and civilians reported killed; several soldiers captured by rebels. Fighting sparked by 2 Aug arrest of rebel commander reportedly tied to either al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra or Islamic State (formerly ISIL or ISIS): militants subsequently attacked checkpoints, overran govt and security buildings taking dozens hostage, attempted to take control of parts of Arsal; LAF counteroffensive, aided by Syrian Air Force raids, reclaimed city after 5-day battle. LAF launched series of raids targeting Syrians across country, detained tens of alleged members of extremist groups. Saudi Arabia early month offered $1bn aid to LAF, U.S. later pledged additional arms.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed 19 Aug after 3 consecutive ceasefires over previous 9 days: more than 2100 mostly civilian Palestinians, at least 66 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians inside Israel killed since early July; Israel limited renewed campaign to air strikes, avoiding another ground operation. Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement reached 26 Aug; reportedly called for limited lifting of Gaza travel and trade restrictions; major issues including building of Gaza seaport, release of Palestinian prisoners deferred to later discussions. Hamas denied Israel’s claim Gaza militants broke ceasefire 19 Aug; 5 killed in Israeli air strike same day including wife and child of Mohammad Deif, leader of Hamas’s military wing; 3 senior Hamas commanders killed 21 Aug. Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli army in W Bank continued, at least 20 Palestinians reported killed since early July.

Iran

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Near-hiatus in nuclear talks as European members of P5+1 observed EU summer vacation; Iran and U.S. tried to keep momentum, 7 Aug met bilaterally in Geneva. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Yukiya Amano 17 Aug visited Tehran to discuss next steps in resolving past and present issues. Uranium conversion plant required for fulfilling obligations under Nov 2013 interim agreement inaugurated 23 Aug. President Rouhani launched attack on critics of nuclear diplomacy following efforts by rivals to derail diplomacy, including by detaining Washington Post’s correspondent in Tehran late July; hardliners criticised Rouhani’s “inappropriate” tone, intolerance to criticism. Hardliners further encouraged by Supreme Leader Khamenei’s 13 Aug speech reiterating pessimism about prospects of nuclear agreement; hardline-dominated parliament 20 Aug dismissed Rouhani’s science minister. Month saw Iran abandon long-time Iraqi ally PM Maliki (see Iraq): Khamenei 13 Aug publicly backed new Iraqi PM designate Haider al-Abadi; FM Zarif 24 Aug met Abadi in Baghdad.

Algeria

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

200 Syrian migrants detained 18 Aug in Oued Laâlemga near Libyan border, reportedly en route to Italy aided by Libyan Islamists. Army 12 Aug reportedly killed 2 militants in Ouled Riah.

Egypt

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Several killed during protests marking first anniversary of deadly raids on Cairo protest camps, including Rabaa Square mass killings, following ouster of former President Morsi: 9 protesters, 1 police reported killed 14-15 Aug; protester reported killed 8 Aug. Human Rights Watch 12 Aug urged investigation into 2013 killings, said protest raids may amount to crimes against humanity. MB Freedom and Justice Party dissolved by court 9 Aug; Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam 7 Aug rejected death sentence for Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, late month commuted sentence to life imprisonment. Violence continued in Sinai including reported army killing of 11 militants 3 Aug; jihadi group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis mid-month executed 4 over alleged links to security army, Israel. 5 police, 4 alleged smugglers reported killed west of Alexandria 5 Aug; unknown gunmen 18 Aug shot dead policeman north of Cairo.

Mauritania

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

President Mohamed Abdel Aziz sworn-in for second term 2 Aug; 2 members of youth opposition movement Kafana, including leader Jacob Ahmad, arrested by security forces 5 Aug over anti-Aziz graffiti.

Tunisia

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Optimism prevailed throughout month following late July “Gentlemen’s Agreement” on political party behaviour before and after elections, despite worries Oct election could re-ignite tensions. 1,500 electoral lists containing over 15,000 candidates submitted by 29 Aug deadline according to Independent High Electoral Commission (ISIE). Situation remained under control on eastern border, refugee influx from Libyan fighting stable (see Libya); approximately 3,000 Egyptians crossed daily, evacuated to Egypt with Tunisian cooperation. Security remained tense on Algerian border: suspected jihadis 2 Aug killed soldier manning border post; 2 others wounded by landmine in same area 16 Aug. Police 23 Aug killed 2 women mistaken for members of armed group near Kasserine. Interior ministry 7 Aug said 21 Ansar al-Sharia members allegedly plotting terror attack arrested in Tunis.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz 18 Aug sent letter to UN condemning Moroccan military deployment in Western Sahara, continued expulsion of journalists and human rights activists.

