CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.
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Global Overview November/December 2021
Our monthly conflict tracker warns of three conflict risks in December.
CrisisWatch also highlights deteriorations in twelve countries and conflict situations in November.
Aside from the 70+ conflict situations we regularly assess, we tracked notable developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Our CrisisWatch Digests for Ethiopia, Lebanon and Somalia offer a monthly one-page snapshot of conflict-related country trends in a clear, accessible format, using a map of the region to pinpoint developments:
View the November 2021 CrisisWatch Digest on Ethiopia here.
View the November 2021 CrisisWatch Digest on Lebanon here.
View the November 2021 CrisisWatch Digest on Somalia here.
Jihadists launched deadliest attack on security forces since 2015, fuelling anti-govt protests calling on President Kaboré to step down. In Sahel region, over 300 suspected combatants of al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) 14 Nov stormed military camp in Inata area, Soum province, killing at least 49 gendarmes and four civilians; deadliest attack suffered by troops since start of Islamist insurgency in 2015 revealed jihadists’ ambition to clear out zone of military presence. Military document leaked same day highlighted dire living and working conditions at Inata’s base, including lack of food; document’s authentication still pending. Elsewhere in Sahel region, suspected Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)-affiliated combatants 1 Nov killed ten civilians and abducted another four in Markoye department, Oudalan province; three abductees found dead two days later. Amid significant increase in jihadist violence in Sahel’s Seno province since mid-Oct, suspected ISGS 5 Nov killed two civilians in Seytenga department, and 12 Nov killed at least seven police in Falagountou department. In Centre-North region, suspected JNIM attack against military in Foubé town, Sanmatenga province, 21 Nov killed at least ten civilians and nine gendarmes. Jihadist violence also continued to accelerate in Cascades region (south west), notably in Comoé province near border with Côte d'Ivoire. Notably, suspected JNIM militants 13 Nov vandalised gendarmerie position in Mangodara department, setting material on fire. Amid rising public discontent over govt’s failure to stem violence, hundreds 16 Nov took to streets in capital Ouagadougou calling for Kaboré to resign. Kaboré next day dismissed two senior military officials, 25 Nov promised series of measures including govt and security forces reshuffle. Renewed anti-govt protests 27 Nov erupted in Ouagadougou; at least 20 reportedly injured as police fired tear gas to disperse crowd. Opposition to French military presence also came to light when protesters mid- to late-Nov blocked French military convoy on its way to Mali from Côte d’Ivoire in several locations; four people 20 Nov suffered gunshot wounds during standoff between protesters and French and Burkinabé forces in Kaya city (Centre-North). Authorities same day shut down mobile internet before restoring it 28 Nov.
Islamic State (ISIS) local affiliate ADF stepped up attacks on capital Kampala with sophisticated bomb blasts, which killed seven, prompting authorities to conduct mass arrests. Three separate blasts 16 Nov in Kampala – two near parliament, another outside police headquarters – killed seven, including three suicide bombers, and injured 40. Police same day captured further suspect who died of injuries. Islamic State (ISIS) immediately claimed its affiliate Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), based in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda, responsible for attacks. Police 18 Nov attributed 16 Nov blasts to ADF and in following days arrested over 100 suspects, killed seven, and reported recovery of bomb-making equipment, suicide vest and light weapons. Prior to 16 Nov blasts, police early Nov arrested around 50 suspects for involvement in Oct bombings, 8 Nov released at least 14 of them; 4 Nov killed one suspect during arrest and recovered bomb-making equipment. Meanwhile, President Museveni 5 Nov promised to continue cooperation with DRC in fight against ADF, reiterating plans to deploy Ugandan army into neighbouring country. Military 30 Nov launched air and artillery raids against ADF on Congolese soil in operation reportedly agreed with Congolese forces. Tensions ran high in Karamoja sub-region amid disarmament operations. Army 17 Nov promised more forceful approach as 90-day grace period – during which locals were encouraged to voluntarily surrender their guns to security forces – expired; locals reportedly preparing to resist forced disarmament.
In new setback, tensions rose as opposition denounced manipulation of Lower House election process; calm returned to Galmudug state, and Al-Shabaab maintained attacks notably in capital Mogadishu. Upper House 13 Nov filled last two remaining seats, completing 3.5-month-long election process. More complex Lower House elections 1 Nov kicked off slowly. Federal election committee 11 Nov announced new timeline for completion of Lower House process between 16 Nov and 24 Dec, which PM Roble endorsed same day. Opposition later in month voiced concerns regarding legitimacy of process amid reports of significant manipulation and interference in approximately two dozen seats filled by month’s end, raising risk of new electoral impasse. Following truce agreed in Oct between President Farmajo and Roble, Farmajo’s pick for intelligence chief remained in place, while Roble’s choice for minister of internal security also kept his position; accommodation allows Farmajo to retain influence over National Intelligence and Security Agency and possibly use it to support his re-election campaign. Calm returned to Galmudug state following heavy fighting between Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a (ASWJ) militia and Galmudug forces, backed by federal forces, in and around Guricel town in Oct; wider mediation to reach agreement between Galmudug administration and ASWJ over latter’s status however stalled by mid-Nov, raising possibility of further clashes. Attacks by Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab group continued. In capital Mogadishu, suicide attacks 11 Nov killed three including two civilians in Wadajir district, and 25 Nov killed eight and left 17 injured including schoolchildren in Hodan district. Also in Mogadishu, unidentified assailants 17 Nov killed traditional elder at his house in Yaqshid district, raising concern over protection of elders and delegates during electoral cycle. Elsewhere, bomb blast 19 Nov killed at least seven civilians in Bardale town, Bay region in South West state. Al-Shabaab late-Nov also launched two attacks in South West state’s capital Baidoa in alleged attempt to disrupt Lower House elections there: attack on military base and airport 30 Nov reportedly killed at least one soldier and one civilian. Mogadishu 4 Nov ordered AU Envoy Simon Mulongo to leave country, citing activities incompatible with AU mission’s mandate.
Japan deepened ties with Germany and reaffirmed alliance with U.S., while China held live-fire drills. German navy frigate Bayern 4 Nov conducted joint exercises with Japanese navy, next day docked in Japanese capital Tokyo for first time in 20 years; Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said Japan and Germany will increase cooperation in South China Sea. Japan’s newly appointed FM Yoshimasa Hayashi 12 Nov spoke with U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken, who reaffirmed alliance between U.S. and Japan as “the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the region, and globally”. China 3 Nov held live-fire drills in East China Sea, in likely response to late Oct U.S.-Japan joint exercises in South China Sea. As of 28 Nov, 80 Chinese coast guard vessels had entered waters surrounding disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku island chain, marked decrease from previous months. Japan’s and China’s foreign ministries 10 Nov held meeting on East China Sea; Japanese officials expressed concerns over China’s increasing military activities while Chinese officials called on Japan to avoid actions that could complicate security situation; both sides agreed to continue work on military hotline. Japan, U.S., Australia, Canada and Germany 21-30 Nov held joint naval exercise off southern Japanese coast. Reports mid-month indicated Japan was undertaking restructuring of its defence forces to increase integration between ground and maritime forces, likely in response to possible future Chinese military campaign against Taiwan as well as reflecting need to defend Tokyo’s Ryukyu island chain.
