ICG

Eight Days in Aden – a Forgotten City in Yemen’s Forgotten War

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Two and a half years after the last major fighting in the southern port city of Aden, officially Yemen’s “temporary capital”, our Arabian Peninsula Project Director April Longley Alley finds a patchwork of rival armed forces, buildings in ruins and political groups’ effective steps toward autonomy, if… April Longley Alley ICG ADEN, Yemen – For now, there is little fighting in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden. But it takes me more than a year to arrange my journey. Everything ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia: Back to Baghdad

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Saudi Arabia has been forging links to Iraq since reopening its Baghdad embassy in 2016. Its adversary Iran has strong Iraqi ties. ICG If Riyadh avoids antagonising Tehran, invests wisely and quiets anti-Shiite rhetoric, Iraq can be a bridge between the rival powers – not a battleground. What’s new? After a quarter-century of estrangement, Saudi Arabia has re-opened diplomatic relations with Iraq in an attempt to counter strong Iranian influence. The kingdom seeks a role in post-ISIS reconstruction and has ... Read More »

President Maduro’s Likely Re-election in Breadline Venezuela

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As tens of thousands of Venezuelans stream into neighbouring countries, President Nicolás Maduro appears set to win elections on 20 May. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Andes Phil Gunson looks ahead to the vote and its aftermath and explains why the crisis is likely to deepen. Phil Gunson ICG What is at stake in the 20 May elections? These elections are for the presidency of the republic and for regional legislatures in each of Venezuela’s 23 ... Read More »

The Long Haul Ahead for Myanmar’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis

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More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from brutal military operations in Myanmar are stuck in Bangladesh, with returns to Myanmar unlikely soon and Bangladeshi goodwill being tested. ICG In Myanmar, international partners must be allowed access to northern Rakhine State. In Bangladesh, donors must help both refugees and their local hosts. What’s new? Since August 2017, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s brutal military operations in Rakhine State to Bangladesh, joining tens of thousands who left earlier in 2017. The two ... Read More »

Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade Reveals the Limits of Israeli Counter-terrorism

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Israeli-Palestinian tensions are mounting, not just in Gaza and over the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem, but also over Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade, known to Jews as Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Ofer Zalzberg ICG Israeli and Palestinian leaders could take simple administrative steps to reduce the risks of violence at the holy sites. A series of momentous events in Israel-Palestine, both national and religious in character, risk spiralling into a dangerous escalation. Since 30 March, tens of thousands of Palestinians in ... Read More »

What to Expect of President Putin’s Foreign Policy in His New Term

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Many wonder what the world should expect now that Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been re-elected for what is supposed to be his final term. Anna Arutunyan ICG Understanding what motivates the Kremlin could help Western policymakers build an approach toward Russia that combines pressure with opportunities for engagement. A particular solemnity cloaked the opening ceremony of Vladimir Putin’s fourth presidential term on 7 May as central Moscow was cordoned off for his motorcade’s procession to the Kremlin. Silence enveloped not ... Read More »

Mexico’s Southern Border: Security, Violence and Migration in the Trump Era

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Mexico stops hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing northward to the U.S. Many are deported, and many more are stuck in the country’s south, vulnerable to crime and rising xenophobia. With U.S. and European help, Mexico should work harder to protect migrants and foster economic development. ICG What’s new? Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets to the contrary, Mexico is vigorously policing its southern border, stemming the northward flow of Central Americans escaping poverty and violence. It is deporting ... Read More »

In Lebanon’s Elections, More of the Same is Mostly Good News

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Lebanon’s elections yielded few surprises, says Crisis Group’s Lebanon, Syria and Iraq Project Director Heiko Wimmen in this Q&A. Hizbollah is slightly stronger and its main rival weaker. But the polls do represent a return to normalcy. Heiko Wimmen ICG Who won and who lost in the Lebanese elections? The 6 May elections readjusted the political balance but brought no fundamental change. As before, no government can be formed without Hizbollah. To be effective in government the Shiite Islamist movement, ... Read More »

