The President's Take
In my second monthly column to accompany CrisisWatch, our unique conflict tracker, I look at how outside actors are now openly fighting not for Syria, but over it. I also note more bad news from Venezuela, and flag our upcoming report on how the outside world and regional governments can avert disaster there. Read more …
President & CEO
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.
Côte d’IvoireGuineaIndia (non-Kashmir)TurkeyLebanonSyriaTunisia
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.
Prosecutor general Valentin Bagorikunda 23 Aug said commission established to probe extrajudicial executions found no evidence of such killings.
New Bakassi Self-determination Front (BSDF) rebel group mostly composed of Nigerian Ijaw fishermen 10 Aug declared Bakassi peninsula independent. Police 11 Aug denied newly-created opposition coalition Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM) leaders access to press conference in Yaoundé; CRM 15 Aug held second press conference in private office but event again disrupted by police forces.
CPJP rebel group 25 Aug signed peace deal with govt. Violent protests erupted after 2 Aug release of Armed Forces recruitment results; angry youths attacked Ngaraba central prison, freed all inmates. British safari employee, accused of killing 13, released 27 Aug after 5 months.
Public sector employees 13 Aug launched 4th consecutive week of strikes over implementation of 2011 agreement with govt on increased wages. Senegal, AU 22 Aug agreed to try former Chad president Habré for war crimes.
FARDC defections in S Kivu, Oriental Province and Kasai Occidental continued throughout month. FARDC colonel 14 Aug announced defection, formation of new rebel movement. Insecurity in S Kivu, Ituri escalated despite govt-M23 truce as Mai Mai groups, local militias, FARDC factions stepped up operations. UNSC 2 Aug called for “outside countries” to end support for M23 rebellion; govt 31 Aug said it asked UNSC to impose sanctions on Rwandan Defence Minister, 2 top military officials, for support to M23. ICGLR met 6-8 Aug, 16 Aug, failed to reach agreement on composition, funding of 4,000-strong force to neutralise armed groups, defend borders. UN 23 Aug confirmed providing security for meeting between govt officials and former Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) leader Janvier Karairi; meeting reportedly discussed future cooperation with FARDC.
Govt continued to deny allegations of support to DRC M23 rebels; FM Mushikiwabo visited New York, lobbied against UN allegations. Belgian FM Didier Reynders visited late Aug, threatened to propose UN sanctions if Kigali did not halt M23 support. Govt early month requested UN investigate appointment of coordinator of UN group of experts Steve Hege, alleged he sympathises with FDLR following new report linking govt with M23 rebels. Exiled opposition members 17 Aug visited The Hague, called for ICC to bring charges against Kagame.
PM Zenawi 20 Aug died of undisclosed illness sparking concerns over Ethiopian, regional stability, fears of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) power struggle; deputy PM Hallemariam Desalegn named acting head of state. Human Rights Watch report late month accused army of rape, torture in Gambella region. Muslim communities continued demonstrations against govt interference with religious institutions, July arrests of Islamic leaders.
Leader of Muslim Youth Centre (MYC) extremist group Aboud Rogo Mohammed shot dead 27 Aug in Mombasa; thousands rioted in protest, at least 1 killed; 4 police wounded 30 Aug in grenade attack; President Kibaki visited 30 Aug, called for tolerance. Attorney General 6 Aug filed appeal against High Court’s overturning of ban on Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), said group engaged in criminal activities, threatens national security. New anti-terrorism bill tabled mid-Aug opposed by Muslim organisations, human rights groups as discriminatory. Over 52 killed 21 Aug in agro-pastoralist conflict between Oromas and Pokomos, Tana river delta; govt 23 Aug announced countrywide disarmament operation.
National Security and Stabilisation Plan establishing priorities for integration, strengthening of security, justice sectors signed 8 Aug. 211 majority new MPs sworn in 20 Aug marking end of Transitional Federal Govt (TFG); UNSC 30 Aug praised meeting of new Federal Parliament, 28 Aug election of Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari, urged election of President without delay; UN SRSG to Somalia Augustine Mahiga 25 Aug expressed “deep concern” over ongoing delays to choosing all 275 MPs. TFG President Sharif 25 Aug announced Supreme Court to review candidates rejected as MPs by Technical Selection Committee on grounds of ties to armed groups; Court determined they could join parliament. AMISOM, pro-govt forces 27 Aug captured Merca port; 29 Aug killed 42 militants in clash at Aglibah town.
AU mediator Mbeki 3 Aug announced breakthrough deal on oil transportation fees; Juba, Khartoum said implementation of deal linked to progress in other areas; new round of talks scheduled early Sept. Abyei Joint Oversight Committee 10 Aug established peaceful coexistence pact; govt 24 Aug accused Sudan of keeping troops in Abyei with aim of provoking war. At least 24 SPLA soldiers killed 22 Aug, 30 Aug in clashes with militia led by former army general David Yau Yau in Pibor county; Jonglei governor said attack part of wider rebellion. Human Rights Watch sharply criticised Jonglei disarmament campaign in 23 Aug letter to President Kiir, reported widespread torture, abuse; reports corroborated by UNMISS 24 Aug.
Govt early Aug agreed to oil transportation fee deal (see S Sudan). SPLM-N 4 Aug agreed AU, Arab League, UN humanitarian access to civilians in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile; access dependent on Khartoum’s consent. Security forces 1 Aug violently dispersed gathering of opposition Democratic Alliance lawyers in Khartoum, several arrested; National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) 16 Aug said all detainees released, opposition Popular Congress Party figure said only some 20 of 70 released, other opposition parties said some members still detained by NISS. Violence rose in Darfur: govt aerial assaults continued throughout month; UNAMID soldier killed 12 Aug South Darfur; armed group 13 Aug attacked Transitional Darfur Regional Authority HQ in al-Fasher, temporarily took regional minister, other officials hostage; armed men 14 Aug attacked govt forces in Nyala. Clashes between SRF and SAF continued in North and Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, centred around Al-Mouraib, SE Southern Kordofan.
President Museveni 27 Aug promoted son Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba to one-star general, appointed him commander of special forces, prompting reports Museveni grooming son for presidency. Museveni 15 Aug issued new cabinet list, reappointed 3 senior govt officials accused of corruption. Regional leaders met in Kampala 6-8 Aug, discussed DRC crisis; govt 3 Aug denied accusations it is supporting M23 rebels in DRC. U.S. Sec of State Clinton visited early Aug, called for strong democratic institutions.
