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 2022

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month November 2022

Improved Situations

Our monthly conflict tracker highlights one conflict resolution opportunity and two conflict risks in December.

  • In Yemen, back-channel talks between the Huthis and Saudi Arabia could lead to a deal, albeit one that excludes the government and UN special envoy. Front-line skirmishes and Huthi threats against energy facilities could portend further escalation, including a high-profile regional attack.
     
  • Türkiye intensified strikes against Kurdish-led forces in Syria after the deadly Istanbul bombing, threatening a ground offensive in the north that would risk large-scale displacement, civilian casualties and an escalatory cycle of violence.

CrisisWatch highlights six deteriorations in November.

  • Political instability intensified in Pakistan as former Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed the government and intelligence officials for a botched assassination attempt and announced his party’s resignation from provincial legislatures.
     
  • In Israel-Palestine, dual bus stop bombings rocked Jerusalem as Israel conducted scores of raids in the West Bank, killing at least eighteen Palestinians. Israel’s incoming far-right government could adopt even more destabilising policies.
     
  • Violence surged in Ecuador’s coastal cities as criminal gangs attacked security forces in response to mass prisoner transfers, prompting a state of emergency in three provinces.
     
  • Suspected members of a pro-democracy militant group in Eswatini launched attacks on officials and public buildings across the country, leaving several dead.

We also spotlight improvements in three countries.

  • Ethiopia’s federal and Tigray leaders signed a peace deal to end the country’s devastating conflict, talks between Venezuela’s government and political opposition resumed after over a year on ice, and Kosovo reached a deal with Serbia to resolve their long-running licence plate dispute.

Aside from the conflict situations we usually assess, we tracked notable developments in November in Benin, Brazil, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Rwanda and Togo.

CrisisWatch Digests

Our CrisisWatch Digests 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.

For our most recent CrisisWatch Digests, please follow these links for EthiopiaLebanon and Somalia.

Latest Updates

Africa

Benin

Govt forces repelled several attacks by suspected jihadists in north.

Suspected jihadist violence persisted in northern departments. In Alibori department near border with Niger, unidentified gunmen overnight 10-11 Nov clashed with soldiers in Karimama commune, leaving no casualties. In Atakora department near border with Burkina Faso, security forces overnight 24-25 Nov reportedly foiled attack by dozen gunmen at military base in Kérou town, leaving four assailants dead. In Borgou department near border with Nigeria, unidentified gunmen same night attacked Kalalé town, leaving one soldier wounded as military intervened to repel them.

Govt received French equipment to combat insecurity. Interior ministry 10 and 25 Nov received French donation of military equipment including over 20 vehicles. Parliament 23 Nov passed law granting benefits to relatives of soldiers deceased or disappeared and to soldiers wounded in mission.

Burkina Faso

Transitional leadership sought to consolidate power, while UN human rights office accused military of shelling villages amid countrywide insecurity.

New junta leaders installed transitional legislature. New 71-member transitional legislative assembly 11 Nov took office, same day elected previous legislature member Ousmane Bougouma as speaker; 19 Nov voted in favour of PM Apollinaire Joachim Kyélem de Tambela’s general policy statement, which emphasised securing “the territory and the populations”. Following late Oct nationwide civilian recruitment to fight jihadists, transitional President Capt. Traoré 14 Nov announced formation of six new rapid intervention units.

Tensions ran high with France, transitional govt sought regional support. Hundreds 18 Nov protested in capital Ouagadougou against French military presence in country. In speech before transitional assembly, Tambela 19 Nov vowed to diversify security partnerships; French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu same day alluded to French forces’ potential withdrawal from Burkina Faso, as Barkhane Operation 9 Nov came to formal end. Meanwhile, Traoré 2 Nov travelled to Mali, met with counterpart Col. Assimi Goïta to discuss military cooperation. Ouagadougou around 3 Nov secured extradition from Togo of four Burkinabé officers close to deposed transition President Lt-Col. Damiba and suspected of “plotting” against Traoré.

Dozens reportedly killed in military operation as insecurity remained widespread. In Sahel region (north), army and volunteer fighters (VDPs) 6-9 Nov conducted counter-insurgency operation near Djibo town (Soum province); shelling and airstrikes on several villages reportedly left 42 dead, including civilians; after UN human rights office 10 Nov expressed concern, govt 12 Nov vowed to launch investigation. Also in Sahel, Islamic State Sahel Province (IS-Sahel) 15 Nov killed ten Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) fighters in Deou village and Erafnaman locality, while suspected IS-Sahel militants 21 Nov killed six civilians near Markoye town (all Oudalan province). In North region, troops 9 Nov repelled alleged JNIM attack on military patrol in Solle town (Loroum province), leaving 33 assailants dead. In Centre-North region, suspected JNIM elements 21 Nov attacked Safi village (Namentenga province) near Kaya city, killing eight VDPs. In East region, govt forces 4 Nov engaged alleged JNIM combatants near Tanwalbougou locality (Gourma province), leaving around ten dead.

Burundi

President Ndayishimiye moved to consolidate control over ruling party and engaged in intense diplomacy on security crisis in eastern DR Congo.

Ndayishimiye restructured ruling party’s governing bodies. Ruling CNDD-FDD party’s council of elders, chaired by Ndayishimiye, 2 Nov nominated new general commissioners and replaced several party administrators; restructuring of party’s governing bodies comes amid power struggle between Ndayishimiye and CNDD-FDD Sec Gen Révérien Ndikuriyo.

Bujumbura took active role in regional diplomacy. Ndayishimiye, who has been East African Community (EAC) rotating president since June, 4 Nov hosted former Kenyan president and EAC’s peace process facilitator for DR Congo (DRC), Uhuru Kenyatta; 7 Nov convened rare summit of EAC heads of state on sidelines of UN climate change conference in Egypt to push for concerted response to security crisis in eastern DRC. Ndayishimiye 23 Nov attended EAC summit on peace and security in eastern DRC in Angolan capital Luanda, and 28 Nov opened third session of EAC-led Nairobi talks between Congolese govt and several armed groups active in country’s east (see DR Congo).

In other important developments. In Cibitoke province, security forces 12-16 Nov clashed with Kinyarwanda-speaking rebels in Kibira forest, killing at least seven and arresting four. International Criminal Court 25 Nov reported progress on investigations into bloody aftermath of 2015 coup attempt, saying it intends to issue arrest warrants shortly.

Cameroon

President Biya celebrated 40 years in power as Anglophone conflict continued in west and jihadist violence persisted in Far North.

Biya marked 40 years as president, pursued plans to have his son succeed him. For Biya’s 40th anniversary in power, ruling party around 6 Nov held official celebrations and ceremonies across country. Traditional authorities, ruling party officials and residents in North region – a ruling party stronghold – same day received Biya’s son Franck in great pomp with all airs of president-in-waiting. Meanwhile, members of diaspora political opposition group Brigade Anti-Sardinards violently disrupted reception marking Biya’s 40-year rule in French capital Paris, with some guests reportedly wounded.

Armed Anglophone separatists and military continued to engage in fighting. Govt forces 3 Nov reportedly killed separatist commander in Ediki village, Meme division, South West region (SW), and 7 Nov clashed with separatists near North West region (NW)’s capital Bamenda (Mezam division), leaving three dead. Separatists 14 Nov ambushed military convoy in Tubah town near Bamenda (NW), reportedly killing three soldiers; attack on another convoy between Kumba and Mamfe cities (SW) next day killed at least one soldier. Conflict continued to take toll on civilians. Notably, unidentified gunmen 3 Nov kidnapped nine health workers from govt-run hospital in Batibo town, Momo division (NW); authorities blamed separatists, who denied responsibility. Govt forces 24 Nov allegedly killed two civilians in Awing town, Mezam division (NW). UN working group on arbitrary detention around 14 Nov called for “immediate and unconditional” release of separatist leader Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and nine co-prisoners, said their arrest in Nigeria in 2018 was “arbitrary.”

Far North region saw sporadic jihadist violence. Suspected Boko Haram (JAS) or Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militants continued to target civilians, killing one 14 Nov near Tourou town (Mayo-Tsanaga division) and another 20 Nov near Kolofata town (Mayo-Sava division). Unidentified armed group around 14 Nov clashed with military forces near Bonderi town (Mayo-Sava), killing at least one soldier. Suspected jihadist combatants 15 Nov ambushed military patrol near Amchide town (Mayo-Sava), and throughout month repeatedly looted town.

Central African Republic

Dispute persisted between pro-govt groups and opposition over constitutional referendum as authorities postponed local elections, and insecurity continued across country.

Constitutional revision process remained divisive. After ruling party late Oct called for constitutional referendum that would allow President Touadéra to run for third term, pro-govt movement Front Républicain 10 Nov addressed letter to Touadéra proposing 18 constitutional amendments. G-16 civil society coalition 1 Nov called for creation of “resistance council” against constitutional changes, while hundreds 5 Nov gathered in French capital Paris calling for Touadéra’s dismissal. Meanwhile, 16 opposition parties 18 Nov demanded guarantees that upcoming local and regional elections will not be combined with constitutional referendum, requested restructuring of National Electoral Authority (ANE), citing lack of neutrality. ANE 21 Nov postponed local and regional elections from 22 Jan to 16 July 2023 to allow for electoral roll’s revision.

