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 September 2017

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month August 2017

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

August saw Rohingya militants launch deadly attacks on security forces in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, setting the crisis on a more dangerous path. There is still no end in sight to Yemen’s war as deadly airstrikes increased. In the Central African Republic’s north and east, deadly clashes between armed groups worsened and aid workers came under attack. Both Spain and Burkina Faso faced terror attacks, while North Korea’s launch of a missile over northern Japan prompted international condemnation. Venezuela’s political situation grew increasingly grave as the government dissolved the elected parliament. Political tensions rose in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions and in Guatemala, where the president attempted to expel the head of the UN-backed anti-corruption organisation.

CrisisWatch Digests

In Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, militants from Harakah al-Yaqin/Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army launched coordinated attacks on 30 police posts and an army base on 25 August, leaving some 80 militants and twelve members of the security forces dead. In response, the military conducted “clearance operations”, and evacuated some 4,000 non-Muslim civilians from the area. Up to 38,000 Rohingyas have since attempted to flee to Bangladesh, but Bangladesh says it cannot accept them. As we have explained, this incident represents a “very serious conflict escalation”. The military’s response must be proportionate to avert spiralling violence, including distinguishing between ​militants and Rohingya civilians, protecting all civilians caught up in or fleeing the fighting, and providing unfettered access to affected areas for humanitarian agencies and media.

In Yemen, tensions between military partners erupted amid deadly airstrikes on civilians. Against Huthi wishes, former President Saleh on 24 August staged a show of strength – a large rally in the capital Sanaa, ostensibly to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the General People’s Congress party (GPC). Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes increased, including around Sanaa immediately prior to and after the GPC rally, leaving dozens dead. Huthis claimed to have intensified attacks on Saudi territory, while fighting continued in the south and along the Saudi border.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), violence worsened in the north and east​ ​between anti-balaka militants and the ex-Seleka faction, the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic, leaving over a hundred dead. Armed groups also continued to target humanitarian workers, causing aid agencies to suspend their operations. UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien warned the UN Security Council on 7 August that the situation displayed “warning signs of genocide”, and called for additional troops for the peacekeeping mission in CAR.​

Deadly attacks and incidents left two dozen dead in Burkina Faso. Two suspected Islamist militants opened fire in a café in the capital Ouagadougou on 13 August, killing nineteen; and a military vehicle hit an IED on 17 August in Inata in the north, killing three soldiers. August also saw the death of leading political figure Salif Diallo, President of the National Assembly and head of the ruling party, which could prove destabilising for the regime in coming months and years. In north-eastern Spain, sixteen people were killed and over 130 wounded in two terrorist attacks on 17 August, both claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over northern Japan on 29 August triggered warning sirens in the area and prompted international condemnation. As Crisis Group argues, the launch, coming at a time of escalating tensions and rhetoric between Pyongyang and the U.S. presidency, was carefully calibrated to spur anger and gain attention but avoid incurring a military response.

Political tensions rose again in Cameroon’s Anglophone areas as civil society activists called for additional strike days and no re-opening of schools for the new academic year in September​. Some violence ensued, leading authorities to arrest dozens, including journalists and activists. ​On 30 August, President Biya order​ed the release ​of some​ jailed Anglophone leaders​.​ With a year to go before the next general elections, authorities must urgently address the dissatisfaction and anger of a fifth of the population, including through better distribution of financial resources and measures in the areas of education, justice and culture.

Venezuela’s newly-installed Constituent Assembly announced that it was taking over the functions of the opposition-led, democratically elected parliament, formally stripping it of all its powers. Crisis Group continues to argue that Venezuela’s increasingly grave crisis can only be resolved through a negotiated restoration of democracy. Guatemala’s fight against political corruption and impunity hung in the balance after President Morales ordered Iván Velásquez, the head of the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), to leave the country. On 29 August the Constitutional Court overturned Morales’ expulsion order, which had prompted protests in the capital and the resignation of several cabinet ministers. As Crisis Group explains, the attack on Velásquez threatens an institution that has sought to reform the constitution and bolster the justice system’s independence.


Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA) reportedly resumed security coordination early Aug after PA 21 July said it was suspending coordination in protest against Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entrances to Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade, removed late July. Israel early Aug arrested dozens of Palestinians, mostly from Jerusalem, suspected of involvement in July protests over control of access to Holy Esplanade. King Abdullah of Jordan 7 Aug visited Ramallah to discuss tensions over Holy Esplanade with PA President Abbas (his first trip to Ramallah in five years), amid ongoing diplomatic tensions with Israel after Israeli guard 23 July shot two Jordanians at Israel’s embassy in Amman. Jordan 9 Aug reportedly told Israel it would not allow Israeli ambassador to return until embassy guard was investigated and tried (see Jordan). Egypt opened Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza 14-18 Aug allowing 2,500 Gazans to perform Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Hamas security forces 17 Aug detained two Palestinians attempting to enter Egypt from Gaza, one of whom, reportedly affiliated to Islamic State (ISIS), detonated explosives vest, killing himself and Hamas guard; attack allegedly aimed at Egyptian security forces. Israeli border police in West Bank 19 Aug shot dead Palestinian teenager who tried to attack them with knife. Abbas 1 Aug and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah 14 Aug met Hamas delegations to discuss possible reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, potentially involving PA resuming control of Gaza. PA 9 Aug arrested five journalists, mostly working for pro-Hamas outlets, for “leaking sensitive information to hostile authorities”, released them 14 Aug; Hamas later released Fatah-affiliated journalist. After rocket fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel 8 Aug, Israeli planes same day struck two Hamas targets in Gaza.


Govt 14 Aug barred Israeli ambassador’s return until Israeli embassy guard who killed two Jordanians at Israel’s embassy in Amman 23 July had been investigated and tried (see Israel/Palestine).