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CrisisWatch Database

Region / country

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1858 results found
Items 1 - 50 of 1858 First   Previous   Next   Last

Tunisia

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
President Essebsi 2 June called for national unity govt to help advance economic reforms and calm social tensions, consulted political parties and civil society groups throughout month. Main labour union UGTT 3 June supported initiative but rejected his call to participate in new govt. PM Essid 13 June said he would not leave post, 17 June said he would leave post only after political parties and civil society agree on unity govt. Islamist An-Nahda party said that, as largest party in parliament, it should have more ministries in new govt. Current govt seen as likely to continue as An-Nahda’s opponents, including in Essebsi’s Nida Tounes party, oppose it having greater role. Clashes between two tribes over control of collective land in south 3 June killed two, wounded 26, including six security forces. Essebsi 20 June extended for one month state of emergency imposed after Nov 2015 bomb attack on bus in Tunis.

Egypt

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged

State Council court 21 June overruled President Sisi’s decision to hand over two Gulf of Aqaba islands to Saudi Arabia on grounds that sovereignty over islands cannot be amended; govt appealed. Violence continued in N Sinai. Roadside bomb killed policeman 19 June; gunmen stormed police homes in al-Arish area, killing four police 16-21 June. Suspected Islamist militants 11 June killed three civilians, allegedly for cooperating with army. Army 2 June said it had killed 22 suspected militants, arrested five; 15 June killed 35 suspected militants. Islamic State 30 June claimed responsibility for killing Christian priest in N Sinai. Court 18 June confirmed 7 May death sentence for six people, including three journalists tried in absentia, for leaking state secrets to Qatar, and former President Morsi’s life sentence for membership of Muslim Brotherhood.

Algeria

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
Govt 1 June reported army killed eight Islamist militants in Setif region east of Algiers previous day, 18 June said army killed eighteen and arrested four militants in Medea region south of Algiers mid-June.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged

UN 3 June reported Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen govt forces caused 60% of child deaths and injuries in Yemen in 2015. After govt and other Arab countries allegedly threatened to cut funding for UN humanitarian work, UNSG Ban removed coalition from list of countries accused of violating children’s rights in war; govt denied making threat.

Iraq

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged

Govt forces, Shiite militias and local forces backed by U.S.-led coalition continued operation to retake Falluja (about 50km W of Baghdad) from Islamic State (IS): govt forces advanced from southern outskirts toward city centre, 12 June entered southern neighbourhoods Nuaymiya and Shuhada, late June dislodged IS from eastern neighbourhoods Shurta and Askari. PM Abadi 26 June said govt had full control of Falluja, set sights on IS-held Mosul. U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi air force airstrikes around Falluja 28-29 June on suspected IS fighters reportedly killed at least 250. UN 22 June said govt-allied Shiite forces reportedly abused Sunni Falluja residents. IS-claimed suicide bomb and car bomb 9 June killed 24 people in Baghdad. Suicide bomb 28 June at mosque in Abu Ghraib W of Baghdad killed at least fourteen people; no claim of responsibility. Federal court 28 June ruled unconstitutional 26 April parliament session in which MPs approved PM Abadi’s appointment of five new ministers.

Iran

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
In war of words with Saudi Arabia, govt 1 June said Iranians would not make pilgrimage to Mecca due to unresolved logistical dispute with Riyadh. Defence minister 9 June reviewed recent military setbacks in Syria with Syrian and Russian counterparts and explored options to improve coordination. Revolutionary Guards mid-late June clashed in NW near Iraq border with Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) fighters seeking greater autonomy, both sides claim to have killed other’s personnel. U.S. company Boeing 21 June said it had tentatively agreed to sell passenger aircraft to Iran Air subject to U.S. govt approval; deal could ease Iran’s reengagement in global economy.

Bahrain

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
Govt crackdown on dissent intensified. Authorities 13 June detained prominent rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab for disseminating false news. Court suspended activities of main Shiite opposition al-Wefaq party 14 June on charges of “terrorism, extremism, and violence” until verdict passed on its dissolution. Govt 20 June stripped Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim of citizenship for promoting sectarianism, provoked protests; Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander and Iranian foreign ministry condemned move.

