CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

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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.

Global Overview

Outlook for This Month December 2021

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month November 2021

Improved Situations

Global Overview November/December 2021

Our monthly conflict tracker warns of three conflict risks in December.

  • The Huthis could attack or lay siege to Yemen’s Marib city after the group tightened its grip in surrounding areas and Saudi-led coalition-aligned troops withdrew from the Red Sea coast.
     
  • Rival forces in Libya could mobilise around the 24 December polls amid a lack of consensus on the electoral framework and disputes over some presidential candidates’ eligibility.
     
  • Russia’s military build-up along Ukraine’s border increased domestic and international concerns about a potential invasion and renewed armed conflict in the east.
     

CrisisWatch also highlights deteriorations in twelve countries and conflict situations in November.

  • Fighting erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan along their international border, killing at least a dozen soldiers on both sides.
     
  • In El Salvador, President Bukele deployed the military in response to a surge in gang-related violence, while relations with the U.S. deteriorated further.
     
  • Tensions escalated in Western Sahara after Algeria and the Polisario Front independence movement accused Morocco of killing civilians in possible drone attacks.
     
  • Jihadists in Burkina Faso launched the deadliest attack on security forces since 2015.
     
  • Tensions between Belarus and Western governments intensified as Minsk fomented a migration crisis with thousands seeking entry into the EU stranded at the Polish border amid dire humanitarian conditions.
     
  • In the Solomon Islands, an anti-government protest in the capital Honiara degenerated into days of unrest that killed at least three people.


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.

Latest Updates

Africa

Burkina Faso

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.

Burundi

Security forces clashed with unidentified gunmen in Kibira forest; forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests of political opponents continued. Security forces 5 Nov clashed with unidentified armed men in Kibira forest reserve, killing two and arresting one; renewed exchange of fire next day left one soldier dead. Army 10 Nov killed three alleged rebels and arrested another in same forest, while local official and police officer injured during operation. Court 11 Nov sentenced suspect of 5 Nov attacks to life imprisonment on charges of “undermining state security”. Arbitrary arrests of opponents continued. Notably, presumed security forces and ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure 1 Nov detained member of opposition National Freedom Congress (CNL) Abdoul Ndayishimiye in Cibitoke province; intelligence officers 16 Nov arrested Jean Baptiste Mpawenayo, relative of CNL leader Agathon Rwasa, in Bujumbura area. Suspected Imbonerakure 8 Nov also kidnapped and later killed CNL member Claude Nibigira in Buterere area, Bujumbura Mairie province. Locals in Buganda and Rugombo communes, Cibitoke province, early Nov found two bodies bearing signs of torture. Unidentified assailants 27 Nov gunned down businessman and opposition party member Christophe Nimbabazi in Zambian capital Lusaka; attack raised concerns among exiled political opponents. U.S. President Biden 18 Nov removed sanctions on eight senior military and security officials, including PM Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, citing reduced violence and return to political normality since 2020 elections; move follows 18 Oct EU decision to renew for another year sanctions on three Burundian govt officials and one former general, initially imposed in Oct 2015 for their role in violence and political obstruction in April-May 2015.

Cameroon

Amid ongoing violence in Anglophone regions, unlawful killing of a young girl at hands of security forces for second month in a row sparked renewed protest against govt abuses. Anglophone conflict continued to take high civilian toll amid tit-for-tat attacks between security forces and separatists in North West (NW) and South West (SW) regions. Police officer 12 Nov killed eight-year-old school girl in Bamenda city (NW) as he shot at car escaping checkpoint; incident, which followed Oct killing of five-year-old girl by gendarme in Buea city (SW), sparked immediate protests in Bamenda; security forces reportedly opened fire killing three. Separatists 13 Nov killed five policemen in Santa commune (NW), and four soldiers in Mbengwi town, Momo division (NW), reportedly as retaliation for girl’s killing. Meanwhile, govt forces 15 Nov killed two separatist fighters in Bamenda. IED 10 Nov exploded in lecture hall at University of Buea while Canadian high commissioner was on campus, injuring ten students; authorities immediately blamed separatists, who denied claim and accused govt of false flag operation to discredit them. Soldiers 14 Nov forcibly entered hospital in Kumbo city, NW, harassing personnel in search of separatists; Catholic Church and foreign embassies next day condemned attacks on civilians by all sides and called for new dialogue to address root causes of conflict, while UK MP David Alton described hospital invasion as “war crime”. Suspected separatists 24 Nov exploded IED and gunned down four students and one teacher at secondary school in Ekondo-Titi commune, Ndian division (SW). Anglophone civil society and separatist representatives late Oct-early Nov met in Toronto city, Canada, in major initiative aimed at narrowing differences and preparing for eventual dialogue with govt; agreed to collaborate, respect human rights and safeguard access to education and humanitarian aid. In Far North, jihadist insurgents 6 Nov killed two civilians in attack on Kolofata town, Mayo-Sava division, and 10 and 14 Nov killed another four in Tourou village near Mokolo town, Mayo-Tsanaga division. One hundred eighteen presumed former jihadist militants 6-9 Nov surrendered to authorities in Kolofata.

