ICG

Iran’s Priorities in a Turbulent Middle East

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Divergent views of Iran’s ambitions are driving proxy wars from Syria to Yemen. To stop disastrous direct confrontation, it is crucial to close the perception gap and that Iran and its adversaries take mutual steps toward de-escalating tensions. What’s new? Iran is a rising power in the Middle East, having exploited opportunities arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and wars in Syria and Yemen. ICG But where the Islamic Republic’s enemies see a grasping would-be empire, its own strategists ... Read More »

Preventing Boko Haram Abductions of Schoolchildren in Nigeria

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Four years after the abductions in Chibok, and months after more kidnappings in Dapchi, over 100 schoolgirls are still missing. Nigeria must act to make schools safe – beefing up security, learning from past mistakes and, ultimately, working to end the Boko Haram insurgency. What’s new? In February, a faction of the jihadist Boko Haram movement, seized 113 children from Dapchi in north east Nigeria. ICG It later released 107 of them. Five reportedly died; one remains captive. This comes ... Read More »

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

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After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. Sam Heller ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack’s impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack? On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical ... Read More »

Electoral Poker in DR Congo

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Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been postponed since December 2016, but now seem to be slated for the end of the year. ICG All parties should work to ensure credible polls, the best hope for a peaceful transfer of power. What’s new? After repeated delays, President Joseph Kabila’s government in the Democratic Republic of Congo has made progress over the past few months toward organising elections for 23 December 2018. But there are still important concerns ... Read More »

Gaza Protests Mark Shift in Palestinian National Consciousness

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Protests in Gaza on Friday 30 March, at which Israeli forces killed more than a dozen Palestinians, were the largest of their kind in several years and are likely to grow over the coming weeks. Nathan Thrall ICG In this Q&A, Nathan Thrall, Director of Crisis Group’s Arab-Israeli Project, says the series of planned marches reflect the Palestinians’ determination to take matters into their own hands after losing faith in outside mediation. What happened last Friday? Friday was 30 March, Land Day, the… Gaza Protests Mark… Read More »

China Moves Centre Stage in Korean Peninsula Peace Efforts

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After weeks in which other actors have taken notable steps towards defusing fears of war over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program, a China-North Korea summit held 26-27 March in Beijing has reasserted China’s pivotal role in efforts to find a solution to the… ICG When North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on 26 March secretly rolled into Beijing on a private armoured train for unofficial meetings with President Xi Jinping, China moved decisively centre stage in the… China also ... Read More »

Congress Should Help Rein In Trump’s New Pro-war National Security Advisor

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Contrarian arguments about John Bolton – that he is smart and that his hawkishness might browbeat U.S. rivals into peace deals – look past a long record that suggests an appetite for forcible regime change, a capacity for shading the truth, and a… Stephen Pomper ICG President Trump’s announcement that John Bolton would become his third national security advisor hit foreign policy circles like a minor earthquake last… Bolton had long been rumoured to be waiting in the wings to ... Read More »

ISIS Returnees Bring Both Hope and Fear to Chechnya

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The return of ISIS fighters to Chechnya could pose a security challenge for the war-torn Russian republic. The authorities may respond true to form, with repression, but efforts to repatriate women and children stranded in Syria and, in some cases, to reintegrate foreign fighters should not be discounted. Anna Arutunyan ICG The victories over ISIS in Mosul and Raqqa pose a dilemma for states whose citizens travelled to join the Islamic State’s (ISIS) ranks and who may now seek to return ... Read More »

Turkey’s Siege Mentality

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is shaping a narrative of a country under siege, a ​victim of Western powers both in history​ and in today’s Syrian war​. While this rhetoric is popular, a broader platform is needed to bridge sharp divisions in society and mend relations with longstanding Euro-Atlantic allies. Nigar Göksel ICG The streets of the Dardanelles port of Çanakkale were packed with people in a jubilant mood. Beyond the centuries-old forts guarding the strait, Turkish warships rode at ... Read More »

Containing the Shock Waves from Venezuela

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Venezuela’s socio-economic implosion is dragging in neighbours as hundreds of thousands of people flee the country, epidemics spread and violent crime spills over borders. International humanitarian support is needed and regional powers should push for a negotiated transition, including through threats of targeted sanctions. ICG What’s new? As Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro prepares to seek re-election, the country’s socio-economic implosion has become a major problem for its neighbours. Venezuelans are fleeing hunger and poverty by the hundreds of thousands, while ... Read More »

To Reunite Ukraine, Kyiv Must Overcome Its Own Prejudices

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Four years after Russia’s invasion, psychological barriers are compounding the physical divisions of Ukraine. While many Ukrainians have turned to the West, millions of conflict-affected citizens are being excluded, creating new obstacles to any eventual reintegration of the country. Katharine Quinn-Judge ICG It is common for Ukrainian officials and their international backers to say that Russia’s 2014 invasion, which was partly motivated by Moscow’s anger at Ukraine pivoting toward Europe and the U.S., has unified the country and turned it ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia’s Leader Could Tell a Better Story if He’d End His Vicious, No-win War

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who arrives in Washington this week, is a man on a mission with a story to tell. Originally published in The Washington Post ICG It’s an appealing if slightly embellished narrative: about his economic vision, desire to promote a more moderate form of Islam, recognition of women’s rights and empowerment of a younger generation. But it’s a narrative that should not silence the other, far less rosy story of Saudi Arabia’s military ... Read More »

End the Weaponisation of Water in Central Asia

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Four Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – have argued over their water resources since the collapse of the Soviet Union. At times these disputes have seemed to threaten war. The forthcoming presidential summit in Astana can help banish that spectre. Alina Dalbaeva ICG On 15-16 March there is a landmark opportunity to promote peace and prosperity in Central Asia when the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana. It ... Read More »

After Kenya’s Leaders Reconcile, a Tough Path Ahead

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The meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga was an important step toward ending the protracted crisis over last year’s disputed election. To build on the progress, consensus is required on concrete steps that can help safeguard against future polarisation and violence.​ ICG I. Overview The meeting on 9 March 2018 between Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga was as unanticipated as it is significant. In their joint statement issued after the talks, they promised ... Read More »

The Modest Diplomatic Promise of North Korea’s Charm Offensive

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Following the first inter-Korean summit in ten years, the announcement that President Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a promising sign. Christopher Green ICG Although Pyongyang is unlikely to change its strategic course, the summit provides an opportunity for the U.S. to pair its maximum pressure with diplomacy and coordinate with Asian powers. The surprise announcement on 8 March that U.S. President Donald Trump would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by… The Modest Diplomatic… Read More »

Cautious Hope Ahead of U.S.-North Korea Meeting

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President Trump’s 8 March acceptance of an invitation to meet his counterpart Kim Jong-un marks a first in U.S.-North Korea relations and a rare opening for diplomacy. ICG To maximise the chance of a successful summit, all sides will have to prepare a realistic agenda and align their expectations. Developments on the Korean peninsula have been dizzying, from talk of war, to hints of diplomacy, to symbolic gestures and now this: the acceptance by U.S. President Donald Trump of Democratic ... Read More »