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 January 2011

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month December 2010

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

Five actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in December 2010, according to the latest issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch released today.

CrisisWatch Digests

Côte d’Ivoire was gripped by political crisis as incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power after losing to rival Alassane Outtara in the late-November presidential runoff polls. Post-election violence claimed the lives of at least 170 people and more than 15,000 fled to neighbouring countries.

Amid growing concern that the country risks a return to civil war, three West African presidents delivered an ultimatum threatening ECOWAS military intervention unless Gbagbo steps down. At the time of going to press Gbagbo remained defiant despite diplomatic and economic sanctions, and CrisisWatch again identifies a conflict risk alert for Côte d’Ivoire for the coming month.

Tensions remained high on the Korean peninsula just one month after North Korea shelled Yŏnp’yŏng Island in South Korea.  Pyongyang threatened “brutal consequences beyond imagination” against the South as Seoul held live-fire artillery drills on the island. Russia and China called for a calming of tensions on the peninsula, but South Korea refused to cancel the drills amid domestic pressure to stand firm against the North.

Nigeria was hit by several deadly bomb attacks and ongoing Islamist militant violence over the month. At least 80 people were killed in coordinated explosions in the central city of Jos on 24 December. The attacks, claimed by Islamist sect Boko Haram, sparked clashes between Christian and Muslim groups. The northern city Maiduguri saw further deadly violence by suspected Boko Haram members, including a series of attacks on churches on 24 December that killed at least six people. The month ended with more violence as an explosion in a market in the capital Abuja killed at least four people on New Year’s Eve and a political rally in Bayelsa state was hit by two bombs.

In Pakistan, the Taliban launched a wave of suicide attacks during the month that left scores dead. Many of those killed were locals supporting efforts against the militants. In the worst incident, more than 45 were killed as Pakistan's first female suicide bomber targeted a World Food Program aid point in Bajur Agency, causing a district-wide shut down of food distribution affecting nearly 300,000 displaced people.

A flawed presidential election on 19 December in Belarus prompted tens of thousands of protesters to take to the streets, accusing the authorities of massive fraud. As police forcibly dispersed the crowd dozens of people were injured and hundreds arrested, including several presidential candidates. President Lukashenka was declared victor with almost 80 per cent of the vote, for a fourth term in office. The flawed polls and the government’s violent crackdown on protesters were widely condemned by the international community.

The situation in Guinea improved as former Prime Minister Cellou Diallo conceded defeat in the November presidential runoff and Alpha Condé was sworn in as the country’s first democratically elected president. Following a tense election period and concerted international efforts to avert renewed conflict, world leaders commended Guinea for a “historic achievement”.

Iraq’s parliament unanimously approved a new 42-member government under incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on 21 December. The move ends nine months of political deadlock and protracted negotiations over government formation following parliamentary elections in March.

CrisisWatch also notes a marked deterioration in Mexico’s drug-related violence over the course of the past year, despite the killing of several high-profile cartel leaders. The Attorney General reported in December that some 12,500 were killed in drug violence from January to November 2010, a significant increase over the 9,600 for the whole of 2009.


Politically motivated assassinations of opposition figures reported in Bujumbura, including FRODEBU member shot dead 2 Dec, Union for Peace and Development (UDP) supporter killed 9 Dec and FNL youth movement local leader executed 22 Dec. Armed men in military uniform 13 Dec killed 4 in Bujumbura Rural province including ruling CNDD-FDD party member and ex-FNL member suspected of collaborating with govt. Authorities continue to refute indications new rebel movement forming: officials 6 Dec downplayed UN Group of Experts on DRC end Nov report, said UN claims that 700 FNL arming in east Congo needed to be verified. UNSC 16 Dec authorised significant reduction of UN office presence effective 1 Jan 2011. Grenade exploded in Bujumbura 31 Dec during New Year celebrations causing 3 fatal injuries; perpetrators yet to be identified.


Month saw laborious progress in preparations for 23 Jan 2011 presidential and legislative elections; UN SRSG Sahle Work-Zewde 9 Dec told UNSC all major remaining political obstacles have been lifted, emphasized fair process crucial for restoring stability. As MINURCAT entered final phase of troop drawdown and withdrawal from Chad and CAR, UNSC 14 Dec extended UN integrated peacebuilding office (BINUCA) mandate for further 12 months until 31 Dec 2011. Govt early Dec confirmed 71 killed including 65 rebels during Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) late-Nov attack on Birao town. Sudanese President Bashir cancelled plans to attend 1 Dec celebrations marking fiftieth Independence anniversary, reportedly due to CAR’s status as Rome Statue signatory and International Criminal Court indictment against him. LRA 18-19 Dec reportedly attacked Zumaro village, Western Equatoria; 2 killed, more than 50 abducted.


Ahead of 2011 elections President Déby 10 Dec secured support of 2 key opposition leaders Lol Mahamat Choua and Kassire Coumakoye. Amid allegations that 8 candidates added to parliamentary lists at president’s request, election monitoring committee 29-30 Dec held emergency meeting, announced sacking of head of election commission Ngarmajiel Gami. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade 17 Dec cancelled Nov agreement to proceed with trial of former President Hissène Habré, deposed in 1990 and now in exile in Senegal. In line with scheduled MINURCAT withdrawal, UN SRSG 14 Dec confirmed all administrative, operational civilian protection responsibilities have been handed over to govt integrated security unit; MINURCAT liquidation of assets began 1 Jan.

Democratic Repu