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 April 2011

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month March 2011

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

In Côte d'Ivoire, the security and humanitarian situation deteriorated as civil war reignited. The month saw continued heavy clashes between forces backing internationally-recognised president Alassane Ouattara and those loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo, with reports of sexual violence, summary executions, and direct shelling of civilians.

CrisisWatch Digests

Gbagbo's hold on power appears to be unravelling, as Ouattara loyalists took control of strategic towns and, at the end of the month, entered Abidjan, attacking the presidential residence, seizing control of state television, and triggering high level army defections. The potential escalation of violence in the coming days is cause for grave concern; events are unfolding rapidly as CrisisWatch goes to press.

In Libya clashes between rebels and Muammar Qaddafi's security forces escalated into full-scale civil war. The UN Security Council authorised international military action to protect civilians; an international coalition initially led by the U.S., France and the UK launched missile and air strikes against the regime's military installations and ground and air forces, reversing its earlier gains. Heavy fighting continues, raising the spectre of a protracted conflict. The UN reports that some 350,000 refugees have already fled the country, amid fears that the crisis will continue to intensify.

The wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world reached Syria in March. Dozens were killed as security forces suppressed anti-regime protests. In an inflammatory speech at the end of the month, President Bashar al-Assad accused "foreign conspirators" of fomenting unrest, dampening hopes of reform. Despite concessions by the government and the cabinet's resignation, demonstrations continue, and CrisisWatch identifies Syria as another conflict risk alert for April.

Scores of protesters were killed in Yemen as nationwide anti-regime protests continued for a second month. The deadly crackdown has prompted a series of defections of prominent government officials. Talks between weakened President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition broke down, creating a dangerous political impasse and raising fears of civil war. However, as indirect dialogue continues and hopes for reconciliation and a unity government remain, CrisisWatch identifies Yemen as both a conflict risk alert and a conflict resolution opportunity for the coming month.

Violence flared in Bahrain in a new military crackdown on anti-government protests, which saw several protestors killed and hundreds more injured or arrested. In a move that observers fear may complicate rather than help resolve the political crisis, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates dispatched troops and police to help maintain order. Iran strongly criticised the move.

In Nigeria, an increase in communal and sectarian violence threatened the prospects of credible and peaceful general elections in April. As security forces deployed across the country, CrisisWatch identifies a risk of violence around the polls. Tensions escalated in Benin as opposition supporters rejected the results of the 13 March presidential election, and police forcibly dispersed opposition protests in Cotonou. In neighbouring Burkino Faso, army 20 grievances surfaced as gunfire broke out between soldiers in the capital Ouagadougou.

In Bosnia, the struggle for control of government at the state and entity level continued, raising the prospect of institutional paralysis and a deepening of the country's political crisis.

In Niger, however, the situation improved. The transition to civilian rule following last year's military coup was consolidated by a peaceful run-off presidential election on 12 March. Opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou was declared winner with 58 per cent of the vote; his opponent Seini Oumarou, accepted defeat. ECOWAS commended the polls and lifted economic sanctions in place since late 2009.

Burundi

Ruling CNDD-FDD 12 March expelled Manasse Nzobonimpa, member of executive council, for accusing senior party members of corruption and embezzlement late Feb regarding $13mn Ugandan loan; accusations exacerbated internal tensions in opposition UPRONA as party militants claim UPRONA president manipulated by CNDD-FDD; members of UPRONA executive committee 20 March signed declaration calling for departure of president. At least 30 Burundian peacekeepers deployed to AU mission in Somalia killed during end Feb operations in Mogadishu (See Somalia). Police position attacked 27 March in Bujumbura rural commune. 3 FNL members killed 28 March; victims’ families accuse intelligence services of responsibility.

Cameroon

Govt 8 March suspended Twitter, SMS, citing concerns that social networks could spark popular uprising. Govt 11 March agreed to joint cross border mineral exploitation with Nigeria in Bakassi peninsula.

Central African Republic