SADC heads of state summit in Maputo 17-18 Aug called on mediator to “intensify” engagement on implementation of election roadmap. 26 July, 8 Aug meetings between transitional President Rajoelina, former president Ravalomanana failed to resolve impasse. CENIT 2 Aug announced presidential elections to be held 8 May 2013; Seychelles FM Jean-Paul Adam 18 Aug said SADC considering holding elections “without Rajoelina and Ravalomanana”. South African National Prosecuting Authority 4 Aug said will investigate Ravalomanana for crimes against humanity. SADC late Aug reportedly sent mission to evaluate on-the-ground security conditions in view of Ravalomanana’s return. 3 injured 25 Aug in Analakely hotel bombing reportedly targeting military officer.
Month saw increased tensions with Tanzania over long- running Lake Malawi border dispute after British Surestream company, granted mining license by former President Mutharika, started exploratory operations in lake region claimed by Tanzania; parties held talks on sidelines of 17-18 Aug SADC heads of state Maputo summit, ruled out possibility of military action to resolve dispute; 26 Aug failed to reach compromise; new round of talks scheduled for Sept. People’s Party 27 Aug endorsed President Banda as 2014 election candidate.
SADC heads of state summit in Maputo 17-18 Aug emphasised progress on constitutional reform, urged GPA signatories to develop election roadmap timelines, implementation mechanism. MDC-T 3 Aug formally endorsed new draft constitution, PM Tsvangirai 28 Aug said would not negotiate further major amendments; ZANU-PF called for further changes, 29 Aug threatened elections; SADC facilitator President Zuma 24 Aug proposed referendum on COPAC, ZANU-PF drafts to resolve political impasse. High Court 30 Aug extended deadline for by- elections to 1 Oct. 2012 census began amid reported attempts by security sector members to infiltrate process. SADC 17-18 Aug decision to restrict tribunal jurisdiction to inter-state disputes condemned by human rights, legal activists.
Month saw violence across country: 4 killed in 4-5 Aug raids on Yopougon district police precinct; 6 killed in 6 Aug assault on Akouédo military camp; 5 killed in 15-16 Aug attacks on military camp, prison in Dabou, 113 inmates escaped; 12-13 Aug attacks on 2 military outposts in Toulépleu area near Liberia killed 1, Liberian security forces 15 Aug said 6 suspects arrested; 4 killed in 25 Aug security forces clash with gunmen in Grand-Lahou. Military prosecutor 30 Aug said 73 detained over attacks. Pro-govt newspapers accused Ivoirian Popular Front (FPI) of orchestrating attacks; FPI denied allegations, 22 Aug accused govt of orchestrating 18 Aug raid on FPI HQ that left 2 injured, 19 Aug looting of pro- Gbagbo newspaper offices. Authorities 18 Aug arrested FPI deputy Sec Gen Alphonse Douati; court 31 Aug sentenced Sec Gen Laurent Akoun, arrested 26 Aug, to 6 months in jail for “disturbing public order”. National Commission of Inquiry (CNE) 8 Aug released findings of investigation into 2010-2011 post-electoral violence, said govt forces responsible for 700 deaths, pro-Gbagbo forces 1,400. Defence Minister Koffi Koffi 21 Aug said army will begin combing Peko mountain area to root out remaining insurgents. Govt requested extradition of former Gbagbo spokesman Justin Koné Katinan for alleged crimes as budget minister, suspected role in June 2011 coup attempt, following 24 Aug arrest in Ghana. ICC 3 Aug announced new hearing postponement for former president Gbagbo, reportedly due to health concerns.
Security forces, protesters taking part in unauthorised opposition demonstration clashed 27 Aug, police fired tear gas into home of opposition leader Cellou Diallo; opposition announced withdrawal from all state institutions. At least 6 killed 3-4 Aug when security forces fired on villagers protesting Brazilian mining company Vale’s employment of “outside” ethnic groups in Zogota, near N’Zérékoré, SE. Clashes between police, local traders demonstrating against crime, growing insecurity 7 Aug left at least 1 dead, 5 injured in Siguiri. Authorities 7 Aug launched investigation; opposition leaders 12 Aug called for independent probe; President Condé 13 Aug sacked N’Zérekoré and Siguiri prefects; former transitional PM Jean-Marie Doré 21 Aug accused govt of having “planned and carried out killings in cold blood”.
Army Chief of Staff António Indjai 22 Aug said forces loyal to ousted PM Carlos Gomes Júnior preparing putsch sparking fears of counter-coup. Diplomatic standoff continued as Community of Portuguese Language Countries, FRENAGOLPE reiterated demands for return to constitutional order; Gomes Jr 3 Aug called for multinational force to be deployed under UN aegis to “avoid ECOWAS blunders”. U.S. Sec State Clinton 1 Aug said country collapsing, drug-trafficking increasing; transition PM Rui Duarte Barros 13 Aug denied claim. Transitional President Nhamadjo 26 Aug sacked Attorney General Edmundo Mendes, replaced him with Abdú Mané, 12 Aug recalled ambassadors to Portugal, France, Dakar, EU and UN. National Youth and Population Forum 16 Aug expressed concern over presence of ECOWAS troops (ECOMIB) in Bissau. UNIOGBIS head Joseph Mutaboba 23 Aug reiterated need for inclusive dialogue, return to constitutional order, said any request for multinational force must come from govt. FM Faustino Fudut Imbali said FAGB troops to participate in operations in Mali.
UNSG Ban 15 Aug said overall security remains “stable albeit fragile”, main security concerns include civil unrest, public disorder, violence against women and girls, further expressed “extreme concern” regarding continued instability along Côte d’Ivoire border. Security forces 14 Aug arrested 6 suspected of 12-13 Aug attacks on military outposts in Côte d’Ivoire.
ECOWAS military chiefs 16 Aug agreed to send high-level political mission to Mali, Algeria, Mauritania to “facilitate” deployment/operations of 3,000-strong ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA); several countries including Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso and Nigeria pledged to contribute troops.ECOWAS 22 Aug urged govt to “re-establish territorial integrity”. UNSC 12 Aug called on military to refrain from interfering in political process, 10 Aug encouraged appointment of unity govt, expeditious holding of elections, expressed concern over increased terrorist threat, abuses. Negotiations over unity govt continued; 33 ministers appointed to date, including figures from previous regime; increasing worries over “Islamisation trend” following 21 Aug creation of religious affairs ministry. Burkinabé media- tion team 7 Aug visited Gao, Kidal to meet MUJAO, Ansar Dine respectively. 6 convicted 28 Aug of May attack on interim President Traoré. Tensions within army continued as green berets loyal to junta leader Sanogo 2 Aug arrested elite red beret members loyal to ousted President Touré. MUJWA 5 Aug violently dispersed youth demonstrating in Gao against MUJWA intention to chop off suspected thief ’s hand, 10 Aug declared itself in charge of imposing Sharia in Gao, 22 Aug announced banning of “profane music”. Niafunké residents protested mid-month against MNLA/ Ansar-Dine rebels accused of setting up extortion rackets, restrictions on freedom, at least 2 injured. ICC team 31 Aug arrived to investigate possible war crimes.
