ICG

Winning the Post-ISIS Battle for Iraq in Sinjar

Kae 2b

Though the Islamic State (ISIS) is beaten in Iraq, the battle for the country’s political soul is not over. Baghdad should act to restore local governance in Sinjar, where ISIS terrorised the local community, and encourage the district’s displaced people to return home. ICG What’s new?  The Islamic State (ISIS) is defeated in Iraq, and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidis in Sinjar has ended. But Iran-backed Shiite militias – Popular Mobilisation Units – now control the district. Much of ... Read More »

Averting Disaster in Syria’s Idlib Province

Elo 6f

An imminent military showdown in Idlib with disastrous human costs can be avoided only if Turkey strikes a deal between Russia, on one hand, and militants, on the other, and deploys its forces along the front lines to deter an escalation. ICG What happened? The de-escalation zone in north-western Syria is on the brink of collapse. Boosted by Russian air support, Syrian regime troops are advancing toward the Idlib region. Amid obstruction by the Syrian regime and Iran-backed militias, Turkish ... Read More »

Sports Diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula

Elo 3c

The opening of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games represents an opportunity for diplomacy to help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula Christopher Green ICG North Korea’s decision to dispatch Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yo-jong to South Korea (Republic of Korea, ROK) as part of a delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics has opened up the possibility for the past month of sports diplomacy to garner something more substantive and… With all parties to the Korean peninsula conflict sending senior delegations ... Read More »

The Cost of Escalating Violence in Afghanistan

Elo 2b

Taliban attacks in Kabul in late January 2017 are part of an escalation in violence in Afghanistan, where the civilian population is bearing the brunt of a particularly intense winter of fighting. Borhan Osman ICG Over one week, as many as 130 people, the overwhelming majority civilians, were killed in twin attacks claimed by the Taliban in Kabul. On 20 January, five Taliban suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel, killing at least 22 people, mostly foreigners, after breaching the security of ... Read More »

Israel, Hizbollah and Iran: Preventing Another War in Syria

Elo 5e

Facts on the ground in Syria are defining the contours of the country’s political future and also the geography of a looming clash between Israel, Hizbollah and other Iran-allied militias. ICG Russia should broker understandings to prevent a new front from opening What’s new? A new phase in Syria’s war augurs escalation with Israel As the Assad regime gains the upper hand, Hizbollah probes the south west and Iran seeks to augment its partners’ military capacities, Israel has grown fearful ... Read More »

Kenya: Averting an Avoidable Crisis

Perka 1a

Kenya’s ongoing electoral standoff could be compounded further if opposition leader Raila Odinga proceeds with a “swearing-in” ceremony that might elicit a tough response from President Kenyatta. ICG To avert the risk of further protests, destruction and bloodshed, all actors should redouble efforts to broker a last-minute deal. Kenya’s political crisis could come to a head on Tuesday 30 January 2018. Opposition leader Raila Odinga is expected to stage a swearing-in ceremony as the “people’s president” after two contentious elections in ... Read More »

No Winners in Turkey’s New Offensive into Syria

Fen 2b

No victor is likely in costly new battles between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces in north-western Syria Noah Bonsey ICG Difficulties faced by Turkish troops include a hostile population and hilly territory that favours its battle-hardened insurgent foes, and the offensive puts new stress on Turkey’s already strained relationship with its main strategic ally, the U.S. A Turkish attack on the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG), the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was long expected. For most observers, the ... Read More »

The Korean Peninsula Crisis: Beyond Fire and Fury

Oft 1a

Two Crisis Group reports detail how a nightmarish war on the Korean peninsula is closer than ever in recent history, and how the Winter Olympics and North Korea’s need to show economic progress in its 70th anniversary year offer opportunities for diplomacy and de-escalation. ICG North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests combined with bellicose rhetoric from the U.S. mean the risk of a catastrophic war on the Korean peninsula is higher than at any time in recent history. Yet a short ... Read More »

