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  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Candidate Obama pledged that his Middle East policy would include re-engagement with Syria; President Obama will find that the past is not easily overcome. The reasons behind his vow remain pertinent. Syria holds important cards in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, is Iran's most important Arab ally and has substantial influence over Hamas and Hizbollah. There are indications of potential common ground on which to build, from resuming Israeli-Syrian negotiations, to consolidating progress in Iraq to blunting the rise of jihadi militancy and sectarianism. But significant obstacles to healthy, mutually beneficial relations remain, along with a legacy of estrangement and distrust. They dictate the need for a prudent approach that seeks first to rebuild ties and restore confidence. It will be critical to reassure Damascus that the U.S. is interested in improving relations and resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict, not in regime change. It is also equally critical not to compromise on core principles such as Lebanon's sovereignty or the integrity of the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Turkey and Armenia are close to settling a dispute that has long roiled Caucasus politics, isolated Armenia and cast a shadow over Turkey's European Union (EU) ambition. For a decade and a half, relations have been poisoned by disagreement about issues including how to address a common past and compensate for crimes, territorial disputes, distrust bred in Soviet times and Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani land. But recently, progressively intense official engagement, civil society interaction and public opinion change have transformed the relationship, bringing both sides to the brink of an historic agreement to open borders, establish diplomatic ties and begin joint work on reconciliation. They should seize this opportunity to normalise. The politicised debate whether to recognise as genocide the destruction of much of the Ottoman Armenian population and the stalemated Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh should not halt momentum. The U.S., EU, Russia and others should maintain support for reconciliation and avoid harming it with statements about history at a critical and promising time.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Genocide, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Turkey, Caucasus, Asia, Soviet Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Over the past twenty years China has become an active participant in UN peacekeeping, a development that will benefit the international community. Beijing has the capacity to expand its contributions further and should be encouraged to do so. China's approach to peacekeeping has evolved considerably since it assumed its UN Security Council (UNSC) seat in 1971, when it rejected the entire concept of peacekeeping. Now, with over 2,000 peacekeepers serving in ten UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, China's motivations for supporting and participating in peacekeeping have led it to adopt a case-by-case approach that balances those motivations against its traditional adherence to nonintervention. This pragmatic policy shift paves the way for China to provide much-needed personnel as well as political support and momentum for peacekeeping at a time when both conflicts and peacekeeping operations are becoming more complex. China's involvement also further binds it to the international system.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With the dispute between Georgia and Russia in a new, dangerously confrontational phase, the risk of war in the South Caucasus is growing. Concerned by NATO's plans for further extension to former Soviet republics and Kosovo's unilateral but Western-orchestrated independence, Russia has stepped up manipulation of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts. Georgia remains determined to restore its territorial integrity, and hawks in Tbilisi are seriously considering a military option. Both sides need to recognise the risks in current policies, cool their rhetoric and cease military preparations. Russia should cease undermining its peacekeeper and mediator roles and be open to a change of negotiating formats. Georgia should adopt a new approach to the Abkhaz, encouraging their links to the outside world to lessen dependence on Russia and emphasising incremental con­­fidence building to establish the mutual trust needed for successful negotiations. The U.S. and European Union (EU) should be firm and united in cautioning both Moscow and Tbilisi against military adventures.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union, Kosovo, Georgia, Tbilisi
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The policy of isolating Hamas and sanctioning Gaza is bankrupt and, by all conceivable measures, has backfired. Violence is rising, harming both Gazans and Israelis. Economic conditions are ruinous, generating anger and despair. The credibility of President Mahmoud Abbas and other pragmatists has been further damaged. The peace process is at a standstill. Meanwhile, Hamas's hold on Gaza, purportedly the policy's principal target, has been consolidated. Various actors, apparently acknowledging the long-term unsustainability of the status quo, are weighing options. Worried at Hamas's growing military arsenal, Israel is considering a more ambitious and bloody military operation. But along with others, it also is tiptoeing around another, wiser course that involves a mutual ceasefire, international efforts to prevent weapons smuggling and an opening of Gaza's crossings and requires compromise by all concerned. Gaza's fate and the future of the peace process hang in the balance.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Four years after Timor-Leste gained independence, its police and army were fighting each other in the streets of Dili. The April-June 2006 crisis left both institutions in ruins and security again in the hands of international forces. The crisis was precipitated by the dismissal of almost half the army and caused the virtual collapse of the police force. UN police and Australian-led peacekeepers maintain security in a situation that, while not at a point of violent conflict, remains unsettled. If the new government is to reform the security sector successfully, it must ensure that the process is inclusive by consulting widely and resisting the tempation to take autocratic decisions. A systematic, comprehensive approach, as recommended by the UN Security Council, should be based on a realistic analysis of actual security and law-enforcement needs. Unless there is a non-partisan commitment to the reform process, structural problems are likely to remain unresolved and the security forces politicised and volatile.