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  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Political feuding virtually paralysed the Albanian government in the first half of 2002, until the European Parliament brokered an agreement between the main political parties which led to the election of retired army general Alfred Moisiu as the consensus choice for president. Although the 73-year-old Moisiu leans to the right, he has pledged to represent all Albanians equally. After a long period of confrontation, the country entered a phase of political dialogue. The opposition Democratic Party (DP) ended its boycott of local government institutions and began to work with the ruling Socialist Party (SP). In August 2002 parliament voted in a new Socialist-led government with the SP chairman, Fatos Nano, as Prime Minister for a third time. By early 2003, however, this unusual consensus appeared to have unravelled, returning politics to its more normal fractiousness. Political tensions are expected to rise as October local elections approach.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Albania
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The assassination of Serbian Premier Zoran Djindjic on 12 March 2003 means that Serbia has lost its most skilful and realistic politician. The great question is whether the assassination provides a catalyst that energises the governing coalition to restart the longstalled reform process and thoroughly clean out the interlocking nexus of organised crime, war criminals, and police and army officers hiding behind "nationalist-patriotic" slogans and organisations. There are some initially encouraging signs: the police appear to be energetically pursuing the prime suspects, and sweeping reforms of the military have been promised. Djindjic's successor, Zoran Zivkovic, has yet to acquire his predecessor's authority, however, and he will need encouragement . both carrots and sticks . from the international community to hold the course that should have been pursued from October 2000.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A presidential instruction (Inpres) issued in January 2003 to divide Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, into three parts has done more to create tension and turmoil there than any government action in years. The instruction undercuts a special autonomy law passed by the parliament in November 2001 that assumed the province to be a single territorial unit, and it has thrown Papua's administrative status into legal limbo. It undermines moderate intellectuals who saw special autonomy as a way of strengthening Papuan institutions and encouraging independence supporters to work within the Indonesian state. It has infuriated many Papuans, pro-independence and pro-autonomy alike, who have a deep attachment to Papua as a single political unit with a distinct history and who see the decree as a divide-and-rule tactic by Jakarta. All major religious leaders in the province have come out against it.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The resurgence of the religious parties in the October 2002 elections portends ill for Pakistan's political, cultural and social stability. For the first time in the country's history, an alliance of six major religious parties – the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) – has won power in two provinces, vowing to Islamise state and society through Taliban-like policies. The MMA based its electoral campaign on Islam and anti-U.S. slogans, targeting President Pervez Musharraf's pro-U.S. policies and pledging the enforcement of Sharia law. It now runs the government in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), bordering on Afghanistan, and shares power in Baluchistan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The establishment of an Interim Administration for Afghanistan during the Bonn talks in December 2001 was heralded as offering Afghan women a chance to claim their place in public life and participate in the country's development after systemic exclusion under the Taliban. Creation of a Ministry of Women's Affairs, the commitment of substantial donor assistance to programs targeting women, and, most critically, the return of women to universities, schools, and government offices all portended a new day.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The peace process in Somalia is at a critical point. Talks that began with great promise are in danger of collapsing unless the mediators, the international community and the Somali factions themselves provide stronger leadership. The Somali public's flagging interest and support for the process needs to be revived, and improvements are required in the negotiating process or the parties will be unable to tackle the many difficult outstanding issues. Unfortunately, the international community has remained reluctant to throw its full weight behind the peace talks, to take a tough line with those who are undermining it or generally to express a unified position on preferred outcomes.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Somalia
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The economic meltdown, government-created food crisis, and deepening state-sponsored violence that have plagued Zimbabwe in the year since President Robert Mugabe's ruling party rigged the presidential election continue to point in one ominous direction: potential state collapse.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Tucked away in a handful of villages in a remote pocket of Iraqi Kurdistan, a small group of radical Islamist fighters has been accused of being the Kurdish offspring of the al-Qaeda network, and thus has become a fresh target in the international war on terrorism. To compensate for its limited reach and popularity, this group, called Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam), has built on tenuous regional alliances to survive in the harsh mountainous environment above the town of Halabja in northwestern Iraq, just shy of the border with Iran. These alliances have enhanced its role as a minor spoiler in predominantly secular Kurdish politics in the Suleimaniyeh governorate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In successive incidents over eight days in November 2002, the city of Maan in the south of Jordan was the scene of intense armed clashes between security forces and elements of the Maani population. What began as a routine police operation rapidly escalated into incidents in which thousands of police, soldiers, and special forces fought militants in and around the town before subduing them. The clashes left six dead, many more wounded, over 150 arrested for questioning or prosecution, and property destroyed. As of early February 2003, over 45 people remained in custody and several others were still being sought.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Arabia, Jordan
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 9 December 2002, an agreement on cessation of hostilities in Aceh was concluded in Geneva, bringing hope that an end to the 26-year-old conflict between Indonesian government forces and guerrillas of the pro-independence Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) was in sight. Since then there have been many positive developments, most strikingly, a dramatic drop in the level of violence.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, Central Asia, Indonesia