Syria

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged

U.S.-Russia engagement aimed at restoring cessation of hostilities continued without tangible progress, as increasing attacks by both Syrian sides and Russia’s military re-escalation, particularly around Aleppo, appeared to push diplomatic track toward collapse. Russian planes 16 June struck U.S.-trained rebel force committed exclusively to combatting Islamic State (IS) in camp along Jordanian and Iraqi border; same day, intense regime airstrikes continued in Aleppo, ignoring 48-hour “calm” Russia had declared in city. Russia 19 June reported agreement with U.S. to improve coordination between their military operations; U.S. previously refused such coordination, but reports from Washington on 30 June suggest its position may have shifted. Elsewhere, Kurdish YPG troops and their allies in YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) 1 June launched campaign to capture city of Menbij, south of the last stretch of Syrian-Turkish border controlled by IS. Backed by U.S. air power and special forces, campaign managed to encircle city within days. Offensive represents significant shift by U.S., which previously urged YPG to hold back due to Turkish opposition; reversal apparently driven by IS gains against Turkey-backed rebels along border; U.S. gave Turkey assurances that YPG personnel will withdraw from city once it is captured. Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah 25 June vowed to increase the organisation’s forces in Aleppo, amid renewed pro-regime offensive in city. UN warned of increasing deaths in Damascus suburb Daraya unless regime unblocks aid convoys; concerns also grew for refugees on Jordanian border after Jordan blocked convoys in response to IS suicide bomb attack on military base 21 June killing seven soldiers (see Syria).

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
Following armed attack in Tel Aviv by two residents of West Bank city Yatta killing four people 9 June, Israel suspended for several days thousands of entry permits for West Bankers and imposed closure on Yatta, eased late June. Final communiqué of international summit convened in Paris early June to revive diplomatic process said status quo not sustainable, both sides needed to show commitment to two-state solution. France said it will convene additional summit by year-end; Palestinians signaled they intend to continue cooperation, however Israel critical of plan. In Gaza, Hamas prepared for new visit to Egypt to discuss Egyptian security in Sinai, Salafi-jihadi militants, members of Hamas’s military wing abducted in Sinai, and Palestinian reconciliation; Fatah delegation traveled to Qatar mid-June to start new Palestinian reconciliation talks which ended in mutual accusations of bad faith. Netanyahu mid-June endorsed harsher anti-terrorism law and allocated funds to construct new wall around Gaza and along some sections of Israeli-Lebanese border. Authorities also approved new settler homes in E Jerusalem during month. Israeli military 21 June reported troops accidentally shot dead Palestinian bystander in W Bank village Seit Sira; 24 June reported soldiers killed Palestinian woman who rammed vehicle into parked car. Violent clashes broke 26 June at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade when Israel allowed entry of non-Muslims during the last ten days of Ramadan, reversing common practice over last few years and triggering violent reactions from Palestinians at site. After two days of violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protestors Israel reinstated ban on non-Muslim entry until end of Ramadan fast. Israeli girl stabbed to death by Palestinian attacker 30 June at her home in Jewish settlement in West Bank. Israel and Turkey late June normalised relations following six-year rift over Israel’s killing of Turkish flotilla; deal provided for Israeli compensation and Turkish aid to Gaza.

Yemen

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged

Fighting between Saudi-led coalition forces and Huthi rebels continued as peace talks made slow progress, UN 29 June said talks adjourned until 15 July. Battle for Taiz continued throughout month; over 250 fighters and civilians reportedly killed and injured 3-4 June. Fighting continued in north and intensified in southern Shabwa and Lahj governorates. UAE-backed forces increased arrests of suspected al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in southern Hadramout governorate, 9 June raided HQ of Sunni Islamist Islah Party in Mukalla and arrested director for suspected ties with AQAP. Multiple suicide bombings and other attacks targeting security forces 27 June in Mukalla claimed by Islamic State (IS) killed at least 42 people. PM bin Dagher and several ministers returned from exile to Aden 6 June; several officials left days later amid persistent insecurity. UN-sponsored talks in Kuwait bore some fruit: Saudi-led coalition released 52 child detainees 5 June and Huthi-Saleh forces released 187 prisoners. Separately local tribes 18 June mediated release in Taiz of 76 pro-govt fighters in exchange for 118 Huthis.

Libya

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
Armed groups, half allied to UN-backed Govt of National Accord (GNA) and including Misratan forces that do not recognise it, early June pushed Islamic State (IS) affiliates from towns east and west of Sirte and reached city’s periphery. GNA-allied forces 21 June said they had taken control of parts of strategically important neighbourhood 700, including broadcasting and electricity company HQ, but IS end-June still held ground in central Sirte. Misratan militia loyal to GNA late June clashed with locals in Garabulli, east of Tripoli. Double blast in arms depot there 21 June killed at least 30, mostly civilians; GNA’s Presidency Council (PC) same day pledged to investigate. Newly formed Benghazi Defence Forces (BDF) 18 June attacked LNA troops of anti-GNA General Haftar near Ajdabiya in east, claimed control of several LNA positions; at least three killed in fighting. LNA 20 and 21 June retaliated with airstrikes. Car bomb outside hospital in eastern Benghazi 24 June killed five, no group claimed responsibility. Pro-GNA Petroleum Facilities Guard militia 20 June said LNA strikes hit its training camp, promised “harsh response”. Two major armed groups in Benghazi 4 June announced support for GNA. Four cabinet ministers from east 30 June resigned from GNA without making reason public. UNSC 13 June extended mandate of political mission (UNSMIL) until 15 Dec.