MINUSCA’s mandate renewed amid tensions with France. Ahead of UN Security Council vote on renewal of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA), FM Sylvie Baïpo-Temon 7 Nov declared draft resolution failed to reflect Central Africans’ “aspirations”, criticised France’s role as penholder; around same day withdrew symbolic title of dean of diplomatic corps traditionally given to French ambassador to Bangui, citing latter’s “discourtesy” toward Touadéra. Security Council 14 Nov renewed MINUSCA’s mandate for one year following tense debates, with Russia, China and Gabon abstaining.

Insecurity continued countrywide, notably at border with Chad. Russian paramilitaries 4 Nov raided Union of Patriots for Change rebel post in Blakadja village (Nana-Gribizi prefecture), leaving one rebel dead and four injured. Coalition of Patriots for Change rebels 19 Nov clashed with govt forces and allies in Kouango city (Ouaka prefecture), death toll unknown. Kidnapping for ransom reported throughout month. Notably, 3R rebels 8 Nov kidnapped three miners at Kombo-Nana site (Nana-Mambéré prefecture), freeing them after payment; unidentified armed elements 11 Nov abducted one civil servant and two UN personnel near Ndiffa locality (Vakaga prefecture). Unidentified assailants 24 Nov killed MINUSCA peacekeeper in Obo town (Haut-Mbomou prefecture). Govt said plane coming from border country overnight 27-28 Nov bombed base where govt forces and Russian allies were stationed in Bossangoa town (Ouham prefecture) near Chadian border, threatened retaliation.

Chad

Opposition called out military leadership on brutal repression of dissent, and Boko Haram launched deadly attack on govt forces in west.

Tensions continued to run high between govt and opposition. Following deadly crackdown on 20 Oct opposition protests and subsequent wave of arrests, leader of Les Transformateurs party, Succès Masra, 1 Nov left country, while leader of Wakit Tama civil society coalition, Max Loalngar, and other opposition figures late Oct-early Nov went into hiding. Transitional authorities 8 Nov accepted calls for international independent inquiry into deadly protests; however insisted that Chadian official oversee inquiry. Les Transformateurs and Wakit Tama around same day referred case to International Criminal Court, saying events surrounding protests likely qualify as crimes against humanity.

Implementation of national dialogue’s recommendations started. Following conclusion of national dialogue in Oct, PM Saleh Kebzabo 3 Nov presented new transition roadmap to Transitional National Council (CNT) legislative body, with constitutional referendum and new legal framework for elections as main priorities, and President Mahamat Déby 7 Nov appointed 104 additional CNT members including former opposition leaders and representatives of rebel groups that signed Doha peace deal in August. AU Peace and Security Council 11 Nov voted against sanctioning transitional authorities despite report of AU Chair Moussa Faki castigating military leadership for failing to honour 18-month transition timeframe.

Jihadist violence and intercommunal conflicts persisted in west. President Déby 14 Nov announced deployment of 600 personnel in Lake province to fight enduring Boko Haram presence; group 22 Nov killed ten soldiers near Ngouboua village close to Nigeria’s border. In Chari-Baguirmi province, farmer-herder conflict 13 Nov left four wounded in Tchiltchlie village. In Logone-Occidental province, mob 22 Nov attacked gendarmerie in Krim Krim locality to free farmer incarcerated after dispute with herder, leaving eight dead and 30 injured.

Côte d’Ivoire

Tensions with Mali persisted over ongoing detention of Ivorian soldiers, and former President Gbagbo-era figure Charles Blé Goudé returned from exile.

Govt rejected Mali’s conditions for release of detained soldiers. Paris-based media outlet Africa Intelligence 2 Nov revealed that Abidjan late Oct rejected Bamako’s latest conditions for liberation of 46 Ivorian soldiers detained since July, including that govt acknowledge attempt to destabilise Mali. Meanwhile, Abidjan mid-Nov announced “gradual” withdrawal of its roughly 900 personnel from UN peacekeeping force in Mali.

Political manoeuvring continued ahead of 2025 presidential election. Former President Gbagbo’s right-hand man turned rival, Charles Blé Goudé, 26 Nov returned to Côte d’Ivoire after decade-long exile. In search of political allies, Goudé’s Pan-African Congress for Justice and Peoples’ Equality 1 Nov sent delegation to Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) headed by Pascal Affi N’Guessan (former PM and another Gbagbo ally turned rival). After months of rumours, FPI early Nov confirmed political rapprochement with President Ouattara’s Rally of Houphouëtists for Democracy and Peace.

Govt kept up efforts to contain jihadist threat in country’s north. Youth Minister Mamadou Touré 10-13 Nov visited northern regions to assess govt social stabilisation plan, launched in Jan 2022 to promote youth integration and local development in regions at risk of jihadist violence.

Democratic Republic of Congo

M23 rebel group advanced further toward North Kivu’s capital Goma, as regional efforts to cool tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali continued.

M23 made further gains near Goma amid regional efforts to de-escalate conflict. Fighting between govt forces and M23 rebels around 11 Nov picked up again in several areas, with M23 mid-month taking control of Kibumba town (Nyiragongo territory) and Tongo city (Rutshuru territory), cutting off only remaining supply route to Goma apart from Rwandan border. M23 rebels 20 Nov seized populated settlements of Kiseguro and Katwiguru (both Rutshuru), about 30km from Ishasha border point with Uganda, and 25 Nov captured Kisharo settlement in same area. As President Tshisekedi 3 Nov again denounced Kigali’s “expansionist impulses” in supporting M23, East African Community (EAC) redoubled efforts to de-escalate tensions (see Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda). Tshisekedi and Rwandan FM Vincent Biruta 23 Nov attended EAC summit in Angolan capital Luanda, called for immediate withdrawal of M23 from “occupied zones” in North Kivu and cessation of hostilities starting 25 Nov; M23 refused to lay down arms or withdraw from captured territory.

Govt forces and allies continued to clash with other rebel groups in east. In North Kivu’s Beni territory, alleged Islamic State-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) 8 Nov attacked Kabasha village, killing three civilians, and around 9 Nov killed 13 civilians in Bashu settlement. Ugandan Air Force 4 Nov destroyed large ADF camp at undisclosed location in east, while govt forces 25 Nov killed seven ADF insurgents and freed 30 hostages in Mwalika area, Beni. Maï-Maï militiamen 25-26 Nov exchanged fire with govt forces in Butembo city, also Beni; five dead on both sides. CODECO militia carried out several attacks in Ituri province, notably 18-19 Nov in Walla area, Mahagi territory. Military said joint Burundi-DR Congo operation around 26 Nov killed 40 members of Hutu-led rebel group of Rwandan origin National Forces of Liberation near Nabombi town, South Kivu province.

Conflict between Yaka and Teke communities continued in western provinces. Clashes in Misia town, Kwilu province, 2 Nov left 16 people dead and 25 missing; armed assailants 7 Nov attacked Boku village, Kwamouth territory of Mai-Ndombe province, leaving at least 20 dead.

Eritrea

Asmara quietly consented to fragile peace accord between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray leaders, but could act as spoiler over disarmament protocols in coming weeks and months.

Asmara hinted at satisfaction with deal to resolve Tigray conflict. Following peace accord signed 2 Nov between Addis Ababa and Tigray leaders in South Africa’s capital Pretoria (see Ethiopia), Asmara remained silent, indicating its tacit acceptance of deal to end conflict despite not being party to accord. Meanwhile, its military activities in Tigray subsided although reports of ongoing Eritrean violence against civilians in Shire city and surrounding areas persisted during month.

Asmara could spoil peace process absent speedy implementation of disarmament protocols. Longstanding enmity between Tigray People’s Liberation Front and Asmara could coax latter to challenge implementation of accord if it feels Tigray’s leaders are backtracking on some political concessions, most notably promised reduction of Tigray’s military capabilities. Meanwhile, Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel 28 Nov criticised U.S. for endorsing African Union Envoy Olusegun Obasanjo’s comment that “no country should accept the presence of a foreign country on its land”, defending troop presence in Ethiopia as “defense architecture”.

Somalia’s president met Somali cadets during second visit to Eritrea this year. Somali President Mohamud 10-12 Nov visited Eritrea, second such trip since his election in May this year, signalling continued desire for cooperation. Mohamud 12 Nov met members of Somali National Army who have been undergoing military training in Eritrea since 2019; program, estimated to include about 5,000 cadets, has been shrouded in controversy regarding participants’ alleged deployment in Tigray. Mohamud 12 Nov returned to Somalia without Somali troops, suggesting he had again failed to convince Asmara to allow cadets to return to Somalia, possibly due to ongoing discussions over payments.

Eswatini

Pro-democracy movement turned violent as militants launched series of attacks on public buildings and officials.

Pro-democracy militant group Swaziland International Solidarity Forces (SISF) conducted spate of violent attacks across country, targeting public figures and security infrastructure. Notably, suspected SISF members overnight 4-5 Nov killed traditional chief, Prince Mahloma of Zandondo in Manzini region, reportedly after forcing him to record video urging King Mswati III to initiate democratic reforms; 14 Nov opened fired at Ludzidzini Royal Palace, Mswati’s residence in Lobamba city, Hhohho region, reportedly injuring one guard and forcing Mswati’s evacuation to another palace; and 29 Nov attacked Zibonele army camp in Hhohho region, killing unknown numbers of soldiers. Meanwhile, pro-democracy activists, transport trade union and Swaziland Youth Congress 15 Nov demonstrated in capital Mbabane (Hhohho) to demand release of legislators arrested in June-July 2021; heavy police presence and roadblocks impeded mobilisation, reportedly resulting in several protesters being shot or detained by security forces.

