Israeli strikes in Syria, 2017 – May 19, 2018

On May 10, 2018, Iran fired a barrage of missiles at the Golan Heights (10 May 2018, NYTimes). This occurred shortly after US President Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear agreement. Israel responded by attacking Iranian military sites in Syria at unprecedented scale, marking an escalation in Israel’s engagement in Syria and its conflict…

Israel’s Disproportionate Use of Force in Gaza

The Great Return March demonstrations (see here for more on this topic) officially began on 30 March 2018 (Land Day) and ended on 15 May 2018 (Nakba Day). These events were meant to reaffirm the right of return of Palestinians in the face of the US decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem, which is…

The Effect on Political Violence of the Turkish Constitutional Referendum

On April 16 of last year, the people of Turkey voted in favor of a constitutional referendum approving a series of amendments which significantly expanded the powers of the presidency, held by Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The referendum resulted in an extremely narrow victory at 51% for and 49% against,…

Islamist Violence in Indonesia

Since May 1, domestic Indonesian Islamist groups that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) launched several attacks — the first violent acts perpetrated by an IS-affiliated group since the January 2016 attacks in central Jakarta. With Indonesia’s IS supporters no longer traveling to the Middle East since the decline of IS activity in Syria…

Election Violence in Indian West Bengal

The ruling Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) secured a comfortable victory in the 2018 West Bengal panchayat (village government) elections on May 14 in India. However, political violence and inadequate security arrangements during the election nomination and polling phases prevented opposition parties and citizens from fulfilling their democratic right to participate in free elections. The different…

The Offensive on Hodeidah

Since the killing of the President of the Supreme Political Council in a Saudi-led coalition airstrike, anti-Houthi militias backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have managed to wrest much of southern Hodeidah governorate from Houthi control, setting the stage for a full-out assault on the port city and sparking fears of increased suffering by…

Regional Overview – Africa 21 May 2018

Key developments on the African continent during the week of May 13th included prolonged incidents of political violence in Libya, Cameroon and CAR; cross-border operations from the DRC; and a number of protests and riots by students and among political party supporters. In Libya, battles intensified in Darnah district between the Libyan armed forces and…

Alleged Chemical Incidents in Syria

Chemical incidents have perhaps been the only consistent factor shaping the United States’ position on the civil war in Syria before and after Trump’s election. A chemical attack on Eastern Ghouta in August 2013 prompted an imminent attack, led by the Obama administration. This was staved off by the Assad regime in an exchange for…

Elections and Sectarianism in Iraq and Lebanon

Since the beginning of May 2018, voters in both Lebanon and Iraq have gone to the polls in historic elections. There have been concerns that these elections could spark violence amongst the participating actors due to sectarian tensions and the divisive political landscapes in these countries — as well as pressures from the Syrian Civil…

The Many Sides of International Peacekeeping in Africa

Of the fourteen United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions currently active around the world, half are based on the African continent. Of these, five—those in Somalia[1], Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo– have ongoing or recently renewed mandates, and a force of over 10,000 personnel, including soldiers and police.…