Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in November 2008, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch.
November 2008 TRENDS
India (non-Kashmir), Kashmir, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Thailand
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), China (internal), Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, NorthCaucasus (non-Chechnya), North Korea, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland (Somalia), Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe
December 2008 OUTLOOK
Conflict Risk Alert
Bangladesh, Kashmir, Thailand
Conflict Resolution Opportunities
A series of attacks launched by gunmen in India’s financial hub Mumbai saw over 170 killed in shootings and grenade attacks on the city’s main train station, luxury hotels and a Jewish centre. Hundreds were held hostage in targeted hotels in the attacks, which lasted over three days and tested security forces’ ability to respond. Indian officials cited growing evidence of involvement by “Pakistani elements” and raised the country’s security status to “war level”, and tensions with Islamabad grew, prompting concerns of a confrontation over Kashmir.
Thailand’s political crisis escalated further as thousands of protesters from the People’s Alliance for Democracy took control of the capital’s two airports, halting all flights to the city. Supporters of the government also took to the streets in late-month rallies amid fears of a coup; isolated grenade attacks on protestors have raised fears of violent clashes.
The situation also deteriorated in Nigeria, where at least 200 were killed in two days of brutal religious clashes in central Plateau State, triggered by the victory of the Christian-backed ruling People’s Democratic Party in local state elections on 28 November. And in Nicaragua, a wave of violent unrest followed reports of government fraud in 9 November municipal elections.
For December, CrisisWatch identifies the situation in Bangladesh as both a conflict risk alert and a conflict resolution opportunity. The decision of the Bangladesh National Party to join the 29 December elections, after the election commission announced a new poll schedule, heralded increased momentum towards conducting the delayed January 2007 elections, which were suspended amid widespread unrest and subsequent military intervention. Much hangs in the balance: if successful, the polls offer an opportunity to return to civilian rule but they could also, if mishandled by the caretaker government or the political parties, create new instability.
A conflict risk alert is also identified in Kashmir and in Thailand.