Crisis Alerts: Chad, Kenya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Zimbabwe

According to the new Crisis Watch No. 54 report, released 1 February, seven actual or potential situations have deteriorated around the world in January 2008.

Post-election violence in Kenya escalated, increasingly along ethnic lines. Over 900 have reportedly been killed since the 27 December presidential poll. At the same time, mediation efforts led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan gathered momentum.

In Chad, 300 rebel vehicles under apparent unified command advanced towards N’Djamena at the end of the month. Zimbabwe’s SADC-sponsored mediation initiative between the government and the opposition MDC collapsed when President Mugabe set elections for 29 March despite MDC insistence they be postponed until the country adopted a new constitution. The Islamist-led insurgency in Somalia spread beyond Mogadishu, while continued fighting in the capital intensified.

Deadly clashes between Yemeni government forces and Al-Houthi Shiite rebels killed 30 and signaled an end to the June 2007 ceasefire. The political and security situation in Lebanon deteriorated further with the 25 January assassination of Captain Wissam Eid, deadly fighting between the army and Shia protesters in southern Beirut on 27 January, and still no president. In Sri Lanka, the government formally ended its ceasefire with LTTE rebels, and military operations intensified with heavy losses.

For February 2008, CrisisWatch identifies Chad, Lebanon and Pakistan as Conflict Risk Alerts, or situations at particular risk of new or significantly escalated conflict in the coming month. It identifies Uganda as a Conflict Resolution Opportunity. Kenya is identified as both a Conflict Risk Alert and a Conflict Resolution Opportunity.

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