Central African Republic

Govt forces and international allies continued to clash with rebel groups; UN mission’s mandate renewed despite tensions with Bangui. In Ouham prefecture (north west), international paramilitaries allied with govt 2-3 Nov killed several suspected Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) rebels controlling mining sites of Kadanga and Poussière, 5 Nov killed another three rebels in Boguila village. In Ouham-Pendé prefecture (also north west), 3R 14 Nov attacked army near Mann town, killing one soldier and at least 11 civilians and 28 Nov reportedly fought with army in Koui sub-prefecture near Bogoranga locality, reportedly leaving over a dozen civilians and at least two soldiers dead. Fighting also reported in central Ouaka prefecture (centre): suspected rebels 7 Nov killed five civilians in Ngoubondo and Latiyou villages and 14 Nov killed one soldier and two international paramilitaries in Boyo village. International paramilitaries 16 Nov killed three suspected members of rebel group Union for Peace in CAR (UPC) in Zoumako area, also Ouaka. Major joint army and international paramilitary operation against armed groups in Bria area, Haute Kotto prefecture (east), 23-24 Nov reportedly left seven dead, and further joint operation 27 Nov left at least two dead in Bambari area in Ouaka prefecture. UN Security Council 12 Nov renewed mandate of UN mission (MINUSCA) for another year. Tensions between Bangui and MINUSCA had risen 1 Nov when presidential guard fired on UN convoy in capital Bangui, injuring 12 peacekeepers; UN troops ran over and killed 18-year-old woman as they left scene. In apparent appeasement measure ahead of national dialogue, National Assembly Speaker Simplice Sarandji 2 Nov halted process aimed at stripping some opposition MPs of parliamentary immunity to allow their prosecution on accusations of complicity with rebels; opposition maintained threat to boycott dialogue. Security forces 19 Nov arrested UPC faction leader and current Livestock Minister Hassan Bouba over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity; Bouba’s supporters threatened to pull out of alliance with govt which has seen dozens lay down arms in recent months; Bouba released one week later. Govt 10 Nov opened investigation against 30 armed group leaders, including former President Bozizé, for violation of state’s sovereignty.

Chad

Tensions flared in north, while transitional authorities continued local consultations ahead of 2022 national dialogue. Late Oct arrest of traditional leader and army Col Hassan Kalibou Sougou, who had accused army of colluding with armed robbers, sparked unrest in Borkou region (north); inhabitants of Borkou’s capital Faya-Largeau late Oct-early Nov demonstrated to demand his immediate release and resignation of Governor Ismat Issakha Acheick; Sougou released 6 Nov but dismissed from army 8 Nov. Further protests in Faya-Largeau against clampdown on unregistered vehicles 17 Nov turned deadly: police reportedly killed one protester and injured at least another two; mayor of Faya-Largeau 20 Nov announced suspension of vehicle checks until 12 Dec. Transitional President Mahamat Déby 26 Nov removed Acheick and replaced him with former Defence Minister Saleh Algadam Aldjineidi. Committee for Inclusive National Dialogue (CODNI) throughout Nov continued local consultations ahead of national dialogue scheduled for early 2022. Some political parties and civil society expressed support for federalism, claimed their preference not reflected in reporting of consultations. Govt’s Special Technical Committee (CTS) reported progress in talks with rebel groups on conditions for latter’s participation in national dialogue, but obstacles remain, notably terms of disarmament. Govt 29 Nov announced general amnesty for rebels and opponents with view to facilitating national dialogue. Soldiers 3 Nov broke into church in capital N’Djamena and assaulted priest, sparking calls to preserve independence of religious bodies; National Commission for Human Rights next day condemned “violation of a place of worship and an inhuman act”. Govt 11 Nov said suspected assailants arrested and will be prosecuted. In Lake region (west), suspected Boko Haram insurgents 28 Nov attacked Bibi village, reportedly killing one soldier.