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Australia, Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Armenia's flawed presidential election, the subsequent lethal crackdown against a peaceful protest rally, the introduction of a state of emergency and extensive arrests of opposition supporters have brought the country to its deepest crisis since the war against Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in 1994. The situation deprives Serzh Sarkisian, scheduled to be inaugurated as president on 9 April 2008, of badly needed legitimacy and handicaps prospects for much needed democratic reform and resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict alike. Unless the U.S., EU and others with significant diplomatic leverage over the regime in Yerevan exert pressure, Armenia is unlikely to make progress on either. The Sarkisian administration must urgently seek credible dialogue with the opposition, release prisoners detained on political grounds, stop arrests and harassment of the opposition and lift all measures limiting freedom of assembly and expression. Unless steps are taken to address the political crisis, the U.S. and EU should suspend foreign aid and put on hold negotiations on further and closer cooperation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Political Violence, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: North Korea's relations with Russia have been marked by unrealistic expectations and frequent disappointments but common interests have prevented a rupture. The neighbours' history as dissatisfied allies goes back to the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) with Soviet support and the Red Army's installation of Kim Il-sung as leader. However, the Soviets were soon written out of the North's official ideology. The Sino-Soviet split established a pattern of Kim playing Russian and Chinese leaders off against each other to extract concessions, including the nuclear equipment and technology at the heart of the current crisis. Since Vladimir Putin visited Pyongyang in 2000, diplomatic initiatives have come undone and grandiose economic projects have faltered. Russia is arguably the least effective participant in the six-party nuclear talks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, North Korea, Pyongyang
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kosovo's transition to the status of conditional, or supervised, independence has been greatly complicated by Russia's firm support of Serbia's refusal to accept that it has lost its one-time province. Recognition of conditional independence has broad international, and certainly European Union (EU) and American, support. Under threat of Moscow's veto, the Security Council will not revoke its Resolution 1244 of 1999 that acknowledged Serbian sovereignty while setting up the UN Mission (UNMIK) to prepare Kosovo for self-government pending a political settlement on its future status. Nor will the Council be allowed to approve the plan for a conditionally independent Kosovo devised by the Secretary-General's special representative, Martti Ahtisaari, earlier this year and authorise the EU-led missions meant to implement that plan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Kosovo, Moscow, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Niger Delta is again at risk of sliding into chaos. The 29 May 2007 inauguration of new federal and state governments offered an opportunity to resolve longstanding conflicts afflicting the oil-rich, deeply impoverished region. Six months later, the opportunity is unravelling amid new violence and criminality. Decisive action is necessary to stop militant violence and criminal hostage-taking, initiate quick-impact development projects that can build public confidence in President Umaru Yar'Adua's administration and tackle constitutional and legal issues that have fuelled unrest in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Southern Serbia's Albanian-majority Presevo Valley is one of the rare conflict resolution success stories in the former Yugoslavia. Outwardly, it is increasingly normal, with no major incidents in over three years. Yet, tensions linger: massive unemployment is still the single largest problem but the shadow of Kosovo's future status darkens the political landscape. How Kosovo's final status is determined in the next months will have a profound impact. If formal partition or large-scale violence accompanies independence, the peace could unravel; in a worst case scenario, ethnic cleansing in southern Serbia would be accompanied by significant, cross-boundary, two-way refugee flows. All parties – local Albanian politicians, the Serbian government and the international community – need to work with greater urgency on developing the region's economy and ensuring that developments in Kosovo do not disrupt its peaceful progress.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Violence continues unabated in Pakistan's strategically important and resource-rich province of Balochistan, where the military government is fighting Baloch militants demanding political and economic autonomy. President Pervez Musharraf's government insists the insurgency is an attempt to seize power by a handful of tribal chiefs bent on resisting economic development. Baloch nationalists maintain it is fuelled by the military's attempts to subdue dissent by force and the alienation caused by the absence of real democracy. Whether or not free and fair national and provincial elections are held later this year or in early 2008 will determine whether the conflict worsens.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Asia, Balochistan