Ethiopia

Federal govt and Tigray leaders signed deal to end devastating conflict, but fragile calm could shatter absent consolidation of initial pledges; violence in Oromia intensified.

Federal and Tigray leaders struck welcome, yet fragile, peace accord. After over two years of brutal warfare, federal govt and Tigray leaders 2 Nov signed surprise “permanent cessation of hostilities” accord in South Africa’s capital Pretoria under African Union auspices. Agreement reflected military pressure Tigray’s forces had come under in Oct: federal govt consented to halt its offensive and end de facto siege; in return, Tigray’s embattled leaders agreed to disarm their forces, dissolve Tigray’s administration (thereby delegitimising regional election that led to war in 2020) and restore federal authority in region; sides also agreed to discussions over “contested areas”. Accord received mixed reactions: PM Abiy and international actors welcomed it; Eritrea’s silence appeared to signal consent; Amhara nationalists feared deal could be mechanism to hand over contested Western Tigray to Mekelle; Tigray’s leaders expressed dissatisfaction with some aspects, reflecting deal’s fragility. Nonetheless, both sides stopped fighting and humanitarian deliveries began trickling into region, although World Food Programme 25 Nov said deliveries are “not matching needs”. Military commanders 12 Nov also agreed during follow-up talks in Kenya’s capital Nairobi that Tigray would hand over heavy weapons in return for foreign (Eritrea) and non-federal (Amhara) troop withdrawal from Tigray.

Violence escalated in Oromia amid uptick in rebel operations and govt air strikes. Fighting between federal and Oromia security forces and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebels intensified. Notably, federal air force early Nov launched three drone strikes in West Wollega Zone, killing 55. OLA fighters 6 Nov entered Nekemte town (East Wollega Zone) where they clashed with security forces, looted two banks, released over 120 prisoners from “Abiy regime’s torture camps” and abducted officials. OLA now controls over a dozen districts in East and West Wollega zones.

Relations with Sudan thawed. Following talks 15 Oct between PM Abiy and Sudan’s de facto head of state Gen. al-Burhan in Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar city, govt representatives met several times during month to resolve border dispute.

Guinea

Main opposition groups boycotted ECOWAS-mediated dialogue with junta after listing conditions for participation, while repression of dissent persisted.

Junta and opposition remained at loggerheads despite regional mediation efforts. PM Bernard Gomou 10 Nov met with so-called quartet, group of four major opposition groups including National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) and deposed President Condé’s Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), to discuss conditions for participation in West African regional bloc (ECOWAS)-mediated dialogue; quartet listed release of political prisoners, end to protest ban and restructuring of ruling National Transitional Council as main prerequisites. FNDC, RPG and other quartet member 24 Nov boycotted opening session of ECOWAS-mediated dialogue, said govt was acting in bad faith. Col. Doumbouya-led junta is set to meet with ECOWAS before year’s end to validate 21 Oct agreement on 24-month transition back to civilian rule; junta insists latter starts from 1 Jan 2023, while main opposition groups wants 5 Sept 2021 coup as start date.

Prominent protest leaders prolonged detention without trial. Two senior FNDC leaders jailed after leading banned protest in July, Ibrahima Diallo and Oumar Sylla (aka Foniké Mengué), 7 Nov announced hunger strike to protest prolonged detention without trial; 15 Nov suspended strike at request of their lawyers.

Authorities targeted Condé as part of anti-corruption campaign. Justice Minister Charles Wright 3 Nov ordered legal proceedings on corruption charges against Condé, who has resided in Türkiye since May, and 187 former Condé officials, some of whom are dead or already in prison. Col. Doumbouya 16 Nov also dismissed Infrastructure Minister Yaya Sow, citing corruption charges.

Kenya

Authorities stepped up mediation role in Ethiopia and DR Congo (DRC) conflicts, while insecurity persisted notably near Somalia border and in Rift Valley.

Opposition faced internal rifts, warned about threats to judicial independence. Former President Kenyatta’s Jubilee party 10 Nov threatened to withdraw from Azimio coalition after Azimio leadership in Senate removed Jubilee candidate from list of nominees to Parliamentary Service Commission. Orange Democratic Movement and Wiper Democratic Movement – both Azimio members – 17 Nov secured election of respective leaders’ children as members of Eastern African Legislative Assembly, prompting Jubilee to denounce “dynasty” politics. Meanwhile, court 10 Nov dropped $60m corruption case against Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and nine others, citing lack of evidence; runner-up in Aug presidential election Raila Odinga immediately denounced lack of judicial independence.

Nairobi played key role in regional efforts to advance peace. Govt from 12 Nov deployed troops to eastern DRC as part of East African Community (EAC) force. After touring region 4-15 Nov in effort to de-escalate tensions between Rwanda and DRC, EAC peace process facilitator for DRC, former President Kenyatta, 18 Nov reported agreement with Rwandan President Kagame “to urge the M23 to cease fire and withdraw from captured territory” in North Kivu, paving way for broader regional call on 23 Nov (see DR Congo). Nairobi 28 Nov also hosted third round of EAC talks between Congolese govt and some armed groups active in country’s eastern provinces. After Kenyatta played key role in mediating 2 Nov peace deal between Addis Ababa and Tigray, Nairobi 7-12 Nov hosted follow-up talks between parties (see Ethiopia).

Al-Shabaab remained active, govt continued operations against cattle rustling. Police 1 Nov reported suspected Al-Shabaab elements kidnapped four, including paramedics, in ambush on ambulance in Mandera county near Somalia border. In Rift Valley, interior ministry 8 Nov said police recovered over 700 livestock and shot one suspect dead in operation targeting cattle rustling in Turkana county; Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki 9, 18 and 23 Nov met regional leaders in Baringo, West Pokot and Samburu counties to discuss insecurity.

Mali

Violent conflict continued in north and centre, and UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) saw several troop contributors withdraw.

Rampant insecurity in north fuelled popular discontent. Main trade unions 8 Nov declared 48-hour general strike in Gao region to protest govt’s lack of response to growing insecurity; Algiers peace accord signatory group leader around same day called on young Tuaregs to join fight against Islamic State Sahel Province (IS-Sahel) in Gao. Meanwhile, deadly attacks continued across region. Notably, local officials 23 Nov reported jihadist attack on Kadji camp for internally displaced persons 21 Nov left 11 civilians dead. Encounters between IS-Sahel and rival al-Qaeda affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) reported around 12-13 Nov in Gao and Timbuktu regions; death toll unknown.

Violence involving jihadist militants and security forces continued in centre. Govt forces 1 Nov reportedly killed five JNIM militants near Pogo locality (Ségou region). JNIM militants 10 Nov killed three pro-govt militia fighters in Kargue village (Bandiagara region). MINUSMA convoy on its way to Timbuktu city 21 Nov hit mine near Douentza town in Mopti region, leaving three peacekeepers injured. Conflict took high civilian toll. Govt forces 12 Nov reportedly killed up to four civilians during operation in Birga-Peulh village, and 14 Nov allegedly killed four Fulani civilians near Derou village (both Mopti).

Key troop contributors announced withdrawal from MINUSMA. UK, Côte d’Ivoire and Germany 14-22 Nov announced withdrawal of their military contingents, leaving mission’s future uncertain. Meanwhile, MINUSMA 9 Nov reported govt forces 1 July-30 Sept committed 162 human rights abuses, 33% increase from 1 April - 30 June period; also noted limited ability to investigate abuses as MINUSMA personnel does not enjoy free movement. NGO International Federation for Human Rights 24 Nov warned that 2022 “will likely be the deadliest in Mali” since 2012, denounced impunity of those responsible for human right abuses.

In other important developments. After French govt 17 Nov suspended development assistance to Mali, citing presence of Russian paramilitary Wagner Group, Bamako 21 Nov banned French and French-funded NGOs from operating in country; number of NGOs subsequently suspended activity, including Doctors of the World-Belgium 22 Nov.

Mozambique

Islamist militants pushed deeper into southern districts of Cabo Delgado and continued attacks elsewhere in province, seizing large quantities of weapons and ammunition.

Insurgents expanded offensive in southern Cabo Delgado province. In Namuno district, Islamic State Mozambique Province (ISMP) 1 Nov attacked police’s Rapid Intervention Unit garrison at Minhanha village, reportedly killing two soldiers and stealing weapons and ammunition; 5 Nov entered Pararene village, killing at least two civilians; local militiamen known as Naparama 10 Nov pursued and killed five insurgents, captured at least ten after Nanrapa village came under attack. International Organization for Migration (IOM) 8 Nov said over 16,000 displaced by violence in Namuno since 29 Oct. Suspected ISMP 12-14 Nov for first time crossed into Balama district further west, killing at least five people in Muripa, Mualia and Marica villages. In Montepuez district, Naparamas and ISMP 22 Nov clashed in Nairoto area, reportedly leaving several insurgents dead; five Naparamas also beheaded after being captured.

Violence persisted in northern and central districts of Cabo Delgado. In Muidumbe district, alleged ISMP militants throughout month attacked Mandava, Litapata and Muambula villages, killing and kidnapping several civilians; 20 Nov ambushed and killed senior police officer and three other people in Xitaxi village. IOM reported 45,000 displaced 28 Oct-25 Nov by violence in Muidumbe. In Macomia district, suspected ISMP insurgents 10, 17 Nov reportedly killed five soldiers and looted weapons and ammunition in Nguida village. In Nangade district, ISMP 8 Nov attacked security forces’ post at Ngalonga village, capturing large quantities of weapons and ammunitions; 15 Nov ambushed Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) convoy near Mungano village, reportedly injuring five Tanzanian troops; SAMIM forces 29 Nov allegedly attacked ISMP base in Ngonga area, killing scores of insurgent but losing two soldiers.