South Korean opposition selected presidential candidate advocating hawkish stance on North Korea, while signs emerged of potential reopening of North Korea-China border. In South Korean capital Seoul, main opposition People’s Power Party 5 Nov selected former Chief Prosecutor Yoon Seok-youl as candidate for March 2022 presidential election; observers noted that should Yoon win majority, his administration would likely strike conservative policy line toward North Korea, seek verifiable progress toward denuclearisation as prerequisite for resuming economic cooperation and oppose end-of-war declaration currently pursued by incumbent Moon Jae-in administration. Meanwhile, former U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) commander Gen Robert Abrams 17 Nov warned end-of-war declaration could lead to calls to end U.S./UN role on peninsula. More broadly, inter-Korean relations remained stable with South Korea’s ministry of unification repeating during month that cross-border military hotlines are operating normally; hotlines were re-established in Oct following disconnection earlier in year. Chinese customs figures published early Nov indicated North Korea imported $4.5mn in soaps, solvents and disinfectants from China during Oct despite overall trade decrease, likely to support sterilisation efforts in bid to restart overland trade following two-year COVID-19 border closure. Import data comes amid evidence that China 1 Nov tested train at main overland goods transit point between China’s Dandong city and North Korea’s Sinuiju city, where old airport has been repurposed as one of four disinfection facilities (others are at Nampo port, Chongjin port and border crossing with Russia); North Korean economic delegation also visited Dandong 8 Nov.
European and U.S. lawmakers sought deeper engagement with Taiwan, U.S. and China signalled restraint, and Beijing continued incursions into Taiwanese airspace. EU Parliament delegation of seven lawmakers 3-5 Nov visited Taiwan in first “official” visit and met Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen; delegation head said visit was aimed at showing “Europe is standing with you”. Six U.S. legislators 9 Nov met with senior Taiwan officials, including Tsai in visit to Taiwan’s capital Taipei, and second delegation visited 25 Nov; delegation leader Senator John Cornyn said meeting was “to learn how the U.S. can best support Taiwan’s development of domestic asymmetric defence capabilities and discuss trade relations”; in response, Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command same day held joint combat readiness patrol in Taiwan Strait. China 13 Nov warned U.S. against sending “wrong signals” to Taiwanese pro-independence forces. U.S. President Biden and Chinese President Xi 15 Nov signalled restraint over Taiwan in virtual meeting, with Chinese statement affirming Beijing’s “patience” on issue while U.S. statement referenced “one China” policy for first time following Xi-Biden interactions. Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton 14 Nov said it “would be inconceivable” for Australia not to support the U.S. in defending Taiwan in event of Chinese invasion. Meanwhile, Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone throughout month, totalling 166 aircraft as of 29 Nov; largest sortie of 27 aircraft on 28 Nov followed second U.S. congressional visit and coincided with visit by Baltic lawmakers 29 Nov. U.S. warship 23 Nov transited Taiwan Strait for 11th time in 2021.
Amid worsening economic situation, Taliban continued to consolidate power despite ongoing small-scale security threats from Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) and clashes with National Resistance Front. Taliban head Emir Hibatullah Akhundzada 7 Nov decreed major reshuffle in Taliban’s provincial structure, announcing 44 new personnel, including 17 governors; reshuffle seeks to limit commanders from developing local powerbases while promoting loyalists and demoting unruly commanders. Overall economic situation continued to deteriorate, but Taliban’s finances improved as it 16 Nov auctioned $2.1 mn after initially announcing it would auction $10 mn; group 20 Nov announced it would resume some salary payments to govt employees and retired civil servants. Meanwhile, ISIS-K attacks focused on Taliban security personnel and ethnic minority Hazaras. Notably, ISIS-K 2 Nov attacked Sardar Daud Khan Military Hospital in capital Kabul, killing dozens, including Taliban’s commander for Kabul’s military corps, Maulawi Hambdullah Mukhlis. UN Envoy to Afghanistan Deborah Lyons 19 Nov said ISIS-K is now active in all provinces of country. In response, Taliban cracked down on ISIS-K suspects, resulting in disappearances and extrajudicial killings throughout country; Taliban 10 Nov claimed to have arrested 600 ISIS-K suspects. Meanwhile, reports of fighting between National Resistance Front and Taliban continued throughout month in northern Parwan, Panjshir and Baghlan provinces. Regional diplomatic activities focused on alleviating worsening economic and humanitarian situation. Taliban delegation led by FM Amir Khan Muttaqi 10 Nov met with members of Troika Plus (Pakistan, Russia, China, U.S.) in Pakistan; Troika Plus agreed to ease banking restrictions on govt. India same day chaired regional security dialogue on Afghanistan with seven neighbouring countries. Reports 4 Nov emerged that Taliban facilitated covert talks between Pakistani Taliban and Pakistan (see Pakistan). Taliban and U.S. officials 29-30 Nov held talks in Qatar’s capital Doha to discuss wide range of issues.
Clashes between ruling party factions around local elections killed over 45 and injured more than 100. In run-up to second phase of elections held for lowest tier of local govt 11 Nov, clashes broke out between rival ruling Awami League (AL) factions, killing scores; opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted polls. Notably, clash 4 Nov killed three and injured ten in Narsingdi district; 5 Nov killed one in Cox’s Bazar district; 8 Nov killed two and injured 35 in Pabna and Meherpur districts. On election day, at least seven people were killed in clashes in Narsindi, Comilla, Cox’s Baaar, and Chittagong districts; more than 100 were injured in election-related violence throughout country. In run-up to third phase of local polls, Awami League clashes 25-28 Nov left three dead in Brahmanbaria, Bhola and Tangail districts. On polling day, violence left multiple dead and injured in Tangail, Lakshmipur, Narsingdi, Khulna, Jessore, Thakurgaon and Munshiganj districts. Fourth phase of polls due on 26 Dec and fifth phase on 5 Jan 2022. Arrests of alleged militants continued throughout month. Authorities detained alleged Jamaatul Mujahideen member in capital Dhaka and 24 Nov detained suspected Ansar al-Islam member in Dinajpur district. Ruling Awami League govt continued to use controversial Digital Security Act to silence criticism. Under law, authorities 2 Nov issued arrest warrants against two prominent journalists, 8 Nov indicted photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol in three cases. BNP 24 Nov began eight-day protest calling on govt to allow critically ill leader and former PM Khaleda Zia to seek treatment abroad. Police 3 Nov found dead alleged leader of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in Whykong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar; police said mob likely lynched him. Paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion 8 Nov claimed to have found illegal arms factory in Ukhiya camp in Cox’s Bazar, detaining three Rohingya men. Meanwhile, UN 1 and 8 Nov conducted second visit to flood-prone Bhasan Char island refugee camp to assess needs; seventh phase of relocation of refugees to Bhasan Char began 25 Nov after six month gap, with 1,500 more Rohingyas transferred to island.
