Conflict update: January 20 2017

Site Update

The rest of January is going to be a difficult one for regular blogging. We have guests in from out of town who are participating in tomorrow’s march in DC, and while things will return to normal early next week, I’ll be traveling at the end of the week for family reasons. Tonight’s post will be short because, well, not that much has happened today and also because it’s too hectic around here right now to write a lengthy post.

The Gambia

In the end, Yahya Jammeh backed down pretty quietly, and it’s likely that he didn’t have much choice. Faced with a West African invasion force on Gambian soil and virtually no support from any corner (the commander of the Gambian military declared his allegiance to new President Adama Barrow earlier in the day), Jammeh announced in a speech this evening that he would step down. He will likely leave The Gambia in a matter of days, but his final disposition is unclear. This isn’t entirely over yet–Jammeh could always change his mind again–but at this point it looks like the crisis will end without a shot being fired in anger. That’s about as good an outcome as anybody could have wished.


A ceasefire has reportedly gone into effect in Wadi Barada, allowing repair teams to once again get into the area to try to restore water to Damascus. The ceasefire was reached after Bashar al-Assad’s forces had made significant military gains and reads more like a rebel capitulation than a true ceasefire, with its offers of amnesty and plans for evacuating intransigent rebel fighters to Idlib.


Doctors Without Borders is saying that the death toll from Tuesday’s mistaken Nigerian air strike (there are some serious questions that need to be answered as to how any pilot could have made that particular mistake) on a camp for displaced persons in northeastern Nigeria is at least 90 and could rise to 170. Compounding the situation, a group of perhaps 100 Boko Haram fighters attacked the same camp earlier today, though they were repelled by Nigerian soldiers.

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