Western Sahara

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
UN sources 17 June said Morocco, in initial step toward complying with UNSC request, proposed to let 25 civilian staff return to UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), following Morocco’s expulsion of staff in March in protest at UN’s perceived bias.

Jordan

  |  1 Jul 2016

Unchanged
Suicide car bombing claimed by Islamic State (IS) 21 June at al-Rukban on Jordan-Syria border killed seven soldiers and injured thirteen others, prompted govt to close border with Syria and suspend humanitarian access to some 60,000 Syrian refugees (see Syria). Gunman 6 June killed five intelligence personnel near Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp north of Amman.

Tunisia

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Four security personnel and two suspected Islamist fighters killed 11 May during anti-terrorist operation in south. Security forces same day killed two suspected Islamist fighters near Tunis, arrested sixteen others. Social unrest, including strike 11 May, erupted in southern Ben Guerdane after Libyan authorities late April halted freight traffic through Ras Jedir border post to stop smuggling.

Mauritania

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Supreme Court 17 May ordered release of high-profile human rights activists Biram Dah Abeid and Brahim Bilal Ramdhane who had been jailed for eighteen months, after deciding their offences warranted one year of imprisonment not two as originally sentenced. Abeid 18 May said he wants to run again for president.

Egypt

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo crashed in Mediterranean Sea 19 May, all 66 on board believed dead; investigators have not ruled out terror attack. President Sisi 4 May extended state of emergency in N Sinai for three months: roadside bomb in N Sinai 21 May killed three soldiers; army 25 May said at least 85 militants killed in previous four days in Sinai. Gunmen 8 May killed eight police in Helwan district, S Cairo; both Islamic State (IS) and revolutionary Islamist movement Popular Resistance claimed responsibility, fight between local police and Bedouins also reported as possible cause of attack. Court 14 May sentenced prominent activist Sanaa Seif to six months’ jail for insulting judiciary. Another court 15 May sentenced to up to five years’ prison over 150 people of at least 1,200 who 25 April protested against Sisi’s rule and return of islands in Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia. Opposition remains in disarray; Social Democratic Party threatened to splinter after founder resigned early May. Court 30 May sentenced Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide and 35 other people to life in prison for “inciting violence” in north in 2013.

Algeria

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Govt 3 May said army 29 April-3 May killed five alleged terrorists, found arms in Skikda region (NE). Army 11 May killed seven suspected Islamist fighters in Lakdaria, Bouira region in north. Govt 21 May said large-scale army operation in Ain Turk, Bouira region which began 17 May killed eight suspected Islamist fighters, captured one; also 12 May reported arrest of dozens of smugglers and sub-Saharan migrants in Bordj Badji Mokhtar region bordering Mali and In Guezzam region bordering Niger.

Saudi Arabia

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Security forces 30 April-1 May killed two Islamic State (IS) fighters and wounded one in SW Bisha province; 5 May shot dead two suspected IS fighters in Wadi Noman area south of Mecca, two other IS blew themselves up.

Iraq

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Army backed by Shia militias and U.S.-led coalition airstrikes 23 May launched offensive to retake Falluja (about 50km W of Baghdad) under Islamic State (IS) control since January 2014: U.S. military spokesman 27 May said coalition airstrikes had killed 70 IS militants in Falluja including city commander, govt forces advanced to city’s southern edge 30 May. UN 23 May said estimated 50,000 civilians in Falluja at “great risk” from fighting and lack of food, water and health care. UNHCR 27 May said more than 4,200 civilians fled IS-controlled Mosul to Syria in May as IS reportedly has increased executions of men and boys there. Army 19 May said it had retaken Rutbah (about 550km W of Baghdad on routes to Jordan and Syria) from IS after two-day battle. PM Abadi 26 May appealed for weekly anti-govt demonstrations in Baghdad to stop until Falluja freed, Baghdad streets calm late May. Small steps made toward ending political crisis: Kurdish MPs who left capital end April in protest against cabinet overhaul and after aggression by protestors met Abadi in Baghdad 28 May but did not agree to return to parliament. Parliament convened with quorum 29 May; 167 MPs present including Shiite al-Ahrar bloc affiliated with Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who led anti-govt protests. Two IS suicide bombers blew themselves up and one other bomb detonated in Baghdad 31 May, killing over twenty.

