Reconciliation

The Golan Heights Should Stay Israeli Forever

At least one of Israel’s occupations will be permanent, whether anyone else likes it or not. Steven A. Cook FP Should the United States recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights? The question has come up in the last few weeks, because Israel is having an election in April. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been lobbying the Trump administration on the idea of formally acknowledging Israel’s 1981 annexation of Syrian territory. There’s plenty of reason to suspect this diplomatic ... Read More »

Five Steps to Save Yemen’s Stockholm Agreement

The Stockholm Agreement, though imprecise, offers a real shot at building a peace process for war-ravaged Yemen. Peter Salisbury ICG But the accord is faltering amid mutual recriminations. The UN, and the wider international community, should act now to make sure the combatants follow through on their commitments. In December 2018, representatives of Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the rebel Huthi movement did something unexpected: they agreed on something. At UN-mediated talks in Sweden, the two parties announced what is ... Read More »

Improving Prospects for a Peaceful Transition in Sudan

Popular protests are rumbling across Sudan, shaking President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year grip on power. ICG The authorities have cracked down hard and, as the demonstrations intensify, they may ratchet up the repression. External powers should urge restraint and offer Bashir a way to the exit. What’s new? Protests across Sudan flared up as the government cut a vital bread subsidy. Economic grievances are fuelling demands for political change, with protesters calling on President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, to ... Read More »

The strange normality of life in a breakaway state

A postal address is the marker that identifies our home’s place in the world. The last line designates our country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. By Thomas de Waal, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace BBC But for a few million people worldwide, that last line of the address is a problem. The international postal service does not recognise a letter marked Abkhazia, Trans-Dniester, or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Letters find their way after being re-routed via other countries. Open up ... Read More »

How Big Is Turkey’s Stick? #TurkeyUS

The strained relationship between Turkey and the U.S. appears unlikely to improve any time soon. Semih Idiz Sigma Insight Turkey There is simply too much of a backlog of unresolved issues for the situation to change for the better. The visit to Ankara by the high level delegation, headed by President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, did little to ameliorate tensions between the two capitals. To the contrary, it seems to have aggravated the… The atmosphere was already ... Read More »

Reconciliation remains elusive as Cambodia marks 40 years since fall of the Khmer Rouge

When you discuss the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, you will often hear people recite a very specific period of time: three years, eight months and 20 days. Holly Robertson ABC Even 40 years after Pol Pot and his cadres were brought down, the length of their reign is seared into people’s minds for the terror and brutality it evokes. An estimated 2 million people died from overwork, starvation and mass killings during the Khmer Rouge era. It’s difficult to overstate ... Read More »

Colombia Farc: 85 ex-rebels killed since peace deal

The United Nations says 85 former Farc rebels have been killed in Colombia since the group signed a peace accord with the government two years ago. BBC Most of the murders were by illegal armed groups and drug gangs fighting over former Farc territories, UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a report. Mr Guterres urged Colombian President Ivan Duque, a vocal critic of the peace deal, to do more to protect ex-rebels. Colombia suffered 52 years of conflict until peace ... Read More »

Kim calls for corresponding US measures, ready to meet Trump

North Korean leader delivers annual New Year’s Day speech laying out Pyongyang’s top priorities for the 12 months ahead. Al Jazeera and News Agencies North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has renewed his commitment to denuclearisation but warned that he may have no option but to seek an alternative course if the United States does not take corresponding measures and… Kim made the comments on Tuesday during his annual New Year’s Day address laying out Pyongyang’s top priorities for the… In ... Read More »

Archbishop of Canterbury urges openness in new year message

Justin Welby says country should try to overcome recent struggles and divisions Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The archbishop of Canterbury has urged the country to start 2019 in a “new spirit of openness towards each other” in an attempt to overcome the struggles and divisions of recent years. Justin Welby was delivering a new year message from Lambeth Palace, his London base. Acknowledging that the festive period can be stressful for some families – “sometimes we get on each other’s nerves” ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019

As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019. In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international ... Read More »

The biggest winner of Trump’s Syria withdrawal? Turkey.

When President Trump announced Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, it came as a shock to much of Washington. Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post Key U.S. military officials reportedly felt hoodwinked by the drastic shift in policy; Trump’s secretary of defense quit. Counterterrorism experts warned that a departure could lead to an Islamic State resurgence. Critics in the foreign-policy community declared that Trump was giving “a Christmas gift to our enemies” — namely Russia and Iran, whose influence the… ... Read More »

Making Yemen’s Hodeida Deal Stick

On 17 December, the UN announced a ceasefire in the contested governorate of Hodeida. Peter Salisbury ICG Thus far, after some initial wobbling, it has held. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s senior Yemen analyst Peter Salisbury unpacks the ceasefire and assesses its prospects. What does the ceasefire mean? The Hodeida ceasefire is a first step toward implementing an agreement reached at UN-led talks between Yemen’s internationally recognised government and Huthi rebels in Sweden on 13 December to demilitarise Hodeida city ... Read More »

A Road to Dialogue After Nicaragua’s Crushed Uprising

Public resentment is high in Nicaragua after street protests in April were crushed in a brutal government crackdown. ICG To prevent further unrest, President Ortega should implement agreed electoral reforms while international actors maintain diplomatic pressure to create conditions for dialogue. What’s new? Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has quelled a civic uprising through violence, intimidation and prosecution of protesters without due process. More than 300 people died in clashes pitting protesters against police and parapolice groups. Protests have since subsided, ... Read More »

The Risks of Diplomatic Rupture with Maduro’s Venezuela

Key Latin American countries have said they will cut ties with Venezuela over its authoritarian drift and socio-economic meltdown. ICG This move would be counterproductive. Instead, external powers should step up efforts to find a negotiated pathway out of Venezuela’s crisis. On 10 January 2019, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in for a second term, despite domestic and international rejection of the presidential election held on 20 May this year. That he is due to stay in power ... Read More »

Time for a Modest Deal: How to Get U.S.-North Korean Talks Moving Forward

Last June’s U.S.-North Korean summit cleared the atmosphere, but follow-up talks have accomplished little, meaning that dark clouds could easily gather again. ICG To jump-start progress, negotiators should start small, moving incrementally toward realising the long-term goals of Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul. What’s new? 2017’s war of words between the U.S. and North Korea is a fading memory. In its place has come a period of calm, particularly after the leader-level summit in June. But substantive negotiations have foundered, and ... Read More »

French government to rush through concessions for ‘yellow vests’

The French government is set to rush tax cuts and a rise in the minimum wage through parliament in a bid to end the “yellow vest” protests which appear to be waning after a month of disruption. Paris – AFP Hurriyet The measures announced a week ago by President Emmanuel Macron will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and put to the National Assembly and the Senate for votes before Christmas, officials said. But in the meantime, the protesters ... Read More »