CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.

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August 2023

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Hundreds of prisoners began mass hunger strike in protest of detention conditions.

Prisoners in Jau prison in south – which incarcerates majority of Bahrain’s 1,200 political prisoners – 7 Aug began hunger strike to demand better conditions, including increased time outside cells and better health and education facilities; by late month, reports suggested more than 800 prisoners had joined action, making it largest prisoner hunger strike in country’s history. In rare demonstrations, villagers 7 Aug in Sanabis, on outskirts of capital Manama, held protest in solidarity with prisoners; protesters also took to streets in downtown Manama.

May 2023

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt advanced ties with Qatar and returned its ambassador to Lebanon, while authorities summoned senior Shiite cleric.

Govt continued normalisation with Qatar and returned ambassador to Lebanon. In sign that normalisation proceeds after pair announced resumption of formal relations in April, Bahrain 15 May announced it was resuming flights to and from Qatar starting 25 May. Govt 20 May said it would restore diplomatic representation at ambassador level in Lebanon, after Gulf countries supported Saudi Arabia in withdrawing ambassadors in Oct 2021 following critical comments made by Lebanon’s then-information minister about Riyadh’s role in war in Yemen.

Authorities detained senior cleric. Police 22 May summoned for interrogation senior Shiite cleric Muhammad Sanqour, as interior ministry accused him of “repeated inflammatory speeches” and “publicly inciting hatred”; during Friday prayers, Sanqour reportedly raised concern about treatment of prisoners. Videos on social media same day showed dozens of protesters expressing solidarity with Sanqour in front of his house. Authorities 25 May released Sanqour.

April 2023

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Bahrain and United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced plans to restore diplomatic ties with Qatar, concluding process to end almost six-year intra-Gulf rift.

Bahrain and UAE announced plans to re-establish formal relations with Qatar. Bahrain and Qatar 13 April revealed intention to restore diplomatic ties after pair held second round of dialogue at Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretariat in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. Shortly afterward, UAE and Qatari officials 18 April told reporters both countries were working to reopen embassies and restore ties; Bahrain and UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, severed ties with Qatar and imposed blockade in June 2017, marking beginning of tense intra-Gulf confrontation lasting until 2021. While announcements mark full resumption of ties between Qatar and all former blockading states, signalling entire GCC’s intent to turn page after 2017-2021 rift, tensions and friction points continue to plague intra-GCC relations, including economic competition between Saudi Arabia and UAE as well as disputes between UAE and Qatar over latter’s alleged ties to Islamists in region.

September 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Country signed historic normalisation deal with Israel. Bahrain and United Arab Emirates (UAE) 15 Sept signed bilateral normalisation agreements with Israel at White House ceremony in Washington DC, U.S.; deal paves way for greater cooperation between two Gulf states and Israel in areas of defence, tourism, trade, and cybersecurity. News of agreement was met with some local opposition, with small protests mid-month erupting across country; 17 political and civil society groups 18 Sept signed petition expressing opposition to agreement; hashtag “Bahrainis Against Normalization” 15 Sept became top trending social media topic in country.

November 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt sent players to Gulf Cup football tournament in Qatar to run 24 Nov-8 Dec, which it had previously planned to boycott.

September 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

During meeting with U.S. President Trump at White House 16 Sept, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa agreed to buy U.S. anti-aircraft weapons system.

August 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

FM al-Khalifa 17 Aug attended signing of Sudanese transitional govt agreement in Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Govt 19 Aug said it would join U.S.-led maritime security initiative for Middle Eastern waterways.

July 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Authorities 27 July executed three people for alleged crimes of terrorism. Rights groups said that two of convicted were Shiite activists who confessed under duress and had faced mass trial.

June 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Following U.S. release of economic component of its Middle East peace plan 22 June, Bahrain hosted U.S.-led conference in Manama 25-26 June aimed at building support for peace plan among Arab states. In Iraq, some 200 demonstrators 27 June stormed Bahrain’s embassy in Iraqi capital, Baghdad in protest against Bahrain’s role in hosting U.S.-led conference; govt same day recalled its ambassador to Iraq.

May 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt 19 May said it would host U.S.-led Palestine investment meeting in Manama 25-26 June, as first part of upcoming U.S.-developed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan; United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia 22 May, and Qatar 25 May, said they would take part.

April 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

In mass trial 139 defendants (of which 60 outside country) convicted of working to establish “Bahraini Hizbollah” 16 April, 138 defendants to be stripped of citizenship and 69 sentenced to death. King Al Khalifa 21 April issued order to restore citizenship to 551 people previously stripped of it, many in mass trials, without giving reason.

February 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt 9 Feb said it would cut costs to meet deficit reduction targets mandated by $10bn aid package from fellow Gulf states agreed Oct 2018 aimed at eliminating budget deficit by 2022.