Security forces launched large-scale operation against Maoists, while PM Modi announced repeal of controversial agricultural laws as farmers marked one year of protests. Two months after govt declared it would end Maoist insurgency within one year, security forces 13 Nov conducted one of largest operations in recent times in Maharashtra state (west), killing 26 insurgents. Elsewhere, security forces 5 Nov killed Maoist in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh state (centre), 7 Nov killed Maoist in Kalahandi district of Odisha state (east), 15 Nov killed Maoist in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh state. In Bihar state (east), Maoists 13 Nov killed four villagers, including two women, in Gaya district; 22 Nov blew up govt building and cell phone tower in Aurangabad district. In significant escalation, secessionist militants 13 Nov ambushed security forces’ convoy in Churachandapur district of Manipur state (north east), close to Myanmar border, killing commanding officer, his wife, son as well as four other security personnel; anti-India People’s Liberation Army and Manipur Naga People’s Front claimed responsibility for attack. After right-wing Hindu groups attacked mosques and Muslim-owned properties late Oct in Tripura state (north east), bordering Bangladesh, in retaliation for attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, police 3 Nov registered terrorism cases against more than 100 journalists, activists and social media accounts for allegedly distorted reporting of events. PM Modi 19 Nov announced intention to repeal controversial farm laws that had led to widespread protests for past year; marking one-year anniversary since start of movement, thousands of farmers 26 Nov held rallies across country. Parliament 29 Nov passed bill to repeal laws. Amid ongoing tensions with China over Line of Actual Control (LAC), unofficial border between two countries, FM Jaishankar 19 Nov said: “We are going through a particularly bad patch in our relationship because they [China] have taken a set of actions in violation of agreements for which they still don’t have a credible explanation”. Earlier, chief of defence staff 11 Nov stated Chinese military activity had been entirely on Chinese side of LAC.
Relations between India and Pakistan remained tense as sides exchanged hostile rhetoric, while militant attacks and security operations continued in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf 2 Nov declined invitation from India to join regional meeting regarding Afghan security situation, stating “a spoiler cannot be a peacemaker”. India’s external ministry 8 Nov summoned senior Pakistani diplomat to protest killing by Pakistan’s naval security of Indian fisherman previous day near international maritime boundary line in Arabian Sea off India’s Gujarat state. Pakistan’s foreign ministry 18 Nov condemned alleged extrajudicial killings of five Kashmiris previous day in Kashmir, said at least 30 Kashmiris had been killed in “fake encounters or so-called cordons and search operations” since 1 Oct, condemned “inhuman and callous” actions of Indian govt for not allowing families of those killed to hold proper burials. India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 20 Nov said “new and powerful” India will counter all Pakistani efforts to “destabilize peace”; Pakistan’s foreign ministry next day criticised “irresponsible, provocative and gratuitous remarks”. In J&K, security operations and militant attacks continued. In controversial security operation, four persons were killed 15 Nov in regional capital Srinagar, including two civilians, who police claimed were militant sympathisers; relatives contested police claims that civilians were militants and held protests that police forcibly disrupted, sparking wider protests throughout region. Militants 8 Nov killed policeman and Muslim salesman in Srinagar; security forces 11 Nov killed three militants in separate operations in Kulgam and Srinagar districts; separate security operations in Kulgam district 17 Nov killed five militants; security forces 20 Nov killed alleged Hizbul Mujahideen commander in Kulgam district. Meanwhile, authorities 18 Nov arrested three youth from Pampore in Kashmir for allegedly attempting to cross Line of Control into Pakistan.
Chief justice refused to step down, hampering function of Supreme Court, while political parties began preparations ahead of upcoming general elections. Chief Justice Cholendra Rana continued to defy widespread calls to resign following allegations in Oct of collusion with PM Sher Bahadur Deuba; most of other 19 justices throughout Nov refused to hear cases, except for habeas corpus petitions, in effort to pressure Rana to resign. The Nepal Bar Association (NBA) held protests against Rana throughout month, including sit in at the Supreme Court 23 Nov and march from court to PM’s residence 25 Nov. Clashes with police during protest outside court 11 Nov injured six lawyers, including NBA’s general secretary. Two-third parliamentary majority in favour of impeachment motion against Rana remained unattainable during month. Meanwhile, opposition Unified Marxist-Leninist party became first major party to begin preparing for general elections due in next few months by holding party conference 26-30 Nov, where former PM KP Oli was re-elected party chair; ruling Nepali Congress party scheduled its conference for 10-12 Dec.
Political tensions between ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and top election body rose, govt reached ceasefire agreement with Pakistani Taliban, and militant attacks continued. Tensions between govt and Election Commission persisted, notably after commission 5 Nov released inquiry report accusing administration, law enforcement personnel and local elections officials of involvement in “pre-planned scheme” to falsify results of Feb National Assembly by-election in Punjab’s Daska constituency. Controversy further rose after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf 17 Nov passed controversial Elections Amendment Bill allowing use of electronic voting machines in 2023 elections. All major opposition parties, including Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), condemned bill, voicing concerns over data manipulation and govt’s alleged dismissal of top elections body’s concerns. Following widespread protests that led to deadly unrest in Oct, federal cabinet 7 Nov revoked April decision to ban Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) under anti-terrorism laws. TLP’s chief Saad Rizvi, detained since 11 April, was released 18 Nov, along with thousands of detained activists. Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain 8 Nov announced that Afghan Taliban-backed talks had resulted in month-long ceasefire agreement between govt and Pakistani Taliban; govt said “it would apply to both sides equally” and could be extended by mutual consent; army 27 Nov however revealed unidentified attackers killed two soldiers near Afghan border, in third incident since ceasefire. Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party said any agreement with banned Pakistani Taliban would have no legitimacy without parliamentary approval. Militant attacks persisted. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, armed assailants 1 Nov shot dead police officer in Peshawar city; soldier was killed 13 Nov while defusing roadside bomb in Swabi district; attack on checkpoint 27 Nov killed two soldiers in North Waziristan district. In Balochistan province, bomb blast targeting security forces 2 Nov injured at least 13 people in Kharan district; assailant 4 Nov shot dead soldier and parliamentarian security guard in Dera Bugti district. Bomb blasts 13 Nov killed two police officers in Turbat district and killed at least five, including two police officers, in Quetta. Five miners shot dead 21 Nov in Harnai district; attack on checkpoint 24 Nov killed two soldiers in Kech district.