EU mission EUCAP Sahel-Niger arrived in Niamey early Aug with aim of assisting fight against terrorism, organised crime networks; EUCAP head Colonel Espinosa said mission could be extended to Mali, Mauritania.
Boko Haram attacks continued throughout month; 19 killed in 5 Aug attack on evangelical temple in Okene, Kogi state; 8 killed 5 Aug in bomb attack on military patrol in Damaturu, Yobe state; suicide bomber killed, several injured 3 Aug in suicide attack targeting religious leader outside Potiskum Mosque, Yobe state. army 21 Aug said 20 Boko Haram militants killed in shoot-out in Maiduguri, Borno state, BH denied reports, said all deaths were civilian. Security forces 11 Aug discovered bomb-making factory in Kano. President Spokesman Reuben Abati said govt in talks with Boko Haram via “back channels”. Navy 26 Aug said 28 oil workers kidnapped 23 Aug in Niger Delta region rescued.
President Sall 30 Aug announced proposal to abolish Senate to bolster flood funds. Govt, AU 22 Aug announced creation of joint ad-hoc procedure to try former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré. Police in Kédougou, SE, 13 Aug violently dispersed demonstrators protesting against death of youth while in police custody, at least 1 injured; rights groups denounced “acts of torture” and “cruel treatment” inflicted by gendarmes.
High profile meetings held between China, DPRK officials: Kim Jong-un 2 Aug met with International Dept of Chinese Communist Party Central Committee director to discuss strengthening relations; DPRK delegation led by Chang Sŏng-t’aek, Kim Jong-un’s uncle, visited China mid-Aug, reached agreement on 3 special economic zones in DPRK. ROK, U.S. held combined military exercise 20-31 Aug; Kim Jong-un 25 Aug said had stud- ied, signed full-scale “counter-attack operational plan” in case “enemies fly even a bit of a spark” into DPRK territory. DPRK 3 Aug officially requested flood aid from UN. DPRK, Japan talks 29-30 Aug to discuss repatriation of Japanese soldiers’ remains, “various pending issues” ended without progress. DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly head Kim Yong-nam late Aug attended Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.
21 Aug drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency killed Badruddin Haqqani, brother of Haqqani leader Sirajuddin and network’s operations commander. At least 50 killed, 110 wounded 14 Aug in series of bombs across country; 23 injured 15 Aug in grenade attack on Khost mosque compound, bomb attack on Herat city market. 6 U.S. troops killed 10 Aug, 3 killed 17 Aug, 1 killed 19 Aug in “green-on-blue” attacks by Afghan colleagues; 3 Australian soldiers killed in similar attack 29 Aug; Afghan govt promised to improve recruit vetting to prevent attacks. Kandahar Police Chief Abdul Raziq survived 27 Aug bomb attack, 4 others killed. President Karzai replaced Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi after Parliament 5 Aug voted to remove Khan citing security lapses, cross-border fire from Pakistan, corruption; Warkdak subsequently appointed senior military advisor to President.
Police 22 Aug arrested Jamaat-e-Islami SG Azharul Islam for alleged crimes against humanity during 1971 independence war. Court 28 Aug jailed 665 soldiers for 2009 mutiny. 50 Hindus accused of vandalising local mosque 4 Aug injured in clashes with Muslims in Dinajpur, 17 arrested.
Month saw at least 95 killed, hundreds injured, 300,000 displaced as violence in Assam state spread; Nagaland state tribal groups 20 Aug expressed intention to evict Muslim Bengali migrants “illegally settled on lands” in response to violence. Assam govt 27 Aug requested army intensify counter-insurgency operations in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Bongaingaon, Dhubri districts, 29 Aug called for 2-month ceasefire; general strikes over state’s failure to prevent bloodshed sparked street violence in several Assam districts late month, led Assam govt to ban strikes 30 Aug. Thou- sands of migrant workers mid-month fled southern cities amid fears of reprisal attacks for Assam violence; authorities cracked down on social-networking sites, blamed Pakistan for sparking ethnic strife through “cyber-jihad”. 2 killed, 52 injured, 48 arrested when 11 Aug rally to protest against atrocities allegedly committed against Assam, Myanmar Muslims turned violent. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, thousands of supporters detained by police after 13 Aug attempt to march on parliament in corruption protest; police 26 Aug violently dispersed anti-corruption protesters in Delhi. Parliament late month reached deadlock after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded PM Singh’s resignation over report that India lost $33bn by mis-selling coalfields; Singh 27 Aug announced govt’s intention to take action against any wrongdoing company. Police 30 Aug arrested 10 suspects linked to Mujahideen terror group in Bangalore, Hubri. Court 31 Aug sentenced 32 convicted for involvement in 2002 Gujarat religious riots to life imprisonment.
17 Aug clashes between police, demonstrators in Srinagar protesting persecution of Myanmar Muslims injured 12. Angry mob torched police car after Hurriyat separatist leaders put under house arrest 18-19 Aug. Jamaat-e-Islami-affiliated militant leader Aziz killed by U.S. drone strike in Pakistan mid-month. Police 21 Aug arrested 2 Islamic Front militants allegedly involved in recent Srinagar attacks. 1 suspected terrorist killed 29 Aug during ongoing police operation in Kulgam area.
President Yadav 17 Aug rejected govt ordinances on Nov Constituent Assembly elections due to lack of cross-party consensus. Govt 23 Aug extended Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist combatants for 3 months. Ruling coalition Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M), United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) members, Madhesi parties, smaller ethnic parties 15 Aug formed Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA) to support identity- based federalism. Main opposition Nepali Congress (NC), Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) started internal party discussions on federalism. Breakaway Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN- M-Baidya) parties 10 Aug formed alliance to oust govt. Youth wing of UML called transport strikes 5-7 Aug to demand PM Bhattarai’s resignation. Nepali Congress leader Khadka sentenced 14 Aug to 18 months prison for corruption. Human rights groups 31 Aug urged President Yadav to reject ordinance permitting amnesty for crimes committed during 1996-2006 civil war.