In other important developments. Govt around 22 Nov reopened key port of Mocímboa da Praia after two-year closure amid violence. After police late Oct detained journalist Arlindi Chissale in Cabo Delgado, public prosecutor’s office 3 Nov accused him of collecting information to foment terrorism; Chissale, who was granted provisional release next day, said he was being repressed because of his links to opposition.

Niger

Civilians suffered violence at the hands of jihadist and govt forces in southern regions, and French Operation Barkhane formally ended.

Jihadists targeted civilians in Diffa region in south east. Alleged members of Boko Haram JAS faction 2 Nov attacked camp for internally displaced persons in N’Gala Peulh locality (N’Guigmi department), killing five civilians. Unidentified Boko Haram faction 4 Nov kidnapped three people between Djilmari and Waragou localities (Diffa department); national guard later freed hostages, killing one jihadist. Suspected JAS combatants 7 Nov kidnapped eight people in Maldjori town, Diffa department; national guard operation in Bague locality, Bosso department next day reportedly freed hostages, leaving five militants dead.

Counter-insurgency operations continued in Tillabery region in south west. Alleged Islamic State Sahel Province 6 Nov attacked national guard position in Zibane locality (Tillabery department), leaving no casualties; in response, military in cooperation with French forces launched ground and air operation in area, killing 15 militants. As opposition continued to accuse govt forces of killing several civilians in airstrike on Tamou mining site in Oct, coordinator of M62 coalition of 15 civil society organisations, Abdoulaye Seydou, 17 Nov said police had summoned him three times for his comments on incident.

French Operation Barkhane came to a formal end. French President Macron 9 Nov announced formal end of Operation Barkhane amid reconfiguration of France’s military strategy in Sahel region; around 1,000 French troops will however remain in Niger as part of bilateral military cooperation. European Union official 11 Nov announced launch of military cooperation mission in early 2023 to support Nigerien forces in their fight against jihadists.

Nigeria

Electoral violence continued to disrupt campaign for 2023 polls, while jihadist, criminal and separatist groups demonstrated resilience amid military operations on multiple fronts.

Political violence persisted ahead of early 2023 general elections. Authorities 11 Nov reported 52 cases of electoral violence since campaign started on 28 Sept. Notably, unidentified assailants 8 Nov reportedly attacked convoy of opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Borno state capital Maiduguri, leaving at least one dead and 70 injured; PDP blamed attack on ruling All Progressives Congress.

Criminal and other violence ran high in North West and North Central zones. Kidnapping for ransom remained widespread, notably in Zamfara state: gunmen 7 Nov kidnapped 50 people in Bukkuyum area; 20 Nov raided four villages in Zurmi and Maradun areas, reportedly abducting over 100; 23 Nov kidnapped at least 60 people in Kaura Namoda area. Govt forces throughout Nov continued land and air operations, notably carrying out aerial assaults on armed groups’ enclaves in Birnin Gwari, Chikun and Giwa areas of Kaduna state. Meanwhile, intercommunal violence 7-9 Nov killed at least 28 people in Addo area, Benue state; farmer-herder clashes 14 Nov killed dozen people in Bokkos area, Plateau state.

Jihadists launched deadly attacks in North East zone despite security operations. In Borno state, Boko Haram (BH) operatives 10-12 Nov reportedly killed at least 26 women accused of witchcraft near Gwoza town; suspected Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) combatants overnight 18-19 Nov launched complex attack on Malam Fatori town and army base, killing 11 security forces and unconfirmed number of civilians. Large-scale counter-insurgency operations continued in Borno: army airstrike 5 Nov reportedly killed 15 ISWAP combatants in Bolowa village, 16-17 Nov killed about 16 BH fighters near Banki town.

Biafra separatist agitation and criminal violence persisted in South East. Notably, gunmen 12 Nov attacked military checkpoint at Isuofia town in Aguata area of Anambra state, killing two soldiers; 19 Nov killed three policemen in Agbani town, Nkanu West area of Enugu state. In Imo state, troops allegedly searching for Biafra separatists 3 Nov raided Amangwu town in Ohafia area; locals alleged soldiers killed about ten people.

Rwanda

Authorities joined call for M23 rebels to halt fighting in eastern DR Congo (DRC) as regional efforts intensified to de-escalate tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa.

Regional leaders called for immediate ceasefire in eastern DRC. Congolese President Tshisekedi 3 Nov again denounced Kigali’s “expansionist impulses” in supporting M23 rebels. East African Community (EAC) 18 Nov said EAC peace process facilitator for DRC, former Kenyan President Kenyatta, and President Kagame had agreed on need for M23 to cease fire and withdraw from captured territories in DRC’s North Kivu province. During EAC summit in Angola, regional leaders including Congolese President Tshisekedi and Rwandan FM Biruta 23 Nov called for cessation of hostilities in eastern DRC starting 25 Nov; M23 in following days rejected call (see DR Congo).

Border incidents highlighted heightened tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa. As DRC forces continued to combat M23 rebels in eastern provinces, Congolese SU-25 fighter jet 7 Nov entered Rwandan airspace, landing briefly at Rubavu airport, Western province; Rwanda took no military action but accused Kinshasa of “provocation”. Rwandan troops 19 Nov killed Congolese soldier who had crossed border into Rwanda’s Rubavu district.

Somalia

Federal govt’s clan-based offensive against Al-Shabaab faced setbacks amid resistance from militants; Mogadishu continued to prioritise cordial relations with member states.

Offensive against Al-Shabaab in central regions slowed down. In Galguduud region, govt forces 9 Nov captured Wabxo town, 11 Nov pulled out allowing Al-Shabaab to re-capture town; major Al-Shabaab assault 7 Nov temporarily displaced govt forces from Qayib town, while govt forces 25 Nov repelled Al-Shabaab assault on Qayib. In Middle Shabelle region, govt forces 3 Nov captured El Harereri town, 17 Nov took control of Cad Caddey village. Use of U.S. and Turkish drones reportedly supported govt forces’ advance in Middle Shabelle, while outbreak of clan conflict between two Abgaal sub-clans in Adale district from mid-Nov hampered efforts. In Hiraan region, govt forces focused on shoring up gains south of Beledweyne city and preventing Al-Shabaab infiltration from across western side of Shabelle river; military 11 Nov foiled large-scale Al-Shabaab assault on govt forces in Burdaar area. Al-Shabaab continued attacks in urban centres. Notably, militants 27-28 Nov laid siege to hotel near presidential palace in capital Mogadishu, killing at least eight people.

President Mohamud invested in good relations with members states and regional partners. Mohamud late Nov travelled to war’s front lines in Galmudug and Hirshabelle states in effort to reinvigorate offensive against Al-Shabaab. Earlier, federal govt and member state leaders 27-31 Oct met in Mogadishu for third time since Mohamud took office in May; leaders agreed to share funds that federal govt recently received from international actors, and all member states committed to participate in operations against Al-Shabaab. As part of Mogadishu’s efforts to find regional support to further develop security institutions and bolster current offensive, defence ministry 2 Nov and National Intelligence Service Agency 5 Nov signed agreements with Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts, respectively.

Humanitarian situation remained dreadful. Mohamud 15 Nov told MPs that record drought had devastated country’s economy and acknowledged looming famine in parts of country as UN agencies continued to warn that 6.7mn people face severe food insecurity. In report released 14 Nov, UN human rights office said Al-Shabaab is exacerbating impact of drought and risk of famine, including by destroying wells and other essential infrastructure.

Somaliland

Deadlock over upcoming political cycle persisted with little prospect of immediate breakthrough as political opposition stated it no longer recognises Bihi as president.

Opposition denounced govt as illegitimate. Opposition Waddani and UCID parties 13 Nov – originally scheduled date for presidential election – announced they no longer recognise Bihi’s administration, while failing to clarify what this means in practice. Some youth same day clashed with security forces in country’s second-largest city Burco, resulting in at least seven people injured.

Govt remained unwilling to dialogue over sequencing of high-stake elections. Govt in Nov continued to rebuff all domestic and international appeals to dialogue with Waddani and UCID over sequencing of forthcoming elections, reiterating it will organise political parties’ vote – to licence three parties that will be allowed to participate in formal politics going forward – ahead of presidential ballot; also said it will follow National Electoral Commission’s nine-month timeline for presidential election (although parliament’s Upper House in Oct extended Bihi’s mandate by two years).

Process to select new political parties moved forward. Registration committee 6 Nov approved nine political associations, on top of three current ones, to compete in unscheduled political parties’ election; in joint press conference, all nine political associations 15 Nov said any process to overcome current deadlock over sequencing of elections must include them.

South Sudan

Conflict persisted in Upper Nile state, govt suspended Rome peace talks with opposition groups, and World Food Programme laid bare dire humanitarian situation. 

Rampant violence continued in Upper Nile state. Fighting pitting ethnic Shilluk “Agwalek” forces under Gen. Johnson Olony against Nuer forces, predominantly backed by Gen. Simon Gatwech, continued during month. Notably, ethnic Nuer community militias early Nov marched into Fashoda county, killing unknown number of people and prompting Agwalek forces 26 Nov to engage and force their retreat late Nov; meanwhile, Agwalek forces 10 Nov shelled Nuer positions from Atar town. UN mission in South Sudan 19 Nov expressed deep concern about violence and urged parties to halt fighting; President Salva Kiir and First VP Riek Machar have echoed calls, despite likely supporting fighting themselves, on opposing sides.

