Tracking Conflict Worldwide
Outlook for This Month March 2021
Conflict Risk Alerts
Trends for Last Month February 2021
Conflict in Focus
CrisisWatch warns of three conflict risks in March.
A deadlocked electoral process in Somalia could fuel more violence after deadly clashes erupted between security forces and opposition supporters in February.
Following heavy fighting in the Central African Republic between the army and a rebel coalition, runoff and re-run elections on 14 March could prove to be a dramatic flashpoint.
The Huthis’ intensified offensive in Yemen’s Marib governorate could trigger further mass displacement, aggravating the humanitarian crisis, and spark renewed armed conflict in the south and along the Red Sea coast.
Looking back to February, our monthly conflict tracker highlights deteriorations in eight countries and conflict areas.
In Myanmar, following the 1 February military coup which set off the biggest political crisis in a generation, police crackdowns on pro-democracy mass protests killed dozens.
Haiti’s constitutional crisis took a deadly turn after security forces violently suppressed opposition protests calling on President Moïse to step down.
In Nigeria, armed groups abducted hundreds in the north west, while intercommunal tensions ran high in the south as the farmer-herder conflict continued to rage.
CrisisWatch also highlights an improved situation in Libya. In an unexpected breakthrough, Libyan representatives at UN-led talks elected a unified transitional leadership to guide the fractured country to general elections in December.
International Criminal Court (ICC) opened door to potential probe into alleged war crimes, Israel continued de facto annexation of West Bank, and Palestinian factions prepared for elections. In major decision, ICC 5 Feb ruled it has jurisdiction to investigate war crimes that may have been committed in occupied Palestinian territories; U.S. same day expressed “serious concerns” about ICC ruling while PM Netanyahu 6 Feb called it “pure antisemitism”. In West Bank, Israeli forces 1, 3 Feb demolished Bedouin Humsah al Fouqa village for second time, displacing over 130 inhabitants. NGO Jewish National Fund 11 Feb shifted policy, authorising official and direct purchase of West Bank land to expand existing Israeli settlements in Area C or adjacent areas. Israeli settler 5 Feb shot dead Palestinian man near Ras Karkar village. Ahead of Palestinian legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 22 May and 31 July, respectively, representatives of fourteen Palestinian factions at meeting in Egyptian capital Cairo 7-9 Feb agreed to form unity govt following elections; Palestinian Authority President Abbas also formed “electoral court” with jurisdiction over electoral process. To unify party, senior Fatah official 11 Feb attempted to convince imprisoned popular leader Marwan Barghouti not to run for president. Central Elections Committee 17 Feb announced 2.6mn voters (93%) registered to vote in West Bank and Gaza, excluding Jerusalem residents. After Abbas 20 Feb issued decree on public freedoms, Hamas 25 Feb released 45 Fatah-affiliated prisoners. In Gaza, authorities 17 Feb received shipment of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine after Israeli authorities delayed shipment. Egypt 9 Feb opened Rafah border crossing with Gaza indefinitely. Hamas 19 Feb held internal leadership elections. Meanwhile, Israel’s political parties 4 Feb completed electoral slates ahead of 23 March elections. Netanyahu 8 Feb pleaded not guilty in corruption trial. Israel and Syria 18 Feb concluded Russian-mediated prisoner exchange, involving release of Israeli woman and two Syrian shepherds. Israel 3, 15 and 28 Feb reportedly launched airstrikes in southern Syria (see Syria). After explosion 25-26 Feb hit Israeli-owned cargo ship in Gulf of Oman, causing material damage, Defence Minister Benny Gantz 27 Feb suggested “likelihood” of Iranian involvement.
Lebanon Govt formation efforts remained stalled while gunmen killed prominent activist and Hizbollah critic, raising fears of wave of political assassinations. Govt formation remained at standstill amid gulf between PM-designate Hariri and President Aoun on cabinet proposed by Hariri in Dec; leaked list of candidates 17 Feb showed individuals with no political background and some listed without having been consulted. During 9 Feb visit to capital Beirut, Qatari FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani raised “comprehensive economic program to support Lebanon” once govt formation completed. Amid French-led efforts to establish new govt, Hariri and French President Macron 10 Feb met to discuss situation. Unidentified assailants 3 Feb allegedly abducted Shiite political activist and Hizbollah critic Lokman Slim near Srifa, southern Lebanon; Slim next day found dead from gunshot wounds near Sidon. Following death, activists and supporters of Slim warned of return to 2004-2013 era of political assassinations while many blamed Hizbollah, which 4 Feb condemned killing; Aoun same day called for investigation. Meanwhile, Lebanese army by 4 Feb arrested 30 demonstrators in Tripoli city on riot charges for alleged role in Jan unrest. Court of cassation 18 Feb dismissed Judge Fadi Sawan in charge of investigation into deadly Beirut port blast last Aug; families of victims 18-19 Feb protested decision outside Palace of Justice. Govt 14 Feb began rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations; concerns over fairness of distribution 23 Feb surfaced amid reports of lawmakers receiving preferential access to vaccinations, prompting World Bank to warn it would suspend COVID-19 support if violation of terms of agreement confirmed. UN Security Council 20 Feb extended funding for special tribunal investigating 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Rafik Hariri. Hizbollah 1 Feb claimed it downed Israeli drone, ten days after Israel claimed it shot down drone that allegedly entered its airspace from Lebanon.
Russia brokered deal to end standoff between regime and Kurdish-led forces in north east while Islamic State (ISIS) continued attacks in central desert. In north east, following Jan clashes between govt and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), both sides 2 Feb agreed to Russian-mediated deal; according to agreement, SDF lifts siege imposed on regime-controlled neighbourhoods in Qamishli and Hassakeh cities, and regime reinstates supply lines to Kurdish-populated areas near Aleppo. In central desert, ISIS at