Two actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in March 2010, according to the new issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch, released today.
Guinea-Bissau, The situation deteriorated in when a group of soldiers briefly detained Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, arrested current army chief Zamora Induta and 40 military officers, and freed navy chief Bubo Na Tchuto, implicated in 2008’s failed coup attempt against late President Vieira. While details remain unclear, Gomes was reportedly released hours later following popular calls for his reinstatement and Bissau is now calm. However, events have underlined the depth of the country’s political instability and fuelled a dangerous cycle of military involvement in politics – all in a region still reeling from a wave of unconstitutional changes in government. The potential for wider popular protests cannot be ruled out and CrisisWatch identifies a conflict risk alert for Guinea-Bissau in coming weeks.
Russia, twin suicide bombings during Moscow’s morning rush hour on 29 March killed 39 people in the deadliest attack in the city for six years. Russian security forces quickly implicated Islamist rebels from the restive North Caucasus. In a message released soon after, separatist leader and self-styled “emir of North Caucasus” Doku Umarov claimed responsibility and threatened further attacks in retaliation for the deaths of Chechen civilians in military operations by Russian security forces. The attacks were followed by a second set of bombings in the republic of Dagestan in which at least 12 people were killed.
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Armenia/Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Improved Situations: Haiti
In Haiti, prospects for successful post-earthquake reconstruction improved after international donors, meeting in New York on 31 March, pledged more than US$5 billion in short term aid. Around $9 billion was pledged overall – more than twice the amount targeted by President Préval after the January earthquake in which an estimated 250,000 people were killed. Donors said the bulk of funds would be dispersed through the Haitian state, increasing chances the process will be Haitian-owned and led.
April 2010 Outlook
Conflict Risk Alert: Guinea-Bissau, Sudan
CrisisWatch identifies a conflict risk alert for Sudan, where the political situation remains highly unstable ahead of landmark national elections on 11-13 April, amid fears of large-scale fraud. By 1 April, nearly all major opposition parties – including the National Congress Party’s (NCP) southern power-sharing partner the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – had boycotted upcoming presidential polls, citing continuing government restrictions on access to media and campaigning and a deeply flawed registration process that had stacked votes in favour of the NCP. The SPLM’s candidate for the national presidency withdrew from the polls on 31 March, stressing free and fair elections in Darfur were impossible. Developments also increased the political temperature in Khartoum, with President Bashir on 30 March threatening to delay the South’s prized 2011 referendum on independence if polls failed to go ahead as planned.
Conflict Resolution Opportunity: None