Côte d’Ivoire

Govt announced resumption of political dialogue with opposition and took series of steps to address jihadist threat. PM Patrick Achi 8 Nov said President Ouattara had mandated him to resume political dialogue with opposition in Dec; talks could help address opposition’s grievances regarding electoral institutions’ alleged lack of neutrality ahead of 2025 presidential vote. Opposition heavyweights Henri Konan Bédié and Laurent Gbagbo next day said collaborators would attend talks on their behalf. Amid persistent jihadist threat along country’s northern border, authorities beefed up military force and sought stronger security ties with neighbours. Govt 10 Nov approved acquisition of two new aircraft with view to boosting intelligence gathering and reconnaissance missions, and Ouattara 21 Nov announced recruitment of 10,000 soldiers by 2024, including 3,000 in 2022. Govt spokesperson Amadou Coulibaly 3 Nov said govt would ratify 2008 Rabat Convention on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance in Counter-Terrorism in order to help consolidate anti-terrorism legislation and ease cooperation with partners; Ouattara’s Chief of Staff Fidèle Sarossoro next day said Côte d’Ivoire would conduct joint anti-terrorism operations with neighbouring countries. Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff of West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS 17-19 Nov met in economic capital Abidjan, called for enhanced intelligence sharing between ECOWAS member states.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Security situation worsened further in east as new armed group launched deadly attacks in South Kivu and other rebel groups killed scores; opposition protested to demand neutrality of electoral commission. In east, unknown group “Coalition of Congolese Patriots for the Application of Article 64” – in reference to constitutional provision stating that Congolese people should resist dictatorship – 3 Nov attacked and briefly occupied South Kivu’s provincial capital Bukavu; fighting killed three security forces and six assailants according to official reports. In North Kivu province, unidentified assailants 7 Nov attacked army positions in Rutshuru territory; army chief next day accused rebel group March 23. Presumed Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) combatants continued attacks in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, forcing thousands to flee to neighbouring Uganda. In North Kivu’s Beni territory, suspected ADF 4 Nov attacked Kalembo town in Rwenzori sector, killing three; 11-12 Nov attacked Kisunga village, Bashu chiefdom, reportedly killing at least 60 and setting fire to local hospital. In Ituri, presumed ADF 5 Nov reportedly killed nine civilians in attack on commercial vehicles under army escort in Walese Vonkutu chiefdom, Irumu territory. Ugandan military 30 Nov launched air and artillery raids against ADF on Congolese soil in operation reportedly agreed with Kinshasa. Militia group Chini ya Kilima-FPIC 15 Nov reportedly killed at least 18 civilians in Chabusiku village near Ituri’s provincial capital Bunia. Also in Ituri, armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) 6 Nov attacked Djaidu town in Djugu territory, killing two civilians. Army Gen Celestin Mbala in Bunia same day appointed team of mediators to negotiate with CODECO. However, fresh CODECO attacks on refugee camp in Djugu territory 21-22 Nov left at least 29 dead. National Assembly 17 Nov extended state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri for another month; parliamentarians from those provinces abstained from vote. In capital Kinshasa, thousands of opposition party members and church leaders 13 Nov protested President Tshisekedi’s Oct appointment of alleged ally Denis Kadima as head of electoral commission; new demonstrations held 22 and 27 Nov in front of electoral commission headquarters, with police arresting several people.

Eritrea

U.S. imposed sanctions on military and ruling party over their role in year-long war in neighbouring Ethiopia. U.S. Treasury Dept 12 Nov sanctioned four entities and two individuals associated with Eritrean govt, including military and ruling party, for contributing to ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia. Asmara next day condemned “illicit”, “immoral” sanctions, accused Washington of trying to “stoke and perpetuate a vicious cycle of chaos”. Joint investigation by Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and UN Human Rights Office published 3 Nov found “reasonable grounds” to believe that all parties to conflict in Ethiopia’s north, including Eritrea, have committed human rights violations, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity; Eritrean govt same day rejected allegations.

