The Conflict Path Series in the Middle East and Africa Issue no.26 November 2023

Introduction:

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 behaviour 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 26th  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)

Executive Summary

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.

Ethiopia:

A state of security turmoil is prevailing over the Ethiopian scene in some areas. A kind of relative calm had previously prevailed in light of the war on Gaza, but it seems that the situation in Africa will return again to where it was, as the intensity of tensions and unrest increases with attention largely diverted. Partially on what is happening in Gaza, and turning once again to the African continent, in light of the international efforts by various powers to penetrate the continent, where there are Saudi investments, and the Chinese, American and Russian presence. Recently, the latter worked to transfer modern Russian cyber technology to Ethiopia, as an economic card that can Through it, one can immerse oneself strongly in Africa through the Ethiopian portal; So that interests remain the upper hand that governs the paths through which countries move at any time and place.

Sudan:

Eight months of continuous war in Sudan have led to the deaths of thousands, and the displacement of millions of citizens internally and to neighboring countries, amid a set of fears about the continuation of the status quo, within a country that suffers mainly from fragmentation and ethnically motivated conflicts. What requires, first and foremost, alleviating tension and engaging in serious discussions. It leads to a ceasefire and allows humanitarian aid to enter without obstacles, in order to achieve a sustainable solution. The violence must end and the political process must resume. To form a civilian government, and complete the democratic path inside Sudan

Somalia:

The best solution to overcome the political crisis in Puntland over the elections is to negotiate and agree on a consensual formula. To hold the next elections; Given that both parties adhere to their positions, do not make concessions, and give priority to each of them; It will lead to a major political crisis; Therefore, both parties must make concessions and give priority to the public interest. In order to avoid the political conflict turning into an armed conflict, which may lead to many human and material losses, in addition to the deterioration of political and security stability in the state of Puntland. As for Somalia’s accession to the East African Community; It is considered an achievement to facilitate trade between them, and the continuation of the war against the terrorist Al-Shabaab movement may contribute to the liberation of the areas under its control in the near term.

Iraq:

Although American reactions to the targeting of its military bases have not escalated, the situation may change and become more violent if these militias target American diplomatic facilities in the region or kill their soldiers, noting that the impact of these attacks on international coalition bases is limited. Especially since the weapons used by the militias are inaccurate.

In addition, the coalition succeeds in shooting down the drones used by these groups. At the present time, Washington does not want to launch an expanded bombing campaign to direct harsh strikes at these militias, especially in light of the

Israeli war on the Gaza Strip and the fear of a scenario of escalation of the conflict.

Regarding the crisis of Al-Halbousi’s dismissal, there is no doubt that during the next phase there will be transformations in the Sunni political scene, especially since Iraq is on the cusp of important provincial elections, in a way that contributes to strengthening the positive Sunni role and presence towards giving priority to the options of national competition, in a way that serves the unity of Iraqis and their common supreme interests. In development, stability and security, and ensuring the participation and balance of all components.

Yemen:

Although there were previous indicators that suggested that peace was approaching in Yemen before the outbreak of the Israeli war on Gaza, the Houthi participation in this war, through their clear plans to strike any ships or aircraft belonging to Israel located near or on its coasts, or By launching intense and direct missiles towards Israel, it not only affects the course of the war between Israel and Hamas, but also casts a shadow over Yemen, which is experiencing an ongoing civil war, and has caused one of the largest humanitarian crises the world is witnessing, according to United Nations reports.

South Sudan

When we consider the political scene in South Sudan, we find that the Sudanese government, headed by Salva Kiir, is moving towards reforming all political institutions in the country before holding any new elections. An Election Commission, the Council of Political Parties, and the National Commission were formed. In order to review the constitution, and there is international monitoring of these elections by international organizations, and with regard to the economic file, we find that the Sudanese government is moving to pay civil service salaries after they have accumulated for four months. Because of the reforms introduced by the government; Which led to a strong state of dissatisfaction on the part of civil servants. Due to delay in paying their dues.

South Sudan suffers from insecurity. Due to the repercussions of the war in Sudan, the state’s judicial system has been sabotaged, terrorist attacks have increased, and kidnapping and murder rates have increased. On the security level, most of the displaced people to South Sudan are suffering from deteriorating conditions in the camps. Due to the lack of medicine and food, in light of the spread of diseases and epidemics in many camps; Such as dengue fever, which claimed the lives of many individuals. Therefore, all efforts must be combined. In order to provide appropriate food and medicine, and secure the basic needs of refugees.

Syria:

It is clear from the aforementioned developments that Syria is one of the countries most affected by the war in Gaza. As it has become an arena for intense confrontation between the United States and Israel on the one hand and Iran on the other, this has led to a deterioration in the security situation in the country, in addition to the current deviation of Arab interest towards the Palestinian issue at the expense of the Syrian file, which had once again returned to the forefront in recent months. .

Libya:

Over the course of November, the UN envoy to Libya, Abdullah Batili, led movements and consultations with various political parties in the country. He held a series of meetings with political parties and social components from Tripoli to Benghazi. In an attempt to make a breakthrough in the political process, resolve disputes related to election laws, and form a unified government, the UN envoy also met with the heads of the National Unity Government, Abdel Hamid Dabaiba, the Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Manfi, and the Supreme Council of State, Mohamed Takala, before moving east, and meeting with the Speaker of Parliament, Aguila. Saleh, then the commander of the Libyan army, General Khalifa Haftar, and until now, the leaders in Libya have not shown any inclination or desire to agree on controversial issues, most notably electoral laws, and the formation of a unified government.

Lebanon:

The truce concluded between Hamas and Israel had a significant impact in calming the clashes, even in a relative way, between southern

Lebanon and Israel’s northern front, especially since the region witnessed violent clashes, gradually attacking the Lebanese interior and vital centers in the country. This is a violation of international law and a violation of sovereignty. Lebanese.

As for the political file in Lebanon, the political vacuum is entering its second year, without any progress in achieving the electoral entitlement process and unifying the ranks of the political elites, and it is possible that the war in Gaza will be a stumbling block in the way of that file.

Mali:

November witnessed a continuation of the battles between the Malian forces and the Azawad Movements over control of the Azawad region in the north of the country, which have so far ended with the Malian forces regaining control of the city of Kidal. As the escalation continues on both sides, fears of a repeat of the 2012 scenario are increasing. It is expected that, if serious negotiations do not occur between the two parties, Mali will witness an open conflict. As the intensity of the conflict intensifies, the Tuareg in the rest of the region can join the ranks, in addition to… To seek to recruit other elements, in addition to the possibility of Niger and Burkina Faso becoming involved in the conflict. There is a joint military defense agreement between them, which threatens the prolongation and expansion of the conflict.

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