Intercommunal violence persisted in Central Equatoria and Warrap states. Unknown gunmen believed to be cattle herders from Jonglei state 11 Nov killed five civilians in Ngerjebe village, Juba county of Central Equatoria state; state governor next day issued 72-hour ultimatum to all cattle herders to leave state. Violence between Kuok and Luach-Abuong communities 18 Nov left five dead in Tonj East county, Warrap state.

Govt suspended peace talks with major rebel groups. Following progress in Oct on restarting talks between govt and holdout opposition groups in Italy’s capital Rome, govt 21 Nov abandoned initiative, accusing rebel groups of using dialogue to “buy time to prepare for war”. Opposition groups decried decision; notably, Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Group same day said it was dismayed by move and urged Juba to reverse decision, while National Salvation Front 25 Nov said govt’s “allegations are unfounded”. Decision came after leader of South Sudan People’s Movement/Army (SSPM/A) Gen. Stephen Buay Rolnyang 19 Oct proposed Unified Front among all non-signatory opposition groups to “challenge the regime physically”.

In other important developments. World Food Programme 3 Nov published report stating that 6.6mn people, over half country’s population, are affected by acute food insecurity, malnutrition, famine and rampant insecurity. NGO Global Rights Compliance 24 Nov published report accusing govt and opposition of committing war crimes through routine use of mass starvation and forcible displacement. 

Sudan

Military-civilian negotiations made progress amid tensions between international mediators, authorities cracked down on Islamist groups, and violence flared in Central Darfur.

Military-civilian forces advanced toward transition deal. Main civilian opposition bloc Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) 16 Nov announced they had reached “framework agreement” with military on most critical issues to restore democratic transition; dialogue officially mediated by Trilateral Mechanism led by UN mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), African Union (AU), and Intergovernmental Authority on Development also quietly facilitated by Quad countries (U.S., UK, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia). Parties consented to second phase of negotiations to resolve outstanding issues and produce final deal.

AU bristled at “external interference” in negotiations. AU Special Envoy for Sudan Mohamed Belaiche 2 Nov denounced “external interference” in Trilateral Mechanism by Quad countries, whom he accused of publicly supporting trilateral process while undermining it through parallel negotiation process. Remarks point to breakdown between Quad and Trilateral process in coordination on Sudan. Quad countries say their initiative supports Trilateral Mechanism since FFC-military disagreement was primary obstacle when trilateral negotiations stalled in June.

Concerns grew over resurgence of Bashir-era Islamist groups. Following late Oct alleged coup attempt that fractured alliance between military and Islamist groups, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan 6 Nov warned that Islamist groups should refrain from interfering in military affairs. Authorities subsequently conducted several high-profile arrests; notably, authorities 9 Nov re-arrested former President Omar al-Bashir; 14 Nov arrested leaders of newly formed Patriotic Entity Forces, allegedly affiliated with Islamist groups, 19 Nov released them. Al-Burhan 28 Nov suspended activities of trade unions, reportedly to curb Islamists’ influence.

Violence killed dozens in Central Darfur, clashes persisted in West Kordofan. In Central Darfur, clashes 11-13 Nov between Misseriya and Awlad Rashid clans of Rezeigat tribe near Juguma village reportedly killed 48 and displaced thousands; clashes 19 Nov between rival factions of Sudan Liberation Army–Abdel Wahid (SLA/AW) left 13 dead in Shamal Jabal Marrah locality. Renewed fighting in En Nehoud locality in West Kordofan 19-20 Nov left six dead.

Togo

Jihadist combatants launched deadly attacks on govt forces in northern Savanes region.

Security forces 17 Nov engaged in fighting with al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) combatants in Sankortchagou locality (Savanes region) at border with Burkina Faso; local sources reported at least six soldiers and two jihadists killed. JNIM combatants 24 Nov attacked army post in Tiwoli village (also Savanes); local media reported at least 17 soldiers killed. JNIM claimed both attacks.

Uganda

Govt deployed troops to DR Congo as part of East African regional force amid mounting allegations that Kampala supports M23 rebels; series of attacks targeted security infrastructure.

Spate of attacks targeted security installations. After gunmen 31 Oct shot two police officers dead in raid on Busiika police station in central Luwero district, unidentified assailants 14 Nov raided Kyanja police post in suburb of capital Kampala, reportedly leaving no casualties. Attackers 17 Nov also raided Gaddafi barracks in eastern Jinja district, killing one soldier, while police 23 Nov reportedly foiled attack on Nakulabye police station in Kampala. Deputy inspector general of police accused rebel group Uganda Coalition Front for Change of responsibility for 31 Oct attack.

Army moved against President Museveni’s former allies. Military 8 Nov arrested ten people, including relatives of former minister Maj. Abdul Nadduli, in Nakaseke district, reportedly over gun that went missing at burial of Nadduli’s son in late Oct; Maj. Nadduli late Sept had voiced criticism of Museveni’s alleged plan to have his own son, Lt-Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, succeed him. Security forces 8-9 Nov also deployed at farm of senior presidential adviser, retired Maj. Roland Kakooza Mutale, in Luwero district, accusing him of giving illegal military training to group of over 100 youths.

Govt faced growing accusations of supporting M23 rebels in DR Congo’s east. Congolese parliamentarians 1 Nov and civil society activists next day accused Uganda of supporting M23 and urged Congolese President Tshisekedi to severe ties with Kampala. Adding to concerns, Museveni’s son Kainerugaba 6 Nov publicly endorsed M23 rebels “fighting for the rights of Tutsi” in eastern DR Congo and issued veiled threat against anyone combating “those brothers of ours”. UN Security Council delegation 18 Nov met with Museveni in Kampala and reportedly asked him to clarify Uganda’s ties with M23. Kampala 21 Nov announced imminent deployment of 1,000 troops to eastern DR Congo as part of East African Community force battling armed groups there.

Zimbabwe

Ahead of 2023 general elections, relations between govt and opposition remained tense.

Authorities continued to stifle dissent. About 30 alleged supporters of ruling ZANU-PF party 8 Nov disrupted press conference by main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in capital Harare despite police presence, seizing party banners and other materials. National housing and social amenities minister and ZANU-PF’s Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, Daniel Garwe, 12 Nov told supporters that “courts, military and police belong to ZANU-PF” and that party was preparing whip to “fight back” against those who insult President Mnangagwa. Meanwhile, Magistrates Court in Harare 9 Nov granted bail to CCC parliament member Godfrey Sithole, who was arrested in June alongside his colleague Job Sikhala on charges of inciting violence following killing of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali; Sikhala remained in custody after ninth attempt to secure bail late Nov failed. In move widely interpreted as clampdown on govt critics, govt 22 Nov adopted new legislation that will criminalise behaviour deemed as undermining “national interests and sovereignty”.

Opposition pressured authorities to create conditions for competitive polls. Opposition parties, including CCC, mid-Nov urged govt to expedite establishment of Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission to investigate acts of misconduct by members of security forces. Two civil society organisations – Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Election Resource Centre – 6 Nov announced legal complaint against electoral commission over $187,000 fee that commission requires to provide voters list.

Asia

Afghanistan

Taliban sought to suppress National Resistance Front and Islamic State’s local branch threats in north east, while Taliban signalled harsher restrictions, particularly aimed at women.

Anti-Taliban resistance forces continued insurgency in north east. Despite falling levels of violence with onset of cold weather, insecurity continued in Badakhshan province (north east) after Taliban in Oct launched large-scale operations in districts bordering Tajikistan; operations for time being appeared to stunt National Resistance Front (NRF) activities in province but strained relations with Tajikistan, neighbouring country that harbours NRF fighters. Similarly, in Takhar province (north east), numerous reports surfaced during month of Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) and NRF attacks; Taliban forces launched raids against hideouts, primarily targeting ISKP. Meanwhile, deadly clashes erupted between Taliban and Pakistani border forces around Chaman border crossing 13 Nov and in Paktia province (east) 15 Nov (see Pakistan). Bomb 30 Nov targeting religious school in Samangan province (north) killed at least 17 students, majority of them believed to be children.

Taliban regime continued repressive measures, including on women. Taliban 5 Nov stated efforts were under way to end caretaker govt model; how the Taliban will shift to permanent govt remains unclear as group signalled intent to introduce additional governance restrictions. UN children’s agency 7 Nov claimed that women were increasingly being denied access to health facilities unless accompanied by male relatives; ministry for promoting virtue and preventing vice next day announced closure of women’s public baths and declared that women will no longer be able to visit public parks. UN experts 25 Nov said treatment of women and girls may amount to “gender persecution”. Earlier, Taliban 3 Nov arrested human rights activist Zarifa Yaqhoubi and her colleagues in capital Kabul who announced formation of women-led political party. Taliban emir 13 Nov met with judges and urged application of stricter punishments against kidnappers, seditionists and thieves.

Humanitarian crisis persisted as winter approached. With harsh winter fast approaching, little progress was made in addressing economic and humanitarian crises; notably, China 9 Nov announced it will grant zero-tariffs on 98% of Afghan products from Dec onward.

Bangladesh

Opposition held countrywide protest rallies, fuelling tensions with govt, while deadly attacks in Rohingya refugee camps continued.

