President Trump plans a 22-23 May visit to Israel and Palestine in pursuit of the “ultimate deal”. But behind the scenes, rising tensions between Palestinian factions may be drawing Gaza and Israel closer to a new war.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates face a stark choice: risk their gains in northern Syria through continued prioritisation of the PKK's fight against Turkey, or pursue local self-rule in the area they have carved out of the chaos of the Syrian war.
The U.S. campaign against ISIS in northern Syria both benefits from and is complicated by its partnership with an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group fighting against its NATO ally Turkey. The challenges will grow as the war on ISIS moves further east.
This report examines President Trump’s emerging counter-terrorism policies, the dilemmas his administration faces in battling ISIS and al-Qaeda across the Middle East and South Asia, and how to avoid deepening the disorder both groups exploit.
Four years after plunging into Syria’s civil war, Hizbollah has achieved its core aim of preserving the Assad regime. Yet with no clear exit strategy, the Lebanese “Party of God” faces ever greater costs unless it can lower the sectarian flames, open dialogue with non-jihadist rebel groups and help pave the way for a negotiated settlement.
Turkey is under growing pressure from nearly three million Syrian refugees. To mitigate domestic tensions and spillover from regional conflicts, Ankara needs to develop, and find support for, new policies that open refugees’ routes to jobs, education and permanent legal status.
The collapse of U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian talks in 2014 led to political instability, rising violence and settlement expansion. To improve his successors’ peace-making chances, President Obama should push for a new UN Security Council resolution setting out the basic parameters of a deal.
The basic dynamic that you have in place right now is that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders—including [Israel prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu—are made very nervous by Trump.
The shift in the Trump administration's approach reflects an assessment that the primary threat posed by surviving ISIS fighters derives from those who came from Europe.
For Netanyahu the really frightening possibility is that typically a peace process is accompanied by confidence-building measures, [which] are difficult for him to do with his present coalition.
Hamas, like Abbas and Netanyahu, have no idea what to expect of Trump. They all have reasons to fear him; it’s really unknown what he will demand.
There isn’t an easy solution to [the Turkish-U.S. disagreement on Kurdish militias in Iraq and Syria], and now Turkey has raised the stakes.
[The West has] thrown values by the wayside, but also not been able to act in [their] own interests, because [they] let things [in Syria] go too long.
In this letter from International Crisis Group’s one-man outpost in Gaza to our Middle East & North Africa Program Director, our analyst there, Azmi Keshawi, describes daily difficulties, deep tensions within Palestinian ranks and the growing likelihood of a new round of war with Israel.
Directly arming one mainly Kurdish faction in Syria makes U.S. partly responsible for the fate of Syria’s Kurds. Given Ankara’s bitter opposition to the group, Washington should push its Kurdish partner to focus on regional autonomy in Syria, not its insurgency in Turkey.
Originally published in Middle East Eye
Despite suffering significant blows in Syria and Iraq, jihadist movements across the Middle East, North Africa and Lake Chad regions continue to pose significant challenges. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to prioritise conflict prevention at the heart of their counter-terrorism policy and continue investment in vulnerable states.
Six months into research fellowships made possible by Canadian philanthropist and Crisis Group Trustee Frank Giustra, we catch up with three young experts now working with our Europe, Africa and Middle East teams. Here we talk to Armenak Tokmajyan, working on humanitarian dimensions of the Syrian war.
Originally published in The New York Review of Books