International Crisis Group

Time to Repeal U.S. Sanctions on Sudan?

The clock is ticking for President Trump who must decide by 12 July whether to lift decades-long U.S. sanctions on Sudan. The failure of economic penalties to alter Khartoum’s behaviour so far means Washington should repeal some sanctions and continue a process of conditional engagement.


Poder sin el pueblo: evitando el colapso de Venezuela

La violencia va en aumento en Venezuela y ha costado la vida de 70 personas en más de dos meses de cada vez más enérgicas protestas contra un gobierno que está abandonando la democracia representativa. Los países de la región deben evitar una catástrofe humanitaria presionando al régimen de Maduro para que retire sus planes de elegir una asamblea constituyente fraudulenta el 30 de julio.


Nagorno-Karabakh’s Gathering War Clouds

Armenia and Azerbaijan are once again on collision course along increasingly active front lines in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. Mediators Russia, France and the U.S., should pressure Yerevan and Baku to tone down inflammatory rhetoric, agree to talks and take steps towards peace.

Kenya’s Rift Valley: Old Wounds, Devolution’s New Anxieties

While the chance is small that August 2017 elections ignite a major conflict, county governorship races could well trigger inter-ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley, Kenya’s populous economic heart. The government should train police in non-violent methods that de-escalate crises, and restart grassroots peacebuilding initiatives.


Instruments of Pain (IV): The Food Crisis in North East Nigeria

The humanitarian crisis in north east Nigeria is at risk of growing worse. Almost five million people in the region (8.5 million across the wider Lake Chad basin) are facing severe food insecurity. This primarily is a result of a seven-year-old insurgency by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group, which provoked forced displacement as well as massive infrastructure destruction. But the Nigerian military’s forceful counter-insurgency strategy also was a precipitating factor. Amid this situation, aid agencies are unable to access many of those in need due to security constraints and lack sufficient funding for 2017. They warn that emergency food rations may be cut in weeks, just as the lean season approaches for the vulnerable millions.

Sri Lanka’s Transition to Nowhere

Two years into President Maithripala Sirisena’s term, Sri Lanka’s fragile hopes for lasting peace and cooperation across party and ethnic lines are imperilled. Despite significant achievements in the coalition government’s first nine months, progress on most of its reform agenda has slowed to a crawl or been reversed. As social tensions rise and the coalition slowly fractures, it is unclear whether it can push its signature new constitution through parliament and to a national referendum. Neither the president nor prime minister has made a serious attempt to win support for a more inclusive polity or to reform the national security state to tackle the institutionalised impunity that has fed ethnic unrest and harmed all communities. To protect democratic gains, enable lasting reforms and reduce risks of social and political conflict, the “unity government” should put aside short-term party and individual political calculations and return to a politics of reform and openness.

Blocked Transition: Corruption and Regionalism in Tunisia

The political consensus in place since the late-2014 parliamentary and presidential elections has stabilised Tunisian politics but is beginning to reach its limits. Despite the formation of a national unity government comprising the main political parties, the country suffers from a growing sense of socio-regional exclusion and weakening state authority, which are nurtured by spreading corruption and clientelism. Continuing the democratic transition and achieving economic recovery will require this consensus to be deepened beyond current arrangements between political and union leaders. A new audacious and innovative approach would include influential business personalities, in particular those from marginalised regions whose power in political and social life is hidden but growing.

Instruments of Pain (III): Conflict and Famine in Somalia

Briefing Nº 125 / Africa. Chronic conflict is preventing effective response to Somalia’s prolonged drought and humanitarian crisis. This special briefing, the third in a series of four examining the famine threats there and in Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria, urges Somalia to improve governance and promote countrywide clan reconciliation to end the war.


The PKK’s Fateful Choice in Northern Syria

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates face a stark choice: risk their gains in northern Syria through continued prioritisation of the PKK’s fight against Turkey, or pursue local self-rule in the area they have carved out of the chaos of the Syrian war.


Fighting ISIS: The Road to and beyond Raqqa.

The U.S. campaign against ISIS in northern Syria both benefits from and is complicated by its partnership with an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group fighting against its NATO ally Turkey. The challenges will grow as the war on ISIS moves further east.