Ethiopia

Intense fighting continued in north, with federal and allied regional forces resisting Tigray fighters and allies’ push toward capital Addis Ababa. In Amhara region, Tigray forces along with Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) 4 Nov captured Kemissie town in Oromia Zone. Fighting in following days continued toward south and west, with Tigray and OLA units capturing Karakore and Ataye towns in North Shewa Zone 16 Nov and Shewa Robit town in Semien Shewa Zone. In Afar region, Tigray forces failed to capture strategic town of Mille, Awsi Rasu Zone; Afar forces and local militia loyal to PM Abiy put stiff resistance to Tigray forces’ advance reportedly regaining control of Chifra and Kasa Gita late Nov. Govt 24 Nov said Abiy had gone to battlefield, and 30 Nov claimed “great strides” in past few days forced Tigray forces “to relinquish their occupation of key areas” in north. Earlier in month, Tigray forces’ advance toward Addis Ababa reportedly prompted thousands of residents to join self-defence groups, and nine anti-govt groups, including Tigray forces and OLA, 5 Nov formed alliance in bid to unseat Abiy. After govt 2 Nov declared six-month nationwide state of emergency, giving security forces right to detain any suspect without court warrant, Ethiopian Human Rights Commission 7 Nov alleged authorities arresting people based on ethnicity, and UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet 16 Nov said at least 1,000, mostly ethnic Tigrayans, detained in past week. In Oromia region, OLA 16 Nov claimed control of “much” of North Shewa and West Shewa Zones as well as Gidami, Begi and Qondala towns in West Wollega and Kellem Wollega Zones; clashes reported late Nov in East Wollega and West Wollega Zones. Also in Oromia, Oromo and Amhara communities 19 Nov clashed in Nono area, West Shewa Zone, leaving at least 20 dead. Insecurity persisted in Benishangul-Gumuz region: unidentified gunmen 9 Nov killed four civilians in Mandura Woreda in Metekel Zone; security forces killed 19 assailants; federal and regional forces around 22 Nov reportedly clashed with unidentified armed group in Asosa Zone, killing at least 30. Renewed fighting with Sudanese forces reported late-Nov in disputed al-Fashaga border zone (see Sudan).

Guinea

Interim President Doumbouya continued to assert control over security forces, while unclear duration of transition fuelled tensions. Newly appointed PM Mohamed Béavogui 5 Nov unveiled cabinet of 27 ministers after weeks-long consultations with ruling military junta National Rally and Development Committee (CNRD): new govt includes two retired generals from Doumbouya’s inner circle as defence and security ministers, and three politicians who took up positions without approval from their respective parties. Leading figure of junta, Col Amara Camara, appointed same day presidency’s sec gen. Doumbouya continued to consolidate his control over security forces, notably retiring 1,000 soldiers 1 Nov and 537 police officers 9 Nov, including controversial head of National Police Ansoumane Baffoe Camara. Doumbouya 4 Nov also promoted younger officers close to junta to strategic positions and 12 Nov appointed 22 new army commanders to strategic regional battalions. Tensions increased between junta on one hand, and political class and foreign partners on the other amid rumours that Doumbouya contemplates three-year transition. Notably, former PM Lansana Kouyaté 8 Nov called on CNRD to “start working” and organise elections by late 2022. West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS 7 Nov upheld sanctions on junta members, including travel bans and asset freezes, and country’s suspension from all ECOWAS governing bodies “until constitutional order is restored”; also reiterated call for deposed President Condé’s “unconditional release”. ECOWAS same day appointed former head of UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel Mohamed Ibn Chambas as special envoy to Guinea. In response, Doumbouya 14 Nov said it was up to legislative body National Transitional Council to determine transition’s duration and Condé’s fate was in the hands of justice; also rejected external mediation, but welcomed international electoral assistance. Doumbouya 29 Nov announced Condé’s transfer to his wife’s home in Conakry suburbs, yet did not specify whether deposed president under house arrest or subject to other restrictions.

