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.
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.
War is denying Yemenis food to eat. This special briefing, the first of four examining the famine threats there and in South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, urges the Saudi-led coalition not to assault Yemen’s most important port, Hodeida, and both sides to immediately resolve deadlock over the Central Bank.
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.
Thriving on conflict, sectarianism, and local opportunism, al-Qaeda’s affiliates are stronger than ever in Yemen. To shrink their growing base will require better governance in vulnerable areas, not treating all Sunni Islamists as one enemy, and above all ending Yemen’s civil war.
The one-year-old Iran nuclear deal has succeeded in its goal of blocking nuclear proliferation and opening the door to Iranian economic recovery. But it remains in jeopardy unless both Washington and Tehran defend and extend the spirit as well as the letter of the accord.
New frictions in Iraq and Syria threaten Ankara and Tehran’s usually peaceful management of their Middle East rivalries. To rebuild trust and avert open conflict, they should coordinate de-escalation, exchange intelligence and designate representatives to open a new channel between their leaders.
American officials habitually discuss the issue [of U.S. prisoners] with their Iranian counterparts on the sidelines of nuclear-related meetings, but [their] fate is not in the hands of foreign ministry officials.
What we don’t know is how much control will be extended over the Rapid Support Forces [who have been deployed to Yemen by Sudan].
Iran's strategy in Iraq is a policy of divide and rule. Kurdish society is very divided at the moment and Iran has a chance to exploit those divisions.
Both the administration and Congress have realized that killing a deal [with Iran] would put the United States in a weaker, not stronger, position to reshape Iran’s regional policies.
Ahmadinejad knows full well that his candidacy is an affront to Khamenei who had publicly barred him from running. Disqualifying Ahmadinejad is hard, but not impossible.
[The Trump administration's] hostile posture toward Iran, combined with incoming congressional sanctions, could eventually erode the nuclear accord.
With the world's largest hunger crisis, Yemen sits precariously on the brink of famine. Avoiding it will require all warring parties to desist from weaponising Yemen's increasingly fragile economy and return to the negotiating table.
Originally published in World Politics Review
Originally published in The New York Review of Books
For the first time in three decades, four countries, driven by war, verge on famine. Over coming weeks, Crisis Group will publish special briefings on Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. Each conflict requires tailored response; all need increased aid and efforts to end the violence.