Politics and Security Hold Each Other Hostage in Nagorno-Karabakh

Kauj 1a

This week’s meeting between Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s foreign ministers is likely to centre on security issues, including numbers of international observers in Nagorno-Karabakh. Magdalena Grono ICG But frustration with the peace process will grow unless both foreign ministers address the critical political aspects of a future settlement. Sniper fire can hit almost every open-air spot in Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, an Armenian village in the Tavush region on the border with Azerbaijan. Nargiza, who runs a well-stocked shop out of an abandoned ... Read More »

Seven Priorities for the African Union in 2018

Melet 2b

In 2018, the African Union (AU) and its new Assembly Chairperson President Paul Kagame of Rwanda have the chance to push ahead with much-needed institutional reforms ICG But the AU must not lose focus on dire conflicts and defusing potential electoral violence. What’s the issue? African Union leaders meet at the end of January for their bi-annual summit. Vital institutional and financial reform will likely be at the top of the AU’s 2018 agenda, but the organisation must ensure that ... Read More »

The Iran Nuclear Deal at Two: A Status Report

Fue 3c

The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is working, but is at risk from longstanding U.S.-Iran rivalry, Trump administration policies and Tehran’s upsurge of activism in the Middle East. ICG The deal’s other signatories should encourage the U.S. not to withdraw and consider ways to sustain the deal, regardless of U.S. actions and as long as Iran remains committed to it. What’s the issue? The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is as successful as it remains fragile. President Trump has warned he will ... Read More »

How Iran’s President Rouhani Can Turn Crisis into Opportunity

Vae 2b

Daily street protests across Iran since 28 December 2017 have pitted many young Iranians against the government, but the state’s response is revealing deep fractures in the political establishment. Ali Vaez ICG To outflank both the unrest and his political opponents, President Rouhani’s best option is to address head-on the drivers of the protests and pursue popular reform. Manifold reasons lie behind Iran’s ongoing protests, but the immediate trigger appears to be widespread disgruntlement over the country’s economic performance, especially ... Read More »

Ukraine: Will the Centre Hold?

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Far from the deadly battle against Kremlin-backed separatists in its eastern provinces, Kyiv faces a groundswell of resentment and disenfranchisement among citizens in the country’s west. ICG To restore faith in the state’s laws and institutions, the government must address endemic corruption to win back those in the state’s margins. What’s the issue? While the war in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas rumbles on, the regions of Polissya and Zakarpattya in the country’s west are corroded by systemic state corruption. ... Read More »

New Risks in Libya as Khalifa Haftar Dismisses UN-backed Accord

Best 6f

Khalifa Haftar, who rules eastern Libya, has dismissed the two-year-old, UN-backed accord about how the country should be run. Issandr El Amrani Haftar’s regional and international partners should act now to mitigate this new risk of escalation over his apparent ambition to rule Libya on his own. ICG Tensions are rising in Libya after the de facto ruler of the country’s east, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, publicly dismissed the two-year-old international deal on how Libya should be governed. To neutralise ... Read More »

Zimbabwe’s “Military-assisted Transition” and Prospects for Recovery

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa has the chance to embark on a much-needed process of economic and governance reform in Zimbabwe ICG The military’s role in the political transition casts a shadow on the road to credible elections, which remain a priority if his government is to earn national and international legitimacy. What’s the issue? After Zimbabwe’s military intervened to bring an end to 37 years of rule by former President Robert Mugabe, their continued presence as key political players may complicate ... Read More »

Can Peacekeepers Break the Deadlock in Ukraine?

Kale 3c

Implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement remains deadlocked Russia’s first proposal of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions cannot work, but it opens a much-needed window for diplomacy. ICG What’s the issue? In September 2017, Moscow proposed the deployment of UN peacekeepers along the line dividing Ukrainian from separatist and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Such a mission would not help end the conflict. To do that, peacekeepers would need a greater role, including helping secure the Ukraine-Russia ... Read More »