Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bougainville Votes to Leave Papua New Guinea

Where is Bougainville island located? Map of Bougainville's location within Papua New Guinea.
Bougainville (in red) is currently part of Papua New Guinea.
(modified from a public-domain UN map)

Independence option wins in Bougainville referendum

Three weeks ago we reported on Bougainville's independence referendum - a non-binding vote on whether to split from Papua New Guinea and become a separate country.

After two weeks of voting, the results are finally in: More than 98% of Bougainvilleans have voted in favor of independence.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Syrian Civil War Map & Timeline - November 2019 (Subscription)


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Research by Djordje Djukic. Map by, Evan Centanni, and Djordje Djukic

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Map of Syrian Civil War (Syria control map): Territorial control in Syria in November 2019 (Free Syrian Army rebels, Kurdish YPG, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS / Al-Nusra Front), Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), and others). Includes Turkish/TFSA control, joint SDF-Assad control, US deconfliction zone, and Turkey-Russia demilitarized buffer zone, plus recent locations of conflict and territorial control changes, including Ras al-Ayn, Tel Abyad, Ayn Issa, and more. Colorblind accessible. In the past month, Turkey and its allies have further consolidated their chunk of territory in northern Syria, while the Assad-loyal Syrian military has deployed along most of the rest of the border, in line with the Russia-brokered agreement for a "safe zone" free of Kurdish militia fighters.

See all this and more on the latest update to PolGeoNow's concise, professional Syrian Civil War control map, which includes a timeline of changes since our previous Syria map report in October, with sources cited.

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Exclusive map report includes:
  • NEW: Special symbols for joint Turkish/rebel control and joint SDF/government control, so you can track Turkey's intervention in the border region
  • Up-to-date illustration of current territorial control in Syria, color-coded for the Assad government, rebel groups, "Islamic State" (ISIS/ISIL) fighters, and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Colorblind accessible.
  • Extent of "buffer zone" sponsored by Turkey and Russia in the rebel-held northwest
  • Outline showing approximate location of the one publicly-known US "deconfliction zone"
  • Special symbols indicating towns dominated by rebels of the former Al Qaeda Nusra Front (now Hayat Tahrir al-Sham or HTS) and by the Kurdish YPG militia (part of the SDF anti-IS coalition).
  • Detailed indication of city-by-city control, including key towns and other locations important to current events.
  • Locations of recent control changes and other important events, including Ras al-Ayn, Tel Abyad, Ayn Issa, and more.
  • Detailed timeline of important events and changes to territorial control since October 27, 2019, compiled by our Syria-Iraq expert, with links to sources. 


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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ethiopia's Sidama Zone Votes to Become Regional State

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Political map of Ethiopia's regional states, highlighting Sidama Zone, which in November 2019 voted to split off from the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR) to become a new regional state.

Sidama Referendum Passes

Last week, we reported on a status referendum in southern Ethiopia, where the Sidama Zone was voting on whether to secede from the country's Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR).

Over the weekend, the Ethiopian government announced that the referendum had passed by a very large margin: According to preliminary results, an enormous 98.5% of voters chose increased self-rule. (Voter turnout was also reported to be extremely high, at 99.8%.)

Ethiopia's government has signaled that it plans to respect the result, making the Sidama Zone into the country's tenth self-governing "regional state". This comes despite warnings that Sidama's promotion will supercharge campaigns for statehood in other regions, which could lead to a cascade of mini-secessions that would shake up Ethiopia's administrative structure and politics.

But the Sidama Zone won't become a state immediately - there will likely be a long, contentious process, which requires an amendment to Ethiopia's constitution. One major issue is that the SNNPR's capital city, Hawassa, is located inside the Sidama Zone. If it's going to become the capital of the Sidama Region instead, then the SNNPR will have to find a new capital and move all its government institutions there.

Sidama will become the second-smallest of the Ethiopia's regional states, after the Harari People's National Regional State (the cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa aren't considered regional states, even though they stand separately from the other regions). Its promotion will also create a new state-level exclave - a part of a state that's not connected to the rest of the state - by cutting off the Gedeo Zone to its south from the rest of the SNNPR.

Want to know when these changes actually happen? You'll hear about it here on PolGeoNow!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Libya Civil War Map & Timeline - November 2019

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Libya updates.

Libya civil war map: Who controls what? A concise, professional map of who controls Libya now (November 2019). Shows detailed territorial control in the Libyan Civil War as of September 27, 2019, including all major parties (Government of National Accord (GNA); Tobruk House of Representatives, General Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), and allies; Tuareg and Toubou (Tebu, Tubu) militias in the south; the so-called Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL); and other groups such as the National Salvation Government (NSG)). Includes recent locations of interest including Yarmouk Camp, Murzuq, Aziziya, and more. Colorblind accessible.
Base map by Koen Adams of, with territorial control by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic.
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Timeline by Djordje Djukic

Map of Libya: Current Situation

In the time since our previous Libya control map update at the end of September, fighting has raged on around the country's capital city of Tripoli between forces loyal to the two main competing governments. The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) has continued to consolidate footholds around the capital, but still hasn't managed to turn the tables enough to capture the city itself from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Meanwhile, forces of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) are still present in the Libyan desert despite the death of their organization's leader in Syria last month.