Kenya

Amid major drought, cattle rustling and competition over water and pasture fuelled communal tensions in north; security forces on high alert over regional insecurity. Violence killed dozens in Samburu and Marsabit counties (north). Notably, clashes between cattle raiders and herders overnight 3-4 Nov left at least 14 killed in Suiyan area, Samburu. In Marsabit, tensions ran high between Gabbra and Borana communities after suspected bandits 4 Nov killed at least six people along Marsabit-Badasa road, and unidentified gunmen 8 Nov assassinated former intelligence officer in Kiwanja Ndege village. In Laikipia county (centre), amid series of recent clashes between herders and armed bandits from neighbouring counties on one hand, and local farmers on the other, suspected bandits 10 Nov killed four security officers in two separate ambushes in Kamwenje area. In Elgeyo-Marakwet county (west), dozens of cattle raiders 27 Nov attacked herders in Tot town in Kerio Valley, killing four and stealing hundreds of livestock. Directorate of Criminal Investigations 15 Nov announced escape of three terrorism convicts from Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in capital Nairobi. Commissioner-General of Kenyan Prisons Wycliffe Ogallo sacked and arrested 17 Nov; police reservists next day rearrested all escapees in Kitui county east of Nairobi. In response to rising regional insecurity, including spate of jihadist attacks in neighbouring Uganda (see Uganda), President Kenyatta mid-Nov placed security forces on high alert; security subsequently beefed up across country and along borders. Despite one-week extension of month-long voter registration drive ahead of 2022 general elections, electoral commission by 5 Nov registered only 1.5mn new voters, far from 6mn target. Opinion poll by research company Trends and Insights for Africa 19 Nov showed Deputy President Ruto still leading presidential race with 38% voting intentions despite increasing support for Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga at 23%.

Mali

West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS sanctioned transition officials over delayed elections; jihadist violence continued in centre and north. ECOWAS 7 Nov imposed sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes on 149 state officials, after interim President Assimi Goïta day before confirmed Feb 2022 election deadline would not be met; sanctioned individuals include PM Choguel Maïga, several ministers and all members of interim legislative body, but ECOWAS spared Goïta and FM Abdoulaye Diop in apparent attempt to keep communication line open. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 15 Nov said EU member states had agreed on imposing sanctions on “those obstructing” Mali’s transition. Tensions also increased between interim govt and opposition over duration of transition. Parti pour la renaissance nationale (PARENA) 4 Nov urged authorities to cancel series of consultations on political and institutional reforms, initially scheduled for 20-26 Dec, amid concern junta might use them to extend transition period; govt 23 Nov postponed consultations, citing need to find “broadest possible consensus”, and Goïta 29 Nov received political party leaders, urged them to participate. Authorities 5 Nov announced arrest in recent months of six people for allegedly plotting coup, including two who served under deposed President Bah N’Daw; series of arrests could signal radicalisation of interim authorities. Meanwhile, security situation remained precarious in Gao region (north); notably, clashes 4-5 Nov erupted between Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) in Ansongo district, leaving at least ten ISGS and five JNIM combatants dead. In Mopti region (centre), JNIM 6 Nov ambushed special forces in Djenné district, killing at least one soldier. Also in Mopti, unidentified gunmen 24 Nov killed at least three civilians in Bandiagara town. In Ségou region (centre), JNIM militants 8 Nov ambushed and killed seven Bambara communal “Donso” militiamen in Ségou district. In Koulikoro region (west), suspected jihadists 14 Nov attacked Guiré army post, reportedly killing seven soldiers. Meanwhile, FM Diop 10-12 Nov visited Russia at invitation of Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov; leaders pledged to intensify military cooperation but denied deployment in Mali of Russian private military company Wagner Group.

Mozambique

Islamist militants clashed with govt and Southern African forces in far north; President Nyusi sacked defence and interior ministers in major govt reshuffle. Militants continued small-scale attacks in Macomia, Nangade, Mueda, Muidume and Palma districts of Cabo Delgado province and in Mecula district of neighbouring Niassa province. Notably, in Macomia, militants killed two and kidnapped others in 5º Congresso village 2 and 10 Nov, and killed at least three in Nanjaba village 13 Nov; in Mueda, Islamic State (ISIS) claimed militants 16-17 Nov killed four soldiers; in Niassa, militants 25-27 Nov attacked villages in Mecula district, reportedly targeting police station and killing one police officer. Pro-govt militia, national army and forces of Southern African regional bloc SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) riposted throughout month: militia 3 Nov killed two militants in Nagulue village (Macomia district); govt and SAMIM forces 7 Nov killed nine combatants at Ntuleni village in Olumbe area (Palma district), and SAMIM 9 Nov killed another four near Mandimba village (Nangade district). In Mueda district, SAMIM 12-13 Nov reportedly killed over two dozen insurgents following attacks on villages as insurgents attempted to retreat into Tanzania; according to media reports, at least 12 insurgents also killed in clashes with national army and SAMIM in Ninga area 19 Nov. Pro-govt forces and ISIS released statements throughout Nov shedding light on fighting in previous months. Notably, SAMIM 11 Nov claimed to have destroyed three insurgent bases in Macomia district since Aug, and Rwandan ambassador to Mozambique 8 Nov alleged that since deploying troops in July Rwandan forces had killed over 100 militants and released over 350 hostages, many of whom provided information on camps and lack of basic supplies, raising prospect of further supply raids by insurgents. ISIS 18-19 Nov claimed series of attacks since July, some previously undocumented. In alleged attempt to strengthen his position ahead of ruling party congress scheduled for 2022, President Nyusi week of 8 Nov sacked Defence Minister Jaime Neto and Interior Minister Amade Miquidade. EU training mission launched 3 Nov and Brussels 19 Nov allocated further €40mn to support Mozambique’s defence sector.

