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.

Global Overview

Outlook for This Month August 2011

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month July 2011

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

Scores were killed in Syria as security forces backed by tanks launched an assault on the restive central city of Hama and other towns and cities, at the end of a month which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets as daily anti-regime protests continued to spread. Syrian rights groups reported that more than 1,600 people have been killed and at least 12,000 arrested since the unrest began in March.

CrisisWatch Digests

In Yemen violence escalated in Arhab, a mountainous area northeast of the capital Sanaa, where at least 40 were killed at the end of the month in clashes between government forces and armed tribesmen loyal to the opposition. Sanaa is divided roughly between troops of general Ali Mohsen in the northwest, tribesmen loyal to the al-Ahmars in parts of the north, and forces loyal to Saleh in the southeast and southwest. Both pro-Saleh and anti-Saleh forces are preparing positions in the capital for a potential confrontation.

The UN declared a state of famine in Somalia's Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions, both controlled by Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, following the worst drought in half a century and protracted instability. Tens of thousands have fled the worst hit parts of the South, while aid agencies are hampered by restrictions imposed on operating in Al-Shabaab-controlled areas. Al-Shabaab dismissed the scale of famine and the UN's announcement as "sheer propaganda", but its position on aid deliveries appears confused.

There were hopes for political reconciliation in Burundi, as opposition parties welcomed President Pierre Nkurunziza's 30 June Independence Day speech inviting opposition leaders to return from exile and resume talks with the government. However, the month also saw an upsurge in violence. Attacks by armed groups against the police and ruling CNDD-FDD party officials intensified, mainly in former rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL) strongholds, but also in the capital and the south of the country.

In Malawi security forces used live ammunition to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters from 20-21 July, leaving at least eighteen people dead. Fears have mounted over the possibility of further repression as President Mutharika, having initially responded with calls for calm and peaceful dialogue, later accused opposition leaders of treason and blamed them for the violence.

At least one presidential guard was killed on 19 July during two separate attacks on the home of Guinea's President Alpha Condé. Security forces arrested 38 people in connection with the attacks, including 25 military personnel. Most of those arrested have links with former junta leader Sekouba Konaté.

Ethnic violence flared in Pakistan's second city and commercial hub Karachi, leaving more than 200 people dead. July was the deadliest month in decades for clashes between supporters of the mainly Pashtun Awami National Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, representing the Urdu-speaking majority. The government deployed thousands of paramilitary troops to regain control of the city and launched a "peace campaign" towards the end of the month, but rights groups claimed it was not doing enough to prevent further violence.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban stepped up their assassination campaign against government officials and key allies of President Hamid Karzai. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president's half-brother and influential governor of volatile Kandahar province, was killed by his own bodyguard on 12 July, while the mayor of Kandahar city and a top adviser to the president died in separate suicide attacks later in the month. Analysts warned the killings could leave a potentially dangerous power vacuum in the south. The assassinations came as the UN reported that the civilian war-related death toll in Afghanistan for 2011 has been the highest at any point since the 2001 invasion.

Tensions soared in Kosovo late month after Kosovo special police attempted to take control of two customs posts in the north to enforce a new ban on imports from Serbia, triggering a violent response from Kosovo Serbs. A police officer was shot dead during clashes on 26 July, and the next day some 200 Serbs attacked and set fire to a border security post and fired at NATO KFOR forces. KFOR sent reinforcements to take control of the two posts.


Amid increasing insecurity, hopes for a way forward following President Nkurunziza’s 30 June speech calling for dialogue with opposition; opposition parties welcomed move, but condition participation on release of political prisoners. At least 15 reported killed in intensified series of shootings, grenade attacks by armed groups: 9 killed 19 July in Cibitoke; other incidents reported in Ruyigi, Bujumbura rural, Makamba. Armed men 4 July attacked police posts in Bujumbura, in first such attack in capital, claimed by previously unknown group FRONABU-Tabara. Armed men 19 July attacked President Nkurunziza’s farm in SE Musongati. For first time, some attackers openly claimed allegiance to FNL rebel group. Isidore Rufyikiri, chairman of the Burundi Lawyers Association, arrested 27 July for “contempt of court” following his criticism of judge presiding over trial of lawyer Suzanne Bukuru.


Governing CPDM 18 July said President Biya will run in Oct presidential election, despite opposition claims he is term-limited by 1996 constitution; Biya yet to announce candidature. Parliament 10 July passed law allowing citizens living abroad to vote, key opposition demand. Biya 7 July appointed 6 new members of electoral commission; opposition continued to question credibility, transparency of process.

Central African Republic

Following June ceasefire between govt and core of rebel Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), faction leader Mahamat Sallé also signed peace deal 17 July. Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) rebels sacked mobile phone installation in NE Sam Ouandja, prevented planes landing 18 July in protest at rival CPJP blocking road south. Suspected LRA fighters 16 July shot dead merchant near Guerekindo village.