Iran

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
In run-off parliamentary elections held 28 April, pragmatic republican supporters of President Rouhani won 123 of 290 seats but failed to secure outright majority, theocrats won 80 seats, independents 86. Parliament 31 May re-elected pragmatist theocrat Ali Larijani as speaker, post-holder since 2008. Revolutionary Guards 7 May said that thirteen of their forces killed in Syria in April and 21 wounded (see Syria). U.S. Sec State Kerry 13 May encouraged European banks – some previously punished for breaking sanctions on Iran – to do business with country after U.S. and EU lifted some sanctions in Jan.

Bahrain

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Appeals court 31 May extended sentence of opposition al-Wefaq movement leader Sheikh Ali Salman from four years to nine for “promoting change to the political system by force”. Court same day ordered release of activist Zainab al-Khawaja, detained since March.

Syria

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Following mid-April collapse of cessation of hostilities in north, diplomatic engagement and military escalation continued. High-level meetings between U.S. and Russian officials produced re-affirmations of truce in Lattakia, Damascus and Aleppo, but reducing violence only for short, pre-defined periods. Regime and Iran-backed Shia foreign forces/proxies escalated in Aleppo as truce continued to erode, however they were unable to gain territory and suffered significant setback south of city where dozens of pro-regime fighters were killed including Iranians as Jaish al-Fateh rebel alliance recaptured village of Khan Touman 6 May. Russian airstrikes remain at lower level than prior to Feb cessation, though reportedly began to hit Aleppo city again starting 22 May. At least 23 reported killed in Russian airstrikes on Idlib 31 May. Islamic State (IS) claimed series of bombings on regime coastal stronghold starting 23 May, reportedly killing over 100 civilians. U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces 24 May began offensive against IS near its de facto capital Raqqa; IS captured territory from rebels near Turkish border late month, with dozens killed in fighting. U.S. continued to push for return to cessation; UN envoy de Mistura 26 May told UNSG Ban no new round of talks likely for two-to-three weeks. Chief opposition negotiator Mohammed Alloush resigned late month citing failure of talks. Mustafa Badreddine, top Hizbollah commander believed to be organisation’s most senior official in Syria, killed 12 May (see Lebanon). Syrian pound depreciated further, fuelling concern over humanitarian situation. UN late month reported humanitarian aid reaching only a fraction of those in need, as govt continues to block supplies to several areas it is besieging. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported at least 60,000 people have died in govt jails since beginning of conflict in 2011.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged

Six people killed and dozens wounded in series of suicide bomb attacks in mainly Christian village Qaa close to Syrian border in north east 27 June; with Islamic State suspected of being behind attacks, senior military commander called for stricter security along border. Bomb targeted HQ of Blom Bank in central Beirut 12 June causing damage but no fatalities; many politicians and analysts suspected Hizbollah, which has previously verbally attacked central bank over its compliance with U.S.’s Dec 2015 Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act (HIFPA). Hizbollah 24 June said it would send more fighters to support Syrian regime in Aleppo province (see Syria); also said 36 Hizbollah fighters killed in Aleppo fighting earlier in month.

Lebanon

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Top Hizbollah military commander Mustafa Badreddine killed in explosion in Damascus 12 May, representing most important loss for Shiite party since 2008 assassination of former commander Imad Mughniyeh. Hizbollah initially blamed explosion on Israeli airstrike, 14 May accused takfiri/jihadi groups of assassination; 20 May vowed to strengthen its presence in Syria. Govt held municipal elections over four rounds, country’s first election in six years, in line with constitutional deadline. In Beirut, list led by former PM Saad Hariri and backed by governing elite, including Hizbollah, Amal Movement and the Lebanese Forces, defeated Beirut Madinati (Beirut My City) list, comprised of experts and activists, by less than 7,000 votes. Turnout in Beirut was low at around 20%, compared with close to 50% in Bekaa, Dahiyeh and the South, where ruling parties were entrenched – notably Hizbollah and Amal movement, whose alliance won vast majority of seats in various municipalities in predominantly Shiite areas. In Tripoli, where turnout was also low, list backed by resigning Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi won overwhelming majority of seats dealing major blow to his former close ally Saad Hariri, and other Tripoli leaders. Elections revealed flaws of Lebanese Forces-Free Patriotic Movement recent alliance, which was successful in some areas, however the two major Christian parties failed to agree in other regions, or their coalition did not win majority of seats.

