How are civilians killed in Syria?

The measures and modes of civilian killing in Syria differ from most other conflicts. Specifically, direct civilian killing seems relatively uncommon at 2.4% of all recorded events, compared to 25-40% in a typical African conflict. What explains this? Two factors are responsible: the availability of advanced technology and frequent remote violence in Syria including air…

Islamic State in Afghanistan

Islamic State’s “Khorasan Branch” continues to have a significant presence in Afghanistan after appearing for the first time in 2014. The group has consolidated its position in the southeastern quadrant of Afghanistan, centered around its “home base” of Nangarhar Province in the time period from early 2017 to late 2017 / early 2018. The map…

Demonstrations Across Iran

Beginning on 28 December 2017, a wave of demonstrations swept across Iran. Protests started in the city of Mashhad, Iran’s second most populous city and one of its most important religious centers, and rapidly spread into other major towns including Nishabur, Kashmar, Birjand, Noshahr, and Yazd. The events were initially motivated by widespread frustration with…

Tensions Flare in the DR-Congo

In DR-Congo, signs of a perfect storm are emerging: local conflict is flaring in the North East, continued demonstrations are occuring in urban areas, state repression of protesters is leading to increased fatalities, new militia actors and coalition are forming and joining with typical violence agents, international security groups are being targeted by rebel organizations…

Will the Ethiopian government be open to democratic reforms despite this week’s emergency declaration?

Signs of a political thaw in Ethiopia have taken a sharp reversal. Despite the government’s amnesty of 6,000 political prisoners in January, protests against the Tigray-led regime in the Oromio Region have spread into the Amhara and Southern Nations regions (Financial Times, 17 February 2018) (see Figure 1). That amnesty came after ‘political re-education’ in…