Supreme Court 27 Aug gave PM Ashraf until 18 Sept to request reopening of money laundering case against President Zardari. 8 soldiers, 10 militants killed 29 Aug in S Waziristan clashes; 42 militants, 8 security personnel killed 24-28 Aug in military operation Bajaur agency. In Quetta: 5 security personnel killed 8 Aug in suicide attack; 5 soldiers killed 18 Aug in checkpoint bombing; 3 killed 27 Aug in attack on Shia Hazaras. 8 militants, 1 soldier killed 16 Aug in attack on major air base at Kamra, Punjab province. 120 militants, 5 soldiers killed 14 Aug in Orakzai. 8 insurgents killed 27 Aug in attack on Kurram agency checkpoint. 31 militants, 3 security personnel, 2 peace committee members killed 27 Aug in operations to clear Batwa village, Bajaur agency. Gun- men 16 Aug killed 25 Shia bus passengers near Mansehra, Khyber region; bomb attack on bus carrying Shia students killed one in Karachi, 17 Aug; 6 and 10 killed in Karachi 17, 28 Aug respectively. NATO 25 Aug said senior Pakistan Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah killed in Afghanistan airstrike in Kunar along with 12 other suspected militants. 10 suspected militants killed 19 Aug, 2 killed 21 Aug in drone strikes, N Waziristan. Interior Minister Rehman Malik early Aug said Pakistani Taliban likely receiving support from Afghanistan govt members. Foreign Ministry 10 Aug confirmed govt in talks with Afghanistan on release of key Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradr, arrested 2010. Up to 600 Christians fled community in Islamabad fearing retaliation following arrest of minor Christian girl for blasphemy. Court 31 Aug jailed for 2 weeks extremist Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Ishaq following arrest for inciting sectarian violence.
Govt minister Rishad Bathiudeen appeared in court 27 Aug to answer charges he threatened local Tamil magistrate in Mannar, granted bail. Second Tamil prisoner died mid-Aug from injuries received when security forces took back control of Vavuniya prison following July protest. Election monitors throughout month reported abuse of state resources, violence by parties associated with ruling UPFA coalition in campaign for Sept provincial council elections; incidents included 12 Aug attack on mosque in Batticaola district reportedly by members of pro-govt TMVP. Govt announced closure of most universities as teachers strike entered second month. President Rajapaksa, senior govt officials early Aug met with South Africa govt delegation to discuss possible assistance in reconciliation efforts.
2 Shiites killed 26 Aug in Madura, E Java; President Yudhoyono 27 Aug called for swift action to avert future sectarian violence. 1,000-strong mob 19 Aug destroyed houses of members of minority Islamic Tarekat At Tijaniyah sect allegedly responsible for 14 Aug murder of Muslim cleric in Sukabumi, W Java; sect leader detained over murder. In Papua: policeman killed 21 Aug in Paniai, OPM claimed responsibility; 2 contractors killed 19 Aug, Deiyai; forestry official killed in Sarmi 18 Aug; kiosk owner killed in Paniai 16 Aug; govt 23 Aug promised to take “all necessary measures” to address violence, deployed extra police to Paniai. In Solo, Central Java militants allegedly linked to JAT terror group 30 Aug killed policeman; 2 suspects, 1 policeman killed, 1 suspect wounded 31 Aug.
Renewed clashes in Rakhine State between Rohingya Muslim, Rakhine Buddhist communities killed at least 13. President Thein Sein 10 Aug invited Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to investigate violence toward Rohingya Muslims, 17 Aug announced commission to examine situation, move welcomed by UNSG Ban. Court 24 Aug convicted 3 UN local staff for alleged involvement in June Rakhine State violence, all later pardoned. 6,000 reported displaced late Aug fleeing govt-Kachin Independence Army clashes near Hpakant Township. Navy chief Nyan Tun sworn in 15 Aug as VP; no official explanation given for withdrawal of Myint Swe’s candidature, unofficial reports say it relates to child’s foreign citizenship; Thein Sein 27 Aug announced first stage of significant cabinet reshuffle. Govt 20 Aug announced end to “pre- publication” press censorship, content restrictions remain; 28 Aug announced removal of 2,082 names from immigration blacklist. Govt 8 Aug permitted rallies commemorating anniversary of 1988 pro-democracy protests that were violently suppressed by govt. Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK), Thein Sein met 12, 22 Aug; parliament 7 Aug appointed ASSK chairperson of Rule of Law and Stability Committee. First meeting of new central peace committee held 12 Aug; govt 26 Aug signed ceasefire agreement with Pa-O National Liberation Organization rebel group.
Separatist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) launched several attacks in central Mindanao: at least 5 civilians, 10 security forces members, around 60 BIFM fighters killed, 45,000 displaced; MILF 8 Aug condemned attacks; military captured 5 BIFM camps. During 7-11 Aug negotiations, MILF, govt agreed to establish 2 technical working groups on power, wealth sharing. Unidentified gunmen 8 Aug attacked security forces in Marawi city; 3 soldiers, 1 child killed. 5 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels killed 26 Aug in firefight with security forces in Davao City; 2 policemen killed 30 Aug in NPA attack in Makilala, North Cotabato.
Govt led by PM Gusmao inaugurated 8 Aug. UNSG Ban in 15 Aug visit to Dili confirmed plans for UN withdrawal by end 2012. Journalist investigating corruption 10 Aug stabbed by unknown assailants in Dili. Unidentified group 12 Aug killed 1 soldier in Quintal Boot.
Militant violence across south continued. Attacks during Aug injured 22, killed 4, in several Pattani districts. In Narathiwat, attacks 14, 21, 29 Aug killed 4, injured 5 in Sungai Padi, Rangae, Cho Airong districts. Shootings during Aug killed 4, injured 3 in several Yala districts; police 24 Aug killed 2 militants. 102 separatist incidents struck Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla provinces 31 Aug. Military 9 Aug deployed air force to support anti-insurgency ground operations; DPM General (ret) Yuthasak 25 Aug announced deployment of 1,500 additional border-patrol police. Govt mid-month revealed peace talks with Muslim insurgents in south following policy reversal. Democrat Party 15 Aug petitioned govt to recognise ICC jurisdiction to enable inquiry into bloodshed during war on drugs, 18 Aug said would write to U.S. Congress regarding former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s alleged role in 2010 protest violence.
Republika Srpska President Dodik 7 Aug refused to participate in govt until FM Lagumdžija resigns for encouraging BiH’s UN representative to support UNSC resolution on Syria without consulting all members of presidency, violating constitution. Govt failed to meet 31 Aug deadline to address 2009 European Court of Human Rights Sejdić-Finci ruling.
Opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) 29 Aug announced it would no longer participate in parliamentary commission on electoral, constitutional reform due to failure of Democratic Party to respect 30 April elections agreement. Kosovo Deputy PM Tahiri 12 Aug demanded Serbia implement principles agreed at March 2011 commencement of dialogue, called on EU to break deadlock. Head of UNMIK Zarif 21 Aug requested UNSC support for renewed Serbia, Kosovo talks. Govt 1 Aug announced EULEX mission to end June 2014, transitional period to commence Sept; parliament 31 Aug passed constitutional amendments regarding transition. In N Kosovo, Serbs 23 Aug prevented EULEX from passing barricade at Zupče; EULEX temporarily sealed all roads to Zubin Potok during barricade dismantlement, talks with local officials. UNSG Ban 22 Aug criticised Kosovo police for failing to react to 28 June attack on Serb buses in Priština that injured 16 children. EULEX prosecutors 31 July indicted 8 judges for embezzlement. Govt 18 Aug announced plans to commence Montenegro, Serbia border demarcation process.