Israel/Palestine

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
In worst violence since end of July-Aug 2014 war, Israel early May bombed Hamas facilities in Gaza; Hamas shot light ammunition, mortars, and short-range rockets at Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers. Tensions rose following Israel’s discovery of tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel; Hamas retaliated against subsequent Israeli excavations within Gaza. Following mediation by Egypt, Israel withdrew from Gaza and violence subsided. Stabbings and car rammings by Palestinians continued in Israel; mostly resulting in injuries, some assailants killed. PM Netanyahu 25 May replaced Likud’s Moshe Yalon as defence minister with ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, bringing “Israel is Our Home” party into coalition; followed growing public questioning of army’s commitment to protecting Jewish soldiers. Month saw efforts to renew diplomatic negotiations between Israel and Palestine. France postponed its planned international peace conference from 30 May to 3 June to allow for participation of U.S. Sec State Kerry. Palestinian leadership agreed to postpone efforts to put forward UNSC resolution condemning Israeli settlements to give French initiative a chance; Palestinian PM told journalists that Palestinians expect French initiative to generate internationally supported parameters. Quartet currently focused on issuing report expected to detail obstacles to resolving Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including Israeli settlement activity and Palestinian incitement. Egyptian President Sisi 17 May in live televised speech explicitly addressed Israelis, saying there is a “real opportunity” for peace. In Gaza Hamas 31 May executed three people convicted of murder without approval of Palestinian Authority, required under Palestinian law.

Yemen

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity
Peace talks between govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc progressed slowly, as fighting continued. Parties 26 May said they had agreed to exchange prisoners, but had not yet agreed numbers; 30 May discussed creation of mixed military committees to oversee withdrawal of Huthis and allies. Huthi rebels launched at least three missiles at Saudi Arabia from northern governorates provoking it to escalate bombing on Huthi positions. Saudi-led coalition 14 May began sending significant reinforcements to Marib governorate east of Sanaa; spokesman said coalition would take Sanaa militarily if talks fail. Saudi-led coalition-backed fighters 28 May launched offensive in Shabwa governorate taking territory from Huthi/Saleh forces on Shabwa-Marib border. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State (IS) attacked Yemeni forces in eastern Mukalla: suicide bomber 11 May wounded military commander of Hadramout region and killed eight others, IS claimed 12 May attack on naval base and military compound and 15 May suicide bomb that killed 25 police recruits. IS claimed 23 May suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 army recruits in Aden. Pro-govt southern separatist militias 8 May expelled from southern Aden hundreds of northerners accused of having links with Huthis, President Hadi called move “unacceptable”.

Libya

  |  1 Jun 2016

Deteriorated Risk Alert
West-based pro-Govt of National Accord (GNA) and east-based anti-GNA factions mobilised troops to retake Sirte from Islamic State (IS); could lead to confrontation in Gulf of Sirte area over control of oil facilities. Over twenty FMs of countries supporting UN-backed Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) 16 May met in Vienna and reaffirmed support for PM-designate Serraj and Presidential Council (PC), encouraged him to continue establishing GNA, offered to consider exemptions to arms embargo for forces loyal to PC. Emboldened by international support Serraj 16 May requested eighteen ministers to begin work; Serraj named ministers in Feb but they had not begun work due to lack of endorsement by Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR). 60 HoR members continued to demand revisions to LPA before voting on whether to endorse GNA. In east, animosity toward LPA and Serraj spiked, with support for General Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) increasing after its recent military advances in Benghazi and Derna. LNA-affiliated forces early May set up base in central Zella in preparation for offensive against IS stronghold of Sirte. Misratan pro-GNA forces mid-May clashed with IS-affiliates W Sirte, took back Abu Ghrein. Pro-GNA Petroleum Facilities Guard militia advanced westward toward Sirte, reportedly taking from IS Ben Jawad 30 May and Nawfiliyah 31 May.

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.

Saudi Arabia

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Islamic State affiliate Najd province claimed two attacks: militants 2 April detonated bomb near police station in al-Dilam SE of Riyadh killing one civilian; militants 5 April shot dead police colonel outside Riyadh. Security forces 29 April killed two suspected militants in shootout in Bisha province, one escaped, arrested next day.

