Crisis Group’s Watch List 2017 includes the Lake Chad basin, Libya, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sahel, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
Uzbekistan’s first new president in more than a quarter century has taken some positive steps in the early days of his administration. In order to encourage more sustained progress, western partners and regional powers will need to balance conditional support with tactical pressure.
After three years of conflict and 10,000 deaths, Russia has shown it can destabilise and dominate Ukraine. The Kyiv government may still prevail, but only if it uproots corruption and if the U.S. and EU maintain sanctions until Russia’s complete withdrawal from the country’s east.
New frictions in Iraq and Syria threaten Ankara and Tehran’s usually peaceful management of their Middle East rivalries. To rebuild trust and avert open conflict, they should coordinate de-escalation, exchange intelligence and designate representatives to open a new channel between their leaders.
After 25 years of authoritarian rule, Uzbekistan faces unpredictable neighbours, a jihadi threat and deep socio-economic challenges. New President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has taken small steps toward vital domestic and foreign policy reform, and outside partners should push him to do more to avert real dangers ahead.
Turkey is under growing pressure from nearly three million Syrian refugees. To mitigate domestic tensions and spillover from regional conflicts, Ankara needs to develop, and find support for, new policies that open refugees’ routes to jobs, education and permanent legal status.
The rapid rise of alternative interpretations of Islam, often at odds with the state’s concept of traditional identity, are being fueled in part by endemic corruption and perceptions of incompetency. The government must end economic marginalisation and improve inadequate institutions, or risk not just threats to internal security but also the resurfacing of ethnic tensions.
Turkey has always set the Euphrates as a red line [for Kurdish forces in Syria]. The problem is it will be a huge gamble to really do that with US, Russia and YPG, who are a proficient fighting force.
[Local barons in Russia's republics often] consolidate their positions in ministries, place their friends and relations in important posts and use various corrupt practices to siphon off resources.
Fighting on the side of Assad is something that Chechens are reluctant to do as a whole.
[Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic] knows very well that if there is no Putin in the Kremlin, there will be no Kadyrov in Grozny.
[A border clash between Armenia and Azerbaijan] is really very strange and surprising. There have been very few incidents outside Nagorno-Karabakh this year.
Both because of the Syria theater and domestic politics, it doesn’t look like either [Turkey or Kurdish militants] are going to be willing to seek an alternative route in the foreseeable future.
The president’s useful anti-feminists legitimise a slide towards a patriarchal society – and offer no political challenge to his macho leadership.
Originally published in The Guardian
Recent political protests in Kyrgyzstan signal the possibility of deeper trouble ahead of presidential elections in November. For the first time in the country’s pro-independence history, there is real competition for leadership in Central Asia’s only semi-functioning democracy.
On top of major challenges, including the spillover from the war in Syria, Islamic State terrorism and increasingly heavy-handed governance, Turkey's conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) also reignited last year. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to increase efforts toward two related objectives: improving relations with Ankara and finding a political end to the PKK conflict.
Intermittent deadly flare-ups of frontline hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan demonstrate the ever-present risk of a wider escalation of the conflict. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges all sides to end the violence through support for existing OSCE mechanisms and for mid-2016 agreements between the two countries.
As the Trump administration threatens to retreat from America's longstanding alliances, it is time for Europeans to take the lead in guaranteeing their own security.
Originally published in The Security Times