ICG

The Social Roots of Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso’s North

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Jihadist violence in the West African Sahel has now spread to the north of Burkina Faso The response of Ouagadougou and its partners must go beyond the obvious religious and security dimensions of the crisis, and any solution must take into account deep-rooted social and local factors. Executive Summary Long spared by the Sahel’s armed groups, Burkina Faso now faces increasingly frequent and lethal attacks in its north. Although this insecurity in large part is an extension of the Malian ... Read More »

Discord in Yemen’s North Could Be a Chance for Peace

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Since August, a public rift has surfaced between the two main partners on the northern front of Yemen’s war – the forces loyal to the Huthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh. ICG Rather than fostering its rivals’ discord, key powerbroker Saudi Arabia should seize this rare chance to resolve the two-and-a-half year war by championing a new regional initiative. 1. Overview A public rift between Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC) and the Huthis (aka Ansar Allah) may change ... Read More »

The Domestic Challenge to Kyrgyzstan’s Milestone Election

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While Kyrgyzstan’s 15 October elections are a rare milestone for Central Asian democracy, the campaign is exposing dangerous fault lines. Deirdre Tynan  In the largest city of Osh, the new president will have to face down robust local power brokers, defuse Uzbek-Kyrgyz tensions and re-introduce the rule of law. ICG Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming presidential elections on 15 October are a milestone for Central Asia: for the first time, a president from the region will voluntarily stand down at the end of ... Read More »

Niger Clash Kills U.S. and Nigerien Troops

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A deadly ambush near the Niger-Mali border on 4 October claimed the lives of at least five Nigerien soldiers and marked the unprecedented killing of American forces in the region. ICG In this Q&A, Deputy West Africa Project Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel and Research Assistant Hamza Cherbib say that jihadist violence cannot be divorced from deeper inter-communal tensions related to local competition over resources and illicit economic activity. What happened and where? According to U.S. and Nigerien security sources, on 4 October ... Read More »

How to Ensure a Credible, Peaceful Presidential Vote in Kenya

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Following the annulment of August’s historic vote, Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections by 1 November. But rising tensions and the threat of an opposition boycott could result in missing the vote’s deadline and risk a constitutional crisis Both political camps must move away from harsh words and find mutually acceptable electoral reforms to allow elections to proceed. ICG 1. Overview Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections before 1 November, after the country’s Supreme Court annulled a first vote that ... Read More »

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road

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China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions. Michael Kovrig  ICG “The project of the century” is how Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted the Belt and Road Initiative to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly on 21 September. It was only ... Read More »

In Ireland, Israel’s Religious Right Engages with Ideas for Peace

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Our Israel Senior Analyst Ofer Zalzberg joins nine leaders of Israel’s national religious community as they seek ideas for peace in meetings with the architects of Northern Ireland’s peace process. Unexpectedly, he finds the trip inspires subtle shifts in their thinking – and in his own. Ofer Zalzberg ICG BELFAST, Northern Ireland – So much is stuck in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that it makes sense to question habitual premises and take a new approach. For me, that means deepening ... Read More »

How to Mitigate the Risks of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Referendum

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A century-long quest for an independent Kurdistan has encouraged Iraqi Kurds to exploit Iraq’s ongoing crises and schedule a referendum on 25 September 2017. Maria Fantappie  ICG But the referendum is more a reflection of Iraq’s disorder than the Kurds’ readiness for statehood, and the vote’s outcome could exacerbate internal and regional… On 25 September, barring a last-minute postponement, the Iraqi Kurdistan region will hold an independence referendum.  Voters will be asked whether they want “the Kurdistan region and the ... Read More »

Restoring UN Leadership of Libya’s Peace Process

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Efforts to reunify Libya after six years of internal strife have drifted. Global and regional powers should seize the opportunity of a high-level UN meeting on Libya and a new UN special envoy to speak with one voice and act to build an effective and inclusive peace process. ICG On 20 September, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, will chair a high-level meeting on Libya on the side-lines of the General Assembly. After a long period of drift ... Read More »

Quick Fixes Won’t Block Libya’s People Smugglers for Long

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A recent dramatic decrease in migrants reaching Europe may be partly explained by payoffs to armed groups in Libya. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Libya, Claudia Gazzini, warns about the risks associated with this policy, arguing that while working with armed groups may be necessary in the short term, any durable solution requires putting Libya’s economy and politics back on track. Claudia Gazzini  ICG What are the latest migration figures from Libya? Italian officials report that the ... Read More »

Double-edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter-insurgencies

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Vigilante groups have been successful in providing local security. But subcontracting security functions to vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes is a dangerous option for fragile African states. African leaders should set clear objectives and mandates when enlisting vigilantes and invest in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs. ICG Executive Summary As weak African states face growing insurgencies, they do what weak states tend to do: subcontract certain security functions to non-state actors or vigilante groups, many of which had taken up ... Read More »

Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar

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Extreme Buddhist nationalist positions including hate speech and violence are on the rise in Myanmar. Rather than ineffective bans on broad-based groups like the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion (MaBaTha), the government should address underlying causes and reframe the debate on Buddhism’s place in society and politics. ICG Executive Summary The August 2017 attacks by al-Yaqin or Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which the Myanmar government has designated a terrorist organisation, have pushed Rakhine state into renewed ... Read More »

Kenya: A Historic Decision, A Tough Road Ahead

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Kenya’s Supreme Court decision to annul the 8 August presidential election is bold and historic, but the path ahead will be fraught. A successful rerun within 60 days will need compromise on a better electoral commission, more accountable policing and more effective management of the high-stakes vote. ICG The 1 September decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to annul the results of the 8 August presidential election and order a fresh vote was at once unexpected, historic, bold and – by ... Read More »

North Korea Nuke Tests Show Need for New Policy Response

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North Korea’s sixth nuclear test heightens regional anxieties and is dangerous for populations living nearby. But in itself it does not fundamentally alter the situation nor should it raise the risk of military conflict. Instead, it should spur the U.S., South Korea and China to forge a stronger, more effective and more united diplomatic approach. ICG In a season of repeated North Korean provocative steps, the 3 September underground nuclear test ranks as the most serious to date. Not only will ... Read More »

Guatemala Stumbles in Central America’s Anti-corruption Fight

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Guatemala’s fight against corruption is in danger after President Morales attempted to expel the head of a uniquely effective UN-backed anti-corruption organisation. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Analyst for Guatemala Arturo Matute says a corrupt elite is waging a battle to maintain its privileged position. Arturo Matute ICG What is happening in Guatemala? A remarkable and hopeful two-year interlude in one of Central America’s most corrupt countries may now be ending. The key reversal came on Friday 25 August 2017, at a ... Read More »

Myanmar Tips into New Crisis after Rakhine State Attacks

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The Rohingya insurgent attacks that killed twelve Myanmar soldiers and officials and perhaps 77 of their own number is a serious escalation of a ten-month-old crisis. ICG They make implementation of this week’s recommendations to address Rohingya grievances from Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission both harder and more urgent. In the early hours of 25 August, militants from Harakah al-Yaqin– a Rohingya insurgent group that now refers to itself in English as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – mounted coordinated attacks ... Read More »