Economic woes deepened amid food security concerns, while trial of 2019 Easter bombings suspects began. On economic front, country faced soaring food prices as supplies shrunk, raising concern of major food shortages in coming weeks and months; govt’s ban in April on import of chemical fertilisers and pesticides (lifted in late Oct) had triggered warnings of potentially much reduced crop yields this year. After rating agency Moody late Oct downgraded govt’s credit rating, fears persisted over falling currency reserves and govt’s ability to pay billions of dollars of debt due next year; Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa 13 Nov said govt can pay debts on schedule, and one day after unveiled budget proposing major tax hikes and spending cuts in attempt to reduce budget deficit. Opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya 16 Nov held its first major COVID-era public rally in capital Colombo in protest at govt economic mismanagement despite police-requested court orders to prevent demonstration on public health grounds. Trial of 25 suspects allegedly involved in 2019 Easter bombings began 23 Nov, but subsequently adjourned until January. Separate murder trial of former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and former police chief Pujith Jayasundara for alleged failure to act on early warnings of Easter attack began 23 Nov. Amid outspoken criticism from Catholic leaders in recent months regarding lack of accountability for attacks, police 15-16 Nov questioned Catholic leader Fr Cyril Gamini Fernando following complaint in Oct by State Intelligence Service head Suresh Sallay, who claimed Fernando had falsely accused him of links to those behind attacks. Govt faced more criticism for unrepresentative composition of task force appointed in late Oct, headed by radical Buddhist monk Gnanasara, to implement principle of “One Country, One Law”, with clear focus on regulating Islamic practices and institutions; in response, President’s Office 10 Nov appointed three Tamils, including one woman, and revised task force’s mandate from amending draft laws to “presenting proposals”. Tamils across north and east held public and private “Great Heroes Day” events on 27 Nov to commemorate fighters and civilians killed during civil war, despite aggressive attempts by police and military to prevent gatherings.
Targeted attacks against regime continued, including high-profile killing of military-linked executive, alongside clashes between Tatmadaw and armed resistance groups. In highest-profile killing of military-linked official since Feb coup, unknown attackers 4 Nov shot and killed former Naval Lieutenant Commander Thein Aung in Yangon city and wounded his wife; Thein Aung was chief financial officer of military-linked telecoms company Mytel and general manager of military-owned Myanmar Economic Corporation and subsidiary. National Unity Govt (NUG) Minister for International Cooperation Dr Sasa 8 Nov denied existence of “hit list” of political enemies, amid widespread claims online and in local media that NUG distributed list to resistance forces that included Thein Aung as well as some veteran peace negotiators; Sasa also denied any NUG involvement in extrajudicial killings, attributing rumours to military attempts to discredit NUG. Since attacks on local officials and regime supporters began in April, killings of pro-regime civilians rose to several per day. Meanwhile, resistance attacks on military convoys using IEDs, ambushes and targeted killings continued. In Sagaing province, north west, People’s Defence Force (PDF) claimed IED 1 Nov blew armoured personnel carrier off mountain road in notable attack among many in recent months in Htigyaing township, where PDF forces often cooperate with Kachin Independence Army. In Kalay township, Sagaing, heavy clashes erupted mid-Nov as local PDF forces and Chin National Defence Force reportedly fought together against Tatmadaw; similarly, local PDF fought with Kachin Independence Army against Tatmadaw in Kawlin township. In Shan State, east, Pekon township witnessed rising violence with PDF fighting alongside Karenni armed groups against Tatmadaw. UN Security Council 8 Nov held closed-door meeting to discuss Myanmar’s security situation; 10 Nov called for cessation of violence and dialogue, urged delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and humanitarian aid, expressing support for regional body ASEAN’s efforts to “facilitate a peaceful solution”. Former U.S. Ambassador to UN Bill Richardson 2 Nov met State Administration Council Chairman Min Aung Hlaing and secured release of detained former Burmese employee of Richardson Center for Global Engagement; Richardson 15 Nov returned and secured release of U.S. journalist Danny Fenster, sentenced to 11 years imprisonment on 12 Nov.
Violence abated in south, where over dozen militants of various armed groups surrendered, while lethal clashes between military and communist militants continued. In Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in south, November saw no major clashes. Three Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters members 11 Nov surrendered in Salunayan municipality, Cotabato province, while 13 Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf Group members 13 Nov surrendered in Patikul municipality, Sulu province; three Maute group members 19 Nov surrendered in Madalum municipality, Lanao del Sur province. Bangsamoro Transition Authority and EU 15 Nov announced five-year 1.5bn pesos Support to Bangsamoro Transition Programme aimed at strengthening governance capacity of executive, legislative and judicial bodies and civil society to ensure peaceful transition. Independent Decommissioning Body 8 Nov restarted decommissioning process for Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants, with more than 1,000 processed throughout month. Clashes between armed forces and communist New People’s Army persisted: violence in Mindanao Island in south, Visayas Islands in centre and Luzon Island in north killed at least 11 combatants and civilians and injured four. Surrenders took place throughout month; notably 19 communist militants 23 Nov surrendered in Talaingod municipality, Davao del Norte province and 186 NPA supporters were set to surrender on 26 Nov in Carigara municipality, Leyte province. Head of Task Force Bangon Marawi Eduardo del Rosario 9 Nov gave assurances that reconstruction would be completed before President Duterte’s term ends in June 2022. Meanwhile, amid candidacy deadlines for 2022 presidential and vice-presidential elections, Christopher “Bong” Go, close aide to President Duterte, 13 Nov withdrew bid for vice-presidency and filed candidacy for presidency, which he withdrew 30 Nov. Duterte 15 Nov filed candidacy to run for Senate seat while his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio next day announced intention to run for vice-presidency on same ticket as Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Manila 17 Nov lodged diplomatic protest with Beijing over maritime incident in South China Sea (see South China Sea).
