Syria: reactions in the region

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Reports especially from Washington and London suggests that we are moving rapidly towards military action in Syria, possibly a one-off attack by cruise missiles intended to deter the Syrian government from using chemical weapons. The British Parliament has been recalled and will debate Syria tomorrow 29 August. Reactions in the region have of course been …

Syria: poison gas and its consequences

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UN weapons inspectors are continuing their work for a second day investigating the chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus. Expert reports published so far are inconclusive. An AFP report describes shocking evidence of suffering and death. ‘But specialists in the impact of chemical weapons said the video evidence was not entirely …

Libya: still on the edge

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Sporadic violence including assassinations, probable vengeance killings, continues. The government is making a more consolidated effort to enforce security, but still with only limited effect. A Reuters report quotes Henry Smith of Control Risks: "Libya is essentially beholden to local and regional interest groups… The government doesn't really have the coercive capacity to be able to …

Bahrain: peaceful confrontation

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With political violence much reduced, tension in Bahrain largely centres on claims and counterclaims about the extent to which changes recommended by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry have been put into effect, for example police reform including video and audio recording of police interviews. A police officer was reported to have been killed by a home-made bomb …

Egypt: the Muslim Brotherhood

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Mass protests called by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood for Friday 23 mostly failed to materialise. Events in Egypt, and in particular the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood, will influence events throughout the Arab world and in Israel. We thank Conflicts Forum for their weekly comment circulated on 23 August which describes as "perhaps the most significant …

Yemen: fighting, drones, refugees – and dialogue

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Violence in Yemen continues. For example 13 people were reported killed on 19 August in Amran governorate north of Sanaa in tribal clashes between Houthis and Islah using heavy weapons . On 21 August the intelligence chief in Aden in the South was murdered along with his nephew by unknown gunmen. The US …

Israel: a villa in the jungle

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In an article in the Guardian of 20 August  the Israeli journalist Aluf Benn describes the normality of life in Israel contrasting with a deadly crackdown on protests in Egypt, civil war in Syria, car bombs in Lebanon, a refugee crisis in Jordan and sectarian war in Iraq. Israel has never appeared so …

Egypt: the military hunker down

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Fast-moving developments in Egypt continue to leave both media comment and international reaction trailing behind. Over 1,000 people have been killed in the last week. 36 Islamists arrested by the military were killed "attempting to escape", and 24 policemen were killed in Sinai, according to some reports execution-style. Muhammad Badi, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood …

Lebanon: Hizbullah versus al-Qa’ida?

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A car bomb in the Shia southern suburb of Beirut Bir al-Abed on 9 July wounded over 50 people. On 15 August a second probable car bomb in Dahieh also a Shia area close to the Sayyid al-Shuhada complex where Hizbullah often holds mass rallies killed 22 people and injured at least 300 according to the Lebanese …

Security in the Sahara

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Since the French intervention Operation Serval in Mali in January and the In Amenas raid in the Algerian Sahara in which 39 foreign hostages were killed also in January there have been no security incidents in the Sahara which have caught the world's headlines. But there are regular reports of minor clashes and Sahara security remains a …