In northern Mali, fighting has resumed between armed groups signatory to the 2015 peace agreement and government forces, even as clashes with jihadists continue. Bamako's initiative for an inter-Malian dialogue constitutes an opportunity to restore calm.
With deadly conflict raging in countries across the continent, the African Union has much to do in helping make peace in the year ahead. This briefing identifies eight tasks in particular need of the organisation’s time and attention.
No country in Latin America suffers higher rates of dissatisfaction with democracy and government institutions than Peru. Absent remedies for political polarisation and state dysfunction, the mass protests that rocked the country in late 2022 could easily recur, bringing comparably violent crackdowns.
A crucial vote is drawing near in Pakistan with former Prime Minister Imran Khan behind bars and his party alleging bias in election commission and caretaker government decisions. As the country is deeply polarised, disputes could turn ugly. Authorities can still avoid the worst-case scenarios.
Social media is becoming a major source of information about violent crime in Mexico, with many hotspots too dangerous for journalists. But much of what appears is inaccurate or misleading, posted by criminal groups themselves. Platforms should adapt their policies to minimise the risks.
Even as many diplomats shun the Taliban regime, protesting its treatment of women and girls, emissaries of countries near Afghanistan have sought dealings with Kabul in areas like security and commerce. It is a worthwhile endeavour, and the West should not stand in the way.
The UN Security Council has approved deployment of a Kenyan-led force to Haiti to help battle criminal gangs the police cannot subdue alone. The mission will need to tread carefully – both in prior planning and once on the ground – to sidestep pitfalls in its path.
Bangladesh is heading into general elections with the opposition sitting out the vote after staging major protests. With dissatisfaction growing among the public, the ruling party and its rivals should hold negotiations to curb the risk of further turmoil.
Along with democratic backsliding, Tunisia is facing an economic crunch, magnified by foreign debt it is struggling to repay. Outside actors should keep pressing the government on human rights, while looking for ways – chiefly, a revised IMF loan – to stave off the worst-case scenarios.
President Ibrahim Traoré has reinforced the role of Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDPs) in Burkina Faso's fight with jihadists. While VDP militias help secure national territory, their actions also fuel violence. With the help of external partners, the authorities should rein them in.
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