Maritime incident between Philippines and China at shoal in Spratly Islands further crystallised regional tensions. Philippine FM Teodoro Locsin Jr 18 Nov condemned three Chinese coast guard vessels for 16 Nov blocking and using water cannons against two Philippine supply boats en route to Second Thomas Shoal/Ayungin Shoal, Philippines-controlled atoll in Spratly Islands also claimed by China. China’s foreign ministry same day said Philippine boats entered waters near shoal “without China’s consent” and its “coastguards, vessels, upheld China’s sovereignty in accordance with law”. Manila 17 Nov lodged diplomatic protest with Beijing, while U.S. 19 Nov reaffirmed “that an armed attack on Philippine public vessels in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defence commitments”. After summoning Chinese ambassador in Oct over maritime incursions into its exclusive economic zone, Malaysia’s foreign ministry 11 Nov reported support for continuing code of conduct negotiations between regional body ASEAN and China; Chinese FM Wang Yi 14 Nov expressed desire to fast-track code of conduct negotiations. Summit between China and ten ASEAN countries partly focused on South China Sea held 22 Nov, with parties supporting “early conclusion of an effective and substantive [code of conduct] that is in accordance with international law including the 1982 UNCLOS, within a mutually-agreed timeline”. Two Japanese vessels 5-7 Nov conducted exercise with the Vietnam People’s Navy frigate Đinh Tiên Hoàng in Cam Ranh city, Vietnam, and Japanese navy 16 Nov held first joint anti-submarine drill with U.S. in South China Sea. Vietnam’s foreign ministry 18 Nov called patrols and military drills by Taiwan in sea surrounding Itu Aba island, part of Vietnam’s claim to Spratlys, “serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands” that risks “escalating and complicating the situation”. German Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach 6 Nov signalled willingness to dispatch vessel to Indo-Pacific every two years to maintain rules-based order.
Despite Constitutional Court setting new precedent for prosecuting anti-monarchy protesters, large anti-govt rally held in capital Bangkok; violence continued in deep south. In unprecedented hearing, Constitutional Court 10 Nov ruled that prominent pro-democracy protest leaders Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, and lawyer Anon Nampa had through their speeches “aimed to overthrow the constitutional monarchy” with calls for monarchical reform deemed tantamount to treason; local rights groups expressed fear of precedent to target advocates for reform, including opposition legislators. Redem group (formerly Free Youth) 14 Nov held large rally at Pathumwan Intersection in Bangkok calling for curbs to power of monarchy and reform of lèse-majesté law; protesters marched to German embassy, due to king’s frequent visits to country. Riot police attempted to block route and fired rounds into protesters marching past Police General Hospital, injuring three; police denied allegations of using live rounds. Meanwhile, ruling Palang Pracharat Party 3 Nov suspended three MPs, including Chief Whip Wirach Ratanasate, for alleged corruption; decision comes amid internal party shifts and preparations for possible early election. Parliament 16 Nov rejected proposed rewrite of 2017 constitution brought forward by civil society group “Re-solution” that included provision to abolish appointed Senate. In deep south, IED 1 Nov exploded on Ban Taneva Puyo route of Raman district, Yala province, injuring three police officers. In Pattani province, unknown assailants 9 Nov threw explosive at sub-district protection officers' outpost in Sakho Bon, Mayo district, with no injuries reported. In Narathiwat province, police 16 Nov detained suspect in Rue So district in connection with incident of passing motorcyclist shooting at police vehicle; suspect was found with four rifles, with domestic news agencies reporting connections to known insurgents.
Anti-govt protest in capital Honiara degenerated into days of violent unrest, killing at least three people. Demonstrators from Malita island 24 Nov gathered outside parliament in Honiara, Guadalcanal province, to protest numerous issues, reportedly including self-determination, development and opposition to country’s 2019 decision to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China; protests same day turned violent and led to three days of unrest as hundreds of demonstrators looted and burnt dozens of buildings, notably in capital’s “Chinatown” area; attempts were also made to storm parliament and PM Sogavara’s private residence. Sogavara 24 Nov imposed curfew and called for Australian assistance; around 100 Australian police and military personnel and around 50 officers from Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary 26-27 Nov arrived to support local police in quelling unrest, which led to at least 100 arrests; police 26 Nov reported finding three dead bodies amid charred rubble. Fiji PM Bainimarama 29 Nov said his country would deploy 50 soldiers “to help maintain peace and security”. Sogavara 28 Nov blamed foreign powers and “certain elements” for unrest, saying events were “well planned and orchestrated to remove me as the prime minister”.
Turkey and Greece held high-level meeting to discuss migration-related issues, while tensions continued in maritime domain. Following series of irregular migration incidents in Oct, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis 2 Nov met in Turkish capital Ankara to discuss migration issues; Soylu reportedly requested Athens to end pushback of migrants in exchange for Turkey accepting more than 1,000 migrants, proposed communication line between Greek and Turkish coastguards, and requested extradition from Greece of Turkish citizens accused of links with Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and his network, which Ankara blames for carrying out 15 July 2016 coup attempt. Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu 4 Nov reiterated that Ankara would not backtrack from its current positions in Eastern Mediterranean. Similarly, President Erdoğan 9 Nov said that Turkey will increase number of drill ships in Mediterranean and Black Sea, adding that “whatever is found will be extracted”. After review of framework for “restrictive measures” in response to Turkey’s “unauthorised drilling activities” in Eastern Mediterranean, European Council 11 Nov adopted decision extending regime for one year until 12 Nov 2022; EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell agreed to Greek-Republic of Cyprus proposal to consider imposition of measures against Turkey at Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Dec.
High representative warned of Bosnia’s possible break-up, while U.S. and Germany threatened sanctions in bid to forestall separatist moves. In report submitted to UN Security Council on 2 Nov, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt warned that Bosnia could face biggest “existential threat of the post-war period” and that “prospect of further division and conflict are very real”; Schmidt 6 Nov warned situation in Bosnia threatened unrest in region and that “there is a risk that the country will break apart”. UN Security Council 3 Nov unanimously renewed mandate of 600-strong EU-led peacekeeping force EUFOR to Bosnia and Herzegovina for one year. Hungarian PM Orban and FM Peter Szijjarto same day met Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and Republika Srpska PM Radovan Viskovic to discuss “current situation in Bosnia”. Dodik 8 Nov met U.S. Deputy Assistant Sec State Gabriel Escobar, who said parties agreed “there will be no war”. German FM Heiko Maas 12 Nov threatened to suspend financial support for Bosnia and said Germany would consider “individual measures against those who question the territorial integrity” of country. Likewise, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 16 Nov announced U.S. may impose sanctions for “moves to unilaterally withdraw from state-level institutions or otherwise destabilize” Dayton Peace Agreement; Dodik reacted saying: “We are sticking with our policy” and that Bosnian Serbs “no longer cared” about threats.
PM Kurti expressed dissatisfaction with ruling Vetëvendosje party’s performance in second-round municipal elections. 21 municipalities 14 Nov voted in second round of municipal elections; EU Electoral Observation Mission 16 Nov described elections as “well administered and competitive”. Opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) candidate Perparim Rama won in capital Pristina in run-off against Vetëvendosje party; Vetëvendosje won four of 12 municipalities it competed in, which PM Kurti described as “unsatisfactory” results for his party. Serb Srpska Lista party won ten municipalities, most in second round. Following Sept arrest of Kosovo Liberation Army Veterans’ Association leaders Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj for allegedly revealing confidential information about protected witnesses, Haradinaj 8 Nov accused Kosovo Specialist Court, located in Netherlands’s capital The Hague and with mandate over crimes commenced or committed in Kosovo in 1998-2000, of bias; court 17 Nov confirmed trial next month for possible offences against administration of justice. Electricity network system operator KOSTT 23 Nov announced end to subsidies for electricity supply to four Serb municipalities; Pristina Basic Court in Oct annulled Energy Regulation Office decision to pay Serb municipalities’ bills.