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Thailand's increasing reliance on paramilitary forces and civilian militias is hindering efforts to tackle the insurgency in its majority Muslim southern provinces. A bewildering array of paramilitary organisations works alongside and often in parallel to the regular military and police. There are advantages to using irregular forces. They are quicker and cheaper to train and deploy and tend to have more flexible command structures. Locally recruited volunteers have better local knowledge than troops brought in from outside. But they are also inadequately trained and equipped, confuse already difficult command and control arrangements and appear in some cases to make communal tensions worse. While paramilitaries are likely to continue to be deployed in the South, the government should move toward consolidating security arrangements and, in the longer term, concentrate on improving its regular security forces.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Civil War
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia, Southern Thailand
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The pro-reform AK Party's resounding victory in the July 2007 parliamentary elections gives both it and the European Union (EU) a chance to relaunch Turkey's accession process, which has floundered since 2005 due to Europe's enlargement fatigue and a neo-nationalist backlash in the country. That process, pursued with real application, has the capacity to help both sides. Popular opinion may show fatigue but leaders and diplomats need to keep avenues open for when political confidence returns, as past experience with the enlargement process suggests it can.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: L'accord de paix conclu le 4 mars 2007 à Ouagadougou entre Laurent Gbagbo et Guillaume Soro constitue un tournant majeur dans la résolution du conflit armé en Côte d'Ivoire, mais ne représente qu'un premier pas dans la bonne direction. Tous les Ivoiriens qui souhaitent une paix durable doivent maintenant se mobiliser pour exiger du gouvernement de transition la délivrance effective des titres d'identité prévus, la récupération des armes encore détenues par les milices, une véritable réforme du secteur de la sécurité et un processus électoral crédible. La communauté internationale a évité à la Côte d'Ivoire de sombrer dans le chaos au cours de ces quatre dernières années et doit maintenir intact son engagement militaire, politique et financier. L'évolution du processus de paix ne doit pas être dictée par les seules ambitions des deux signataires de l'accord de Ouagadougou mais aussi par l'objectif de la construction d'une paix durable en Côte d'Ivoire qui est cruciale pour la stabilité de toute l'Afrique de l'Ouest.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Civil War, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Amid the media and military focus on Baghdad, another major Iraqi city – Basra – is being overlooked. Yet Basra's experience carries important lessons for the capital and nation as a whole. Coalition forces have already implemented a security plan there, Operation Sinbad, which was in many ways similar to Baghdad's current military surge. What U.S. commanders call “clear, hold and build”, their British counterparts earlier had dubbed “clear, hold and civil reconstruction”. And, as in the capital, the putative goal was to pave the way for a takeover by Iraqi forces. Far from being a model to be replicated, however, Basra is an example of what to avoid. With renewed violence and instability, Basra illustrates the pitfalls of a transitional process that has led to collapse of the state apparatus and failed to build legitimate institutions. Fierce intra-Shiite fighting also disproves the simplistic view of Iraq neatly divided between three homogenous communities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Civil War, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Serbia finally has a new government but one that is deeply divided between pro-Western and nationalist forces. Facing two difficult issues–Kosovo status and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)–its choice is between moving towards European integration or on to a more isolationist path. The government's composition, deep mistrust among many of its members and the parliament's nationalist majority suggest it will follow the second option. Pro-Western forces have suffered a significant setback, the government is vulnerable to manipulation by the security services and oligarchs, and the system of divided responsibility for the security services renders unlikely serious cooperation with the ICTY, especially the arrests of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Although Kosovo independence could destabilise the government, it may surprise and last far longer and prove more stable than expected. The West should prepare for Serbia turning increasingly away from Europe and towards Moscow.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Moscow, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The debate on Kosovo's future status has reached a crucial point. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has begun to consider elements of a draft resolution to determine the entity's future, which could be put to a vote in the coming weeks. The best way of ensuring regional peace and stability and lifting Kosovo out of an eight-year-long limbo, with a tired, temporary UN administration and an undeveloped, low-growth economy, is a resolution based squarely on the plan of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari. This would supersede UNSC Resolution 1244 (1999), define Kosovo's internal settlement and minority-protection mechanisms, mandate a new international presence and allow for supervised independence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The disbanding of the paramilitary United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) between 2003 and 2006 is seen by the administration of President Alvaro Uribe as a vital step toward peace. While taking some 32,000 AUC members out of the conflict has certainly altered the landscape of violence, there is growing evidence that new armed groups are emerging that are more than the simple “criminal gangs” that the government describes. Some of them are increasingly acting as the next generation of paramilitaries, and they require a more urgent and more comprehensive response from the government.