Amid economic crisis, tensions persisted between govt and opposition. Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) held protest rallies at divisional headquarters countrywide against rising fuel, power and commodity prices, aimed at culminating in mass rally in capital Dhaka on 10 Dec. PM Sheikh Hasina 2 Nov told parliament BNP was attempting to destabilise politics amid economic crisis, warning govt would take action against those engaged in anti-govt activities. BNP sec gen same day said “our present goal is to intensify the movement” to force elections; Hasina next day warned against BNP “excesses”, threatening party’s chairperson could be sent back to jail. Notably, BNP 12 Nov held large-scale rally in Faridabad suburb, Dhaka division. Police same day arrested 32 BNP leaders and activists in Dhaka city on charges of “hatching an anti-government conspiracy”. Police 16 Nov fired rubber bullets at BNP party activists in Habiganj district, Sylhet division, who were planning rally, injuring 60, including ten police officers. Govt and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 9 Nov provisionally signed $4.5bn support program, which finance minister same day said would help prevent economic instability from escalating into crisis.

Security operations against militant groups continued. Security operations against suspected militants and separatists continued in Bandarband district. By 9 Nov, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) had arrested 29 suspected members of militant group Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya from Bandarband, Comilla and Narayanjanj districts. Two Ansar-al-Islam militants – sentenced to death for killing of secular publisher in 2015 – 19 Nov escaped from court; police 22 Nov arrested one accomplice.

Violence persisted in Rohingya refugee camps. After police late Oct launched operation in Cox’s Bazar camps to arrest at least 56 Rohingyas, including 24 suspected of murdering seven community leaders in recent months, police attributed 8 Nov killing of Rohingya man in Cox’s Bazar Teknaf sub-district to clash between rival Rohingya factions. Rohingya militants 14 Nov fired on RAB officials in Bandarband’s Konapara camp, killing woman and injuring security forces member.

China/Japan

China continued maritime activity around disputed islands, while Tokyo and Beijing struck five-point agreement aimed at strengthening cooperation.

China continued maritime activity as Japan hosted joint naval drills. As of 29 Nov, 108 Chinese Coast Guard vessels were detected in Japan’s contiguous zone over 27 days, including eight that entered Japan’s territorial waters. Japan hosted ten-day Malabar Exercise with “Quad” countries – U.S., Australia and India – that 10 Nov commenced off Yokosuka Island in East China Sea. Japanese media 9 Nov reported that Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force and Coast Guard will conduct joint drill simulating armed attack on disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in East China Sea for first time before end of fiscal year.

Japan and China agreed five-point consensus following first face-to-face leaders’ meeting. Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida and China’s President Xi Jinping 17 Nov met for first time on sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Thailand’s capital Bangkok and agreed five-point consensus, which includes provisions to build mutual trust, work on high-level economic dialogue, strengthen dialogue and communication between defence and maritime departments (including early launch of direct telephone line) and commit to jointly shoulder responsibility for maintaining international and regional peace and prosperity; during meeting, Kishida expressed concern over China’s intrusions into Japanese waters around Senkaku Islands and recent ballistic missile launches around Taiwan.

India

Govt and China made no progress on resolving remaining friction points along disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC), while Maoists continued violent attacks in centre and east.

LAC remained point of contention with China. Indian Army Chief Gen. Manoj Pande 12 Nov said situation in eastern Ladakh along LAC was “stable but unpredictable” as two out of seven friction points are yet to be resolved, and noted that China had not significantly reduced its troops and continued “unabated” infrastructure development; local media mid-month cited Indian defence sources who said India had increased “constructions in forward areas along LAC”. In first public exchange since deadly Galwan Valley clash in June 2020, India’s PM Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping 15 Nov greeted each other on sidelines of G20 summit.

Maoist violence continued in centre and east. In Telangana state (centre), Maoists 9 Nov killed tribal man suspected of working with police in Mulugu district. In Odisha state (east), Maoists 10 Nov killed youth suspected of being police informer in Kandhama district; security forces 11 Nov killed two Maoists in Koraput district. In Jharkhand state (east), security forces 21 Nov killed three Maoists in Latehar district, where Maoists 22 Nov set ablaze dozens vehicles at railway construction site. In Chhattisgarh state (centre), security forces 26 Nov killed four Maoists during clashes in Bijapur district. In statement ahead of its 22nd anniversary on 2 Dec, People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army – military wing of outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) – mid-month said 132 members were killed in security operations countrywide since Dec 2021 and claimed it had staged 1,300 attacks that killed 429 security personnel.

Improvised bomb exploded in south west. Low-intensity pressure-cooker bomb blast 19 Nov critically injured two, including perpetrator, in Mangaluru city, Karnataka state (south west); police said attacker was inspired by Islamic State ideology.

India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

India and Pakistan continued mutual reproaches, while security operations and militant attacks persisted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Tensions persisted between New Delhi and Islamabad. After Pakistan’s foreign ministry late Oct protested Indian defence minister’s remarks that “the mission will complete only when Gilgit Baltistan and areas of [Pakistan-administered Kashmir] reunite with India”, Indian PM Narenda Modi 18 Nov said “it is well known that [militant] organisations get money through several sources”, including “state support”. India’s home ministry 8 Nov reported 73 cross-border infiltration attempts in 2021, lowest in five years, and stated ongoing militancy in J&K “is linked with infiltration of [militants] from across the border”. Indian security forces 9 Nov claimed to have shot down drone entering from Pakistan into Punjab’s Ferozepur district.

Security operations and militant attacks continued in J&K despite onset of winter. Security forces continued operations: 1 Nov killed three Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants in Pulwama district; 3 Nov killed three militants trying to infiltrate border in Poonch district; 11 Nov killed Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad militant in Shopian district; 15 Nov arrested four alleged members of armed group The Resistance Front in Srinagar city; 19 Nov killed alleged Pakistani militant infiltrating border in Rajouri district, Jammu region; alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant was 19 Nov shot dead in police custody in Anantnag district in unclear circumstances, in second such incident since Oct. Militants 3 Nov shot two non-local labourers in Anantnag district; militant fired on two non-local labourers in Anantnag district. India’s northern command chief 22 Nov claimed “82 Pakistani and 53 local terrorists are active” in region, alongside 170 additional unidentified insurgents.

In other important developments. The Resistance Front 13 Nov threatened 21 journalists working for Kashmir’s prominent local English language newspapers and news agency, accusing them of siding with India; at least six journalists shortly afterward announced resignations.

Korean Peninsula

North Korea test fired dozens of missiles, including its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and admonished U.S. and South Korea in harsh criticism.

Pyongyang continued intense missile testing and military provocations. Following multiple launches throughout Oct, Pyongyang 2-3 Nov fired approximately 26 missiles, including likely long-range cruise missile and ICBM, latter of which landed 200km west of northerly Japanese island of Hokkaido; another missile landed south of Northern Limit Line (de facto inter-Korean maritime border) just 40km from east coast of South Korean town of Sokcho. Amid barrage, North Korea 2 Nov fired approximately 100 artillery shells in vicinity of South Korea’s maritime buffer zone. Further launches of short-range missiles followed 9 and 17 Nov; North 18 Nov fired “Hwasong-17”, which appears to mark first successful launch of largest ICBM in its arsenal following launch failure in March. North characterised early Nov launches as response to recent U.S.-South Korean military drills, but seem to form part of sustained strategy that is raising peninsula tensions.

Concerns persisted over potential seventh nuclear test. Satellite imagery taken on or around 7 Nov published by U.S. think-tank CSIS showed no activity at third of four tunnels at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site; analysts and observers believe Pyongyang is technically ready to conduct seventh nuclear test – and first since 2017 – at site with minimal further preparations. South Korean President Yoon 28 Nov warned response to seventh test would “will be something that has not been seen before”.

Pyongyang slammed U.S. and South Korea. Exploiting opportunity offered by inconclusive UN Security Council meeting regarding North Korea’s missile launches, Sister of Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-jong, 22 Nov called U.S. “scared barking dog” and alleged that Washington is feeling frustrated by council’s inability to achieve unanimity due to geopolitical tensions with China and Russia; Kim warned North Korea sees “grave political provocations attempting to drive the Korean Peninsula situation into a new phase of crisis”. Kim 24 Nov asserted “[President] Yoon Suk-yeol and his idiots continue to create a dangerous situation”.

Myanmar

Military clashed heavily with Arakan Army in Rakhine State and resistance forces in centre amid mounting allegations of atrocities, while regime pardoned thousands of prisoners.

Arakan Army (AA) stepped up ambushes on military in Rakhine State. Clashes were reported in four townships 8 Nov, with AA claiming to have killed at least ten members of security forces. AA landmines 10 Nov struck military truck carrying rations in Ponnagyun township, killing ten soldiers; regime forces same day retaliated by massacring at least nine civilians in nearby village. AA 14 Nov ambushed military convoy in northern Maungdaw township, 15 Nov attacked military outposts in Buthidaung and Ponnagyun townships. Military 15 Nov allegedly shelled children’s birthday party in Maungdaw, killing at least 11 civilians.

Resistance forces and military battled in central and southern areas. In Sagaing region, regime soldiers 6 Nov allegedly killed as many as 14 people, including eight civilians and four People’s Defence Forces (PDF) members, in Monywa township; several victims showed signs of severe torture. Meanwhile, Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and allied PDFs launched several major attacks in mid-Nov, capturing military outposts; notably, 12 Nov attacked police station in Kyaikmayaw township, Mon State, killing three police officers, and same day captured three military camps in Bago region.