Yemen

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity

UN-sponsored talks between govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc began 21 April, two days late, after Huthi and former President Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) delegation 17 April refused to attend until UN envoy assured them Saudi Arabia-led coalition would respect 10 April cessation of hostilities and that agenda had not been changed without their approval. Parties agreed new agenda for talks 26 April. Govt suspended participation in joint sessions 1 May after Huthis 30 April seized Amaliqa military base N of Sanaa. Fighting continued including in Taiz (S), Marib (E) and Nihm (NE of Sanaa). In south govt-aligned Yemeni fighters backed by coalition airstrikes and United Arab Emirates troops 24 April retook Hadramout provincial capital, Mukalla, and environs from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Suspected U.S. drone strike reportedly killed three AQAP leaders 25 April in Zinjibar, NE of Aden. In Aden, suicide car bomb exploded 28 April outside security chief’s home, wounding at least two people.

Iraq

  |  2 May 2016

Deteriorated

Political disarray in Baghdad intensified amid standoff over attempted cabinet reshuffle, protests by MPs and large-scale demonstrations. After key political groups including opposition Shiite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and Sunni Mouttahidoun rejected new cabinet line-up proposed by PM Abadi 30 March, Abadi proposed new list early April. Parliament speaker Salim al-Jibouri 14 April postponed parliamentary vote on second list citing lack of quorum. Over 100 MPs 15 April began sit-in in parliament to protest postponement; some demanded Jibouri resign, Sadrist-affiliated al-Ahrar bloc demanded PM, president and speaker resign. Abadi missed 19 April deadline to submit second list to parliament prompting Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to rally tens of thousands of protestors in central Baghdad, threaten violence if further delays. MPs disrupted parliament session 26 April stopping Abadi presenting third proposal. Protestors 30 April broke into fortified Green Zone and parliament prompting authorities to declare state of emergency. U.S. 19 April said it would send 200 more troops to provide intelligence and battlefield advice as Iraqi forces continue to expel Islamic State militants from Hit, Anbar province. Shiite paramilitary leaders and Kurdish peshmerga commanders 24 April agreed ceasefire but clashes in Tuz Khormato 25 April broke ceasefire and blocked main road from Baghdad to north.

Iran

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Govt continued efforts to gain access to outstanding $52bn in unfrozen assets following lifting of sanctions in Jan, with delays due to risk avoidance by major international financial institutions undermining political support for nuclear deal and President Rouhani in Tehran. Central bank chief met U.S. treasury secretary in Washington 15 April, Joint Commission held third meeting in Vienna 21 April and FM Zarif met U.S. Sec State Kerry in New York 18 and 22 April to discuss how to allow Iran dollarised transactions. Supreme Leader Khamenei’s late March indirect accusations of treason at former President Rafsanjani undermined latter’s chances of being elected next chair of Assembly of Experts, body responsible for choosing next Supreme Leader. Army commander 21 April denied it deployed troops in Syria following reports of soldiers killed there, but said some voluntarily joined Revolutionary Guards there (see Syria). Final statement of Organization of Islamic Conference summit in Istanbul 14-15 April condemned govt’s interference in Arab affairs citing Iran’s inflammatory statements on legal judgements against alleged terrorists in Saudi Arabia, prompting Rouhani to boycott closing session. Jordan withdrew ambassador from Iran citing Tehran’s interference in Gulf internal affairs, but Iran-EU relations continued to improve: Italian PM visited Tehran 12-13 April with 250-strong delegation, granted Iran nearly €5bn in credit lines and guarantees for exports; EU foreign policy chief Mogherini and seven EU commissioners visited Tehran 17 April to “turn a page on Iran-EU relations”.

Syria

  |  2 May 2016

Deteriorated
Month saw fragile “cessation of hostilities” which began 27 Feb collapse in N Syria and UN-brokered talks in Geneva unravel; regime and rebel shelling resulted in over 250 people reported killed in Aleppo 22-30 April, including in 27 April regime airstrike on hospital killing 50. Weeks of deterioration culminated 19 April with regime airstrikes on market in rebel-held Maarat al-Nauman in Idlib province, killing dozens. Opposition 19 April suspended participation in Geneva talks, citing continued regime military offensives and lack of progress in improving humanitarian conditions. Violence in Aleppo escalated as regime and Iran-backed militias began major offensive on city mid-April, while non-jihadist rebel factions joined Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) in escalating counter-attacks. Islamic State (IS) 27 April seized villages north of Aleppo along Turkish border, reversing rebel progress achieved early April. Initial casualty figures and pro-regime media reports suggest participation of allied foreign fighters and Iranian military personnel including from Iranian army in Aleppo at all-time high. As violence in Aleppo escalated, UN Special Envoy De Mistura 28 April called on Russia and U.S. to salvage ceasefire. Syrian army announced temporary “regime of calm” beginning 30 April, although Aleppo excluded, and most major opposition groups rejected regional ceasefires. UN rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein warned of reports of military build-ups indicating immanent escalation. Fighting continued elsewhere, including clashes between Kurdish forces affiliated with YPG and pro-regime militiamen in YPG-dominated city of Qamishli 20 April, prompting nearby regime forces to shell Kurdish neighbourhoods in Qamishli. Attacks against IS and JN continued, including four U.S.-led coalition airstrikes near two cities hitting three tactical units and destroying two fighting positions 23 April. Regime held parliamentary elections 13 April; Washington dismissed elections, Russia reiterated agreement that new elections should be held once political process produces new constitution. U.S. President Obama 25 April announced 250 U.S. special forces to be deployed to assist local militia in fight against IS.