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: When local elections were held in Aceh on 11 December 2006, conventional wisdom (shared by Crisis Group) was that candidates from the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) would not do well. They might pick up two or three of the nineteen district races, but the biggest prize – the provincial governorship – was almost certainly out of reach. The old Jakarta-linked parties would benefit from deep pockets, established structures and a split in the former insurgency's leadership. Polls just before formal campaigning began showed GAM's governor/deputy governor slate – Irwandi Yusuf and Muhammad Nazar – virtually out of contention. But GAM won overwhelmingly, in what an analyst called “a perfect storm between the fallout from the peace accord and the failure of political parties to understand the changing times”. The challenge now is to govern effectively and cleanly in the face of high expectations, possible old elite obstructionism and some GAM members' sense of entitlement that it is their turn for power and wealth.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The September 2006 coup in Thailand, despite its damage to democratic development, opened the way for improved management of the conflict in the Muslim South. Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont's interim government has overhauled some of its predecessor's worst policies and signalled willingness to address longstanding grievances. But verbal commitments in Bangkok have been difficult to translate into changes on the ground, and relations between security forces and local communities continue to be strained while violence mounts. Thais outside the South have exerted pressure for a return to heavy-handed crackdowns on suspected militants. The government must respond to the escalating attacks, but with care – widespread arbitrary arrests and civilian casualties would only increase support for insurgents.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Asia, Thailand, Bangkok
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After eight years in power, President Hugo Chávez won an overwhelming re-election in December 2006. Flush with oil revenues, bolstered by high approval ratings and at the start of a six-year term, he expresses confidence about advancing what he calls his Bolivarian Revolution, named after Simón Bolívar, the country's independence hero, and installing his still only vaguely defined “Socialism of the 21st Century”. There are concerns in Venezuela and much of the hemisphere, however, that to do so the ex-colonel and one-time coup leader may be willing to sacrifice democratic principles. He is not yet a dictator and for the most part has not tried to act in a dictatorial manner, but the trend toward autocracy is strong. If he continues to build personal power at the expense of other institutions and militarise much of the government and political life, there will be serious risks for internal conflict, especially if the oil boom that cushions the economy falters.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Tanzania
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: International policy in Bosnia is in disarray, and a new engagement strategy is required. The present High Representative, whose performance in 2006 has been much criticised, announced on 23 January 2007 that he would leave by mid-year. The Peace Implementation Council (PIC), to whom he reports and which is responsible for guiding implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, meets on 27 February to decide the way forward. The most immediate issues to be resolved are whether the Office of the High Representative (OHR), and the robust 'Bonn powers' available to it, should continue in their present form.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Iowa
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The process that will be launched shortly at Annapolis may not quite be do-or-die for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process but at the very least it is do-or-barely-survive. Positively, a U.S. administration that neglected Middle East peacemaking since taking office appears committed to an intensive effort: it has persuaded both sides to agree to negotiate final status issues – no mean feat after years of diplomatic paralysis and violent conflict. But pitfalls are equally impressive. The meeting, like the process it aims to spawn, occurs in a highly politicised context, with sharp divisions in the Palestinian and Israeli camps. These will make it hard to reach agreement and to sell it to both constituencies and, for the foreseeable future, virtually impossible to implement. Moreover, failure of the negotiations could discredit both leaderships, while further undermining faith in diplomacy and the twostate solution.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arab Countries
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Peace talks between the Ugandan government and the insurgent Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are moving in the right direction, but the core issues – justice, security and livelihoods – are still to be resolved and require difficult decisions, including on the fate of LRA leaders whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted. The 2 May 2007 agreement on comprehensive solutions to the conflict and the 29 June agreement on reconciliation and accountability revived momentum for the year-old talks in the southern Sudan town of Juba. Rebel elements in southern Sudan moved to the LRA's jungle hideout near Garamba National Park in Congo in May and June, thus expanding the peace process' major achievement: more security for millions of civilians in northern Uganda and southern Sudan. Yet both recent agreements are incomplete and devoid of specifics. Both parties' commitment to a deal remains questionable. The international community needs to help the mediators by creating more leverage to push the peace process forward, including by presenting the LRA with a credible back-up military threat.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, North Uganda, South Sudan, Juba
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Violent and organised crime threatens to overwhelm Haiti. The justice system is weak and dysfunctional, no match for the rising wave of kidnappings, drug and human trafficking, assaults and rapes. If the efforts of the last three years to establish the rule of law and a stable democracy are to bear fruit urgent action is needed. Above all the Haitian government must demonstrate genuine political will to master the problem. But the international community also has a major support role. The immediate need is to establish, staff and equip two special courts, one a domestic criminal chamber to handle major crimes, the other a hybrid Haitian/international tribunal to deal with cases of transnational, organised crime that the country cannot tackle on its own.
