A struggle looms in Iraq over the future of paramilitary groups assembled to help the state defeat ISIS. These units remain under arms and autonomous. Baghdad should strengthen the interior and defence ministries so they can absorb the paramilitaries now undercutting the state’s authority.
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.
Over the summer several long-lasting conflicts have become more lethal. In his introduction to the July/August 2018 edition of CrisisWatch, our President Rob Malley welcomes the exception – the official end to the state of war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
In July protests against inadequate supplies of jobs, water and electricity swept across southern Iraq, reaching Baghdad. The ruling elites should heed demonstrators’ calls to improve public services and stamp out corruption – or risk reigniting popular discontent and tempting would-be strongmen to step in.
More than three years into Yemen’s war, a bloody battle looms for the Huthi-held port city of Hodeida. International leaders should work for a UN-led negotiated settlement to stop the offensive and, if this fails, take steps to avoid deepening what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The quarrel between Gulf monarchies has spilled into Somalia, with the fragile state now caught between the rival interests of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The competition has already aggravated intra-Somali disputes. All sides should take a step back before these tensions mount further.
Saudi Arabia has been forging links to Iraq since reopening its Baghdad embassy in 2016. Its adversary Iran has strong Iraqi ties. If Riyadh avoids antagonising Tehran, invests wisely and quiets anti-Shiite rhetoric, Iraq can be a bridge between the rival powers - not a battleground.
The U.S. is threatening to withdraw from the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program if no one “fixes” it by President Donald Trump’s deadline of 12 May. The danger of deeper Middle East turmoil is great. Europe should salvage the deal no matter what Trump decides.
There is very little appetite in the region for [an “Arab NATO”], if it means having to make military sacrifices. That would be highly destabilizing to the contributing countries back home.
Sanctions are effective as they have international support. This time around, the U.S. is basically bullying the rest of the world into compliance. There are many countries who would not comply like China or Russia. As a result of it, the leaky sanctions regime would not be as effective as the previous round.
There is a fine line between politics and economics in a country [Iran] where the government plays such a major role in the economy. But you can’t say that every economic protest is a pre-revolutionary protest.
There’s so much friction between Iran, the U.S. and their respective allies throughout the region. There’s so many flash points that a single miscalculation could result in a confrontation that could easily spiral out of control.
Unlike the case of North Korea, enmity with Iran is quite ideological in [the Trump] administration... The more the U.S. threatens Iran, and the more ordinary Iranians have to deal with economic hardships, the less motivation [Iranians] may have for pursuing any kind of radical change
Fifteen years after the change of order in Iraq, it’s the same problem. The central government is unable or unwilling to address problems across the board in Iraq. The corruption is endemic, the government’s inability to deal with it is endemic, and the protests are endemic.
Originally published in The Hill
Originally published in IRIN
A year after the Qatar crisis began, it’s having potentially dangerous reverberations in the Horn of Africa.
Originally published in The Atlantic
The key question is whether the sum total of what Europe can offer Iran is sufficiently robust – financially and symbolically – to give those in Iran who argue for restraint and continued engagement a chance.
Originally published in euronews