Deadly escalation erupted at international border with Azerbaijan, prompting international diplomatic efforts to facilitate dialogue. At undemarcated Azerbaijani-Armenian border near Sev Lich Lake, Azerbaijan 10 Nov raised concerns over increased number of Armenian soldiers. Armenian defence ministry 14 Nov reported Azerbaijani forces surrounding two Armenian positions; related videos showed Azerbaijani soldiers expelling Armenian military from area. Azerbaijani forces 16 Nov reportedly began organised advance toward Armenian positions, with videos purportedly showing use of tanks and artillery from inside Azerbaijan for first time since Autumn 2020 war, leading to clashes before Russian defence ministry brokered ceasefire same day; Azerbaijan next day reported seven soldiers killed and ten wounded, and Armenia 19 Nov reported at least six soldiers dead, and over 30 either detained or missing. Armenia 22 Nov accused Azerbaijan’s armed forces of opening fire and killing one Armenian soldier in Gegharkunik province; Azerbaijan same day rejected “false” accusation. Separately, in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, tensions remained high amid security incidents (see Nagorno-Karabakh). Following clashes, European Council President Charles Michel 19 Nov proposed bilateral meeting in Dec between Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders, reportedly confirmed by both sides, and reported agreement on direct communication line between defence ministers. Russian President Putin 26 Nov met with both leaders in Russian city of Sochi to discuss situation one year after ceasefire to 2020 war; Sochi summit finished with no progress on establishment of Russia-mediated commission to define state border and instead Armenia and Azerbaijan declared readiness to see prospects to launch bilateral commission; Putin reported progress on unblocking regional transport/communication links with final agreement reportedly expected by end of 2021. Following resignation of former Defence Minister Arshak Karapetyan following escalation, PM Pashinyan 15 Nov introduced former Deputy Suren Papikyan as replacement.
Imprisonment of former President Mikheil Saakashvili continued to fuel political tensions and protests, prompting international concern. Amid growing concerns over Saakashvili’s health, on hunger strike since early Oct, United National Movement (UNM) party 6 Nov organised protests demanding Saakashvili’s release in capital Tbilisi; at least 3,000 people reportedly gathered, authorities arrested dozens. Authorities 8 Nov transferred Saakashvili to prison clinic, which he next day claimed was enforced with physical violence; Saakashvili demanded transfer to civilian hospital. Tbilisi City Court 10 Nov began trial against Saakashvili; former president’s lawyer same day refused participation citing court ban on Saakashvili’s attendance, after which court adjourned trial until 29 Nov. Demonstrators 23 Nov gathered in Tbilisi to express solidarity with Saakashvili. Protesters 29 Nov rallied outside Tbilisi City Court; police used pepper spray to clear crowds and arrested 15 people. Situation prompted international concern. European Court of Human Rights 16 Nov ruled in interim decision that Saakashvili must end hunger strike and ordered authorities to provide “appropriate medical care”; U.S. and EU ambassadors to Georgia 19 Nov called for authorities to take steps to protect Saakashvili’s health. Saakashvili 19 Nov announced end to hunger strike if govt transferred him to civilian hospital; govt 20 Nov agreed to proposed transfer to special hospital. Ten opposition MPs early to mid-Nov started solidarity hunger strike, which 20 Nov ended with former president’s transfer to hospital. Meanwhile, de facto Abkhaz authorities 17 Nov appointed former Kremlin adviser Inal Ardzinba new de facto FM.
Insecurity continued in conflict zone, while Armenia and Azerbaijan held second FMs meeting since 2020 war and established hotline to prevent flare-ups. In worrying incident, small group of ethnic Armenian plumbers near Azerbaijani-controlled Shusha were reportedly targeted in shooting, leaving one dead and three wounded 8 Nov; local media attributed shooting to Azerbaijani soldier while Russian peacekeepers next day launched investigation into attack. Local ethnic Armenian resident 13 Nov threw hand grenade at Azerbaijani soldiers at checkpoint near Shusha town; Baku reported three Azerbaijani soldiers lightly injured. Azerbaijan 10 Nov strongly condemned “provocative” visit by Armenian defence minister to Nagorno-Karabakh. On diplomatic front, FMs of Azerbaijan and Armenia 10 Nov met in French capital Paris for second post-Autumn 2020 war meeting under mediation of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chairs; Armenian foreign ministry same day said FM expressed position to “fully resume the peace process”. Following clashes, European Council President Charles Michel 19 Nov proposed bilateral meeting in Dec between Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders, reportedly confirmed by both sides, and reported agreement on direct communication line between defence ministers. Russian President Putin 26 Nov met with both leaders in Russian city of Sochi to discuss situation one year after ceasefire to 2020 war; Sochi summit finished with no progress on establishment of Russia-mediated commission to define state border and instead Armenia and Azerbaijan declared readiness to see prospects to launch bilateral commission; Putin reported progress on unblocking regional transport/communication links with final agreement reportedly expected by end of 2021. On disputed international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, deadly escalation 16 Nov erupted between armed forces (see Armenia and Azerbaijan).
Authorities continued pressure on dissenting political voices and human rights groups, while counter-terrorism operation killed two suspects in North Caucasus. Harassment of supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny persisted. Notably, on 9 Nov, police conducted house searches of several Navalny supporters including in Kemerovo and Bashkiria regions, and detained ex-chief of Navalny Support Group Lilia Chanysheva on charges of establishing an “extremist community”; international NGO Amnesty International 11 Nov dubbed arrest “arbitrary” and “beginning of a new, large-scale crackdown”. Meanwhile, also on 9 Nov, authorities interrogated former State Duma candidate Denis Shakin and searched apartment of opposition activist Fyodor Reguzov in Novokuznetsk city in south-western Siberia. As Prosecutor General’s Office notified human rights group Memorial that prosecutors had asked to liquidate it due to alleged violation of controversial foreign agents law, Memorial 11 Nov rejected any wrongdoings, said move “politically motivated”; Supreme Court 25 Nov began considering lawsuit, with new hearing planned on 14 Dec. In North Caucasus, amid longstanding dispute over border demarcation between Chechnya and Ingushetia, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov 26 Nov warned peoples of both republics against confrontation over borders between republics, citing attempts of “a bunch of provocateurs from the neighbouring republic who are trying to drive a wedge between the two brotherly nations, using the issue of borders as a tool”. Security forces 26 Nov reported killing two suspected militants during counter-terrorist operation in Karachay-Cherkessia. Southern District Military Court same day sentenced Astrakhan resident Artur Satemirov, accused of joining Islamic State and planning attack on police department in April 2020, to 13 years in strict regime colony.
