More often than not, calculations of realpolitik hold the UN Security Council back from taking action to deter or reverse military takeovers. Yet UN member states can use the body as a platform for efforts to keep soldiers in the barracks and away from politics.
Troubling undercurrents in 2021 – from the U.S. to Afghanistan, Ethiopia or the climate emergency – didn’t send battle deaths soaring or set the world ablaze. But as our look ahead to 2022 shows, many bad situations round the world could easily get worse.
Sri Lanka’s president has named a veteran anti-Muslim agitator to head a legal reform task force. Critics have called the move “incomprehensible”, but it is readily understood as a way to divert discontent among the government’s Sinhala Buddhist base toward an embattled minority.
Russia this month vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on climate security, despite the proposal’s overwhelming support among member states. This represents a significant setback, but states should continue to push the Security Council to confront climate change's destabilising effect on international peace.
North and South Korea have recently staged displays of military prowess, causing some to worry about an accelerating arms race. But both countries were playing politics. Any uptick in tensions is likely to come after the Beijing Olympics and South Korean elections in March 2022.
Russia has become the Central African Republic’s preferred ally in its battle with insurgents. But the government’s use of Russian mercenaries as it goes on the offensive is causing domestic divisions and alienating other external partners. Concerns about rights abuses and misinformation campaigns are mounting.
Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen’s recent testimony before the U.S. Senate reasserted the platform’s role in propagating misinformation that feeds conflict offline. Facebook should do more to reduce the spread of harmful content by revamping its moderation capacities and modifying its algorithm.
Though it did not produce fundamental change, the October voting in Iraq did upset the balance of power in parliament. The most likely outcome is a coalition that can sustain the political status quo but perhaps not the social peace.
On 29 October, the UN Security Council will vote on the UN mission in Western Sahara’s renewal. Following last year’s resumption of hostilities and the appointment of a new envoy, Council members should signal their commitment to relaunching negotiations and an even-handed approach to the conflict.
While Islamist insurgents around the world are inspired by the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, the question of whether and how they will benefit as a result is more complicated, as Crisis Group experts explain in this 360-degree view.