CrisisWatch N° 106
1 Jun 2012
Violence continued in Syria, with fears of sectarian conflict growing after 108 were killed in Houla during heavy regime shelling. Residents claimed that scores of women and children were massacred by pro-regime Alawite militiamen from nearby villages. A series of deadly bombings, blamed by the Assad regime on al-Qaeda, also rocked the country, including Damascus. UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Anan warned that Syria is at “tipping point”.
In neighbouring Lebanon, escalating violence between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government provoked fears of a return to confessional violence: fighting erupted in Tripoli between Sunnis and Alawites. The killing of a Sunni cleric and the abduction of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims in Syria further raised tensions. Meanwhile, a string of violent incidents on the Lebanese-Syrian border resulted in several deaths and injuries. Crisis Group identifies a conflict risk for Lebanon.
As a 40-day transition period ended in Mali, pro-junta demonstrators stormed the presidential palace, wounding Interim President Traoré, after ECOWAS blocked the military junta’s attempt to name coup leader Captain Sanogo as interim president. In the north, the conflict continues to intensify with the UN announcing that some 320,000 have been displaced since January.
The conflict worsened in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Fierce fighting between the army and rebels – including a new rebel group “M23” – has displaced thousands in the region. UNHCR reported that the number of displaced people across the country topped 2 million this month for the first time in nearly three years.
In Mexico, in another sign of worsening drug-related violence, some 90 bodies – many of them dismembered – were dumped across the country. Five journalists were murdered only in two weeks, three of them in Veracruz, raising the number of journalists killed to 109 since the war on drug cartels started in 2006. The most recent deaths raise fears the violence may detrimentally affect freedom of expression in the run up to the July general election.
In Pakistan, tensions with the U.S. deepened after a tribal court sentenced a doctor who aided in the hunt for Bin Laden to 33 years in prison. NATO supply routes remain closed amid ongoing diplomatic wrangling. Meanwhile, political and sectarian violence in Karachi and Quetta, two of Pakistan’s largest cities, continued throughout May, claiming over 20 lives.
In Nepal, political parties failed to announce a new constitution by the 27 May deadline, ending four years of negotiations and prompting the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. The announcement by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai that he intends to lead the country until November elections for a new Constituent Assembly was condemned as unconstitutional by the opposition Nepali Congress.
Things did improve in Haiti, however. Foreign Minister Lamothe was confirmed as the new Prime Minister after six months of political instability.
May 2012 TRENDS
Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Mali, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Syria
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Palestinian Occupied Territories, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nigeria, North Caucuses (Russia), North Korea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
June 2012 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alert
Lebanon, Mali, 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.