  • Topic: International Relations, Crime, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Haiti
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since the new, democratically elected government came to power in September 2005, the first since 1993, there has been marked deterioration in Burundi's political climate. Led by the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), the government has arrested critics, moved to muzzle the press, committed human rights abuses and tightened its control over the economy. Unless it reverses this authoritarian course, it risks triggering violent unrest and losing the gains of the peace process. The international community needs to monitor the government's performance, encouraging it to adopt a more inclusive approach and remain engaged even after UN troops depart in December 2006.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Fierce battles rage in southern Afghanistan, insurgent attacks in the east creep towards the provinces surrounding Kabul and a new campaign of terrorist violence targets urban centres. The country's democratic government is not immediately threatened but action is needed now. This includes putting more international forces into the battle zones but insurgencies are never beaten by military means alone, and there are no quick fixes. Diplomatic pressure on Pakistan is needed, and the government of President Karzai must show political will to respond to internal discontent with serious efforts to attack corruption, work with the elected National Assembly and extend the rule of law by ending the culture of impunity. Afghanistan needs a renewed, long-term effort to build an effective, fair government that provides real security to its people.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Asia, Kabul
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Hours before the first-round results of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's presidential elections were to be announced in Kinshasa on 20 August 2006, violence erupted between troops loyal to Vice President Jean- Pierre Bemba and those loyal to the incumbent, Joseph Kabila, providing dramatic proof of the fragility of the electoral process. Because both Kabila and Bemba will be tempted to use violence should they lose the second round, and the former in particular is very strong militarily, the Congolese government and the international community must move quickly to make secure the run-off as well as the provincial assembly elections on 29 October. Militias also threaten stability elsewhere in the country, notably in North Kivu and Ituri, but the capital is likely to be the most sensitive location again. A three-pronged strategy is required: improving security in Kinshasa, promoting a more responsible approach to the media and resolving some basic problems in the electoral process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Conflict over Abkhazia, squeezed between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains, has festered since the 1992- 1993 fighting. Internationally recognised as part of Georgia and largely destroyed, with half the pre-war population forcibly displaced, Abkhazia is establishing the institutions of an independent state. In twelve years since the ceasefire, the sides have come no closer to a settlement despite ongoing UN-mediated negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Georgia, Abkhazia
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: No part of Indonesia generates as much distorted reporting as Papua, the western half of New Guinea that has been home to an independence movement since the 1960s. Some sources, mostly outside Indonesia, paint a picture of a closed killing field where the Indonesian army, backed by militia forces, perpetrates genocide against a defenceless people struggling for freedom. A variant has the army and multinational companies joining forces to despoil Papua and rob it of its own resources. Proponents of this view point to restrictions on media access, increasing troop strength in Papua of the Indonesian armed forces (TNI), payments to the TNI from the giant U.S. copper and gold mining company, Freeport, and reports by human rights organisations as supporting evidence for their views.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Guinea
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le Premier ministre Charles Konan Banny n'a pas pu mettre en œuvre la feuille de route qui devait doter la Côte d'Ivoire d'un gouvernement légitime et démocratique. Les Ivoiriens n'éliront pas leur président avant le 31 octobre 2006 comme le réclama it le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU. Le pays est touj ours contrôlé par les anciens rebelles et les forces gouvernementales, séparés par une zone tampon fragile tenue par le s forces de maintien de la paix de l'ONU et de la France. La véritable guerre civile n'a peut-être pas encore eu lieu. Le deuxième report des élections s'inscrit dans une stratégie délibérée de la part des hommes politiques qui ne veulent pas d'une paix dont ils n'auraient pas la maîtrise et qui cherchent à évaluer le pouvoir d'une co mmunauté internationale qui doit prendre des décisions diffic iles en septembre: reporter les élections, maintenir l'autorité de Banny pendant encore six mois et demeurer activement engagée dans le pays. Un échec à ce stade augmenterait fortement le risque que ce pays, qui était autrefois l'un des plus prospères d'Afrique, continue à se rapprocher d'un bain de sang qui n'a été évité que de justesse depuis quatre ans.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, France