Ruling coalition member Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) 22 Aug threatened to leave govt if parliament adopts law granting benefits to Macedonian armed forces and not to Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) forces from 2001 conflict. President Ivanov 16 Aug called for investigation of Defence Minister Besimi, other ethnic Albanian ministers for controversially paying respect to NLA fighters 13 Aug; Besimi 22 Aug apologised for causing offence.
Parliament 4 Aug passed legislation restricting independence of central bank, 6 Aug confirmed political ally of President Nikolić, Jorgovanka Tabaković, as bank’s head; appointment condemned by EU, U.S. ambassador said process “a failure of the rule of law”.
President Sargsyan 31 Aug labelled Azerbaijan President Aliyev’s pardoning of Azerbaijani soldier “grave mistake” (see Azerbaijan). President Sargsyan 8 Aug met with Russian President Putin to negotiate price of Russian natural gas, set to rise dramatically to market value.
Muasir Musavat party leader Gadjiyev mid-month accused Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (AHCP) Chairman Kerimli of poisoning former Azerbaijani President Elchibey; Prosecutor General’s office opened investigation into “attempted murder”. Journalist 23 Aug found guilty of inciting March 2011 riots on Facebook, illegally crossing border; sentenced to 4.5 years jail. President Aliyev 31 Aug pardoned soldier convicted in Hungary of 2004 killing of Armenian army officer sparking diplomatic row.
President Saakashvili early-month announced 1 Oct paliamentary elections. Court 9 Aug jailed senior Georgian Dream (GD) official Melik Raisian for 6-years in absentia for fraud, 11 Aug fined GD parliamentary candidate Kakha Kaladze $10.3mn on suspicion of illegally funding opposition, 12 Aug fined GD leader Bidzina Ivanishvili $13mn on similar suspicion. Council of Europe late month expressed concern over GD claim govt froze party bank accounts. 3 security personnel, 11 suspected militants from Dagestan, Russia killed 29 Aug in successful operation to free 10 hostages near Lapankuri; President Saakashvili condemned kidnapping, blamed Russia. Abkhaz media 15 Aug reported 1 Georgian “saboteur” killed in Gali district, Abkhazia; Georgian sources reported 1 child kidnapped. South Ossetia (SO) President Tibilov mid-month reportedly announced plans to destroy abandoned Georgian villages in breakaway region; Georgian Deputy FM Kapanadze said plan “continuation of ethnic cleansing”. EU early month called Russian PM Medvedev’s 8 Aug visit to SO, “incompatible with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Georgia.
Exchanges of fire continued along line of contact: Azerbaijani soldier killed 17 Aug in Agdam, Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said soldier shot by Armenian sniper, Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh de facto authorities denied claim. Azerbaijan Defence Minister Abiev 4 Aug said Azerbaijan would take territories occupied by Armenia by force if Armenia does not withdraw, Minsk Group mediating format not delivering concrete results. Armenia early month announced plans to resettle several hundreds of ethnic Armenian Syrian refugees in Karabakh, occupied territories; Azerbaijan protested to UN, OSCE. Runner-up in breakaway region’s July presidential elections General Balasanian 3 Aug announced creation of new opposition party focusing on social justice.
30 security forces, 16 militants, 10 civilians killed in Dagestan throughout month, including prominent Sufi Sheikh Said Afandi al-Chirkawi; 6 killed 28 Aug in suicide bomb attack on Sheikh’s home, Chirkey, Buynaksky district; 8 killed, 5 injured in same day shootout between soldiers at border post, Derbent district; gunmen 18 Aug killed Azerbaijan national, injured 8 in attack on mosque; Dagestan President Magomedov 30 Aug called on local officials to form self-defence groups. Chechen President Kadyrov 1 Aug claimed 3 senior insurgent commanders, responsible for Aug 2010 raid on hometown, killed 31 July in Ingushetia by Chechen police; Ingushetia President Yevkurov 2 Aug denied claim, said 2 commanders killed in accidental explosion; Kadyrov 5 Aug reportedly accused Yevkurov of failing to address terrorism, 26 Aug called for “clear administrative border” between 2 republics. In Chechnya: suicide bomb 6 Aug killed 4; gunmen 17 Aug killed 4 police. In Ingushetia: girl wounded, police officer killed 18 Aug in Malgobek; 7 police officers killed, 15 injured 19 Aug in suicide bombing targeting funeral in Sagopshi. Security forces 7 Aug killed 2 militants in Chereksky district, 22 Aug killed militant in Baksansky district, Kabardino-Balkaria.
Govt 8 Aug expelled Swedish diplomats following July teddybear airdrop by Swedish advertising agency; issued summons for 3 Swedes involved. Central electoral commission 24 Aug confirmed registration of 362 candidates for Sept parliamentary elections; 124 candidates rejected due to invalid signatures, including leader of opposition Movement for Freedom Alyaksandr Milinkevich. President Lukashenko 20 Aug fired FM Martynau. Sentence of jailed Young Front opposition organisation leader Zmitser Dashkevich 28 Aug extended 1 year for prison disobedience. Intelligence service 30 Aug reportedly launched crackdown on online opposition groups, several arrested.
High Court 29 Aug rejected former PM Tymoshenko appeal against abuse of office conviction, embezzlement; tax evasion trial delayed 14 Aug to 11 Sept on health grounds; court 15 Aug upheld decision banning Tymoshenko, former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko from registering as candidates in Oct parliamentary elections. Lutsenko, already serving 4-year conviction, found guilty 18 Aug of improperly extending anti-corruption investigation. Govt 17 Aug suspended extradition to Russia of Chechen accused of plotting assassination of Russian President Putin following European Court of Human Rights recommendation; 25 Aug extradited alleged Kazakh national co-conspirator.
FM Marcoullis 23 Aug sought clarification from UK govt over media claims UK bases in Cyprus being used for intelligence support to Syrian rebels. Turkish Energy Minister Yıldız 15 Aug said Turkey’s state petroleum corporation, TPAO, would begin searching for oil in new onshore field in Turkish Cypriot north.
