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20 April 2019


10 conflicts to watch in 2019 - ICG

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The International Crisis Group has prepared a forecast on conflicts and crises in the world in 2019.

Axar.az reports that, the names of the events that are risky for the world have been announced in the forecast.

1. Yemen

If one place has borne the brunt of international lawlessness over the past year it is Yemen. The humanitarian crisis there – the world’s worst – could deteriorate further in 2019 if the key players do not seize the opportunity created over the past weeks by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in achieving a partial ceasefire and encouraging a series of confidence-building steps.

2. Afghanistan

If Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, Afghanistan suffers its deadliest fighting. In 2018, by one tally, the war killed more than 40,000 combatants and civilians. Trump’s reported decision in mid-December that half of U.S. forces in Afghanistan would leave brought further unease. In principle, Washington’s signal that it is ready to pull out could advance diplomatic efforts to end the war by focusing belligerents’ and regional actors’ minds. But the ad hoc nature of the decision—seemingly made without looping in top officials—and the spectre it raises of the U.S. cutting and running could bode badly for the coming year.

3. U.S.-Chinese Tensions

The standoff between China and the U.S. is not a deadly conflict, no matter how bitter the trade war between Washington and Beijing has become. Still, rhetoric between the two is increasingly bellicose. If relations, already at their lowest ebb since the Tiananmen protests almost three decades ago, continue to deteriorate, the rivalry could have graver geopolitical consequences than all of the other crises listed this year.

4. Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Israel, and Iran

Much like 2018, 2019 presents risks of confrontation – deliberate or inadvertent – involving the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran. The first three share a common view of the government in Tehran as a threat that has been emboldened for too long and whose regional aspirations need curbing. For Washington, this has translated into withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the restoration of sanctions, more aggressive rhetoric, and threats of powerful retaliation in the event of Iranian provocation. Riyadh has embraced this new tone, and – mainly in the voice of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – suggested it will fight back and seek to counter Iran in Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, and even on Iranian soil. Israel has focused on Syria, where it has regularly struck Iranian and Iranian-aligned targets, but it has also threatened to target the Iranian-backed militant group Hizbollah in Lebanon.

5. Syria

As 2018 came to a close, it looked as if the Syrian conflict would continue along the same path. It seemed that the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with Iranian and Russian help, would win its battle against the opposition. The war against the Islamic State would approach the finish line. Foreign actors would maintain a fragile equilibrium in various parts of the country: among Israel, Iran, and Russia in the south west; Russia and Turkey in the north west; and the U.S. and Turkey in the north east. But with a mid-December phone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Trump upended that balance; increased the odds of a bloody conflict involving Turkey, its Syrian allies, Syrian Kurds, and the Assad regime; and, in so doing, potentially gave the Islamic State a new lease on life by fueling the chaos on which it thrives.

6. Nigeria

Nigerians will go to the polls in February 2019 to elect a president and new federal legislature, and again in March to choose state governors and lawmakers. Nigerian elections are traditionally violent affairs, and conditions this time around are particularly combustible.

7. South Sudan

Since South Sudan’s civil war erupted five years ago, 400,000 people have died. In September, President Salva Kiir and his main rival, the former vice president-turned rebel leader Riek Machar, signed an agreement to hold fire and rule together until elections in 2022. The deal satisfies – for now at least – the two antagonists’ interests and those of Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, the two regional leaders with the most sway in South Sudan. Most importantly, it has reduced violence. For now, this is reason enough to support the accord. Yet the odds remain stacked against it ushering in a new era of stability.

8. Cameroon

A crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone areas is on the verge of escalating into civil war and destabilising a country that was once considered an island of relative calm in a troubled region.

9. Ukraine

The war in Ukraine continues to smoulder with no end in sight. Sparked by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its subsequent support for separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, it also fuels the wider geopolitical standoff between Russia and Western powers. The latest flash point is the Sea of Azov, where in November Russian and Ukrainian vessels clashed and Russia effectively blocked access to the Kerch Strait, at the mouth of the sea. The confrontation suggests that neither side sees any advantage in compromising.

10. Venezuela

Home to enormous oil reserves, Venezuela ought to be the envy of its neighbours. Instead Latin America is watching apprehensively as the country’s implosion threatens to provoke a regional crisis.

Date
2019.02.12 / 15:37
Author
Axar.az
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