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Throughout years of uprising and Israeli military actions, siege of West Bank cities and President Arafat's de facto house arrest, it was hard to imagine the situation getting worse for Palestinians. It has. On all fronts – Palestinian/Palestinian, Palestinian/Israeli and Palestinian/ international – prevailing dynamics are leading to a dangerous breakdown. Subjected to the cumulative effects of a military occupation in its 40th year and now what is effectively an international sanctions regime, the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) government cannot pay salaries or deliver basic services. Diplomacy is frozen, with scant prospect of thaw – and none at all of breakthrough. And Hamas's electoral victory and the reactions it provoked among Fatah loyalists have intensified chaos and brought the nation near civil war. There is an urgent need for all relevant players to pragmatically reassess their positions, with the immediate objectives of: avoiding inter-Palestinian violence and the PA's collapse; encouraging Hamas to adopt more pragmatic policies rather than merely punishing it for not doing so; achieving a mutual and sustained Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire to prevent a resumption of full-scale hostilities; and preventing activity that jeopardises the possibility of a two-state solution.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 18 May 2006, the self-declared Republic of Somaliland marked fifteen years since it proclaimed independence from Somalia. Although its sovereignty is still unrecognised by any country, the fact that it is a functioning constitutional democracy distinguishes it from the majority of entities with secessionist claims, and a small but growing number of governments in Africa and the West have shown sympathy for its cause. The territory's peace and stability stands in stark contrast to much of southern Somalia, especially the anarchic capital, Mogadishu, where clashes between rival militias have recently claimed scores of lives. But Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is still struggling to overcome internal divisions and establish its authority in southern Somalia, also claims sovereignty over the territory, and the issue is becoming an increasing source of tension. The African Union (AU) needs to engage in preventive diplomacy now, laying the groundwork for resolution of the dispute before it becomes a confrontation from which either side views violence as the only exit.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Balkans, Somalia
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The legacy of “losing” Timor-Leste (East Timor) continues to haunt Indonesia, affecting attitudes toward Aceh and Papua, heightening suspicions about foreign intervention, complicating relations with Australia and perpetuating fears for territorial integrity. Despite this legacy, the shared land border has been mostly peaceful: the policy focus there should be as much on establishing the infrastructure for legal trade as on improving security.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Australia, Southeast Asia, Papua
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: For too long, public figures within and outside Africa have been timid about discussing Guinea's deep-rooted problems. Its strong anti-imperialist stance in the 1960s and beyond earned it respect among pan-Africanists, but the hands-off attitude that grew out of that respect has long since degraded into indifference and cynicism. The probability is now high that President Conté's term will end in a military takeover, which some seem prepared to accept before the fact, as if it were a means of preserving Guinea's sovereignty. But parts of Guinea's civilian elite are finally beginning to treat the country's future as their own collective concern, one not to be resolved by a third party, whether the army or foreign diplomats. They should be given every encouragement, including by relevant international actors, to do so.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The international strategy for dealing with the Darfur crisis primarily through the small (7,000 troops) African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) is at a dead end. AMIS credibility is at an all-time low, with the ceasefire it could never monitor properly in tatters. In the face of this, the international community is backing away from meaningful action. The African Union (AU) yielded to Khartoum's pressure on 10 March 2006 and did not ask the UN to put into Darfur the stronger international force that is needed. If the tragedy of the past three years is not to be compounded, the AU and its partners must address the growing regional crisis by getting more troops with greater mobility and firepower on the ground at once and rapidly transforming AMIS into a larger, stronger UN peacekeeping mission with a robust mandate focused on civilian protection.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The last round of Cyprus's drawn-out peace process ended in April 2004 when the Greek Cypriot community, which had long advocated reunification of the divided island on a bicommunal and bizonal basis, overwhelmingly rejected the UN-sponsored “Annan Plan”, which provided for just that. At the same time on the northern side of the Green Line, the Turkish Cypriot community, in a major reversal of its traditional preference for secession, backed reunification. The failure of the referendum did not stop a still-divided Cyprus being admitted to membership of the EU a week later. Notwithstanding clear continuing support for the Annan Plan, or some variation of it, among all other members of the EU and the wider international community, the present situation remains stalemated.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Greece, United Nations, Cyprus
