03 July 2009

Conflict Horizon - Issue #3

In June 2009, nine actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved.

IRAN: Widespread unrest broke out after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory in the 12 June presidential election was widely denounced as fraudulent, sparking the largest mass protests in the country since 1979. Nationwide street rallies were met with an increasingly harsh security crackdown resulting in several deaths, and sporadic unrest continued throughout the month. Amid open splits in the ruling elite over endorsement of the results and the future of the Islamic republic, leading activists and opposition figures were arrested and defeated candidates placed under heavy surveillance.

THAILAND: Inter-communal tensions and violence flared in the largely Malay Muslim South, with attacks and killings on an almost daily basis. Prime Minister Abhisit has promised to tackle the escalating insurgency through development rather than security measures and said the government is prepared to consider some form of special administrative structure in the South to better address the concerns of Malay Muslims as long as it is consistent with the core principle of a unitary Thai state.

SOMALIA: The situation also deteriorated in Somalia, where fighting between a resurgent Islamist alliance and government forces left scores dead in clashes across south and central regions. At least 122,000 civilians have been displaced in Mogadishu alone since fighting escalated in early May. Somalia’s increasingly fragile government has since declared a state of emergency, and issued calls for external assistance to stem attacks.

HONDURAS: In Honduras President Zelaya was ousted by a military coup sparked by his attempts to remove presidential term limits through a referendum. Fears for stability also increased in Niger, as President Tandja continued his damaging bid to extend his tenure by assuming wide-ranging emergency powers and dissolving the constitutional court.

Guinea-Bissau: Several leading politicians were killed and arrested ahead of the 28 June presidential elections.

The situation also deteriorated in North Caucasus, Georgia and Peru over June.