Tensions surrounding migrants on Polish-Belarusian border escalated, while govt continued crackdown on opposition and civil society. Migration dispute with Poland drastically worsened amid dire humanitarian conditions for migrants and refugees. Warsaw 8 Nov estimated 3,000-4,000 migrants seeking to reach its territory from border with Belarus, as Warsaw same day increased border troops to 12,000. Migrants and Polish forces 16 Nov clashed, as former threw stones and Polish authorities used tear gas; Poland same day claimed Belarus provided migrants with stun grenades. Clashes resurged 20-21 Nov as Lukashenko 22 Nov said: “We understand that if we go too far, war is unavoidable”. Russia and Belarus 12 Nov held military exercise, including two Russian nuclear-capable bombers. President Lukashenko 12 Nov threatened to cut natural gas supply that transits via Belarus from Russia to EU; however, Russian President Putin 13 Nov reaffirmed respect of transit contracts. In response, EU 15 Nov included Belarusian transport operators in existing sanctions and agreed on “5th package of sanctions”; U.S. special envoy for Belarus 22 Nov announced “more sanctions pressure is coming soon”. Poland and Lithuania 14 Nov reportedly considered consultations on NATO’s Article 4. German Chancellor Angela Merkel 15 Nov and 17 Nov held conversations with Lukashenko; govt 17 Nov moved migrants to shelters and began deporting hundreds of individuals back to Iraq. Meanwhile, authorities continued repression on dissenting voices. Minsk court 1 Nov reportedly sentenced opposition TV channel Belsat representative to 15 days prison; interior ministry 3 Nov labelled Belsat as “extremist formation”. Gomel City Court 3 Nov sentenced two Vyasna human rights centre members to imprisonment; Vyasna and 17 national and international human rights groups same day accused govt of “cleanup of civil society”. Authorities 10 Nov launched probe against “extremist” opposition group BYPOL, comprising former police officers. Minsk Court 23 Nov outlawed “extremist” Nasha Niva, oldest newspaper in country.
Tensions ran high as Russian military build-up along Ukrainian border sparked concerns of potential invasion and renewed armed conflict in east. Media 12 Nov reported that U.S. had warned EU countries that Moscow was preparing for possible invasion of Ukraine; head of Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency Kyrylo Budanov 21 Nov warned that Moscow was preparing attack “by the end of January or beginning of February”, while Ukrainian Ambassador in Germany Andriy Melnyk 17 Nov said Russia had amassed 146,000 troops near border, in Crimea and in Donbas. Russia’s deputy UN Ambassador Dmitriy Polianskyi 11 Nov said Moscow never planned invasion and will not unless provoked by Ukraine. Meanwhile President Zelenskyy 26 Nov claimed intelligence showed group of Russians and Ukrainians planning coup in Ukraine on 1-2 Dec. Meanwhile in Donbas conflict zone, ceasefire violations reached 4,403 explosions between 1-26 Nov 2021 compared with 3,750 in July 2020 according to data from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Ukrainian army reported six servicemen killed and 13 injured during month; Russia-backed armed groups reported six fighters killed and seven injured; shelling injured civilian in Luhansk region. On diplomatic front, Russia 11 Nov refused to hold ministerial meeting of Normandy Four (Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany) after France and Germany rejected Moscow’s text of joint conclusions it sent on 29 Oct; Russia called armed conflict “internal issue” of Ukraine, urging Kyiv to negotiate “with Donetsk and Luhansk”, halt the language and indigenous people laws, and withdraw draft law outlining the return and reintegration of non-govt controlled territories in Donbas. Paris and Berlin 4 Nov objected to Russian interpretation, citing omission of unfettered access of OSCE in Donbas, and urged Moscow to discuss stopping violence in Donbas and implementation of Paris Summit Conclusions. Turkish President Erdoğan 29 Nov expressed readiness to mediate tensions between Kyiv and Moscow, stressing his country maintains good relations with both sides. Govt and U.S. 10 Nov signed new Charter on Strategic Partnership that expands defence and security cooperation, supports Ukraine’s right to decide its own future “including with respect to Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO”.
UN Sec-Gen appointed new special representative, while tensions over sovereignty rights in disputed maritime zones remained high. Following months of diplomatic bickering, UN Sec-Gen António Guterres 4 Nov announced appointment of former Canadian diplomat Colin Stewart as his new special representative and head of UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Tensions persisted in disputed waters. Republic of Cyprus 3 Nov hosted multinational search and rescue exercise with participation of Greece, Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, U.S. and UK. Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials throughout month warned they would send vessels into designated maritime zones if Republic of Cyprus went ahead with drilling activities. After Greek Cypriot govt officials reiterated that oil companies ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum would resume drilling in area south west of island (Block 10), Turkish Deputy President Fuat Oktay 15 Nov warned Ankara will not be deterred from continuing drilling for oil and gas in disputed waters. Republic of Cyprus 19 Nov issued navigational advisory announcing “preparation works and drilling operations” by Exxon Mobil-Qatar Petroleum in its claimed exclusive economic zone until 30 Jan 2022. Republic of Cyprus Interior Minister Nicos Nouris 8 Nov described country in “state of emergency” due to “huge wave” of irregular migration coming across buffer zone on island. “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” Parliamentary Advisory Board reached consensus to hold early general elections on 23 Jan 2022. Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar 19 Nov announced agreement to introduce 5G mobile coverage across island.
Military continued operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while security forces detained over 100 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members. Military continued air and ground operations against PKK, specifically airstrikes targeting higher-ranking PKK members, in south east and northern Iraq. Security forces continued operations against ISIS operatives. Police during month detained more than 115 individuals with suspected links to ISIS across country. Notably, police 2 Nov carried out simultaneous raids in 27 locations in Istanbul, Adana, Batman and Şanlıurfa, detaining 18 people. Police same day detained 18 Iraqi nationals in central Anatolian province of Kayseri accused of having joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq before entering Turkey. Leaders of major opposition parties Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (CHP) and Meral Akşener (IYI) 17 Nov called on President Erdoğan to hold early elections; ruling alliance consisting of Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) however insisted on sticking to mid-2023 timeline.