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: When the third round of the normalisation talks concludes in July 2006, India and Pakistan will be no closer than when they began the process in February 2004 to resolving differences, including over Kashmir. What they call their "composite dialogue" has helped reduce tensions and prevent a return to the climate of 2001-2002, when they were on the verge of all-out war, but progress has been limited to peripheral issues. India's prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, have reiterated commitments to sustain the dialogue. It is unrealistic, however, to expect radical change. International, particularly U.S. support for the process will likely dissuade either side from pulling out but asymmetry of interests and goals militates against a major breakthrough. The need is to concentrate on maintaining a cold peace until a long process can produce an atmosphere in which the support of elected governments in both states might realistically bring a Kashmir solution.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East, India, Kashmir
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With Romania's expected entry into the European Union in 2007, the EU will share a border with Moldova, a weak state divided by conflict and plagued by corruption and organised crime. Moldova's leadership has declared its desire to join the EU, but its commitment to European values is suspect, and efforts to resolve its dispute with the breakaway region of Transdniestria have failed to end a damaging stalemate that has persisted for fifteen years. Young people have little confidence in the country's future and are leaving at an alarming rate. If Moldova is to become a stable part of the EU's neighbourhood, there will need to be much greater international engagement, not only in conflict resolution but in spurring domestic reforms to help make the country more attractive to its citizens.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova, Eastern Europe, Romania
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Middle East is immersed in its worst crisis in years following the capture of three Israeli soldiers by the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Lebanese Party of God (Hizbollah) in late June 2006 and early July, Israel's comprehensive offensive throughout the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, and the daily firing of rockets deep into Israel. And horrific as it is, the current toll of death and destruction could reach entirely different proportions should a new threshold be crossed – a Hizbollah rocket that strikes a chemical plant or a heavily populated area in Tel Aviv or Haifa, an Israeli bombing raid resulting in massive casualties, a major ground offensive, or the expansion of the war to Syria or Iran. A political solution to the twin crises of Lebanon and Palestine must be the international community's urgent priority. Waiting and hoping for military action to achieve its purported goals will have not only devastating humanitarian consequences: it will make it much harder to pick up the political pieces when the guns fall silent.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Peacebuilding cannot succeed if half the population is excluded from the process. Crisis Group's research in Sudan, Congo (DRC) and Uganda suggests that peace agreements, post-conflict reconstruction, and governance do better when women are involved. Women make a difference, in part because they adopt a more inclusive approach toward security and address key social and economic issues that would otherwise be ignored. But in all three countries, as different as each is, they remain marginalised in formal processes and under-represented in the security sector as a whole. Governments and the international community must do much more to support women peace activists.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Debt, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Southern Serbia's Albanian-majority Presevo Valley is a still incomplete Balkan success story. Since international and Serbian government diplomacy resolved an ethnic Albanian insurgency in 2001, donors and Belgrade have invested significant resources to undo a legacy of human rights violations and improve the economy. Tensions are much decreased, major human rights violations have ended, the army and police are more sensitive to Albanian concerns and there is progress, though hesitant, in other areas, such as a multi-ethnic police force, gradual integration of the judiciary, and Albanian language textbooks. Ethnic Albanians appear increasingly intent on developing their own political identity inside Serbia and finding a way to cohabit with Serbs, something that should be encouraged and supported. Nevertheless, the Kosovo status process threatens to disrupt the Presevo Valley's calm.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Balkans, Albania, Southern Serbia
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed under African Union (AU) auspices on 5 May 2006 between Sudan's government and the faction of the insurgent Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Arkou Minawi (SLA/MM) is a first step toward ending the violence but strong, coordinated action is needed if it is to take hold. The document has serious flaws, and two of the three rebel delegations did not accept it. Fighting between rebel and government forces is down somewhat but violence is worse in some areas due to clashes between SLA factions, banditry, and inter-tribal feuds, while the Chad border remains volatile. If the DPA is not to leave Darfur more fragmented and conflict-prone than before, the international community must rapidly take practical measures to shore up its security provisions, improve prospects for the displaced to return home, bring in the holdouts and rapidly deploy a robust UN peacekeeping force with Chapter VII authority.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Darfur