Regime released prisoners amid 2023 election preparations. In mass pardon to mark National Day, regime 17 Nov released almost 6,000 prisoners, including former ministers, activists, senior National League for Democracy (NLD) officials and four foreigners; regime claimed 700 were political prisoners. Meanwhile, Vice Senior General Soe Win 10 Nov chaired meeting on verifying voter lists for 2023 election while leader Min Aung Hlaing next day underscored importance of ongoing peace talks with ethnic armed groups to support election, expressing hope of concluding agreements with armed groups by year’s end. New Mon State Party 9-10 Nov participated in third round of talks with regime.

ASEAN reiterated support for its diplomatic initiative. Regional body ASEAN leaders 11 Nov retained its Five Point Consensus to end crisis, tasked FMs with developing “concrete” implementation plan, and agreed to maintain ban on regime officials attending meetings.

Nepal

Voters participated in second general election under 2015 constitution, which saw relatively low turnout and signs of frustration with mainstream parties.

In largely peaceful vote, Nepali Congress poised to become largest party. Country 20 Nov held second general election under current constitutional set-up; vote proceeded largely peacefully despite some disruptions. Notably, police intervened to address disruptions in six districts countrywide; one person died after being shot by police during clashes in Bajura district. Around 61% of nearly 18m registered voters cast their ballots in polls for federal and provincial assemblies — marking decrease from 68% in 2017 contest. With votes still being tallied late Nov, Nepali Congress appeared set to become largest party in federal parliament with calculations predicting around 90 of 275 seats in House of Representatives, 165 of which are elected via first-past-the-post (FPTP) and 110 through nationwide proportional representation (PR) system; Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) appeared poised to secure most PR seats with 2.18mn nationwide votes. Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) will likely remain third largest party but with its share of FPTP seats falling to 18, half of those secured in 2017. Non-mainstream and independent Rastriya Swatantra Party appeared set to secure eight FPTP seats after winning prominent races in Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts, underscoring anti-establishment sentiment, especially in urban areas.

Pakistan

Political instability intensified amid failed assassination attempt on former PM Imran Khan; Pakistani Taliban continued deadly attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while border forces clashed with Afghan Taliban.

Attack on Khan further fuelled political tensions. Assassination attempt on Khan in Punjab district’s Wazirabad city 3 Nov killed one and injured Khan as well as 14 others, including leaders of opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party; police arrested shooter at scene. As protests erupted in major cities, Khan next day accused PM Sharif, interior minister and senior intelligence official of “hatching a conspiracy” to kill him and urged supporters to continue protests. Military 4 Nov condemned Khan’s “baseless and irresponsible allegations”. Khan 9 Nov tweeted he would disclose name of “second officer” allegedly involved in plot. Khan’s “long march” 10 Nov resumed in Wazirabad. After govt 25 Nov announced General Asim Munir as new chief of army, Khan next day called off march and announced decision to quit all provincial legislatures; 28 Nov announced decision to dissolve PTI-led parliaments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces to have elections; govt vowed to prevent dissolution.

Pakistani Taliban continued deadly attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistani Taliban claimed series of lethal assaults: notably, militants 16 Nov killed six police in Lakki Marwat district and two soldiers in Bajaur district 15-16 Nov. Pakistani Taliban, blaming military for escalating security operations, 29 Nov ended tenuous ceasefire, calling on fighters to “carry out attacks wherever and whenever you can”. Series of unclaimed attacks continued: notably, militants 5 Nov gunned down police constable in Mardan district; militant attack 9 Nov killed two police constables in South Waziristan district. Police 19 Nov reported 151 militants in province in 2022 had killed 105 police personnel.

Deadly border firefight erupted with Afghan Taliban. Cross-border attack on Pakistani side of Chaman border crossing 13 Nov killed Frontier Corps soldier, leading to hour-long exchange of fire with Taliban fighters; local media next day reported firefight killed five Afghan Taliban militants. Clashed 15 Nov reportedly erupted in Afghanistan’s Paktia province. Afghan Taliban reportedly agreed to punish perpetrators following meeting with Pakistani counterparts 21 Nov.

Philippines

Insecurity persisted in south amid govt security operations and feuding between militants, while confrontations between govt and communist rebels killed dozens.

Tensions with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members flared in south. In breach of ceasefire, 64th Infantry Battalion 10 Nov clashed with elements of MILF’s 114 Base Command in Ungkaya Pukan town, Basilan province, killing ten fighters and displacing some 2,000 families. In sign of inter-group feuding, suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) member 18 Nov killed MILF commander; clashes erupted between family members associated with both in Kuloy village, Maguindanao.

Operations against Islamist militants continued amid surrenders. Notably, 33rd Infantry Battalion 5 Nov clashed with BIFF militants in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao province. Police 17 Nov arrested Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) sub-leader Ibraham Asara in Parang town, Sulu province, following ten years in hiding in province. In Maguindanao, six BIFF members 4 Nov surrendered in Pikit town, with further three militants surrendering 19 Nov in Rajah Buayan town. In Zamboanga City, three ASG militants formerly aligned with deceased commander Isnilon Hapilon 4 Nov surrendered, with further seven surrendering 9 Nov in Luuk municipality, Sulu province.

Clashes between military and communist rebels claimed high death toll. Military operations and some militant ambushes by communist New People’s Army in Mindanao Island in south, Visayas Islands in centre and Luzon Island in north claimed at least 28 combatant and civilian fatalities.

South China Sea

U.S. VP Kamala Harris visited Philippines, deepening military ties between allies, while negotiations on South China Sea (SCS) Code of Conduct made no progress.

U.S. VP reiterated commitment to Philippines, visiting island on rim of SCS. U.S. VP Kamala Harris 20 Nov commenced visit to Philippines, meeting Philippine President Marcos Jr. to discuss expanding U.S.-Philippine security ties, including Coast Guard partnership and maritime law enforcement cooperation, as Harris reaffirmed U.S. commitment toward Philippines under 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty in case of “armed attack on the Philippines armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific”. Harris 22 Nov became highest-ranking U.S. official ever to visit Palawan – western Philippine island near disputed Spratly Islands in SCS. U.S. Navy ship USS Chancellorsville 29 Nov conducted freedom of navigation operation near Spratly Islands; China’s eastern theatre command same day rebuked operation as “trespassing” into Chinese waters. Earlier, Philippine military 21 Nov said Chinese Coast Guard forcibly seized suspected Chinese rocket debris being towed by Philippine Navy off Philippine-occupied Thitu Island.

SCS Code of Conduct negotiations remained stalled. President Marcos, Jr. 13 Nov reiterated urgency of concluding negotiations on Code of Conduct as conclusion of regional body ASEAN’s East Asia Summit brought no progress on finalising draft. ASEAN and China same day released joint statement pledging to make SCS “sea of peace, friendship, and cooperation” and conclude early adoption of Code of Conduct. Chinese President Xi 18 Nov reiterated pledge during meeting with Brunei’s leader Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. U.S. President Biden same day affirmed freedom of navigation and overflight must be respected in East and South China Seas.

Sri Lanka

Govt maintained harsh response to dissent, expressed willingness to address Tamil demands and introduced new budget amid ongoing economic strains.

Govt continued hard line on protests and rejected early elections. Police 18 Nov used water cannons and tear gas to disperse large crowd of students attempting to deliver petition to UN, protesting detention of two student leaders under Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA); court previous day extended leaders’ detention, which Amnesty International 18 Nov denounced as “targeted persecution” that has “chilling effect on civil society”. President Wickremesinghe 23 Nov rejected widespread calls for early elections, telling parliament he would “impose emergency law and deploy the military” if protesters try to “topple the government”.

Govt made some overtures to civil society groups and Tamil politicians. Govt during month held ministerial meetings and consultations with civil society groups on revised draft of proposed “anti-corruption act” aimed at including provisions of UN Convention against Corruption and other international norms. Wickremesinghe 10 Nov invited Tamil leaders for discussion, pledging to address their decades-long demands ahead of 75th independence day on 4 Feb 2023; Tamil politicians expressed scepticism at initiative but did not reject it. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe 20 Nov confirmed govt was drafting new counter-terrorism law to replace PTA.

Amid ongoing economic hardship, govt introduced budget. Wickremesinghe 14 Nov presented 2023 budget to parliament – approved by wide margins in initial votes – aimed at reducing fiscal deficit in line with preliminary deal struck with International Monetary Fund in Sept; budget primarily relies on tax hikes, while maintaining high spending on police and military. Govt statistics released 21 Nov showed inflation slowing slightly to 70.6% in Oct, following record 73.7% in Sept. Meanwhile, debt restructuring talks appear to have made little headway, imperilling govt’s ambition to finalise restructuring by year’s end; govt postponed another round of talks with creditors scheduled for 17 Nov reportedly to allow officials time to prepare. UK Parliament 9 Nov adopted resolution expressing concern over “reports of increased militarisation and human rights violations” and urged govt to reduce high defence spending.

Taiwan Strait

Military activities around island continued as China maintained frequent aerial and maritime incursions, while U.S. and Chinese presidents discussed Taiwan in first face-to-face meeting.

China continued military presence around island as U.S vessel transited strait. As of Nov 20, Taiwan detected 436 Chinese aircraft entering its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), of which estimated 170 either crossed unofficial demarcation “median line” or entered south-western ADIZ; Chinese naval vessels in surrounding waters were sighted 98 times. U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold 5 Nov sailed through Taiwan Strait; Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet 20 Nov said that U.S. has been sending warships through strait approximately every month. Meanwhile, Taiwan 7 Nov began its annual “Sky Dragon” military drills involving aerial combat exercises and ground-based support operations over six days, while Taiwan’s army 19 Nov conducted live-fire drill on outlying Penghu Islands; routine drills are expected to be held monthly in response to growing intimidations from China.