Iraq’s Pre-election Optimism Includes a New Partnership with Saudi Arabia

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After the defeat of the Islamic State in 2017, normality is returning to Iraq ahead of the 12 May parliamentary elections. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Arabian Peninsula Elizabeth Dickinson says the country’s cautious optimism includes hopes of a new partnership with Riyadh, balancing Baghdad’s strong ties with Tehran. Elizabeth Dickinson ICG First: the facts. What is happening on 12 May, who is competing? And any prognosis as to the outcome? This is the fourth time ... Read More »

Saving the Iran Nuclear Deal Without the U.S.

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President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on 8 May 2018. This unilateral act deals a serious blow to the accord, but Europe and Iran can still work together to salvage it. ICG President Donald J. Trump has unilaterally withdrawn the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and announced the reimposition of sanctions against Iran. Since January, when President Trump declared that he would pull the U.S. out of the nuclear agreement with ... Read More »

Libya’s Unhealthy Focus on Personalities

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The surprise electoral defeat of one Libyan leader and the hospitalisation of a rival show the error of relying solely on individuals to achieve national reconciliation in Libya. All sides in Libya’s conflict should focus instead on making institutions more representative and improving governance. ICG What’s new? Two events have shaken up Libyan politics: the election of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Khaled Mishri as president of the Tripoli-based High State Council, replacing Abderrahman Swehli, who had held the post since 2016, ... Read More »

How Europe Can Save the Iran Nuclear Deal

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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. ICG The danger of deeper Middle East turmoil is great. Europe should salvage the deal no matter what Trump decides. What’s new? The U.S. is threatening to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran if what it calls the deal’s “disastrous flaws” are not fixed by 12 May. Europe is scrambling to ... Read More »

“Velvet Revolution” Takes Armenia into the Unknown

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Massive street protests have brought down Armenia’s long-serving leader Serzh Sargsyan. Meanwhile, tensions persist in the unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Both Armenia’s new leadership and Azerbaijan must pay attention to avoid triggering a new conflagration along that territory’s volatile front lines. Olesya Vartanyan ICG When opposition Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan led a knot of marchers through northern Armenia in April to protest the return to power of long-serving leader Serzh Sargsyan, no one guessed his campaign would ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: How the Catholic Church Can Promote Dialogue

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The Anglophone crisis in Cameroon is growing deadlier. The Catholic Church could mediate between Anglophone militants and the state, but clergy have espoused clashing views on key issues. The Church should heal its divides so as to be a neutral arbiter that can broker peace. ICG What’s new? Fighting is spreading between security forces and militants from Cameroon’s English-speaking minority. The government largely rejects Anglophone grievances, while armed militants appear inclined to continue fighting. The Catholic Church, representing nearly a ... Read More »

The Youth Movement in Sahrawi Refugee Camps

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Refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, have long been run by the Polisario movement, which seeks an independent state in Western Sahara, also claimed by Morocco. But a new generation of Sahrawi refugees is growing fractious as aid dwindles and diplomatic efforts fail to deliver a settlement. Hannah Armstrong ICG Set deep in the desert outside Tindouf, Algeria, the Sahrawi refugee camps are a remote yet lively political hub. The camps are home to 173,000 refugees of a forgotten conflict: an ... Read More »

Keeping the Hotline Open Between Sudan and South Sudan

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A UN mission has largely succeeded in keeping the peace in Abyei, an oil-rich area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. But there has been less progress made on the mission’s work in aiding political mechanisms to determine the final status of Abyei and demilitarise and demarcate the border. As the UN Security Council debates the mission’s scope, these mechanisms deserve ongoing support. ICG In 2011, Sudan and South Sudan sought outside help to prevent a return to war along what would become their international border. This effort followed ... Read More »