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In the News
Last Updated: 09/30/2003
Crisis Watch
International Crisis Group

This issue’s news round-up highlights the work done by the ‘International Crisis Group’. The (ICG) is an independent, non-profit, multinational organisation, with 90 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. The ICG has just begun issuing a monthly report, summarizing their assessment of the situation in some 60 areas of actual or potential conflict.


Following is a small selection of the ICG’s October ‘Crisis Watch’. To check out the ICG’s full crisis watch: http://www.crisisweb.org

Improved situations

 

Sudan Peace talks in Kenya between Sudanese Government and rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army going well. Parties signed a agreement on 25 September on security arrangements for a six-year transition period – removing a significant obstacle to ending the conflict.  Uganda claims Sudan arming Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in Uganda. Parties agreed to renew for 2 months ceasefire due to expire at end of September.

§        “Sudan deal brings war’s end closer”, The Guardian, 26 September 2003.

§          Marc Lacey, “Sudan and rebels take big step to peace”, International Herald Tribune, 26 September 2003.

§         For background, see ICG Africa Report N°65, Sudan Endgame, 7 July 2003 at http://www.crisisweb.org/ and comment by John Prendergast and David Mozersky (ICG), “Going to Hell?”, The Observer, 24 August 2003

 

 

 Bosnia & Herzegovina  Concerted international pressure led on 25 September to adoption of draft law on defence reform that, if endorsed by parliament, will provide for state command over entity armies and pave way for BiH to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace early next year.  Draft laws on intelligence and indirect tax reform also await parliamentary endorsement. New commission to unite Mostar began work on 25 September.  SFOR continues to uncover arms caches left over from war. Remains of some 500 people have been discovered in single mass grave in NE Bosnia – assumed to be Muslim wartime victims of Serbs.

§ Reconciliation in Bosnia?”, The Economist, 25 September 2003 (subscription).

§ Russ Baker, “Can foreigners fix Bosnia?”, Christian Science Monitor, 18 Sept. 2003.

§ Regional NATO chief says Bosnia stability fragile”, Reuters AlertNet, 18 September 2003.

For background, see ICG Balkans Report N°146, Bosnia’s Nationalist Governments: Paddy Ashdown and the Paradoxes of State Building, 22 July 2003 at http://www.crisisweb.org/

 

 

Unchanged Situations

 

Afghanistan Attacks by extremist groups against U.S. forces, government troops and aid workers continue in south. 4 Afghans working for Danish NGO killed on 8 September; 2 other aid workers killed on 24 September while delivering clean drinking water to village in Helmand province. Growing tension between Kabul and Islamabad: Afghan government accuses Pakistan of doing too little to prevent militants from regrouping in Pakistan. Both have agreed to reinforce troops on border to monitor crossings. Battles between local commanders in north continue to cause displacement and civilian casualties. Demobilisation and reintegration program delayed by government failure to reform defence ministry. Draft constitution to be unveiled in early October. American special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad named U.S. ambassador. NATO experts to study feasibility of expanding ISAF mandate beyond Kabul; Germany announced readiness to deploy 250-450 troops to northern city of Kunduz. More than 100 Taliban fighters killed since Coalition Operation Mountain Viper launched on 25 August.

§ “Afghanistan: NATO looking to expand security force beyond Kabul”, RFE/RL, 19 September 2003.

§ “Afghans say senior Taliban among 15 rebels killed”, Reuters AlertNet, 15 September 2003.

§  “Germany sends troops to scout out expanding Afghanistan mission”, Deutsche Welle, 11 September 2003.

”Aid workers in peril”, IWPR Afghan Recovery Report No. 75, 10 September 2003.

 

North Korea Sabre-rattling has resumed since six-way multilateral talks held in August ended inconclusively. North Korea denounced deployment of new U.S. Patriot missiles in South Korea. U.S. also unveiled plans to fly new spy plane along DMZ. Chinese government transferred control of border with DPRK from police to army; unconfirmed reports say it sent 150,000 troops to border region. Meanwhile, on 19 September IAEA urged DPRK to dismantle nuclear program. 4 days later, North Korea rejected demands, calling IAEA a “political maid” of U.S.

§ “North Korea slams US missile move”, BBC News, 19 September 2003.

§ George Jahn, “IAEA urges North Korea to abandon nukes”, The Guardian, 19 September 2003.

§ “N. Korea rejects IAEA nuke demands”, CNN.com, 23 September 2003.

For background, see ICG Asia Report N°61, North Korea: A Phased Negotiation Strategy, 1 August 2003 at www.crisisweb.org and comment by Michael O’Hanlon, Think Bigger on North Korea”, The Washington Post, 17 September 2003.  

 

Deteriorated situations

 

Kashmir Kashmir Surge in violence casts shadow over progress in Indo-Pak normalisation. Sources say September fatalities exceed 300 – mostly rebels. War of words in UN General Assembly as Indian PM Vajpayee accused Pakistani president Musharraf of “terrorist blackmail”, calling latter’s offer of ceasefire an admission that Pakistan supports militants. Fragile situation in Kashmir dealt another blow as All Party Hurriyat Conference (separatist umbrella group) split. Kashmiri militant groups warned of more violence in valley.

§ “India kills 15 Islamic militants”, CNN.com, 29 September 2003.

§ “India attacks Kashmir ‘blackmail’”, BBC News, 25 September 2003.

“Kashmiri hardliners name leader”, BBC News, 15 September 2003.

 

Bolivia Trade unions have launched indefinite general strike, protesting Government plans to export natural gas to US. Peasants in mountain region set up roadblocks.

§         Grace Livingstone, “Unions in Bolivia go on strike”, The Guardian,  29 September 2003.

“Bolivia gas plans trigger unrest”, BBC News, 16 September 2003.

 

 

 Iran Tension increasing over issue of Iranian nuclear program. IAEA set 31 October deadline for Tehran to enable UN to verify it is not building nuclear weapons. Matter may be referred to Security Council if Iran deemed non-compliant. Concern that standoff playing into hands of Iranian hardliners and could escalate, with risk of Iran pulling out of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Elsewhere, Iran-UK relations on rocks after several shooting incidents outside British embassy in Tehran and last month’s arrest by UK of former Iranian ambassador to Argentina.

§ Louis Charbonneau,“UN steps up Iran nuclear probe ahead of deadline”, Reuters AlertNet, 23 September 2003.

§ “Iran vows to increase military strength”, BBC News, 22 September 2003.

“It’s all gone dreadfully wrong”, The Economist, 18 September 2003.

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