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Although there are some shoals still to be navigated, the narrow pro-independence victory in Montenegro's 21 May 2006 referendum should, on balance, increase rather than diminish stability in the western Balkans. It is in the interest of the European Union (EU), now that its previous policy of keeping Serbia and Montenegro together has run its course, to welcome the new state and speed its accession to international institutions. Podgorica still faces significant challenges associated with transition, but none should affect regional stability, and all can be resolved as the country moves forward with the Stabilisation and Association process towards EU membership. Given the positive international response to the referendum, Montenegro can aspire to becoming a “boring” country moving toward integration with Europe. But its opposition, and Belgrade, need to be persuaded not to renege on their commitments to the EU to accept the referendum result, lest this generate new uncertainties in the region as a Kosovo status decision approaches.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Caucasus, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The African Union's (AU) intervention in Sudan's Darfur region tests the effectiveness of its own peace and security structures and those of the European Union (EU). The AU has taken the lead both in the political negotiations between the government and the rebels and in deploying a peace-monitoring mission, the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS). It has had to rely on outside support for AMIS, with nearly two thirds of its funding coming from the EU's African Peace Facility. The results are mixed. If Darfur is to have stability anytime soon, and the two organisations are to fulfil their ambitions to be major players in crisis prevention and crisis resolution, AMIS must get more troops and a more proactive, civilian-protection mandate, and the EU needs to find ways to go beyond the present limitations of the African Peace Facility in providing assistance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Settlement of the long running Nagorno-Karabakh conflict -- the most significant obstacle to stability in the South Caucasus -- remains elusive, despite more optimistic noises recently from Azerbaijan and Armenia. Eleven years after the 1994 ceasefire, burgeoning defence budgets, increasing ceasefire violations, and continuing demonisation by each side of the other side are ominous signs that time for a peace agreement is running out. But a compromise can now be constructed around an approach that, while addressing all the matters in dispute, leaves the core issue of Nagorno-Karabakh's ultimate status open for later resolution, after other measures have been put in place.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, South Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Insecurity in Darfur remains pervasive despite a decline in direct, large-scale fighting between the government and the two main rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Maintaining the present uneasy status quo is not the answer. The Khartoum government continues to flout its numerous commitments to neutralise its allied proxy militia, the Janjaweed, and more than two million civilians displaced by the conflict will not return home without a comprehensive political settlement including security guarantees. But the problem is not just on the government side: discord within and between the rebel movements also needs to be resolved if there is to be a chance for sting peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential election, a response to U.S. pressure, was a false start for reform. Formal pluralism has never seriously limited the dominance of President Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP); extension to the presidential level is a token so long as the opposition is too weak to produce plausible candidates. If the further reforms Mubarak has promised are to be meaningful, they should be aimed at recasting state/NDP relations and, above all, enhancing parliament's powers. As a start, Mubarak should ensure free and fair November legislative elections. The legal opposition must make the case for these changes and overcome its divisions if it is to become relevant and be able to compete with the Muslim Brothers for popular influence. The U.S. and others should support judicial supervision of elections, refrain from pressing for quick, cosmetic results, and back a longer-term, genuine reform process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, North Africa, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh is the most significant obstacle to peace and stability in the South Caucasus. Eleven years into a ceasefire, the parties have been unable to sign a single document bringing them closer to a settlement. Whatever is being done at the internationally mediated negotiations, at ground level resumed war appears a real possibility. There is need to counter the hate propaganda and demonising engaged in by both sides and unlock the potential for confidence building and dialogue between average Azeris and Armenians before the memories of cohabitation fade and the divide becomes virtually unbridgeable.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, South Caucasus