Lebanon

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Heightened fears of major escalation of fighting in largest Palestinian refugee camp Aïn el-Helweh following assassination of senior Fatah security official in car bomb attack in Saida 12 April. Month saw series of clashes between Fatah and radical Islamists in Aïn el-Helweh; Fatah member killed in gunfire 1 April. Efforts of Palestinian groups to contain deteriorating situation challenged by internal rivalries including within Fatah, radicalism stoked by al-Qaeda and Islamic State, financial pressures on UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and Palestinian refugees’ longstanding grievances. Court 8 April re-sentenced former Information Minister Michel Samaha, arrested in 2012 on terror charges and released on bail in Jan, to thirteen years’ prison; retrial followed Samaha’s original shorter sentence handed down by military tribunal May 2015 after he confessed to transporting explosives. Parliament again failed to elect new president 18 April due to lack of quorum. Army reportedly killed leader of Islamic State in Arsal 28 April.

Jordan

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Police 13 April raided and sealed offices of largest opposition party, Muslim Brotherhood (MB), in Amman and other places in following days, reportedly implementing judicial decisions to transfer properties from MB, which lost license in 2015, to rival splinter faction Muslim Brotherhood Society; MB said closures illegal.

Israel/Palestine

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged

Israeli soldier charged with manslaughter 18 April over 24 March killing of wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron who no longer posed threat; case dividing Israeli public opinion. Attacks by Palestinians targeting Israelis continued, including Palestinian assailant who attacked soldiers with axe in W Bank 14 April and was subsequently shot dead. Tensions at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade increased around Passover, but Israel and Jordan’s rigorous implementation of quiet commitments on access allowed calm to prevail at site; amid fears of renewed violence Israel 22-23 April closed entry points between W Bank, Gaza and Israel. Bomb exploded on bus in Jerusalem 18 April injuring 23; officials said Hamas responsible. PM Netanyahu 11 April announced Israel had conducted dozens of aerial attacks in Syria to prevent Hizbollah obtaining strategic weapons and will continue to do so, did not specify the timeframe or what kind of strikes; 17 April convened cabinet on occupied Golan Heights, announced Israel would hold Golan “forever”, prompting condemnation including from Germany, U.S. and Iran. Negotiations ongoing since March between heads of Israeli army and Palestinian security forces made progress over gradual transfer of full authority to PA in W Bank’s “Area A”: agreed in principle on short trial period for authority to be transferred to PA in all W Bank cities; implementation date remains unclear. France continued diplomatic effort to convene international conference 30 May without Israeli or Palestinian participation; Israel slammed initiative, announcing any diplomatic efforts other than bilateral negotiations would only distance Palestinians from direct negotiations. PA 7 April attempted to advance UNSC resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction. Israeli security officials 20 April said six alleged members of Jewish extremist cell operating in W Bank arrested. Israeli forces 18 April uncovered tunnel from Gaza into Israel.

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.

Yemen

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity

Ceasefire agreements and commitment to talks in April raised hopes for possible de-escalation of conflict. Saudia Arabia and Huthis early March agreed to halt hostilities along Yemen-Saudi Arabia border and exchanged prisoners, nine Saudis for 109 Yemenis; agreement paved way for wider negotiations. UN envoy 23 March said cessation of hostilities between govt and Huthi/Saleh bloc would begin 10 April, followed by talks in Kuwait one week later. Violence continued elsewhere: anti-Huthi forces 12 March captured territory in southern Taiz area, partially breaking siege on Taiz city, but Huthi/Saleh forces reportedly regained much lost territory late March. Saudi-led coalition airstrike in NW Hajjah governorate 15 March killed 119 civilians, including 22 children. Coalition spokesman 17 March said major combat operations ending soon. Gunmen 4 March attacked nursing home in Aden, killing sixteen civilians. Government forces 12-13 March fought al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Aden’s Mansoura district, reportedly regained control of parts of Mansoura 30 March. U.S. 22 March launched airstrike on AQAP training camp near Mukalla, killing over 50 militants, suspected drone strike 30 March reportedly killed four AQAP militants. Three suicide bombers 25 March attacked checkpoints in Aden killing 26, injuring dozens, Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Jordan

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged

Security forces 1 March raided suspected Islamic State (IS) cell in northern Irbid, killed seven militants, seized weapons, ammunition and explosives, reportedly foiled planned attack; one security force member killed.

