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CrisisWatch Asia

The President's Take

On the first working day of every month, Crisis Group refreshes CrisisWatch, our early-warning tool providing regular updates on the most significant conflicts around the world. It’s one of our most popular features because it is an inestimable resource for all who care about conflict and want to know both the dangers that lurk and the opportunities that arise. Beginning this month, I will add a brief commentary of my own.

This time, I am highlighting two conflict situations: the Korean peninsula, where the potential for a catastrophe of untold proportions comes hand-in-hand with a rare chance for de-escalation; and Israel-Palestine, where a conflict that remains dormant until it inevitably flares up was made more dangerous by the U.S. president’s pronouncements.

As to the former: North and South Korea have agreed to resume contacts in the context of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics; Pyongyang put some of its more provocative actions on the back burner; and Washington postponed its military exercises. These steps should be built upon to avoid an outcome as absurd as it would be tragic: having the U.S. risk a nuclear war in order to avoid one.

As to the latter: for some time now, one of President Abbas’s chief functions has been to maintain as many illusions as possible amid widespread Palestinian disillusionment – with the peace process, the U.S., non-violence, and the two-state solution. Through his actions and words, President Trump has been systematically stripping away even the pretense of an illusion. The danger is that he reap what he has sowed.

Robert Malley
President & CEO



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Outlook for This Month February 2018

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

18 Feb 2018
The [Sri Lankan] government will need to figure out how to come together. They need to go back to the drawing board and return to their fundamental principles and start to deliver. CNN

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
15 Feb 2018
[Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa] has a strong core constituency and a good set of issues, whereas the government has to pull together a range of minority constituents. The Economist

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka
11 Feb 2018
[North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's] goal is to do enough on the inter-Korean front to get the United States and North Korea to jaw-jaw. The real strategic games have only just begun. Bloomberg

Christopher Green

Senior Advisor, Korean Peninsula
8 Feb 2018
The U.S. and Afghan governments are unleashing more violence based on the same rationale that it would tilt this stalemate to favor their conditions at the table. Reuters

Borhan Osman

Senior Analyst, Afghanistan
8 Feb 2018
[South Korea's] Moon administration is already treading a fine line between engagement and what a large and vocal segment of the population regards as appeasement. Reuters

Christopher Green

Senior Advisor, Korean Peninsula
7 Feb 2018
Seeing [Kim Jong-un's sister] at Pyongyang station waving everyone off was a reminder that she’s in the propaganda business. The Washington Post

Christopher Green

Senior Advisor, Korean Peninsula

Latest Updates

Video / Asia

Extending the Korean Winter Olympics Detente

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games, together with the 70th anniversary of both North and South Korea, represents an opportunity for diplomacy to help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Op-Ed / Asia

An Olympic Truce Could Help Solve the Korea Crisis

The Trump administration should take advantage of the Games to promote a peaceful solution to the impasse with North Korea.

Originally published in Politico

Commentary / Asia

Myanmar/Bangladesh: A Humanitarian Calamity and a Two-country Crisis

More than one million Muslim Rohingya forced to flee from Myanmar now live in camps in south-eastern Bangladesh. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to increase funding for refugee assistance and use diplomatic leverage to find a compromise on the issue of refugee repatriation.

Commentary / Asia

A Dangerous Escalation in Afghanistan

The Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is likely to continue unabated in 2018, despite the U.S. effort to step up its military campaign. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to utilise its influence with Afghan political actors to help rebuild trust and increase prospects for mediation.

Media Release / Asia

The Korean Peninsula Crisis: Beyond Fire and Fury

Two Crisis Group reports detail how a nightmarish war on the Korean peninsula is closer than ever in recent history, and how the Winter Olympics and North Korea’s need to show economic progress in its 70th anniversary year offer opportunities for diplomacy and de-escalation. 

Our People

Anagha Neelakantan

Program Director, Asia

Samina Ahmed

Project Director, South Asia and Senior Asia Adviser

Zaib Barlas

Former Operations Manager, Pakistan

Shehryar Fazli

Senior Analyst and Regional Editor, South Asia

Alan Keenan

Senior Analyst, Sri Lanka

Timor Sharan

Former Senior Analyst, Afghanistan

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia

Richard Horsey

Consultant, Myanmar