Month saw increased violence between govt, PKK: in Hakkari Province 6 soldiers, 2 guards, 11 rebels killed 5 Aug at border post near Gecimili; attack on military convoy, ensuing clashes 23 Aug killed 6 soldiers, 26 militants; Hakkari governor 11 Aug announced end of 3-week operation against militants involving 2,000 soldiers in region, reported “large number” of rebels killed. 9 killed, 69 wounded 20 Aug in car bombing in Gaziantep; govt 22 Aug blamed PKK, suggested possible international involvement in attack; PKK denied responsibility. PKK 12 Aug abducted for 2 days Kurdish opposition MP in Tunceli, 13 Aug kidnapped 11 construc- tion workers in Hakkari Province. Parliamentary Speaker Çiçek 27 Aug called for unity, democracy to address terrorism; AKP leaders 29 Aug rejected statement. Pro-Kurdish BDP co-Chair Demirtaş late-month said PKK had established control over territory in SE, PM Erdoğan 31 Aug rebuffed claims. Govt 24 Aug said defecting Syrian soldiers, refugees in country, reached 78,000. U.S. Sec of State Clinton visited 11 Aug, announced creation of “formal struc- ture” between 2 countries to tackle worst-case scenarios in Syria; Turkey, U.S. officials 23 Aug held “operational planning meeting” on Syria, reportedly discussed cooperation against al-Qaeda, creation of buffer zone. Foreign Ministry 7 Aug condemned comments by Iranian army chief warning Turkey against cooperation with U.S. over Syria; Deputy PM Arınç 9 Aug accused Iran of backing PKK; Iranian parliament’s foreign policy commission spokesman Nakavi 21 Aug said Turkey risked becoming target of more attacks similar to 21 Aug bombing by intervening in Syria; Iranian Foreign Ministry 22 Aug condemned bombing, expressed condolences. 2 Turkish nationals kidnapped 15, 18 Aug in Lebanon. Supreme Military Council (YAS) 4 Aug announced forcible retirement of 40 generals, admirals suspected of plotting coup.
Trial of opposition leader Kozlov for inciting social discord, attempting to overthrow constitutional order during Dec 2011 violence in Janaozen began 16 Aug. During security operation near Almaty 17 Aug police killed 9 suspected terrorists. Court 6, 10, 15 Aug jailed 15 on terrorism charges in troubled NW. Kazakh journalist beaten 8 Aug by unknown assailants in Astana.
PM Babanov accused 13 Aug by Ata-Meken party of accepting bribe of racehorse in exchange for granting govt contracts; ruling coalition 22 Aug collapsed after withdrawal of Ata-Meken, Ar-Namys factions in protest over weak economy, corruption allegations; Social Democratic Party 27 Aug mandated to form new majority. Opposition MP Tyuleyev remained in pretrial detention over corruption charges, despite Supreme Court’s 15 Aug ruling in favour of house arrest. Govt 21 Aug requested Belarusian authorities arrest, extradite brother of ousted Kyrgyz President Bakiev, being tried in absentia with over 20 former associates for death of nearly 100 people during April 2010 upheaval; Kyrgyz ambassador recalled 24 Aug after Belarus’ refusal to comply; some 50 protesters 28 Aug attacked Belarus embassy in Bishkek . Security forces 21 Aug killed fugitive border guard suspected of killing 5 in shooting spree near Kazakh border. Alleged local leader of banned in Jalal-Abad region.
Local Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Province (GBAO) rebels reportedly disarmed early month as part of peace deal; rebel leader Ayombekov 12 Aug surrendered to central authorities demanded free and fair trial for 21July murder of GBAO head of State Committee for National Security (GKNB) Nazarov. Tensions flared again late month in GBAO capital Khorog: Imomnazar Imomnazarov, former rebel commander also suspect in Nazarov’s murder, killed 22 Aug, govt denied involvement; thousands gathered in Khorog 22-23 Aug to demand explanation for killing, attempted to storm administrative building, 2 demonstrators reportedly injured after police fired warning shots. Govt troops 24 Aug began partial withdrawal from GBAO after deal reached between govt, local civil society activists. Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) Vahdat regional office torched 10 Aug by unidentified group. Prosecutor General accused IRP members of “grave crimes” including fomenting Khorog unrest, membership in banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb ut-Tahrir; IRP said allegations attempt to shut down party. Trial of 15 suspected members of banned Islamist organization Jamaat Ansarullah began 30 Aug.
Parliament 30 Aug adopted foreign policy bill prohibiting foreign military bases, rejecting Uzbek membership in military alliances after June suspension of Collective Security Treaty Organisation membership. U.S. Assistant Sec Blake visited 15 Aug to discuss bilateral relations, including U.S. plan to promote stability in Central Asia after 2014 withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) 4 Aug announced death of leader Osman Adil in U.S. drone attack in Pakistan.
Public prosecutor early Aug issued detention orders for indigenous leaders opposing construction of national highway through TIPNIS national park; UN Resident Representative Yoriko Yasukawa stated concern govt public consultation on construction “generating controversy and conflict” rather than dialogue.
President Santos 27 Aug confirmed “exploratory” talks with FARC held earlier this year, announced formal peace talks to start soon. National Liberation Army (ELN) guerilla group 27 Aug said willing to hold peace talks, Santos welcomed offer. Former president Uribe’s Security Chief General Mauricio Santoyo 20 Aug pleaded guilty to leaking anti-drug operations intelligence to paramilitary groups 2001-2008. Police 8 Aug arrested Oficina de Envigado narcotrafficking group leader Erickson Vargas Cardona alias “Sebastian”, 21 Aug arrested key FARC Eastern Bloc member Yordani Gonzalez Paredes alias “El Gordo”. Govt, indigenous leaders in Cauca dept 16 Aug agreed to establish peace negotiations. Indigenous spiritual leader Lisandro Tenorio Tróchez assassinated 12 Aug, killing attributed to FARC.
Ecuadorian embassy in UK 16 Aug granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange triggering diplomatic stand-off with UK govt. Ecuadorian National Electoral Council (CNE) 24 Aug began manual verification of submissions for party registration for 2013 election after attorney general received thousands of complaints regarding falsification of signatures.
Spain, U.S., UK experts concluded electronic voting system for Oct presidential elections “guarantees transparency and secrecy of vote” following 5 Aug tests. Concerns over homicide rates in prisons increased following 19 Aug riot involving rival gangs at Yare prison, Miranda State which left 25 dead, 43 injured.
Interior Minister Mauricio López Bonilla 15 Aug said country now becoming drug producer; 171 U.S. Marines late Aug joined 2,000 Guatemalan security forces within U.S.-led anti-drug- trafficking “Operation Hammer”. Several hundred soldiers, police sent to Puerto Quetzal 9 Aug after workers seized port facilities; forces 13 Aug withdrew after workers agreed to suspend strike, govt put plans to lease facilities to a Spanish company on hold.
PM Lamothe 6 Aug announced cabinet reshuffle, including replacement of Interior Minister Mayard-Paul, Environment Minister Toussaint, Education Minister Paul. 6 members of provisional electoral commission (CEP) representing executive, judicial branches (CSPJ) sworn into office 1 Aug amid objections from parliament, political parties, civil society groups alleging executive influence on CSPJ in nomination of representatives. President Martelly’s Chief of Staff Milfort mid-month formed new political party, Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale (PHTK); Martelly reportedly affiliated, but not member.