Security authorities claimed to have foiled coup plot ahead of 28 Nov parliamentary elections. In lead-up to polls, State National Security Committee 26 Nov announced it had “exposed a criminal group plotting to violently seize power in the country” and arrested 15 suspects, including members of Supreme Council. Following vote, dozens of opposition protesters 29 Nov gathered in capital Bishkek to demand fresh election after four opposition parties previous day accused authorities of “stealing” votes and called for election to be annulled. Earlier, EU foreign policy chief 22 Nov met FMs of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Tajik capital Dushanbe for 17th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting; parties same day issued joint communiqué that reaffirmed support for “strong, ambitious and forward-looking partnership”, noted “importance of progressing on the rule of law, democracy, governance, gender equality and universal human rights”, and cited concerns over “regional repercussions of developments in Afghanistan”. Ahead of meeting, NGO Human Rights Watch 19 Nov reported constitutional reforms in country “contradict international human rights”. Security Council Deputy Chairman Taalatbek Masadykov 24 Nov said country “will not be able to handle the inflow of refugees just like other countries of the Central Asian region”. Authorities said they had detained alleged leader of proscribed Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir in southern Osh region on 4 Nov; authorities 10 Nov announced detention of other leaders and members of group in northern Chui region. Amid reports of energy shortfall, energy ministry 11 Nov confirmed deal to import electricity from Turkmenistan.
Clashes with police in easternmost Gorno-Badakhshan region turned deadly, while govt participated in 17th EU-Central Asia summit. Protests 25 Nov erupted in Khorugh city in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region following police raid in which man sought by police was injured and later died; protesters same day rallied outside regional administration building, leading to clashes with police that left at least one dead and several wounded; protests continued 26-27 Nov before officials and protesters reportedly struck agreement 28 Nov. EU foreign policy chief 22 Nov met FMs of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Tajik capital Dushanbe for 17th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting; parties same day issued joint communiqué that reaffirmed support for “strong, ambitious and forward-looking partnership”, noted “the importance of progressing on the rule of law, democracy, governance, gender equality and universal human rights”, and cited concerns over “regional repercussions of developments in Afghanistan”. Ahead of meeting, NGO Human Rights Watch 19 Nov raised concern that “authorities harass and imprison government’s critics”. U.S. embassy to Tajikistan 9 Nov confirmed that 191 Afghan evacuees, including 143 pilots, would be relocated to U.S. after fleeing Afghanistan following collapse of Kabul govt in Aug; flight reportedly departed next day.
President Mirziyoev was sworn in for second term, while govt participated in 17th EU-Central Asia summit. Mirziyoev 6 Nov began his second presidential term after taking oath of office following last month’s election. EU foreign policy chief 22 Nov met FMs of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in Tajik capital Dushanbe for 17th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting; parties same day issued joint communiqué that reaffirmed support for “strong, ambitious and forward-looking partnership”, noted “the importance of progressing on the rule of law, democracy, governance, gender equality and universal human rights”, and cited concerns over “regional repercussions of developments in Afghanistan”. Ahead of meeting, NGO Human Rights Watch 19 Nov said govt “harassed political opposition figures in the lead up to elections and targeted outspoken and critical bloggers”. State security service 23 Nov announced detention of suspected members of proscribed group Katiba al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Tashkent region.
Suspected Hamas gunman conducted first deadly shooting in Jerusalem in years, while Israeli settler violence and Palestinian protests continued in West Bank. In occupied East Jerusalem, security forces 17 Nov killed Palestinian teenager after he attacked two border police officers with knife in Jerusalem’s Old City. Palestinian resident of Shuafat refugee camp identified as member of Hamas 21 Nov shot five people in Jerusalem’s Old City, killing Israeli man. Meanwhile, four Palestinian families facing forced eviction in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood 2 Nov rejected “compromise deal” offering protected tenancy status for 15 years in exchange for recognising settler organisation’s ownership of land. Israeli police 22-23 Nov raided home of Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith; Ghaith was summoned for interrogation 25 Nov and placed under renewed house arrest. In West Bank, Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians during olive harvest continued; notably Bat Ayin settlers 12 Nov injured three in attack in Surif city. Settlers 15 Nov injured six Palestinian farmers in armed attack in Al-Qibabat near Israeli settlement Homesh. Palestinian health ministry 5 Nov announced Israeli troops killed 13-year-old Palestinian during weekly protest against expansion of illegal settlements near Elon Moreh; clashes in Beita town same day wounded two Palestinians. The Washington Post 9 Nov published report detailing Israel’s surveillance system of Palestinians across West Bank. Israeli forces 16 Nov killed Palestinian belonging to Islamic Jihad militant group in Tubas city during raid. In Gaza, Qatar and Egypt 17 Nov signed agreement to supply fuel and building materials to Gaza. UK 19 Nov moved to ban Hamas, whose military wing is already prohibited, in its entirety, sparking condemnation from Hamas. EU diplomats 24 Nov visited Gaza strip to assess humanitarian situation. Israel’s parliament 4 Nov approved first budget in over three years. Internationally, Israel, U.S., United Arab Emirates and Bahrain 10-15 Nov held first joint military naval exercise in Red Sea. Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz 24 Nov signed memorandum of understanding with Morocco, formalising existing unofficial security cooperation. Syrian state media reported Israeli airstrikes on 3, 8, 17, 24 Nov; notably airstrike 24 Nov killed two and injured seven (see Syria).
Standoff over investigation into Aug 2020 Beirut port explosion continued, while economic decline triggered protests across country. Shiite groups Hizbollah and Amal maintained demand to remove investigative judge Tarik Bitar. Cabinet meetings remained suspended since 12 Oct due to political divisions; attempt by Maronite patriarch to mediate compromise solution to standoff failed to achieve breakthrough and judiciary faced increasing paralysis while facing political pressure amid flurry of procedural objections and counter-suits by some of politicians Bitar seeks to question. Work on measures to alleviate worst symptoms of economic crisis, in particular to increase electricity supplies and release rationing card to support poorest citizens hit by removal of subsidies, continued throughout month but without significant breakthroughs. Govt also continued consultations with International Monetary Fund on financial assistance. Protesters 26 Nov broke into ministry of social affairs building in capital Beirut citing further economic decline and continuing currency collapse. Protesters 29 Nov constructed roadblocks in central Beirut, northern city Tripoli and southern city Sidon, calling on govt to act to address collapsing currency. UNICEF 23 Nov reported “dramatic deterioration of living conditions” as over 50% of families had at least one child who skipped meal by Oct 2021. After diplomatic spat late Oct erupted with Gulf states after footage emerged of Information Minister George Kordahi criticising Saudi-led war in Yemen, relations with Gulf continued to face strains and deepened govt paralysis. Affair worsened 2 Nov when leaked statements of FM Abdallah Bouhabib (appointee of President Aoun) revealed minister criticising Saudi positions. After Riyadh declared ban on all commercial transactions with Lebanon, govt faced prospect of obliterating export earnings from Saudi Arabia, which already fell from $250mn in 2020 to $100mn this year, thus increasing economic and financial hardship at home; Aoun 29 Nov expressed desire for reconciliation with Riyadh.