Niger

Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) conducted sophisticated attacks in south west, inflicting heavy casualties and demonstrating resilience despite death of group’s leader in August. In Tillabery region (south west), alleged ISGS combatants 2 Nov ambushed self-defence group in Banibangou department, killing at least 69; two days later stormed mixed army and gendarmerie position in Tillabery department, killing at least 14 soldiers. President Bazoum 6 Nov labelled insecurity prevailing in Tillabery as country’s “number one challenge”. In Tillabery’s Tera department, protesters opposed to French military presence 27 Nov blocked French convoy hours after it had crossed border from Burkina Faso while en route to Mali; clashes erupted, leaving at least two killed and 18 wounded. In neighbouring Tahoua region, presumed ISGS combatants 17 Nov stormed nomadic compound guarded by Tuareg self-defence group in Tillia department, killing at least 25 including 22 vigilantes. In Diffa region (south east), despite absence of major jihadist attacks since mid-Sept, Boko Haram factions throughout month continued to harass and kidnap civilians to thwart relocation of internally displaced persons; republic’s 63rd anniversary celebrations scheduled for 18 Dec in Diffa city could become flashpoint for violence. Two major accidents in Maradi region (south) underlined significant challenges facing Bazoum presidency. Collapse of artisanal goldmine in Madarounfa department 7 Nov killed at least 18, highlighting risks associated with proliferation of artisanal mines in country’s south and north east. Meanwhile, fire 8 Nov broke out in straw hut classroom in same department, killing at least 26 primary school children; incident renewed pressure on govt to build classrooms in solid materials, one of Bazoum’s campaign promises. Bazoum 29 Nov announced partial cabinet reshuffle, notably sacking of interior minister.

Nigeria

Violence continued unabated in North West, North Central and North East zones, herder-farmer violence persisted, and gunmen attacked oil facilities in Niger Delta. In North West and North Central zones, armed groups continued deadly attacks. In Katsina state, armed groups 9-12 Nov killed at least 20 civilians, abducted at least 28. In Kaduna state, gunmen 5 Nov killed at least 20 in several attacks in Zangon Kataf area; 9 Nov killed retired air force general in Igabi area; 21-24 and 29 Nov repeatedly attacked travellers on Abuja-Kaduna highway, killing three and kidnapping dozens; suspected bandits also held on to 66 parishioners kidnapped late-Oct in Chikun area, demanded ransom. In Sokoto state, armed attacks 14-16 Nov killed at least 57. In Niger state (North Central zone), unidentified armed groups 18 Nov abducted 22 girls for forced marriage at Kurebe village in Shiroro area; 21-27 Nov attacked communities in Munya and Shiroro areas, leaving five dead, at least 63 abducted and over 30 women sexually assaulted; senior state official 23 Nov said Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) had set up camp near Kainji National Park in Borgu area along border with Benin Republic, and other extremist elements were settling into communities in Shiroro area. Military 25 Nov said troops killed 128 armed elements across North West and North Central zones 11-25 Nov. Federal High Court 26 Nov declared North West armed groups “terrorists”. In North East, ISWAP 13 Nov killed army general and three soldiers in Borno state; in response, army killed about 50 insurgents. Farmer-herder violence persisted. Notably, armed attacks 10-12 Nov killed at least 23 in farming villages in Taraba and Kaduna states, 26 Nov killed at least ten in Plateau state. In Niger Delta, new militant group, Bayan-Men, 23 and 27 Nov blew up Nigeria Agip Oil Company’s facilities in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni area, Rivers state. In Plateau state capital Jos, gunmen 28 Nov stormed prison, enabled 262 inmates to escape; incident left 11 dead.