Army 15 Aug announced deployment of 1,000 additional federal forces to Michoacán state following clashes between criminal gangs, police, killing 10; 6 shot dead 8 Aug in Nezahualcoyotl; mass graves uncovered mid-month in Tuxpan; 2 photographers found killed near Ecuandureo 19 Aug. In San Luis Potosi: 14 bodies discovered 10 Aug; gunmen 12 Aug shot dead mayor-elect of Matehuala, campaign manager. Gunmen 13 Aug killed 9 in Monterrey. Over 40 killed 18-19 Aug throughout country, including 12 in Acapulco. 3 bodies discovered 21 Aug, 11 bodies found abandoned 26 Aug on highway in Guerrero. Prosecutors 1 Aug filed charges against 2 retired, 1 active army generals accused of links to Beltran-Leyva cartel. Authorities 14 Aug arrested Supreme Court clerk for allegedly selling information to Sinaloa cartel. Presidential runner-up López Obrador 31 Aug rejected court ruling confirming Peña Nieto as president-elect, called for mass demonstration.
Month saw increased rhetoric over Iranian nuclear program: PM Netanyahu 1 Aug said time running out for peaceful resolution; outgoing Israeli Home Front Defence Minister Vilnai 15 Aug said Israel “prepared as never before”. Militants 5 Aug attempted to cross into Israel from Sinai after attacking Egyptian border-post (see Egypt). Defence Minister Barak 1 Aug ordered army to prepare for ultra-orthodox conscription following expiration of Tal Law allowing deferral of military service. 3 Jewish attacks mid-month left 8 Palestinians wounded in WB, Jerusalem. Palestinian FM al-Malki 4 Aug announced plans to seek Palestinian recognition at Sept UNGA meeting. In formal letter to EU High Rep Ashton released 22 Aug, FM Lieberman called for new elections to oust PA President Abbas. UN special rapporteur Falk 30 Aug condemned Israeli court’s rejection of army responsibility for U.S. activist Rachel Corrie’s death.
Jordanian, Syrian forces 10 Aug clashed on border when Syrian troops reportedly fired on refugees attempting to cross into Jordan. Registration for upcoming parliamentary elections began 7 Aug; govt 12 Aug criticised Muslim Brotherhood (MB), other opposition parties’ poll boycott over controversial elections law passed last month. Some 500 MB supporters rallied 3 Aug in Amman for press freedom; activists same day protested in Karak, Tafileh against elections, U.S. interference in internal affairs.
Month saw series of sectarian clashes, kidnappings: gun- men from group allegedly linked to Free Syrian Army (FSA) 14 Aug announced abduction in Syria of Hassan Salim al-Meqdad; al-Meqdad clan 16 Aug announced retaliatory abduction of Turkish national, over 20 Syrians in Lebanon with alleged links to FSA; armed Shiite demonstrators same day blocked main road to Beirut airport; al-Meqdad clan 25 Aug said all but 4 hostages soon to be released. At least 18 killed, hundreds injured in late Aug clashes between al-Assad Alawite supporters, Sunni opponents in Tripoli; demonstrators 31 Aug demonstrated against Syrian Assad regime; military prosecutor 31 Aug charged 7 with attempting to kill soldiers in clashes. UNSC 30 Aug extended UNMIL peacekeeping mandate to Aug 2013. Military tribunal 13 Aug charged former Information Minister Michel Samaha, Syrian National Security Bureau head Maj Gen Mamlouk with plotting to assassinate political, religious figures, incite sectarian violence.
Month saw scores of civilians killed by clashes between rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) and pro-regime forces fighting for control of Aleppo; govt continued airstrikes against towns in northern Syria. Fighting, shelling continued throughout month in Damascus killing scores. Opposition 26 Aug accused regime of massacre following discovery of some 300 bodies in Daraya; UNSG Ban 27 Aug called for immediate investigation. Newly appointed PM Hijab 6 Aug defected to Jordan; VP Shara 26 Aug denied own defection. Syrian, Jordanian troops 10 Aug clashed along border (see Jordan). UN/Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan resigned 2 Aug; UNSC 16 Aug ended UN observer mission, agreed to set up civilian liaison office; veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi announced as new UN envoy 16 Aug. UNGA 3 Aug passed resolution condemning Syrian govt’s use of heavy weapons, UNSC inaction. UN Human Rights Council report 15 Aug concluded Syrian army, pro-regime militia responsible for March killing of 108 in Houla. FSA 4 Aug announced abduction of some 48 Iranian Shiites, allegedly members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards; Organisation of Islamic Countries 16 Aug suspended Syria.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights President Nabeel Rajab sentenced 16 Aug to 3 years in prison for instigating, participating in “unauthorised” protests, acquitted 23 Aug of 3-month defamation sentence issued 9 July. Leading activist Zainab al-Khawaja arrested 3 Aug along with some 40 others following protests near Manama demanding reforms; tens of thousands 31 Aug participated in first authorised opposition protest since June near Manama. Public prosecutor Hamza 7 Aug said 15 policemen charged with mistreating medics in last year’s uprising. 16-year- old Husam al-Haddad killed 18 Aug in clashes with riot police; Interior Ministry said he sustained injuries after attacking police with molotov cocktails; protesters clashed with police at 21 Aug funeral, 8 arrested.
U.S. military chief Gen Martin Dempsey 15 Aug claimed Iran building, training Syrian militia to prop up President al-Assad’s forces; govt 9 Aug appealed to Turkey, Qatar during Tehran conference on Syria to help release 48 Iranian Shiites taken hostage in Syria. Iranian security chief Jalili 7 Aug held talks with Assad, pledged support; Iran 9 Aug hosted 30-nation conference in effort to kick-start peace talks. Military 4 Aug test-fired new short-range missile. Increase in poultry price, govt’s slow relief response to earthquakes in Azerbaijan province mid-month triggered riots in several cities. UNSG Ban attended Iran-hosted Non-Aligned Movement triennial summit 29-31 Aug, requested better cooperation with IAEA, condemned anti-Israeli statements; Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei pledged Iran will never build atomic weapons. IAEA 30 Aug said Iran recently doubled number of nuclear centrifuges.
Kurdistan Regional Govt (KRG) 7 Aug resumed oil exports through Iraq’s national pipeline following 4-month standstill; 8 Aug claimed govt closed Representation Office of KRG in Baghdad Prime Ministry; govt said office can reopen elsewhere in Baghdad. Kurdish Deputy PM Rosh Nuri al-Shawish 30 Aug said Kurdistan ready to restart negotiations with Baghdad on oil law. Govt 3 Aug protested 2 Aug unannounced visit by Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoğlu to Kirkuk, said visit violated sovereignty; Turkey warned Iraqi govt to be “careful” of remarks. Communications Minister Mohammed Allawi resigned 27 Aug citing interference by PM al-Maliki. Sunni cleric Mehdi al-Sumaidaie, who preached Sunni-Shiite reconciliation, critically wounded, 4 bodyguards killed 19 Aug by car bomb, Baghdad. Series of bombings, shootings across country 16 Aug killed over 70. Several explosions 15 Aug killed at least 9 in Baquba, Muqdadiya. At least 9 soldiers, including colonel, killed 28 Aug when insurgents fired rockets at army convoy north of Baghdad. PM al-Maliki’s media advisor 20 Aug rejected reports Iraq breached sanctions on Iran.
