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 October 2014

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month September 2014

Deteriorated Situations

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

The U.S. expanded its aerial campaign against Islamic State (IS) militants in late September with strikes in Syria’s north and east. The operation, which targets both IS and fighters linked to al-Qaeda’s central leadership and the affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra, risks alienating other rebel groups in Syria and strengthening support for IS. The mainstream armed opposition faced another serious blow when most of the senior leadership of the influential group Ahrar as-Sham was killed in an unexplained bomb blast in early September. Meanwhile, IS continued its advance on the ground, including around the predominantly Kurdish city Kobani near the Turkish border causing some 160,000 Kurds to flee. (See our recent report and commentary on the possible fall of greater Aleppo and the impact this could have on the wider Syrian rebellion).

CrisisWatch Digests

In Iraq, the beheading of captive U.S. journalists and a British aid worker by IS militants drew strong condemnations. U.S. President Obama vowed to dismantle the group’s “network of death” and several countries, including France and the UK, joined the U.S.-led aerial campaign against IS. Adding to the sectarian divides that aided IS’s initial rise, Iran continued to support Shiite militias in central Iraq, while Western and Iranian support for the Kurdish Regional Government provoked additional tensions by bypassing Baghdad. (See our recent commentary on the rise of the Islamic State, alternatively known as ISIL, ISIS or Daesh.)

The Syrian conflict continued to spill over into Lebanon. In September jihadi groups executed three Lebanese soldiers captured the previous month in the eastern city of Arsal, exacerbating ethnic and communal tensions, and sparking attacks on Syrian refugees. Clashes between the Lebanese army and Syrian rebels also continued in the east leaving several soldiers, Sunni militants and Hizbollah members dead.

Weeks of anti-government protests led by Yemen’s Huthis degenerated into several days of fighting in the capital Sanaa in mid-September. Over two hundred were killed as the Huthis clashed with rival forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and, to a much lesser extent, Sunni Islamist fighters around Iman University. Large parts of the security forces sided with the Huthis who seized key parts of Sanaa, including government buildings, and were allowed to control security in the city. A new peace deal and power sharing agreement signed on 21 September called for the implementation of national dialogue outcomes and the government to be replaced, but the balance of power on the ground has shifted solidly towards the Huthis. Prospects for a Huthi withdrawal from the capital remain uncertain: a new prime minister has yet to be appointed, and since the agreement Huthis have surrounded and entered the homes of political enemies as well as attacking the home of Yemen’s national security chief Ali al-Ahmadi in late September. (See our most recent report on Yemen’s Huthis.)

After months of deadlock, Sudan’s armed and political oppositions signed a statement on principles for a national dialogue process that would include them both. The government, the SPLM-N and Darfur rebels agreed to meet in October – under the auspices of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel – to discuss a possible cessation of hostilities in all conflict areas. The African Union Peace and Security Council welcomed the planned talks.

Burundi

Human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, arrested 15 May, granted conditional release 29 Sept due old age, ill-health; transferred to private hospital. Release followed international pressure, including EU threat of sanctions; France’s call for release; visit by UN Office in Burundi (BNUB) human rights officials. Leone Ngendakumana, president of opposition coalition ADC-Ikibiri, appeared in court 2 Sept, accused of “damaging allegations, slanderous accusations and ethnic aversion” for Feb letter to UNSG Ban warning of risk of political violence and genocide.

Cameroon

Boko Haram (BH) attacks continued in Far North including attack on border village 18 Sept; over 100 militants reportedly killed by security forces 7 Sept. Assailants from CAR 18 Sept attacked Sabouna; 22 Sept reportedly killed Cameroonian trader in Ngaoui, Adamaoua region. Cameroon reportedly hosting 235,000 refugees from CAR, 43,700 from Nigeria. French lawyer Lydienne Yen-Eyoum sentenced 26 Sept to 25 years jail for embezzlement of public funds.

Central African Republic

UN 15 Sept assumed peacekeeping responsibilities: 6,500 troops, 1,000 police and civilian staff already deployed; full contingent of 12,000 troops expected April 2015. Some elements of AU MISCA mission rehatted under UN MINUSCA: elements of Congo-Brazzaville and whole Equatorial Guinea contingent to leave. EU currently discussing possible 3-month extension of EUFOR. ICC Prosecutor 24 Sept announced opening of investigation into crimes committed in CAR since 2012. 256 ex-Seleka fighters stationed in RDOT camp, Bangui, relocated 5 Sept. Divisions in ex-Seleka coalition deepened: exclusion of high rank officials; three Fulani and Arabic commanders formally left ex-Seleka, announced new movement. Manifest of new armed group Front national de libération du territoire d’Azandé (FNLA) published 10 Sept, said willing to join Seleka rebels. Deputy coordinator of anti-balaka 25 Sept announced coming transformation of movement into political party. Tensions over Mahamat Kamoun’s appointment as PM continued; appointment unpopular with Franc