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 August 2017

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month July 2017

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

July saw Venezuela’s political turmoil worsen as the government pressed ahead with an election for an all-powerful constituent assembly, prompting fears of further violence and economic collapse. Political tensions rose in the run-up to polls in Kenya as Al-Shabaab intensified attacks. Grievances in the security forces led to more violence in Côte d’Ivoire and Zambia’s president imposed emergency rule. In Yemen, fighting between Huthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition escalated, raising the risk of worse bloodshed in August, while in both South Sudan and Mali deadly clashes strained fragile peace processes. Talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to reunify the divided island collapsed. In East Asia, North Korea’s launch of two inter-continental ballistic missiles added to growing regional and international concern over the threat posed by Pyongyang.

CrisisWatch Digests

In Venezuela, President Maduro’s government took a definitive step in replacing the country’s ailing democracy with a full-fledged dictatorship, pushing through a vote on 30 July to elect a constituent assembly with the power to dissolve state institutions – including the opposition-led parliament – and rewrite the constitution. The vote went ahead in the face of intensifying opposition protests, including deadly clashes with security forces and pro-Maduro gunmen, and growing international condemnation. The closing off of options for political opposition has prompted fears of more violence on the streets and accelerating state failure and economic collapse. Crisis Group has advocated that regional states should put in place a contact group to push for a negotiated solution to restore democracy, a move that will require broad international support including from major powers friendly to the Maduro regime such as Russia and China.

Ahead of Kenya’s high-stakes general elections on 8 August, the murder of a high-ranking election official late July electrified an already tense atmosphere, and jihadist group Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks on civilians and security forces. While bloodshed on the scale of the 2007 post-election violence is unlikely, fierce competitions for the presidency and county governorships have worsened clashes in Laikipia county between ranchers and herders and ethnic and border tensions in the north, and could open old wounds in the Rift Valley. To keep the peace, external partners should step up pressure on President Kenyatta and his main challenger Raila Odinga, and election observers should deter vote tampering by deploying heavily in both their strongholds. Tensions that fuelled army mutinies in Côte d’Ivoire in January and May led to new violence, and Zambia’s president imposed emergency rule in response to a string of arson attacks he blamed on the opposition.

More than two years into Yemen’s war, fighting between Huthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition escalated yet again, especially in Taiz governorate in the south west, portending a more violent month ahead. Heavy fighting for control of Khaled bin Walid military base east of the Red Sea port city of Mokha left at least 40 government soldiers and rebels dead, while a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on Mawza killed over twenty civilians. The Huthis claimed several counter-attacks including on a United Arab Emirates military vessel off Mokha, which they say killed at least a dozen soldiers. They also claim to have launched multiple missiles into Saudi Arabia, including one that flew 930km, the furthest yet. New fighting strained South Sudan’s fragile peace process when Sudan, in response to the U.S. postponing a decision on whether to lift sanctions on it, supported South Sudanese rebels to attack government forces in northern Unity oil field. Mali also suffered a serious setback to the implementation of its June 2015 peace deal, as fighting between signatory parties resumed in the northern region of Kidal.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced that negotiations to reunify Cyprus had collapsed on 7 July, as another intense round of talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders came to a close in Switzerland, reportedly unable to reach agreement on the issue of security guarantees. Both sides blamed each other for the collapse in the talks, which had been seen as the best prospect in years to reunify the divided island.

A series of accelerated North Korean missile tests in recent months culminated with the launch of what Pyongyang claimed, and most others including the U.S. agreed, was an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) on 4 July, following up with a second reported ICBM test on 28 July. Defying successive UN Security Council resolutions, the tests increase the credibility of North Korea’s threat to the continental U.S., and add to security concerns in the region.

Colombia

As implementation of govt-Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) peace process continued, FARC 13 July stated it would not hand over the “few” children still in its ranks, demanding reintegration benefits be provided to them in cantonments – violating process designed by govt and FARC for release and reintegration of minors. Census of 10,015 FARC combatants presented early July, intended to help tailor reintegration process; shows majority come from rural backgrounds, have little-to-no formal education, would like to work in agricultural projects; around half have children. FARC 24 July announced it would launch new political party 1 Sept. Different FARC dissident groups began to unite or absorb smaller groups in Caquetá and Tumaco in south. FARC dissidents from first front in Guaviare department (south centre) 5 July released UN Office on Drugs and Crime employee, kidnapped 3 May. National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group and govt finished second round of dialogue in Ecuadoran capital Quito 30 June, announcing they would try to negotiate bilateral ceasefire before mid-Sept, when Pope is scheduled to visit. As third round of talks began 24 July, ELN reported it had proposed three-month ceasefire. Govt 8 July stated that ceasefire must be accompanied by cessation of hostilities and must be verified. ELN attacks continued in various parts of country, including Arauca, Cesar, Antioquia, and Norte de Santander, prompting clashes with security forces. Brother of second in command of Clan del Golfo, country’s largest drug trafficking organisation, killed 12 July in north-west town Unguía along with five other fighters. Clan del Golfo attacks on security forces reportedly down on previous month but observers warned of possibility they will increase due to operations against group.

El Salvador

Police 17 July confirmed spike in murders in June with 350 killings; comes despite continuing fall in reported homicides in 2017 compared with previous year. Special Prosecutor for Human Rights 3 July released report citing over 800 cases of human rights abuse involving police and army, and 22 suspected extrajudicial killings in 2016. Prosecutors late July ordered almost 600 arrests for crimes including homicide and extortion in attempted crackdown on gang activity. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited El Salvador 27 July for meetings related to regional anti-gang taskforce. Corruption allegations against politicians from ruling and opposition parties continued. Facing prospect of mass deportations of its citizens by U.S., govt late June drafted legal framework to control returned gang members; official sources say four to five high-ranking gang members returning to country every day.

Guatemala