Authorities 4 Aug reported soldier, gunman killed during shoot out in Qatif. Govt 15 Aug urged nationals to leave Lebanon due to fears Syrian conflict is spilling over. Govt 26 Aug said terrorist plot foiled, 2 Saudis, 6 Yemenis arrested. Press late Aug announced King Abdullah on “special leave” in Morocco.
Republican Guards led by Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, son of former president Saleh, 14 Aug attacked Defence Ministry HQ following 6 Aug restructuring of military units to curb Ahmed’s powers. Series of assassination attempts targeted govt, military: car bomb 9 Aug killed senior military official Brigadier Omar Barasheed; Information Minister al-Amrani survived 2 Aug assassination attempt; Transport Minister Bathib survived attempted assassination 25 Aug; at least 20 intelligence officers, security guards killed in mid-Aug attacks on intelligence HQ in Aden by suspected Islamist militants. Intelligence officer Aytha Fraj Baganem shot dead 30 Aug in Sanaa. Violence continued in South: at least 45 killed 4 Aug in suicide bombing at funeral in Jaar; security forces seized 6 suspected Islamist militants 6 Aug in Jaar; govt 8 Aug reportedly foiled al-Qaeda-linked militants’ plot to attack Sanaa. Gunman 19 Aug opened fire on mosque during Eid prayers in Dalea province killing 7; same day 4 killed by suicide bomber in Abyan province. Drone attacks 29-31 Aug killed at least 14 suspected Islamist militants in Hadramout province. Gas pipeline feeding country’s only liquefied natural gas export terminal sabotaged 21 Aug.
Security forces 15 Aug captured 3 high-ranking AQIM members heading to the Sahel, including “emir” Necib Tayeb, wanted since 1995; army 31 Aug said 9 militants including Zemouri Abdelamalek, Al-Arkam leader, killed in 29-30 Aug operations. In video released 26 Aug, Algerian hostage held by Islamist rebel group MUJWA in north Mali pleaded for Algerian authorities to “save his life”, MUJWA threatened to kill Algerian consul to Gao if Algerian govt does not satisfy group’s demands. 4 gendarmes killed 2 Aug in shoot-out on Moroccan border. Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia 4 Aug said local elections to be held 29 Nov.
Authorities launched largest military operation in Sinai since 1973 after militants 6 Aug attacked border post at Rafah killing 16 policemen, captured 2 armoured vehicles in attempt to penetrate Israel; state media said attackers “jihadists” from Gaza; militants 8 Aug reportedly attacked security checkpoints in al- Arish. Military launched airstrikes against suspected Islamists in response, killing 20, started to seal off smuggling tunnels to Gaza. Court 14 Aug sentenced to death 14 members of al-Tawhid wal- Jihad Islamist group over July 2011 attack on al-Arish. President Mursi 8 Aug announced resignation of 7 senior military officers, including Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) head Gen Tantawi, Chief of Staff Gen Anan, appointed Gen al-Sisi as new SCAF head. Mursi 13 Aug rescinded June Constitutional Declaration giving SCAF legislative powers, issued alternative declaration awarding himself powers while parliament dissolved; 2 Aug swore-in new cabinet under PM Qandil; 30 Aug attended Non-Aligned Movement meetings in Tehran, condemned “oppressive” Assad regime in Syria.
National Transitional Council (NTC) 8 Aug handed power to newly elected National Assembly; following day Mohammed Magarief chosen as President; National Assembly 29 Aug sus- pended 3 members for links with former Qadhafi govt. Hardline Islamists bombed, bulldozed Sufi shrines, set fire to mosque library 24-25 Aug; Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A’al 28 Aug withdrew 26 Aug resignation that followed criticism of security forces, said would not risk armed confrontation with hardline Muslims behind shrine attacks. Month saw series of attacks against security facilities, officers: Benghazi military intelligence offices bombed 1 Aug; car bomb exploded 4 Aug near Tripoli military police offices; 3 car bombs exploded 19 Aug near Interior Ministry, security buildings in Tripoli, killing at least 2; police arrested 32 in connection with bombings; security forces 5 Aug killed 3 bombing suspects. Gun- men 10 Aug killed army general Hadiya Al-Feitouri in Benghazi. ICRC announced suspension of activities in Benghazi, Misrata following 5 Aug grenade, rocket attack on Misrata compound. Egyptian diplomat Abdelhamid Rifai’s car bombed 20 Aug. At least 3 killed in 23 Aug clashes between al-Haly, al-Fawatra tribes near Zlitan.
Coordination for Democratic Opposition (COD) parties 4 Aug rejected all proposed solutions to current political crisis, reiterated demand that President Abdel Aziz step down. President Abdel Aziz 6 Aug said ex-Qadhafi spy chief Abdallah al-Senoussi will not be extradited to Libya until legal proceedings in Mauritania complete, people tired of opposition protests; rights groups, opposition parties including COD condemned speech. Head of Initiative for Abolitionist Resurgence (IRA), Biram Ould Dah, detained since May, 9 Aug requested better medical treatment; dozens of IRA sympathisers 14 Aug held sit-in outside Justice Ministry to demand his liberation.
Security forces 26 Aug violently dispersed 20 Feb Movement demonstrators in Rabat, Casablanca demanding release of all political detainees, 23 Aug dispersed demonstrators protesting pledge of allegiance to king.
Month saw countrywide protests: over 6,000 protested 13 Aug against language in new draft constitution defining gender roles; 14 Aug general strike in Sidi Bouzid called for release of protesters detained during previous demonstrations, court 15 Aug released protesters; 5 killed 16 Aug when Salafis attacked music, theatre festival, clashed with police. Sfax Hospital strike culminated in violent confrontations between police, protesters mid-Aug. Interior Ministry 16 Aug confirmed Ayoub Massoudi, former aide to President Marzouki, to be tried after criticising army; arrest warrant issued 24 Aug for TV channel director Fehri over satirical govt show.
UNSG Ban late Aug stressed his confidence in UN envoy Christopher Ross, said will not cede to Morocco’s May 2012 demands for replacement. Security forces 25 Aug violently dispersed demonstration in Laayoune, several injured. Moroccan FM Saad Dine El Othmani 10 Aug said Polisario aided by Qadhafi arms, money.