Remarkably, the Iran nuclear deal has survived the Trump administration’s withdrawal. Now it must weather 2019, its year of greatest peril, as mounting U.S. pressure tests Iranian patience. With Europe’s help, Tehran must keep sticking to the agreement in anticipation of sunnier times ahead.
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.
In his introduction to this month's edition of CrisisWatch, Crisis Group's conflict tracker, our President Robert Malley sees indicators of escalation in Somalia, Sudan and Syria, and possible signs of conflict mitigation in Afghanistan, Armenia and Yemen.
President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from north-east Syria. This risks chaos and drives home the urgent need for a deal that restores Syrian state sovereignty to its north east, assuages Turkish security concerns and allows for some degree of Kurdish self-rule.
The fallout is settling after the Iraqi army’s seizure of territories disputed between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region. More conflict over these areas, particularly oil-rich Kirkuk, is predictable. The UN should take advantage of today’s quiet to explore negotiations on the contested lands’ status.
A Saudi-led coalition attack on the city of Hodeida risks plunging millions of Yemenis into famine and will meet fierce resistance from Huthi rebels. The U.S. should stop enabling coalition offensives and international stakeholders must quickly place Hodeida under UN control.
Political paralysis in oil-dependent Algeria has blocked much-needed economic reform. To avoid a new era of instability, the government should increase transparency and accountability within state institutions and the private sector, as well as improve opportunities for the country’s burgeoning youth.
A ceasefire agreement has brought Israel and Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas back from the cusp of yet another calamitous war. However fragile, it offers a rare opportunity for all parties to finally break the cycle of recurring hostilities that has killed thousands since 2007.
The risk is that the more the Trump administration succeeds in squeezing the Iranian economy, the less risk-averse Iran will become in the region.
President Trump said the U.S. would withdraw from Syria, but apparently spontaneously, without prior planning or coordination inside the U.S. government or with Turkey.
In Libya, there is a view that outsiders are meddling and hence Libyans can’t reach solutions.
The fight against corruption in Iran has always been subjective and used as a political football. The system is starting to perceive endemic corruption as existential threat and is seeking to at least contain it.
[U.S. withdrawal from Syria] basically means you throw the Kurds under the bus. The only thing the Kurds can do is throw themselves into the arms of the regime.
But it’s important to note that the deal [struck in Stockholm] is quite specific in saying that this is not part of a wider peace process: It’s an agreement made for humanitarian rather than political reasons.
On 17 December, the UN announced a ceasefire in the contested governorate of Hodeida. Thus far, after some initial wobbling, it has held. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s senior Yemen analyst Peter Salisbury unpacks the ceasefire and assesses its prospects.
Sinjar, the Iraqi district that was the site of the Yazidi genocide in 2014, still carries the wounds of that horrible time. But today a confluence of national and international interests holds the promise to revitalise the area and deliver it to local governance.
Talks in Sweden between the warring parties in Yemen may be yielding positive results. But the UN Security Council should not wait for an outcome to applaud. It should pass a new resolution now protecting the key port of Hodeida to ward off approaching famine.
Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director Joost Hiltermann presented this paper on the history of U.S.-Iran relations and the status of the Iran Deal at an 8 November conference organised by the Israeli-European Policy Network (IEPN) in Herzliya, Israel.