Nile Waters

International community called for renewed efforts to resolve water dispute between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. Amid stalled tripartite talks on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) under African Union auspices, U.S. Horn of Africa Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman 2 Nov stated “urgent need” for acceptable deal between Egypt and Ethiopia. During U.S.-Egypt Strategic Dialogue in Washington DC, U.S. Sec State Anthony Blinken 8 Nov reiterated U.S. support for negotiated agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. Arab League Sec Gen Ahmed Aboul Gheit 12 Nov called for further international pressure on Ethiopia over GERD and reiterated support for Sudan and Egypt’s water rights. During Tanzanian President Suluhu Hassan’s visit to Egypt, President Sisi 10 Nov said GERD “existential” issue for Egypt, and cooperation between Nile Basin countries on GERD would boost security and stability for all countries in region. Egypt’s Water Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati 20 Nov warned any water shortage due to GERD would spark regional instability.

Somalia

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.

Somaliland

Authorities continued to expel Somali nationals, and opposition party held congress with view to 2022 presidential election. After authorities in Oct started to expel Somali nationals from Sool and Sanaag regions, police mid-Nov urged “foreigners” still in Sanaag’s Erigabo town to leave, said security forces ready to enter homes and arrest them. Opposition Waddani party mid-Nov held party congress in capital Hargeisa, elected Hersi Ali Haji Hassan as chairperson; move signals Waddani’s continued outreach to Hersi’s Haber Jeclo clan in bid to take advantage of latter’s fracturing alliance with President Bihi’s Haber Awal clan ahead of presidential election scheduled for Nov 2022.

South Sudan

Govt formed state legislatures, nascent talks between President Kiir and breakaway faction of VP Machar’s party on hold, and intercommunal violence persisted. As part of long-delayed implementation of 2018 power-sharing deal, Kiir issued decrees reconstituting state legislatures in nine of ten states, including Upper Nile, Lakes, Western Equatoria and Central Equatoria 6 Nov, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Warrap and Northern Bahr El Ghazal 18 Nov, and Unity 26 Nov; assembly of Western Bahr El Ghazal state yet to be reconstituted. Late Oct military coup in Sudan paused kickstarting negotiations between Juba and “Kitgwang” faction of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), which broke away from VP Riek Machar’s leadership in Aug. Gen Simon Gatwech Dual, Kitgwang faction’s official leader and Machar’s former military chief, 11 Nov declined President Kiir’s proposal to continue talks in capital Juba. Sudanese coup also further weakened Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), currently chaired by Sudan, striking another blow to regional bloc’s already weak capacity to serve as guarantor of South Sudan’s 2018 peace deal. Most devastating floods in 60 years in Oct-Nov submerged vast swathes of land near White Nile, affecting eight of country’s ten states and worsening food insecurity in many areas. Rains temporarily dampened violence in much of country and will likely shorten annual “fighting” season during dry months, usually Nov to April. However, prolonged presence in parts of Equatoria region (south) of many ethnic Dinka herders displaced by floods since last year exacerbated conflict dynamics in area. Meanwhile, Jonglei state (east) officials reported several violent incidents: intercommunal clashes 2 Nov killed ten and injured four in Akobo county; unidentified armed men 8 Nov attacked IDP camp in Twic East county, killing three people and injuring two, next day killed three people and kidnapped three children in separate attacks in Duk County; two separate intercommunal revenge attacks around 19 Nov left at least nine dead in state capital Bor. Warrap state (centre north) authorities 3 Nov reported over 20 people killed and 36 others injured in two separate intercommunal clashes involving Luachjang, Adoor and Thiik communities in Tonj East county 29-31 Oct.

