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Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - June 2014

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees, Articles:Peacemaking | Published: 03/07/2014 | Views: 2259
6 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in June 2014. Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Yemen

Iraq, Sunni jihadis fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured large swathes of territory in the north west. Large numbers of security forces fled their posts, leaving militants in control of several major cities including Mosul, while Kurdish forces seized control of Kirkuk. The mobilisation of thousands of Shiites into militias and their large-scale rallies across Baghdad exacerbate the danger of sectarian conflict escalating. The U.S. and Iran moved quickly to support the Iraqi government; the former deployed an aircraft carrier and military advisers and the latter reportedly sent ground troops.

Kenya suffered further terrorist attacks. At least 58 were killed mid-month in an attack on Mpeketoni town in Kenya's east, and scores more in attacks on nearby Witu and Poromoko towns in the following days. Moderate Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammed Idris was shot dead in Mombasa on 10 June, the fourth prominent cleric to be killed in the city since 2012. Meanwhile, deadly clan clashes continued to escalate in Wajir and Mandera counties in northern Kenya.

Pakistan: An attack on Karachi international airport in early June, claimed by the Pakistani Taliban as well as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, killed scores and provoked an intensification of the army's bombing campaign of alleged militant hideouts in the north west. A ground invasion of the North Waziristan region followed in late-June - hundreds were killed and hundreds of thousands fled the region. U.S. drone strikes picked up again after a six-month pause and several strikes hit suspected militant compounds in North Waziristan.

Somalia: Al-Shabaab attacks throughout June saw the militant group recapture several recently liberated villages in south-central Somalia, displacing thousands. With the onset of Ramadan, Al-Shabaab is expected to intensify its guerilla offensives. Clan conflict in Lower Shabelle intensified as militias clashed over the formation of a federal South West State of Somalia. Divisions between clans are ripe for exploitation by Al-Shabaab, risking the formation of alliances against the Somali National Army and AMISOM. (See our recent briefing on Al-Shabaab.)

Sri Lanka: Two days of anti-Muslim violence erupted when supporters of radical Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) attacked Muslim businesses, homes and mosques in the south-western coastal towns of Aluthgama and Beruwela. The attacks followed a BBS rally where its Buddhist monk leader threatened Muslims with violence and which left at least four dead and 80 injured. The government's response was feeble: heavily armed police and army failed to stop violence even after curfew was declared and made no arrests of BBS activists. Government statements downplayed the attacks and blamed Muslims for initiating violence by attacking BBS marchers. (See a recent interview on Sri Lanka's religious violence).

Yemen's transition is gradually unravelling due to unprecedented security and economic challenges, partly caused by political infighting and weak consensus on national dialogue results. Several attempts to reach a ceasefire between the army and Huthi rebels failed, while fighting in the north killed hundreds (see our recent report on Yemen). The country's economic crisis meanwhile worsened. Tribal sabotage of the electrical grid left Sanaa without fuel or electricity for several days in early June, prompting mass protests calling for the overthrow of the government.

Unchanged Situations: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China (internal), China/Japan, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Korean Peninsula, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Somaliland, South China Sea, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe

Improved Situations: None

July 2014 Outlook - Conflict Risk Alert: Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Somalia

Conflict Resolution Opportunity: None   Read the full report CrisisWatch N°131

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