January 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Highest court 28 Jan upheld life sentence for jailed leader of outlawed Shia opposition society al-Wefaq, Sheikh Ali Salman, accused of spying on behalf of Qatar during 2011 uprising.

December 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Results of 24 Nov parliamentary election released, first such election since govt dissolved opposition groups al-Wefaq in 2016 and Waad in 2017. Younger candidates and women gained significantly, as did newcomers; few incumbents chose to run. High Court 31 Dec upheld five-year jail sentence against human rights activist Nabeel Rajab convicted in Feb over social media posts accusing prison service of torture.

November 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

First round vote for 40 parliamentary seats and 30 municipal council seats since govt dissolved opposition groups al-Wefaq in 2016 and Waad in 2017 held 24 Nov. Opposition disputed official turnout of 67%. In first round parliamentary vote, two of nine winners were incumbents; run-off vote set for 1 Dec to decide remaining 31 seats. In run-up to vote, court 4 Nov sentenced former al-Wefaq leader, Shiite cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, to life in prison on charges of spying for Qatar in 2011, also charging two Bahraini nationals with receiving late Oct illicit Qatari support to fund parliamentary campaigns.

October 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Following killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul 2 Oct, Bahrain 20 Oct made statement supportive of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait 5 Oct signed agreement providing $10bn to Bahrain to support fiscal program aimed at eliminating budget deficit by 2022.

August 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt 16 Aug rejected finding of UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that jailing of activist Nabeel Rajab was “unlawful” and “discriminatory”. Amid ongoing feud with Qatar, govt 21 Aug said it would no longer issue visas to Qataris. Ali Mushaima, son of jailed opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, 1 Aug began hunger strike outside Bahraini embassy in London to protest govt’s alleged refusal to allow his father medical treatment; Hassan Mushaima taken to hospital for cancer scan 28 Aug, but son continued hunger strike end month.

July 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

U.S. 10 July designated al-Ashtar Brigades, Shiite militant group which it characterised as Iranian proxy, as terrorist organisation; Bahrain 16 July praised U.S. decision (see Iran).

June 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

High Court 21 June acquitted leader of banned opposition party al-Wefaq, Sheikh Ali Salman, on charges related to spying for Qatar; but Salman will continue to serve four-year sentence handed down in 2014 for inciting unrest and sectarianism.

May 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

In mass trial of 138 people on terrorism-related charges, High Criminal Court 15 May revoked citizenship of 115 of which 53 were also sentenced to life in prison. Next day Amnesty International condemned move noting that revocation of citizenship turns defendants into stateless people, which violates international law. In separate trials, court 21 and 30 May revoked citizenship of nineteen more people on terrorism charges, bringing total number of revocations in 2018 to 250.

April 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa 26 April commuted death sentences to life in prison for four Shiite detainees accused of forming terror cell.

March 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt 3 March arrested 116 alleged members of network planning attacks on govt, said group was trained and supported by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Civil aviation authority 27 March said two Qatari planes same day entered Bahraini airspace without permission.

February 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Four men arrested 7 Feb for alleged involvement in 10 Nov bombing of oil pipeline 10km south west of capital Manama with Iranian assistance. Prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, already serving two-year term for separate charge, sentenced to five years in prison during his appeal hearing 21 Feb for tweet alleging misconduct by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

January 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Court 15 Jan upheld two-year prison sentence passed in July against human rights activist Nabeel Rajab for “spreading false news”. Court 29 Jan upheld one-year prison sentence for Shia cleric Isa Qassim and confirmed decision to revoke his citizenship.

November 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt said explosion 10 Nov at main oil pipeline 10km south west of capital, Manama, was act of “terrorism” carried out at Iran’s instruction, which Iran denied. Govt 15 Nov also blamed Iran for 2 Oct attack on police bus, which killed one. Appeals court 22 Nov upheld two-year prison sentence against human rights activist Nabil Rajab, passed 10 July, for “spreading false news”.

October 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Blast near capital Manama 2 Oct injured five policemen. Unidentified assailants attacked police bus west of capital Manama 27 Oct killing one policeman. Rights monitor 22 Oct said govt released three human rights activists, including Ebtisam al-Sayegh detained since 3 July. Amnesty International 30 Oct reported that three relatives of Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei, critic of govt living in exile, had been sentenced to three years in prison in “grossly unfair trail”. FM al-Khalifa 30 Oct said Gulf Cooperation Council should freeze Qatar’s membership until country accepts demands of other Arab states imposing blockade.

September 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Amnesty International 7 Sept accused govt of using repressive tactics including arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence on over 160 govt critics between June 2016 and June 2017; govt said report “inaccurate”. Govt 18 Sept accused Qatar of seizing fifteen Bahraini fishing boats since 2009 including three 16-18 Sept with at least sixteen civilians on board; Qatar confirmed it had detained fishing boats that had entered its territorial waters and said it would soon release sailors.