Sudan

Political agreement reinstated ousted civilian PM Hamdok but consolidated military control over transition; anti-coup protesters faced deadly crackdown. Hamdok and Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sovereign Council and leader of Oct coup, 21 Nov signed deal reinstating former as PM to head hybrid military-civilian govt until next elections. Agreement provides for liberation of political figures detained since coup and investigations into violence that marred anti-coup demonstrations; also codifies sidelining of key civilian actors including Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), thus tilting balance of power toward military and their supporters. International community largely welcomed move, albeit with reservations. Notably, U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 22 Nov said Hamdok’s reinstatement “important first step”. Several Sudanese political parties and civil society including FFC however condemned “attempt to legitimise the coup”, and 12 FFC ministers 22 Nov resigned in protest. Tens of thousands 25 Nov demonstrated against deal in capital Khartoum and other cities, called for justice for “martyrs” killed in demonstrations; security forces 30 Nov fired tear gas to disperse new protest in Khartoum. Earlier in month, near daily anti-coup protests held despite intensifying repression. Hundreds 7 Nov rallied across country as part of two-day civil disobedience campaign; security forces reportedly fired tear gas and arrested dozens. Thousands 13 Nov took to streets in Khartoum; medical authorities said at least eight protesters killed and over 200 injured. In deadliest crackdown since coup, security forces 17 Nov killed at least 15 demonstrators in and around Khartoum; hundreds more reportedly wounded; renewed clashes reported next day in Khartoum. Meanwhile, fighting between Arab herders and farmers from Misseriya Jebel tribe 17 Nov broke out in Jebel Moon area, West Darfur state, reportedly killing at least 43 by month’s end; intercommunal violence also ran high in North Darfur state, with attacks on several localities including Tawila and Dar El Salam leaving unknown number dead mid-Nov. Attack by armed groups and militias linked to Ethiopian military 27 Nov reportedly killed several Sudanese soldiers in disputed Al-Fashaga border zone; military 30 Nov said they had fired rockets into Ethiopian territory.

Tanzania

Authorities launched month-long firearms recovery operation and President Suluhu Hassan discussed water security with Egyptian counterpart President Sisi. Authorities 1-30 Nov carried out countrywide operation to recover illegal firearms; previously, Home Affairs Minister George Simbachawene 30 Oct had announced those surrendering weapons voluntarily would be granted amnesty while those who failed to do so would “be hunted down and face the full force of the law”. Suluhu Hassan 10 Nov met with Sisi as part of three-day visit to Egypt; leaders discussed cooperation over water resources, notably Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (see Nile Waters).

Uganda

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.

Zimbabwe

President Mnangagwa announced likely by-elections in early 2022, raising prospect of tense political standoffs; police and ruling party militants continued to harass opposition. In unexpected move, Mnangagwa 10 Nov said parliamentary and local council by-elections, to fill 40 and 80 seats respectively, vacant after near two-year moratorium on by-elections officially due to COVID-19 pandemic, will likely be conducted in early 2022; move follows pressure to lift moratorium after 20-month delay, may exacerbate splits in opposition MDC party and internal tensions in ruling ZANU-PF party. Meanwhile, attacks on main opposition party and its leader Nelson Chamisa persisted, as ruling party militants attempted to block Chamisa’s movements during his country tour. Notably, police 11 Nov used teargas in attempt to disrupt Chamisa’s speech at opposition rally in Charumbira communal lands, Masvingo province; ruling party youths later same day reportedly attacked rally.

Asia

Afghanistan

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.

Bangladesh

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.

China/Japan

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.

India

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.

India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

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.

Korean Peninsula

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.

Myanmar

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.

Nepal

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.

Pakistan

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.

Philippines

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).

Solomon Islands

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”.

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. 

Sri Lanka

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.

Taiwan Strait

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.

Thailand

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.

Europe & Central Asia

Armenia

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.

Azerbaijan

Deadly escalation erupted at international border with Armenia, 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 Armenian soldier in Gegharkunik province; Azerbaijan same day rejected “false” accusation. Separately, in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, tensions remained high (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; however, no progress made on establishment of Russia-mediated commission to define state border, Armenia and Azerbaijan instead declared readiness to launch bilateral commission; Putin reported progress on unblocking regional transport links with final deal reportedly expected by end of 2021. Following recent tensions with Iran, Azerbaijani Deputy PM Sahin Mustafayev 21 Nov travelled to Iranian capital Tehran, announcing joint commission on economic cooperation and agreements on oil, gas and transport; Iranian FM same day declared Iranian companies’ availability for Azerbaijani reconstruction in territories regained in 2020 war, while Iranian roads and urban development minister announced creation of “corridor from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea”.

Belarus

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.

Bosnia And Herzegovina

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.

Cyprus

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.

Eastern Mediterranean

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.

Georgia

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.

Kosovo