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CrisisWatch N°100

Brussels  |   1 Dec 2011

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential and parliamentary vote went ahead on 28-30 November, after a campaign marred by violence and amid allegations of rigging and mismanagement. Political rallies were banned in the wake of election-related clashes in Kinshasa on the eve of polls, and sporadic reports of violence emerged, including from Lubumbashi and West Kasai, during voting. Four opposition candidates have already called for results to be invalidated, aggravating fears that violence may escalate as results come in – especially if the presidential contest is close. CrisisWatch identifies a conflict risk alert for the Democratic Republic of Congo for December.

In Burundi state troops clashed with the recently formed Forces for the Restoration of Democracy; the government reported 18 rebels killed. A civil society coalition group claimed 300 National Liberation Forces (FNL) members had been killed since July by government-backed death squads. Signs of media repression increased.

Relations between Sudan and South Sudan deteriorated further this month. On 9 November the Sudanese Armed Forces reportedly launched cross-border airstrikes on Maban County in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State, and a day later bombed Yida refugee camp in Unity state, killing 12. Late-month negotiations between the two sides failed to achieve a settlement on contentious oil and transitional financial arrangements. Both Sudan and South Sudan also grappled with internal instability. In Sudan, government forces repeatedly clashed with rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In South Sudan, South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA) rebels continued to attack towns in Unity State, and rebel leader George Athor vowed to continue attacks in Jonglei after negotiations with President Kiir failed.

In Syria violence continued, with the regime’s brutal crackdown ongoing, elements of the protest movement increasingly militarised, the conflict internationalised and the Arab League’s attempt to end the bloodshed running aground. A United Nations report accused President Bashar Assad’s regime of crimes against humanity in its eight-month repression of anti-regime protests, which it says has left at least 3,500 people dead. Assad looked increasingly isolated as his refusal to implement measures agreed with the Arab League led the League to suspend Syria and introduce economic sanctions. CrisisWatch identifies a conflict risk alert for Syria amid signs that violence may escalate in the coming month.

NATO airstrikes on two Pakistan military border outposts left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead and U.S.-Pakistani relations in tatters. Islamabad swiftly condemned the attacks, requesting NATO vacate its airbase in Balochistan and shutting down its supply routes. The incident also damaged already strained Pakistani relations with Afghanistan, with the Pakistani government threatening to boycott forthcoming Bonn talks on Afghanistan.

Tensions continued to rise in Kosovo. Late month violence in the north between international KFOR troops and ethnic Serbs who are barricading customs gates with Serbia left dozens injured. Earlier in the month three ethnic Serbs including a Kosovo Police officer were wounded, one fatally, in a clash with ethnic Albanians in North Mitrovica.

Myanmar saw further positive developments this month. The announcement by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party that they will contest seats in forthcoming by-elections marked their return to the political process. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s arrival in Myanmar at the end of the month – the first such visit for over 50 years – capped a flurry of other diplomatic visits. On 18 November, ASEAN leaders confirmed that Myanmar will chair the group in 2014.

On 1 November leaders of Nepal’s four main political parties signed a landmark deal to integrate one third of former Maoist rebels into the national army and give others financial rehabilitation packages, removing a major stumbling block to the drafting of a new constitution. 

Morocco held the first elections under its new constitution, approved by referendum in July, which devolved some power from the monarch. The moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) won 107 of the 395 seats in parliament. King Mohamed VI appointed as new prime minister the party’s secretary general Abdelilah Benkirane, who will now hold talks on forming a coalition government.

Following the official announcement of last months’ historic election results, Tunisia’s new Constituent Assembly held its first session on 22 November. The main parties quickly agreed to form a new government, with Hamadi Jebali, the leader of the moderate Islamist An-Nahda party which took over 41% of the vote, assuming the post of prime minister.   

The first stage of parliamentary elections in Egypt took place at the end of November. The polls, the first since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February, were mostly peaceful despite deadly protests earlier in the month against the interim military leaders who replaced Mubarak. At least 41 people were killed and over 2,000 injured in clashes between security forces and activists. Crisiswatch maintains a close watching brief on developments in that country.

November 2011 TRENDS

Deteriorated Situations

Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo, Syria,

Improved Situations

Nepal, Myanmar/Burma, Morocco, Tunisia

Unchanged Situations

Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), North Caucasus (Russia), North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe. 

December 2011 OUTLOOK

Conflict Risk Alert

Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria

Conflict Resolution Opportunity

-


*NOTE: CrisisWatch indicators - up and down arrows, conflict risk alerts, and conflict resolution opportunities - are intended to reflect changes within countries or situations from month to month, not comparisons between countries. For example, no "conflict risk alert" is given for a country where violence has been occurring and is expected to continue in the coming month: such an indicator is given only where new or significantly escalated violence is feared.

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Nadja Nolting (Brussels)
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