July 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Human rights campaigner Ebtissam al-Saegh arrested 3 July after reposting tweets critical of authorities and charged with spreading “fake news” under terrorism law 18 July. Hospitalised human rights activist Nabeel Rajab sentenced in absentia to two years’ prison for “spreading false news” 10 July, following one-year pre-trial detention.

June 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Alongside Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states govt 5 June cut diplomatic relations and air and sea links with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and cosying up to Iran. Govt 8 June criminalised showing “sympathy” for Qatar, arrested human rights lawyer Issa al-Burshaid for filing lawsuit against authorities over Qatar blockade mid-June. Unclaimed bombing 18 June killed policeman in Diraz, home village of prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim, after security forces deployed there late May to “enforce general order”.

May 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim sentenced to one-year suspended prison term including for money laundering 21 May. Security forces 23 May deployed to “enforce general order” in Qassim’s home village Diraz in north west where his supporters were holding sit-in protest; five protesters killed in clashes and over 280 arrested. In first application of constitutional amendment approved by King Khalifa in April that military courts can try civilians, govt 10 May said military court would try two civilians for “terrorism”. Court 31 May ordered dissolution of opposition group Waad for “supporting terrorism”.

April 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Following votes in lower and upper houses of parliament in Feb and March, King Khalifa 3 April approved constitutional amendment that would allow govt to try civilians in military courts. Court of Cassation same day overturned nine-year sentence for opposition al-Wefaq movement leader Sheikh Ali Salman, restored original four-year sentence for inciting unrest and sectarianism.

March 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Police 3 March said it had arrested 25 members of “terrorist cell” reportedly responsible for bombings in and around capital Manama in Feb including senior member of opposition group al-Wefaq Hassan Isa; 29 March two alleged members sentenced to death. In separate case, court sentenced three alleged terrorists to death 23 March. Justice ministry 6 March filed lawsuit to dissolve opposition group Waad accusing it of “supporting terrorism”; group accused govt of undermining opposition. Police 20 March charged former head of Waad, Ebrahim Sharif, with “inciting hatred” against govt.

February 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Demonstrators clashed with police 14 Feb, sixth anniversary of 2011 uprising. Security forces mid-Feb arrested twenty alleged terrorists in Shiite villages, triggering protests. Police 21 Feb allegedly killed man evading arrest, sparking protest in Nuwaidrat village, 15km south of Manama. Govt reported unclaimed bombings in and around Manama 5, 14, 23 Feb causing no casualties; 26 Feb said unclaimed blast injured five police. Court of Cassation 6 Feb reportedly denied appeal by main Shiite opposition group al-Wefaq against its dissolution for terrorism-related charges. Council of Representatives, parliament’s lower house, 21 Feb approved constitutional amendment that would allow govt to try civilians in military courts.

January 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Three Shiite men executed 15 Jan for killing three policemen in 2014; Shiite opposition activists and Iran condemned executions, first in twenty years. Authorities suspended Shiite-led opposition-linked online newspaper for threatening national unity. Gunmen 1 Jan attacked prison in Jau, south of capital Manama, freeing several inmates and killing one policeman.

December 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Security forces 21 Dec clashed with supporters of prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim gathered near his home to prevent his arrest and deportation; govt revoked his citizenship in May for promoting sectarianism. Court 12 Dec upheld nine-year sentence of opposition Shiite cleric Ali Salman.

October 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Court 17 Oct overturned nine-year sentence of opposition al-Wefaq movement leader Sheikh Ali Salman handed down for allegedly advocating forceful regime change, and called for retrial. Journalist Faisal Hayyat reportedly detained 9 Oct for alleged defamatory tweet.

September 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Appeals court 22 Sept upheld ruling to dissolve main al-Wefaq Shiite opposition group. Authorities 5 Sept brought new charges against detained rights activist and opposition leader Nabeel Rajab including spreading rumours and undermining prestige of kingdom.

August 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt crackdown on dissent targeted Shia clerics, including court sentencing 18 Aug of Sheikh Ali Humaidan to one year in prison for taking part in “illegal gathering” in Diraz village. UN rights experts 16 Aug urged govt to stop persecution of Shias.

July 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

High Civil Court 17 July ordered dissolution of main Shiite opposition al-Wefaq group and seizure of its funds, after suspending its activities in June; U.S., UK and UN condemned move. Prosecutor 17 July charged Nazeeha Saeed, correspondent for French media, for working without license. Trial of prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim opened 27 July on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism”.

June 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain

Govt crackdown on dissent intensified. Authorities 13 June detained prominent rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab for disseminating false news. Court suspended activities of main Shiite opposition al-Wefaq party 14 June on charges of “terrorism, extremism, and violence” until verdict passed on its dissolution. Govt 20 June stripped Shiite cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim of citizenship for promoting sectarianism, provoked protests; Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander and Iranian foreign ministry condemned move.

May 2016

Middle East & North Africa

Bahrain