Libya

  |  1 Aug 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Insecurity deepened as clashes between security units, militias left scores dead; fragmentation of newly elected parliament enhanced concerns over govt’s inability to tackle security challenges; first parliamentary session scheduled to take place in Benghazi early Aug, reportedly moved to Tobruk over security concerns. At least 94 reported killed 13-27 July in fighting between Zintan militia and security units affiliated with Islamist-leaning Libya Revolutionaries’ Operation Room (LROR) over control of Tripoli airport. Govt 28 July called for international help to fight oil tanker fires in Tripoli harbour set ablaze by fighting, rival militias 30 July agreed on temporary ceasefire to allow firefighters to try to control blaze. At least 75 reported killed mid- to late July in Benghazi during clashes between different govt forces and militias; Islamists seized control of Special Forces base 28 July in battle killing over 50. Former General Hiftar 31 July denied Islamist claims of complete control over Benghazi; Ansar al-Sharia 30 July declared city an “Islamic emirate”. UN staff 14 July pulled out of country due to increasing violence; U.S., several other embassies evacuated throughout month; UK embassy convoy attacked 26 July on road to Tunisia, no casualties; several countries announced plans to evacuate nationals. Acting PM al-Thinni reportedly prevented from flying to Tobruk by militia controlling Mitiga airport 24 July. FM Abdel Aziz 18 July appealed to UNSC for help in tackling security problem; UNSC statement 23 July stressed need for political solution.

Syria

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged Risk Alert

Month saw northern armed opposition facing most dangerous situation since start of uprising: rival rebel group Islamic State (IS) (formerly ISIL, see Iraq) defeated other rebels and gained territory, oil and manpower in eastern province Deir al-Zour. Regime forces made progress encircling rebels in Aleppo: rebels increasingly disorganised and poorly armed, state backers’ modest increase of support for moderate factions failed to compensate for cuts in funding to allied group Islamic Front. Observers expressed fears moderate opposition setbacks in Aleppo could provide opportunity for IS to recapture ground in city’s northern countryside and push further west. IS and regime forces increasingly drawn into direct confrontation as consequence of respective gains including: IS mid-month reportedly killed hundreds seizing control of gas field east of Homs, seized regime bases in Raqqa and Hassakeh provinces late month. Al-Qaeda linked rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra mid-month indicated intention to establish Islamic emirate of their own: sought to gain ground in Idlib province at expense of other rebels. Exile opposition group Syrian National Coalition (SNC) 9 July elected Hadi al-Bahra President; 22 July voted to dissolve “interim” govt, form new one within 1 month. Staffan de Mistura 10 July appointed UN special envoy to Syria, replacing Lakhdar Brahimi.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Aug 2014

Deteriorated

Israel 8 July launched "Operation Protective Edge" in Gaza: more than 1400 Palestinians, 64 Israelis, including 61 soldiers, reported killed throughout month. Escalation followed June kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli youths in W Bank and 2 July revenge torture and murder of Palestinian teen by vigilante Israelis in E Jerusalem. Israel held Hamas responsible for triple murder, launched air strikes 1 July following discovery of bodies previous day; several Hamas militants killed in air strikes in days leading up to announcement of army operation. Israel mid-month started ground operations; Hamas launched rockets, used tunnels in attempts to attack Israeli communities near Gaza. Attempts at reaching ceasefire agreement failed throughout July: proposals by Egypt rejected by Hamas, Qatar-led proposal rejected by Israel. Egypt proposed cessation of hostility as prerequisite for negotiation of long-term ceasefire; Hamas insisted on agreeing to ceasefire modalities before halting rocket fire, said aspects left undecided during fighting would never be addressed. 3-day humanitarian ceasefire announced 1 Aug reportedly collapsed same day. Several Palestinians reported killed by Israeli army during protests in W Bank including 8 killed in separate incidents 24-25 July; another killed by suspected settler 25 July. 4 reported killed in Israeli air strikes in S Syria 15 July following cross-border rocket fire. Rocket attacks, shelling across Lebanese border mid-month, no casualties (see Lebanon).

