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.

Global Overview

Outlook for This Month June 2020

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month May 2020

Deteriorated Situations

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

The latest edition of Crisis Group’s monthly conflict tracker highlights deteriorations in May in seven countries and conflict situations. In Sudan, intercommunal violence erupted in the country’s west, east and south while peace talks with rebel groups suffered new delays. In South Sudan, intercommunal violence between ethnic Murle and ethnic Lou Nuer surged in the east killing hundreds. Venezuelan authorities foiled an armed incursion by sea and detained dozens of opposition supporters, while opposition leader Guaidó lost ground in his battle to control the National Assembly. 

Looking ahead to June, CrisisWatch warns of three conflict risks. In Burundi, a potentially violent post-electoral crisis looms after the opposition challenged the provisional results of the 20 May presidential election in the Constitutional Court. In Libya, after the capital Tripoli suffered increased shelling and civilian casualties in May, external military support on both sides could fuel further escalation. Fighting in Yemen’s north and a power struggle in the south could intensify unless progress is made toward a nationwide ceasefire.

We also flag a resolution opportunity in the coming month in the Nile Basin. After recently opting to revive Nile Dam talks, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have a chance to de-escalate tensions and make progress toward resolving the Nile Waters dispute.

Colombia

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, armed groups’ violence continued unabated in south west, while military conducted operations against National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas. Violence remained high in Cauca department (south west) as three Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia dissident fronts attempted to take advantage of COVID-19 mobility restrictions to expand and consolidate territory, leaving five social leaders killed 1-15 May. Military conducted several operations against ELN guerrillas throughout country. Notably, army 13 May killed at least five ELN members during operations in south of Bolívar department (north), including Alejandro Montoya alias “Gallero”, commander of Darío Ramírez Castro War Front and member of national leadership. After President Duque late April signed decree authorising creation of demobilisation scheme for individual members of armed groups, military reported 37 ELN members sought to demobilise 29 April-2 May in Cauca; ELN chief negotiator Pablo Beltrán 18 May rejected decree as non-starter. Beltrán 29 May said ELN would back UN’s call for three-month global ceasefire to address COVID-19 pandemic. Small-scale demonstrations against hunger continued almost daily in several major cities, while World Food Programme 19 May said 1mn people need urgent food support throughout country. Govt 11 May relaxed COVID-19 restrictions for several core economic sectors and 22 May extended mandatory isolation until 31 May. Amid high rates of COVID-19 transmission notably in Amazonas department along Brazilian border, govt and Brazil 15 May agreed to establish joint committee of ministers of health, defence and foreign affairs, while govt mid-month deployed at least 1,000 additional troops to border. UN refugee agency 19 May said COVID-19-related school closure increased risk of child recruitment by armed groups in Colombia.

Venezuela

Following foiled armed incursion by sea, reportedly attempting to topple President Maduro, authorities detained dozens suspected of involvement and further suppressed opposition. Govt 3 May said it had prevented group of former soldiers planning to capture Maduro from landing at seaside town of Macuto near capital Caracas same day, killing eight and arresting two; within hours, former National Guard Captain Javier Nieto and Jordan Goudreau, ex-U.S. special forces and head of U.S. private security company Silvercorp, claimed responsibility; Goudreau said he had obtained initial contract for operation signed by two members of strategic committee established by opposition leader Juan Guaidó in 2019; opposition leadership next day said meetings with Silvercorp were exploratory and soon dropped. In following days, security forces detained dozens for alleged involvement in plot, including two U.S. nationals; U.S. Sec State Pompeo 6 May denied “direct” U.S. involvement. Authorities late month moved to crack down further on opposition. Attorney general 25 May asked Supreme Court to declare Guaidó’s Voluntad Popular party “terrorist organisation”. Supreme Court 27 May formally recognised MP and President Maduro ally Luis Parra, who pro-govt lawmakers declared head of National Assembly (AN) during Jan session which security forces prevented opposition from attending, as AN chair instead of Guaidó; next day, AN defied ruling and ratified Guaidó as head. Authorities reportedly arrested more than two dozen opposition supporters 18-24 May. Amid COVID-19 crisis, riot 1 May erupted in Llanos prison near Guanare city (west) over ban on outside visits, leaving over 40 prisoners dead. Maduro 12 May announced 30-day extension of countrywide lockdown as widespread protests over petrol, water and food shortages continued. Despite U.S. warning against Iranian assistance and shipments of fuel to Venezuela, first of five Iranian tankers arrived in Venezuelan waters 24 May. In virtual meeting of external actors including U.S. and Russia convened by Sweden 13 May, broad consensus reportedly emerged on need for negotiated solution to political crisis using basis of Norwegian-facilitated opposition-govt talks suspended in Aug 2019, though no formal agreement reached.

El Salvador

Power struggle continued between, on one hand, President Bukele, and on the other, Legislative Assembly and Supreme Court, over terms of COVID-19 restrictions. Bukele 16 May bypassed Legislative Assembly and signed executive decree extending COVID-19 state of emergency for 30 days; two days later, Supreme Court however suspended decree following request from attorney general, and later that day, assembly passed renewed, more lenient version of state of emergency lasting another fifteen days; Supreme Court 22 May announced suspension of Bukele’s decree permanent. Legislative Assembly 30 May passed new version of state of emergency bill establishing calendar to reopen economy in June; Bukele immediately announced he would veto it. Tensions also rose between govt and private sector; govt 12 May suspended talks with businesses over measures to reopen