U.S. and China leaders held first face-to-face meeting, agreeing to manage Taiwan differences. In bilateral meeting at G20 summit, U.S. President Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping 14 Nov agreed to manage their differences and competition, including on question of Taiwan; Xi said that Taiwan is “at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations”, while Biden reportedly expressed objections to Beijing’s coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan. Taiwan same day thanked Biden for reiterating U.S. support. Taiwan and U.S. 16 Nov reportedly signed deal to maintain long-range early-warning radar systems. U.S. and China defence chiefs 22 Nov met and agreed to improve communication channels and crisis management mechanism, suspended since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.

Thailand

Govt hosted regional summit in capital Bangkok amid modest-sized anti-govt and pro-democracy protests, while deadly violence intensified in deep south.

Protesters held small-scale rallies around Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. Ahead of APEC summit held 18-19 Nov in Bangkok, anti-govt and pro-democracy protesters, primarily led by “Ratsadon Stops APEC 2022” group, 16 Nov coalesced around Bangkok demanding Prayuth’s suspension as APEC chair, fresh election and cancellation of Bio Circular Green Economy policy. Protesters next day non-violently confronted riot police at Asoke intersection. Several hundred protesters 18 Nov gathered at City Hall Plaza to march to APEC venue; police blocked protesters near Democracy Monument, leading to scuffles that saw 25 arrests and ten injuries after police deployed force, including use of rubber bullets.

Insurgents staged multiple attacks and bombings in deep south. In Pattani province, insurgents 7 Nov opened fire on police and soldiers in Nong Chik district, killing village leader and one insurgent, and wounding two police officers. Insurgents 15 Nov bombed petrol stations in Muang district and Yaring district, firing shots to disperse bystanders and detonating IEDs near pumps. IED attack next day wounded police officer near school in Panare district. In Narathiwat province, insurgents 13 Nov detonated bomb and opened fire on Buddhist villagers in Chanae district, killing one and wounding two, then staged IED attack on armoured security forces vehicle responding to incident, killing army captain. Also in Chanae, Special Operations Task Force troops 19 Nov clashed with insurgents while on rural patrol, killing one insurgent. In Reuso district, insurgents, 16 Nov detonated two pipe bombs near security checkpoint. Militants 22 Nov detonated vehicle-borne IED at apartment block housing police officers and their families in Muang district, Narathiwat, killing one officer and wounding 31 others, including 15 civilians and three children.

Europe & Central Asia

Armenia

Tensions with Azerbaijan persisted amid numerous reports of shooting along border and in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK), efforts to reach peace deal continued, and CSTO summit took place in Yerevan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations of shooting along border. Situation at Armenia-Azerbaijan border remained fragile following Sept clashes, with both sides reporting shooting along front line during month. Kremlin 7 Nov called on parties to refrain from actions that could spark “escalation”, while U.S. State Dept 12 Nov said it was “deeply concerned” by reports. Meanwhile, tensions simmered in NK conflict zone, with de facto authorities reporting one civilian and at least two servicemen killed 10, 28 Nov respectively (see Nagorno-Karabakh).

Support for bilateral diplomacy continued, but Azerbaijan contested French efforts. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 7 Nov hosted Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs in U.S. capital Washington, praising “courageous steps” toward peace. French President Macron and PM Pashinyan 19 Nov highlighted importance of “strengthening stability and security in the South Caucasus” during Summit of International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) in Tunisia; according to Pashinyan’s press office, PM also “stressed the need to eliminate the consequences of Azerbaijani aggression”. Azerbaijan same day criticised OIF members’ “anti-Azerbaijani position” while country’s President Aliyev 25 Nov cancelled Dec meeting with Pashinyan over Armenian request to involve Macron. Meanwhile, Pashinyan 10 Nov made public Armenian proposal to establish demilitarised zone along state border after Azerbaijani troops withdraw from Armenian territory; Baku had not responded by end of month.

Armenia hosted CSTO summit. Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit 23 Nov took place in capital Yerevan for discussions on international and regional security issues. Pashinyan refused to sign declaration on “joint measures on providing assistance to Armenia”, saying it did not address Yerevan’s concerns regarding CSTO’s “lack of a clear political assessment” on conflict with Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan

Tensions with Armenia persisted amid numerous reports of shooting along border and in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK); diplomatic efforts to reach peace deal continued.

Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations of shooting along border. Situation at Armenia-Azerbaijan border remained fragile following Sept clashes, with both sides reporting shooting along front line during month. Kremlin 7 Nov called on parties to refrain from actions that could spark “escalation”, while U.S. State Dept 12 Nov said it was “deeply concerned” by reports. Meanwhile, tensions simmered in NK conflict zone, with de facto authorities reporting one civilian and at least two servicemen killed 10, 28 Nov respectively (see Nagorno-Karabakh).

Support for bilateral diplomacy continued, but Azerbaijan contested French efforts. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 7 Nov hosted Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs in U.S. capital Washington, praising “courageous steps” toward peace. French President Macron and Armenian PM Pashinyan 19 Nov highlighted importance of “strengthening stability and security in the South Caucasus” during Summit of International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) in Tunisia; according to Pashinyan’s press office, Armenian PM also “stressed the need to eliminate the consequences of Azerbaijani aggression”. Azerbaijan same day criticised OIF members’ “anti-Azerbaijani position” while President Aliyev 25 Nov cancelled Dec meeting with Pashinyan over Armenian request to involve Macron. Meanwhile, Pashinyan 10 Nov made public Armenian proposal to establish demilitarised zone along state border after Azerbaijani troops withdraw from Armenian territory; Baku had not responded by end of month.

In other important developments. President Aliyev 16 Nov signed decree endorsing program for reconstruction and resettlement in territories recaptured during 2020 war; under program, known as “The Great Return”, Azerbaijan plans to return 34,500 displaced families between 2022-2026. Parliament 18 Nov approved decision to open embassy in Israel, which has had an embassy in capital Baku since 1992.

Belarus

Crackdown on political opposition continued apace; Western powers threatened Minsk over its support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Authorities handed down prison sentences to opposition leaders. Court 3 Nov sentenced leader of opposition United Civic Party to 30 months in prison and two associates to 18 and 12 months in prison for actions that disrupted civil order. Similarly, trade union leader Alyaksandr Mishuk 15 Nov received 30-month prison term for “actions against national security”. Trial against ten members of Workers’ Movement, indicted for high treason, 9 Nov began in Homel city. Meanwhile, authorities 29 Nov transferred leading opposition figure Maryya Kalesnikava, sentenced Sept 2021 to 11 years in prison, to hospital where she was placed in intensive care.

G7 warned Belarus against deepening support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. G7 4 Nov urged Belarus to “stop enabling Russia’s war of aggression” and warned that “more direct” Belarusian involvement would see G7 impose “overwhelming additional costs on the regime”. President Lukashenko 23 Nov dismissed rumours of military involvement in Ukraine during Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization summit in Armenia, saying “it is not Belarus’ role”. Meanwhile, Canada’s govt 22 Nov imposed new sanctions on 22 Belarusian officials and 16 companies for “facilitating and enabling” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Cyprus

Organization of Turkic States admitted “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”) as observer member.

“TRNC” acquired observer status at Organization of Turkic States. Türkiye 11 Nov announced “TRNC” was awarded observer status at Organization of Turkic States, which includes Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Türkiye and Uzbekistan. Republic of Cyprus same day called move “meaningless”, claiming Ankara had to downgrade observer status to “entity” rather than “state” to win support. European Union 12 Nov called move “regrettable”, while U.S. 15 Nov said decision was inconsistent with principles of territorial integrity and UN Charter.

In other important developments. Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders 17-18 Nov met UN Assistant Sec-Gen Miroslav Jenča and peacekeeping head Colin Steward to discuss prospects for progress on Cyprus issue. European Council 8 Nov agreed to extend framework of sanctions (in place since Nov 2019) against Türkiye in response to its “unauthorised drilling activities” in waters around Cyprus until 12 Nov 2023. Meanwhile, following 7 Nov meeting with Republic of Cyprus FM Ioannis Kasoulides, Greece’s FM Nikos Dendias warned “any attempt to create fait accomplis either in Greece or in Cyprus will result in a European response” and noted being “on the verge of resuming talks between Cyprus and Lebanon on the delimitation of an Exclusive Economic Zone”.

Georgia

Authorities took further steps to align with European Union’s (EU) candidacy status demands and expressed concerns over “illegal” arrests in breakaway Abkhazia.

Georgia and Western actors sought closer cooperation. European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi 15-16 Nov visited Tbilisi, underscoring EU’s interest in strengthening energy and security cooperation; leadership viewed visit as new chapter in Georgia-EU relations. Following trip, parliament 28 Nov paused adoption process for law on de-oligarchisation – one of EU’s demands as precondition for candidate status – to hear suggestions from Council of Europe’s Venice Commission amid pressure from EU officials; EU 28 Nov welcomed decision, saying it is “important to consult international standard setters and implement their recommendations”. Meanwhile, NATO Sec Gen Jens Stoltenberg 21 Nov called for “more support” from Western defence alliance to Georgia, which he said is “vulnerable” to “Russian coercion and aggression”; NATO Allies 30 Nov agreed to “step up tailored support” to Georgia.

De facto authorities in breakaway Abkhazia detained more Georgian citizens. De facto security service 4 Nov detained Asmat Tavadze in Gali district on charges of illegal drug purchase an