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.

Iraq

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Battle against Islamic State (IS) in Anbar (W) and Ninewa (NW) provinces continued. U.S.-led coalition postponed operation to take Falluja in Anbar province as alliance between local tribes, clerics and IS remains solid. Iraqi forces with local support 13 March launched offensive on Hit, NW of Ramadi in Anbar province; operation gained ground but ongoing end-month. Officials said IS launched two chemical attacks 9 and 12 March on Taza town south of Kirkuk city reportedly wounding nearly 600 people. IS rocket attack on U.S. Makhmour base south of Mosul 19 March killed one marine, wounded several. U.S. 25 March said it would increase troops in Iraq, likely to help Iraqi forces retake villages in Ninewa plain. IS suicide bomber 25 March killed at least 41 people at stadium in Iskandariya, Babel province, south of Baghdad. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr led thousands in ongoing weekly protests in Baghdad calling for govt reforms and for PM Abadi to announce new cabinet line-up; Abadi promised reforms 29 March. U.S. officials late Feb warned of dangers posed by deteriorating condition of Mosul dam. Amid financial crisis Kurdistan Regional Govt (KRG) 11 March restarted oil exports after three-week break.

Iran

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged

Revolutionary Guards 8 March conducted ballistic missile tests, prompting U.S. and France to threaten new sanctions for what they view as violation of UNSC resolution 2231; Iran’s UN ambassador 23 March denied violation, Russia promised to block new sanctions. Despite U.S. blacklisting of two more Iranian companies connected to missile program 24 March, Revolutionary Guards 28 March said Iran would pursue ballistic missile development. Supreme Leader Khamenei 30 March said missiles key to Iran’s future. President Rouhani 6 March argued for removal of ban on media coverage of former President Khatami and for electoral reform to weaken Guardian Council (GC)’s role in vetting parliamentary and Assembly of Experts candidates. GC late March disqualified reformist woman MP Minoo Khaleghi elected in Feb. Govt 26 March denied supporting cyber-attacks against U.S. after New York court 24 March indicted seven Iranians for hacking banks and dam in the U.S.. Rouhani made first visit since becoming president in 2013 to Pakistan 26-27 March.

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.

Bahrain

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Police 14 March arrested and detained activist Zainab al-Khawaja on several charges, including tearing up pictures of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Hundreds protested against regime in several places 14 March; in some areas police fired tear gas, demonstrators threw petrol bombs.

Syria

  |  1 Apr 2016

Improved
Russian President Putin 14 March announced Russia would withdraw “main part” of assets that have conducted operations in Syria since Sept 2015; air and naval bases near Syrian coast to remain to continue monitoring “cessation of hostilities” and support fight against “terrorists”.  Putin 17 March said Russia could increase military presence “within a few hours” if needed. Despite regular breaches in “cessation of hostilities” which began 27 Feb, violence decreased considerably, with Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) 28 March reporting lowest monthly death toll in four years, 174 civilians killed since 27 Feb. Ceasefire violations included clashes between rebels and Kurdish paramilitaries in Aleppo early March; Russian or Syrian airstrike 7 March killed at least nineteen at market in opposition-held Idlib province; SOHR said 33 killed, mostly women and children, reportedly by Syrian regime airstrikes 31 March in opposition stronghold Deir al-Asafir district south east of Damascus. UN-brokered talks resumed 14 March in Geneva: opposition spokesman 15 March said opposition “not against” direct talks with govt; govt delegation 21 March reiterated Assad’s future not part of negotiations. Decrease in violence enabled return of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations in rebel-held areas. Cessation of hostilities and civilian protests increased tensions between Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) and rebels; JN 12 March apprehended and raided U.S. and Turkey-backed faction in Idlib province, sparking days of local anti-JN protests. Kurdish YPG/PYD 16 March announced plan for federal region in N Syria, generating widespread criticism from both regime and opposition and leading to limited clashes between YPG and regime forces in Qamishli 16 March. Attacks against Islamic State (IS) and JN, excluded from truce, continued including six U.S.-led coalition airstrikes near three cities destroying IS positions. Regime forces backed by Russian airstrikes recaptured IS-held city Palmyra 27 March.
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