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 December 2016

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month November 2016

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

November saw violence escalate again in Syria, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon. Attacks by pro-regime forces on rebel strongholds in Syria resumed, causing significant civilian casualties. In Myanmar’s Rakhine state intensifying violence displaced tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, while a major attack by armed groups near the Chinese border threatened to undermine the country’s fragile ethnic peace process. In DRC, violence rose in the east and the regime continued to repress dissent, underscoring the risk that renewed protests, likely in December when President Kabila’s second term officially ends, could turn violent. In Cameroon, Boko Haram stepped up its attacks in the Far North and minority English-speakers clashed with security forces in the North West region. The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election on 8 November created uncertainty about possible shifts in future U.S. foreign policy priorities and positions, including on a number of conflicts and prominent geostrategic arenas – among them the future of the historic multilateral nuclear accord with Iran.

CrisisWatch Digests

Violence escalated for a second consecutive month in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state as military sweeps pursuing the perpetrators of the 9 October attack on security bases continued, with further allegations – rejected by the government – of serious human rights violations by security forces. Humanitarian access to Rakhine state, where some 150,000 are in need of assistance, remains largely blocked since the October attacks, and tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled within Myanmar or across the border into Bangladesh. The UN Security Council on 17 November called for an international investigation into alleged abuses and restoration of humanitarian access. Myanmar’s ethnic peace process also saw a considerable setback with a major joint attack on the military by four armed groups in northern Shan state, near the border with China, starting on 20 November.

In DRC, violence spiked in North Kivu province in the east as the army fought local militias to recapture territory and, in the worst attack in a series of clashes between ethnic Nande and Hutu, the Nande Mai Mai Mazembe militia killed some 35 Hutu civilians in one village. Meanwhile, the government continued to crack down on protests and squeezed national and international media, jamming both Radio France International and UN-sponsored Radio Okapi. Its intolerance of dissent risks further violence come 19 December when Kabila’s second and, according to the constitution, final term runs out. If opposition supporters take to the streets to protest his extended rule, they could clash once again with security forces.

In Cameroon, Boko Haram Islamist insurgents based mainly in Nigeria stepped up attacks on civilians and the security forces in the Far North region underlining the need for the government to shift from a purely military approach to a long-term development-focused strategy. As Crisis Group’s report “Cameroon: Confronting Boko Haram” explains, reviving trade and creating jobs for young people are key to the region’s long-term resilience against groups like Boko Haram. Meanwhile, lawyers and teachers in the country’s only two English-speaking regions, the North West and South West, went on strike against the perceived encroaching of French in their courts and schools. Other minority English-speakers swelled anti-government protests especially in Bamenda, the North West’s capital, which security forces repressed with tear gas and live bullets; at least one person was killed. The violence has revived longstanding grievances and even calls for a federal administration.

In Syria, pro-regime forces re-escalated attacks on rebel strongholds in east Aleppo, west of the city and across Syria starting 15 November, including full-scale aerial bombardments causing significant civilian casualties and damage. As pro-regime forces including Iran-backed militias and supported by Russian airstrikes made significant gains in Aleppo at the end of the month, taking more than a third of rebel-held territory in the city’s besieged east, tens of thousands were forced to flee. The humanitarian situation looks increasingly dire, while earlier in the month the UN reiterated its warning that all sides may be committing war crimes. The U.S. election victory of Donald Trump, who during his campaign voiced scepticism of U.S. support for Syrian rebels, respect for Russian President Putin, and a desire to intensify efforts against the Islamic State, introduced new uncertainty over the conflict’s external players.

President-Elect Trump’s campaign rhetoric has also cast doubt on the future of the multilateral nuclear accord with Iran. Crisis Group warned on 23 November that its demise would risk reigniting “a crisis that could dominate his presidency, deepen tensions in a tumultuous region and deal a hard-to-reverse blow to multilateral diplomacy”. We called on other states, in particular the other P5+1 members (China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK), to step in and help shore up the deal.

Kosovo

Self-Determination (Vetevendosje) party member Astrit Dehari, incarcerated since Aug for allegedly launching grenade in parliament, died in Prizren prison 5 Nov, prompting protest in Pristina 14 Nov demanding international independent investigation. Prizren Chief Prosecutor 18 Nov ruled death suicide by asphyxiation. Kosovo Serb govt coalition partner boycotted govt over law passed in Oct transferring ownership of disputed Trepca to govt, in face of protests from Serbia. Police 4-16 Nov arrested nineteen suspected Islamic State militants reportedly planning simultaneous attacks in Kosovo and Albania.

Armenia

Govt 2 Nov reported agreement signed with Iran to increase imports of Iranian natural gas. New Defence Minister 14 Nov announced fund to compensate soldiers injured or killed in combat operations at Nagorno-Karabakh Line of Contact (LoC) and official border with Azerbaijan. FM 17 Nov said new accord with EU to be signed in 2017.

Azerbaijan