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Middle East & North Africa

CrisisWatch Middle East & North Africa

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.

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Trends for Last Month April 2018

Deteriorated Situations


Improved Situations


Outlook for This Month May 2018

Conflict Risk Alerts


Resolution Opportunities


President's Take

The President’s Take | Three Ways to Approach Conflict


Robert Malley
President & CEO

Our President Robert Malley’s monthly column accompanying the conflict tracker CrisisWatch for April/May 2018 points to human agency in a destabilising chain of events in Somalia, a dangerous escalation with Iran and a sharp reduction in the chances of pre-emptive war on the Korean peninsula.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

15 May 2018
If the group that is most adamantly in favour of combating corruption [in Iraq] is incapable or unwilling to do anything about it, frustrations could take a different turn. Financial Times

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
14 May 2018
[The Israelis] are using administrative measures to restrict Islamic figures who are opposed to US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and who are vocal in their defense of Muslim interests at Al-Aqsa Arab News

Ofer Zalzberg

Senior Analyst, Israel/Palestine
14 May 2018
[Russia is] not trying to solve the roots of the conflict between Israel and Iran, but is more about delimiting it. Russia is in the best position to mitigate conflict. Deutsche Welle

Ofer Zalzberg

Senior Analyst, Israel/Palestine
14 May 2018
From the perspective of the leadership in Tehran, Iran and Europe against the US is a much better scenario than the U.S. and Europe against Iran. CS Monitor

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
5 May 2018
It took 13 years of a nuclear standoff with Iran to get a deal. It would be a pity to lose it as a result of something that could at the end of the day be considered a rough patch. Bloomberg

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
1 May 2018
We need the [Iran nuclear] deal to verify [Prime Minister Netanyahu's] claims, without it Iran can do whatever it wants. Al Jazeera

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran

Latest Updates

Prospect of Talks and Threat of Escalation Both Rise in Yemen

As the Yemen war enters its fourth year, prospects for military escalation are growing between Saudi Arabia and its allies, particularly the United States, and Iran. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2018 – First Update, Crisis Group warns European policy makers of the risks of a looming Saudi-led coalition invasion of Hodeida. We urge the European Union to take a clear public position against it and assist the UN envoy in reviving a more inclusive and realistic political process.

Watch List 2018 – First Update

Crisis Group’s first update to our Watch List 2018 includes entries on Burundi’s dangerous referendum, militant Buddhists and anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka, the impact of the Venezuelan crisis on the region, and the situation in Yemen. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.

Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade Reveals the Limits of Israeli Counter-terrorism

Israeli-Palestinian tensions are mounting, not just in Gaza and over the U.S. embassys move to Jerusalem, but also over Jerusalems Holy Esplanade, known to Jews as Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Israeli and Palestinian leaders could take simple administrative steps to reduce the risks of violence at the holy sites.

Iraq’s Pre-election Optimism Includes a New Partnership with Saudi Arabia

After the defeat of the Islamic State in 2017, normality is returning to Iraq ahead of the 12 May parliamentary elections. In this Q&A, Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for the Arabian Peninsula Elizabeth Dickinson says the country’s cautious optimism includes hopes of a new partnership with Riyadh, balancing Baghdad’s strong ties with Tehran.

Saving the Iran Nuclear Deal Without the U.S.

President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on 8 May 2018. This unilateral act deals a serious blow to the accord, but Europe and Iran can still work together to salvage it.

Our People

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Issandr El Amrani

Project Director, North Africa

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia

Noah Bonsey

Senior Analyst, Syria

Maria Fantappie

Former Senior Analyst, Iraq

April Longley Alley

Project Director, Gulf and Arabian Peninsula

Nathan Thrall

Project Director, Arab-Israeli Conflict

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran