1 Sep 2012
A series of sectarian clashes and tit-for-tat kidnappings in Lebanon prompted fears that the Syrian conflict is spilling over. At least 18 were killed and hundreds injured towards the end of August in clashes between al-Assad Alawite supporters and Sunni opponents in Tripoli.
In Syria itself, UN/Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan resigned amid continued diplomatic deadlock. The discovery of over 300 bodies in Darya prompted calls for an investigation and allegations the regime had massacred yet more civilians. Fighting escalated in Aleppo and Damascus as rebel bombings and government airstrikes continued. The Assad regime continues to suffer high-profile defections, including that of the newly appointed Prime Minister Riyad Hijab.
Turkey experienced the worst violence in decades as Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacks intensified throughout the month in the south east, killing dozens in the face of ever-stronger military responses. The flow-on effects of the Syrian conflict are increasingly straining the country’s capacity with the number of military defectors and refugees flowing across the border topping 78,000 by 24 August.
Growing frustration with the ruling coalition’s perceived lack of progress on economic and social issues led to protests across Tunisia. Demonstrations in Sfax and Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the 2011 revolution, turned violent, with police responding to protests using tear gas and rubber bullets, wounding and arresting dozens of protestors. Tensions further escalated mid-month as a proposed constitutional amendment to the status of women led to a 6,000-strong protest in support of women’s rights.
In Côte d’Ivoire a string of deadly attacks hit military and police targets across the country. Pro-government media blamed Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) supporters for the attacks, claims which were rejected by the FPI, who alleged government involvement in mid-month raids on FPI headquarters and pro-Gbagbo newspapers which injured two.
Political and social tensions turned violent in Guinea. The security forces killed seven protestors in two separate demonstrations in the country’s south and north east. Further unauthorised opposition protests calling for free elections on 27 August saw police fire tear gas on demonstrators and shoot at opposition leaders.
In India, last month’s violence in the north-eastern state of Assam spread to three new districts. At least 95 people have been killed and 400,000 people displaced, with tens of thousands of northeastern migrants fleeing major cities amid rumours of reprisals. Widespread general strikes in Assam also triggered riots in several towns, leading the state government to declare a one-month ban to ease tensions.
In Colombia, the government declared that exploratory peace talks with FARC rebel commanders, aimed at ending the country’s 48-year civil conflict, had started. The country’s second biggest rebel group, the ELN, may also join the talks. Crisis Group identifies a conflict resolution opportunity for Colombia.
August 2012 TRENDS
Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Lebanon, India (non-Kashmir), Syria, Tunisia, Turkey
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaidjan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (Russia), North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe
September 2012 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alert
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.