Iraq

  |  1 Aug 2014

Deteriorated

Army and political leadership made no tangible progress in responding to June’s rebel gains in NW led by jihadi group formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL; alternatively ISIS or Daesh), renamed Islamic State (IS) following late June announcement of caliphate. Poorly-planned 15 July army assault to recapture Tikrit ended in retreat to city’s edge. IS moved to eliminate Sunni rivals in areas under its control: reports of executions, house bombings, shelling, detentions and forced displacement; also reports of destruction of shrines, mosques and other religious sites. Group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made first ever public appearance delivering sermon in Mosul early July. Announcement of caliphate met with tentative criticism from non-jihadi Sunni forces supporting rebellion, most avoided direct confrontation with IS; reports of some fighting between IS and other insurgents, tribes mid-month in towns north of Baghdad. Several hundred leaders of broad array of Sunni insurgent groups reportedly met in Jordan 16 July, vowed to keep fighting to topple govt. PM Maliki continued to refuse calls to step down following April’s parliamentary elections; parliamentarians 15 July elected Sunni Islamist Salim al-Jabouri Speaker of Parliament, 24 July elected Kurdish MP Fouad Masoum President. Unprecedented tension between Maliki and Kurdistan Regional Govt (KRG) following mid-June Kurdish seizure of northern city Kirkuk: Kurdish forces 11 July seized nearby oil fields, KRG President Barzani announced intention to hold referendum on independence within months; Maliki accused KRG of providing safe havens for IS, other “terrorists”. Kurdish cabinet members 10 July boycotted cabinet session; Maliki next day replaced Kurdish FM Zebari with Shiite ally Hussain al-Shahristani. Army shelling of Anbar’s Fallujah continued, 19 reported killed 21-22 July. Deadly bombings continued in Baghdad including at least 33 killed in IS suicide bombing 23 July. Human Rights Watch mid-month said hundreds of prisoners killed by govt forces in revenge for IS killings.

Lebanon

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Army “security plan” continued to hold despite presidential, governmental and parliamentary paralysis: security and intelligence measures intensified including checkpoints, raids of houses, and arrests of dozens of Islamists in Arsal, Tripoli, Saida and other areas. Security officials claimed jihadi networks discovered planning suicide attacks against Lebanese officials and civilians; 28 charged with belonging to jihadi group Islamic State (formerly ISIL, see Iraq) 7 July. Continued clashes between Syrian rebels and pro-Syrian regime fighters in eastern border areas: scores reported killed mid- to late month. Cross-border rocket fire from south into Israel mid-month, Israeli forces retaliated with shelling; no casualties reported.

Bahrain

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt 7 July asked visiting U.S. Assistant Sec State Tom Malinowski to leave country prematurely following meeting with Shiite opposition group al-Wefaq; later charged group’s leader with “violating political association law”, requested 3-month court suspension of activities of al-Wefaq, 2 other opposition groups. 1 police killed in bomb blast south of Manama 4 July, authorities blamed “terrorists”.

Iran

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 extended until 24 Nov after parties failed to reach comprehensive agreement before 20 July deadline. Non-stop bargaining 2-20 July failed to bridge differences, most importantly on extent of uranium enrichment: each party stuck to maximalist opening gambits wrongly assuming other side desperate for deal. FM Zarif 14 July signalled Iran prepared to maintain operating centrifuges at current level of 9,400 SWU until 2021 when fuel contract with Russia expires, then increase capacity to 190,000; P5+1 rejected idea as “unworkable”. Extension deal included agreement all parties will uphold obligations under Nov 2013 Joint Plan of Action. Iran additionally to convert 25kg of stockpile of 20% enriched uranium in oxidised form into fuel for Tehran Research Reactor, blend down stocks of material enriched to less than 2%; in exchange to be allowed access to further $2.8 billion of restricted assets.

Yemen

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Clashes in north between Houthis and rival tribes, army units intensified early month: hundreds killed, tens of thousands displaced. Houthi fighters 8 July captured Amran city north of Sanaa, including military base of 310th brigade, aligned with Islah party and General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar; air force bombed Houthi positions. Houthis agreed to return Amran to govt control following pressure from President Hadi, along with UNSC, U.S., EU and GCC; tensions remained high, skirmishes continued in surrounding areas. Tribal militants continued to attack critical energy infrastructure crippling oil exports, causing lengthy electricity blackouts in Sanaa. Govt 30 July lifted diesel subsides prompting scattered protests. Alleged al-Qaeda affiliates continued assassination campaign against security personnel in south; at least 2 soldiers, 6 militants reported killed in car bombings, clashes in Abyan 27 July.

