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 February 2024

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month January 2024

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

Our monthly conflict tracker highlights five conflict risks, four of which underscore the threat of a major conflagration in the Middle East, and one resolution opportunity in February.

  • Israel’s relentless attacks on Gaza – which have killed more than 27,000 people in four months – continued unabated and could wreak further death and destruction unless mediation efforts deliver a ceasefire. A truce could offer respite and aid for the almost two million displaced Gazans fending off famine and disease. 
     
  • The U.S. and UK began a bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthis, risking a wider escalation. The U.S. “terrorist” designation of the group could compound the humanitarian crisis and hamper the peace process. Meanwhile, front lines in several regions displayed signs of a possible return to conflict (see this month’s Conflict in Focus). 
     
  • Hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah continued at high intensity as Israel stepped up pressure to push back the group’s fighters deployed along the border, highlighting the risk of all-out war engulfing Lebanon and the region. 
     
  • The U.S. looks set to launch retaliatory strikes in Syria or elsewhere after a Tehran-backed group likely operating from Syria killed three U.S. service members in Jordan – the first deadly attack on U.S. forces in the region since Israel’s war in Gaza began. 
     
  • With Haiti’s acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry due to step down on 7 February but unlikely to stick to his pledge, a former rebel leader rallied support for protests to topple him, raising the risk of instability in coming weeks.

CrisisWatch identified twenty deteriorated situations – a remarkably high number – in January. Notably:

  • Junta leaders in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso announced their immediate withdrawal from the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States, marking a major setback for regional integration.
     
  • Somalia reacted furiously to a memorandum of understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland on sea access. The diplomatic row could weaken Mogadishu’s anti-Al-Shabaab campaign and further undermine regional stability.
     
  • Burundi’s diplomatic spat with Rwanda over the latter’s alleged support for RED-Tabara rebels intensified with Burundi’s border closure, which came amid escalating rhetoric and reports of a troop build-up along the frontier.
     
  • In Venezuela, the Supreme Court reaffirmed a decision banning the opposition’s presidential candidate María Corina Machado from standing for office, dealing a blow to prospects for a competitive 2024 election.
     
  • President Noboa declared an “internal armed conflict” for the first time in Ecuador’s history after criminal groups unleashed a wave of violence in prisons and cities nationwide.
     
  • North Korea fired barrages of artillery near a South Korean island and formally dropped the goal of unification with the south, signalling Pyongyang’s intention to stoke tensions on the Korean Peninsula in 2024.

Our tracker assessed one improved situation in Guatemala . The transfer of power took place as planned, with Bernardo Arévalo assuming the presidency after months of relentless efforts to block the August election result and a turbulent inauguration.

Aside from the scores of conflict situations we regularly assess, we tracked significant developments in the Comoros, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea.

Cameroon

Govt continued military campaign to subdue independence-seeking Anglophone militias, while jihadists kept up attacks in Far North region. 

Security situation in Anglophone regions remained dire. Govt aircraft 10 Jan crashed in Kikaikelaki town, near Kumbo city, Bui division (North West region); exchange of fire followed between Anglophone separatist combatants and govt forces, with unknown casualties; military said aircraft suffered mechanical failure, while separatists claimed shooting it down. For first time since Dec 2019, govt 20 Jan said army 9 Jan killed separatist militia Ambazonia Defence Forces ground commander in clashes near Batibo town, Momo division (North West). Meanwhile, govt’s renewed attempt to crush weekly general strike called by separatists, dubbed “Monday ghost town”, ratcheted up tensions. Notably, separatists reportedly trying to enforce ghost town 15 Jan attacked police station and fired shots for hours in Nkwen neighbourhood of North West regional capital Bamenda. Fako Black Tar separatist militia overnight 29-30 Jan raided parts of South West regional capital Buea and killed at least two civilians, claiming residents did not comply with ghost town order. Separatist faction Interim Government of Ambazonia 29 Jan announced ending cooperation with UN agencies, putting humanitarian operations at risk. Biafra separatist militants from Nigeria 12 Jan reportedly attacked Cameroonian govt forces in Abana town, Bakassi Peninsula (South West).

Jihadist militants kept up attacks on military, civilians in Far North region. Boko Haram 1 Jan killed four Christians and abducted ten others celebrating New Year in Bargaram village, Logone-et-Chari division; in video posted online, militants vowed to avenge Palestinian victims of war in Gaza. Army 7-8 Jan repelled jihadist attack on military post in Zamga town and cleared three landmines near Djibrili town, both Mayo-Tsanaga division, while Boko Haram 20 Jan killed at least five civilians in two villages of Mayo-Tsanaga. Suspected Boko Haram gunmen 10 Jan abducted three staff members of international humanitarian organisation Première urgence in Yémé village, Mayo-Sava division. 

President Biya announced fuel price increase in bid to cut spending. In his end-of-year address, Biya 31 Dec announced further reduction of fuel subsidy in 2024; move could further increase cost of living and fuel popular discontent.

Central African Republic

Authorities appeared set to eliminate potential rivals before 2025 elections, while incidents involving explosive device attacks compounded already dire security situation. 

Authorities settled scores with potential dissidents and election rivals. Joint patrol of govt forces and Russian paramilitary Wagner Group 3 Jan arrested mayor of Baboua, Caprang Ephraim, and commander of north west defence zone, Col Modoua, in Nana-Mambéré prefecture; detentions may be related to inter-ethnic disputes within military, particularly over control of mineral resources. Court in capital Bangui 17 Jan sentenced in absentia former National Assembly speaker, Karim Meckassoua, to life imprisonment on charges of endangering state security and colluding with Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebels. 

President Touadéra continued hazardous push to diversify security partners. Around 150 people from pro-Russian civil society platform Initiative Committee for the Control and Investigation of the U.S. Actions 25 Jan demonstrated in front of U.S. Embassy in Bangui to demand withdrawal of U.S.-based private security company Bancroft Global Development; protest came after presidency in Dec confirmed military cooperation agreement between govt and Bancroft. Wagner’s reaction could turn into something more worrisome if Touadéra is not able to share duties and benefits among security partners. 

Security situation marked by resurgence of explosive device attacks. Improvised explosive device (IED), possibly linked to armed group Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R), 11 Jan killed three civilians and injured another in Bouar town (Nana-Mambéré prefecture). Another IED 15 Jan killed one UN peacekeeper and wounded another five in Mbindale village (Lim-Pendé prefecture). Meanwhile, Wagner elements 9 Jan attempted to shoot down unidentified object flying over their base in Ndélé town (Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture); local authorities next day imposed curfew and arrested ten civilians. Violent clashes between armed actors took place in various regions. Unity for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) combatants 7 Jan attacked Azandé Ani Kpi Gbé (AAKG) ethnic militia in Obo town (Haut-Mbomou prefecture), resulting in at least three deaths. CPC elements 8 Jan attacked base hosting army and Wagner elements in Kabo town (Ouham-Fafa prefecture); fifteen rebels and four govt soldiers killed, and at least ten civilians wounded.

Chad