Conflicts in the Middle East and Africa are a reflection of the complexity of protracted conflicts; The way in which they interact, their longevity, the behavior and demands of the perpetrators, the parties’ terms of settlement, the dynamism of which they are characterized, and the intensity of their competition reflect their complexity.
This complexity increases as these conflicts interact with global changes s interests become more overlapping and complex, and the challenges surrounding political settlements increase in order to increase the importance of careful follow-up and analysis of such interactions as to enable us to set the record straight for choosing the most appropriate policies and preparing for the scenarios presented, In this number, together with tracking regional conflicts, we are approaching their internal interlinkages and international and regional interaction.
The 24th issue of the Shaf Centre’s monthly Conflict Trail Report highlights the Middle East and Africa arena of conflict States, tracking important issues, highlights and local, regional and international interactions. The report covers the conflict situation in 10 States (Ethiopia, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon and Mali)
Before we shed light on developments in the situation of conflict in the regions to be dealt with, the situation of conflict in the 10 States of concern is broadly presented before proceeding to the detailed report.
It appears that the political situation and possibly economic partnerships in Ethiopia are placing themselves in a closed circle, largely unaffected by the turbulent security situation in the country. What’s surprising is that in the midst of escalating conflicts in the Amhara region and a food crisis in Tigray leading to numerous deaths due to famine, Ethiopia seems to be moving forward, whether it’s regarding the filling of the Renaissance Dam and ongoing negotiations on this issue or the expansion of Russian and other companies looking to form economic partnerships in Addis Ababa, as seen with Lada, to launch into African markets. It’s as if the country is split into two divergent paths, raising the question of whether this is a strong political will or a nation accustomed to long-standing disruptions and tensions, enabling it to adapt and achieve various accomplishments in different areas.
Diplomatic and regional efforts continue to address the Sudanese crisis. Implementing the roadmap, achieving a ceasefire, and making progress in negotiations are deemed essential steps to resolve this ongoing conflict. Simultaneously, addressing humanitarian challenges
and providing support to neighboring countries hosting refugees is crucial. Achieving peace in Sudan is not just a regional challenge but an international responsibility, requiring effective cooperation from the international community and neighboring nations. The situation in Sudan affects the stability of the entire region, making joint efforts to resolve the crisis necessary for achieving peace and stability in this pivotal country in the African century.
Security challenges remain one of the foremost issues facing Somalia. Armed conflicts and widespread violence persist in certain regions, with extremist groups posing a serious threat to national and regional security. The current security situation necessitates ongoing international cooperation to combat terrorism and enhance Somali security capabilities.
The confrontation between government forces and Al-Shabaab continues, with the Somali army and its allies shifting their focus from cities and towns to villages, aiming to clear them of militants before advancing into urban areas. Overall, the security landscape garners broader attention compared to the political and humanitarian aspects, given the recurring nature of conflicts extending throughout Somalia
The crisis in the city of Kirkuk has been the prominent issue over the past month, affecting the internal situation in Iraq in several ways.
Among these impacts is the escalation of tensions among the city’s diverse components, as protests resulted in road closures, injuries, and human losses.
Furthermore, the tensions in Kirkuk have increased security challenges in the region due to concerns about the escalation of protests and threats to public safety and peace in Iraq. These events have underscored the importance of finding peaceful and political solutions to these issues and enhancing dialogue and understanding among the different components of Iraqi society to contribute to the stability and unity of the country.
There are indications that peace in Yemen may be approaching, especially with strong regional and international interest in this direction, given global developments and regional aspirations for stability in the area. However, this desire and commitment may clash with the Houthi stubbornness, as is often the case with this group. The likelihood of the Houthis fully embracing peace may not reach the ideal level to secure a suitable peaceful environment where any agreements reached can be effectively implemented on the ground.
The arrangements for the electoral process and the focus on strengthening state institutions continue to dominate the internal scene in South Sudan. Additionally, the state is working to enhance economic conditions through cooperative partnerships with relevant partners, contributing to economic revitalization within the country. On the other hand, the Sudanese crisis continues to have repercussions on South Sudan, especially in humanitarian terms, as more refugees flow into the country to escape the conflict in Sudan.
Regarding the external perspective, President Salva Kiir plays an active role in promoting cooperative relations between South Sudan and other countries. This was evident during his visit to Russia, reflecting mutual interest in enhancing cooperation in various fields. Furthermore, he had a prominent presence at the
United Nations General Assembly meetings, where he highlighted the state’s efforts across various sectors to achieve sustainable development.
The Syrian situation continues to become more complex and dire, which will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the Arab-Syrian normalization process and the Syrian-Turkish normalization process. The ongoing internal conflicts among various actors are likely to hinder any political efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis. Arab states have collectively decided on Syria’s return to the Arab League, but with the Syrian Democratic Forces still in control of northern Syria, a Syrian-Turkish normalization seems distant. All of these factors contribute to the continuation of the Syrian crisis without a resolution
It appears that the parties involved in the Libyan crisis have not managed to put aside their differences and coordinate efforts to deal with the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Daniel. Instead, they have rushed to present themselves as the primary actors in relief efforts or to
accuse the “other side” of negligence and neglect. Alongside these conflicting accusations regarding who is responsible for what happened, there is a notable information war, even though crisis management calls for the development of successful communication strategies.
Therefore, the tragedy in Derna is likely to significantly impact various aspects
within Libya. The Derna catastrophe serves as a “serious indicator” for all political bodies in the country, as they bear full responsibility for the disaster that has befallen the nation.
Against the backdrop of political vacuum and economic turmoil in Lebanon, security conditions are also deteriorating. This is particularly evident after the breach of the ceasefire by Palestinian extremist factions in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, leading to gunfire spilling over into the center of Sidon. Extremist groups are increasingly targeting Lebanese army positions. With the current political turmoil in
Lebanon and Hezbollah’s insistence on not making any concessions regarding the Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shuba Hills issue, it is expected that the US mediation attempt, known as the “Hockstein” initiative, will likely fail. This is due to the political void in Lebanon and Hezbollah’s determination not to compromise, as well as the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, which is known for its hardline stance on the issue of demarcating the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Regarding the renewal of UNIFIL forces, the recent extension and expansion of its mandate in the south is seen as an American attempt to curb Hezbollah’s activities in the region, using this decision as leverage against the group and one of its main strongholds, especially after the recent tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, accompanied by continuous threats against Hezbollah.
Mali has witnessed a resurgence of conflict between the Coordination of Azawad Movements seeking independence and the
Malian army since late August. This conflict marks the first of its kind since the 2012 conflict for control over the region, indicating a violation of the Algiers Peace Agreement signed in 2015. The Azawad movements have accused the Malian government of neglecting the development of their region, leaving it vulnerable to rising violence and terrorist activities by groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, due to the security vacuum created by the withdrawal of French forces and now the departure of the UN mission MINUSMA.