Algeria

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt forces mid-month reportedly killed 6 suspected AQIM members, arrested 1. PM Abdelmalek Sellal 22 July met Tunisian counterpart following killing of at least 14 Tunisian soldiers by gunmen near border (see Tunisia); countries launched joint military operations including 8,000 Algerian troops. Govt 22 July announced plan to tackle crisis in southern town of Ghardaia following months of clashes between Arab and Mozabite Berbers killing 10 and damaging over 1,400 buildings.

Egypt

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt early July implemented deep fuel subsidy cuts as part of wider aggressive campaign to reduce budget deficit, also including electricity subsidy cuts and taxes on consumer goods: resulting fuel price hikes led to few scattered protests; full impact yet to be felt by consumers, fears move could increase social tensions; measures expected to fulfil one requirement for Egypt to secure IMF assistance package. Several deadly incidents along border with Israel including: soldier killed in roadside bombing in Rafah 9 July; 2 tribal elders reported killed by suspected Islamist militants in same town 21 July; 8 reported killed, including soldier, in explosions targeting security installations 14 July; over 20 militants, 4 children reported killed in shoot-outs, mortar fire 26-27 July. At least 21 guards killed in Western Desert oasis 19 July, Sinai-based jihadi group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis blamed. Crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood (MB) continued, extended to other parties from Alliance for Support of Legitimacy (ASL) opposing 2013 military coup; senior leaders of Construction and Development, Wasat party arrested early July. ASL 3-4 July arranged demonstrations on anniversary of coup, at least 6 reported killed in clashes, bomb blast in Cairo outside presidential palace. Former PM Kandil freed from jail mid-July, first release of senior official from administration of ousted President Morsi.

Mauritania

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Parliament 2 July passed anti-terrorism law.

Tunisia

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt forces stepped up operations against militants in west: at least 14 soldiers, 1 attacker reported killed 16 July in Mount Chambi area near Algerian border; 2 soldiers killed 26 July in El Kef region. Govt 17 July created new anti-terrorist agency; 19 July announced 63 suspected terrorists arrested in El Kef, Sidi Bouzid and Kasserine provinces. Around 40 mosques, 1 radio station, 1 TV station closed down by govt 20 July over alleged Islamist radicalism. FM Mongi Hamdi 30 July warned of possible border closure following Libya unrest, said UN presence requested.

Yemen

  |  1 Jul 2014

Deteriorated

Yemen’s transition is gradually unravelling amid unprecedented security and economic challenges partly caused by political infighting and weak consensus on national dialogue results. Violence between Huthis and army spiked when air force early June bombed Huthi positions as they advanced toward Sanaa; 100 Huthis, 20 govt forces reported killed 2 June; hundreds killed in north throughout month. UN brokered ceasefire agreement 4 June: agreement lacked national power-sharing arrangement with Huthis, plan for implementing gradual disarmament; fighting later resumed. Another ceasefire announced 22 June but never implemented. Military campaign against al-Qaeda (AQAP) continued at slower pace; govt raids, U.S. drone strikes met with sporadic retaliatory attacks, mostly against security forces. Economic crisis worsened: govt almost unable to pay salaries causing fears of unrest; tribal sabotage of electrical grid early June left Sanaa without fuel or electricity for days prompting mass protests 11 June calling for overthrow of govt. President Hadi same day announced cabinet reshuffle; failed to replace politically divisive PM Basindawa or bring new groups into govt. Govt forces mid-month surrounded Sanaa’s Saleh mosque on suspicion premises being used by former President Saleh to stage coup.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged Risk Alert

Killing of 3 Israeli youths in W Bank increased Israeli-Palestinian tensions: students found dead 30 June following mid-month kidnapping; Israeli PM Netanyahu claimed Hamas complicit, vowed retaliation, mid-month launched aggressive arrest campaign in W Bank, largest since 2003; 5 Palestinians killed, international response muted. PA “reconciliation” govt formed 2 June: Israel objected despite absence of Hamas ministers, senior positions being mostly filled by members of previous govt and all ministers having accepted Quartet principles, announced plans to build 1,500 new housing units in W Bank and E Jerusalem settlements; move met with international condemnations. Israel continued siege of Gaza; 5 reported killed in Israeli air strike mid- to late month. New PA govt stopped paying salaries to 43,000 govt employees in Gaza, causing unprecedented financial crisis. Likud’s Reuven Rivlin elected president of Israel 10 June despite PM Netanyahu’s objections; Rivlin supports annexing entire W Bank, naturalising Palestinian inhabitants. 1 Israeli killed in cross-border attack from Syria 22 June; Israel blamed Syrian regime, retaliated killing at least 4.

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CrisisWatch N°135

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