CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

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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 February 2024

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month January 2024

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

Our monthly conflict tracker highlights five conflict risks, four of which underscore the threat of a major conflagration in the Middle East, and one resolution opportunity in February.

  • Israel’s relentless attacks on Gaza – which have killed more than 27,000 people in four months – continued unabated and could wreak further death and destruction unless mediation efforts deliver a ceasefire. A truce could offer respite and aid for the almost two million displaced Gazans fending off famine and disease. 
     
  • The U.S. and UK began a bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthis, risking a wider escalation. The U.S. “terrorist” designation of the group could compound the humanitarian crisis and hamper the peace process. Meanwhile, front lines in several regions displayed signs of a possible return to conflict (see this month’s Conflict in Focus). 
     
  • Hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah continued at high intensity as Israel stepped up pressure to push back the group’s fighters deployed along the border, highlighting the risk of all-out war engulfing Lebanon and the region. 
     
  • The U.S. looks set to launch retaliatory strikes in Syria or elsewhere after a Tehran-backed group likely operating from Syria killed three U.S. service members in Jordan – the first deadly attack on U.S. forces in the region since Israel’s war in Gaza began. 
     
  • With Haiti’s acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry due to step down on 7 February but unlikely to stick to his pledge, a former rebel leader rallied support for protests to topple him, raising the risk of instability in coming weeks.

CrisisWatch identified twenty deteriorated situations – a remarkably high number – in January. Notably:

  • Junta leaders in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso announced their immediate withdrawal from the regional bloc Economic Community of West African States, marking a major setback for regional integration.
     
  • Somalia reacted furiously to a memorandum of understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland on sea access. The diplomatic row could weaken Mogadishu’s anti-Al-Shabaab campaign and further undermine regional stability.
     
  • Burundi’s diplomatic spat with Rwanda over the latter’s alleged support for RED-Tabara rebels intensified with Burundi’s border closure, which came amid escalating rhetoric and reports of a troop build-up along the frontier.
     
  • In Venezuela, the Supreme Court reaffirmed a decision banning the opposition’s presidential candidate María Corina Machado from standing for office, dealing a blow to prospects for a competitive 2024 election.
     
  • President Noboa declared an “internal armed conflict” for the first time in Ecuador’s history after criminal groups unleashed a wave of violence in prisons and cities nationwide.
     
  • North Korea fired barrages of artillery near a South Korean island and formally dropped the goal of unification with the south, signalling Pyongyang’s intention to stoke tensions on the Korean Peninsula in 2024.

Our tracker assessed one improved situation in Guatemala . The transfer of power took place as planned, with Bernardo Arévalo assuming the presidency after months of relentless efforts to block the August election result and a turbulent inauguration.

Aside from the scores of conflict situations we regularly assess, we tracked significant developments in the Comoros, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea.

Latest Updates

Africa

Mozambique

Jihadist attacks surged in northern Cabo Delgado province, undermining govt’s claim of return to stability. 

Islamic State-affiliated militants intensified attacks in Cabo Delgado. Islamic State Mozambique Province (ISMP) from late Dec until 20 Jan carried out at least fourteen attacks, primarily in Mocímboa da Praia, Macomia and Muidumbe districts, leading to dozens of deaths and kidnappings. Notably, ISMP attack 5 Jan killed at least four people in Chimbanga village, Mocímboa da Praia. UN 22 Jan said attacks in Macomia and Muidumbe 26 Dec-17 Jan displaced 5,343 people amid reports of food shortages. ISMP 21 Jan reportedly occupied strategic Mucojo village in Macomia district, marking first significant settlement held by ISMP since it was expelled from Mbau town (Mocímboa da Praia) in Aug 2021; Mozambican troops abandoned their position after receiving threats from militants, amid reports suggesting deteriorating relations between Mucojo residents and military after troops mid Jan killed three civilians. ISMP explicitly linked series of attacks to Islamic State’s central command’s 4 Jan call for global offensive and 30 Jan said “preaching trip” was under way in northern Mozambique.

Attacks undermined govt’s claim that ISMP no longer poses threat. Bishop of Pemba diocese 2 Jan warned of “attitude of complacency” over situation in Cabo Delgado, while Denis Hurley Peace Institute of Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference 17 Jan accused Rwandan and Mozambican troops of preventing people from fleeing Mocímboa da Praia. Surge in attacks also heightened concerns that withdrawal of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), due to be completed by July, may be premature. Meanwhile international commission, announced late Nov by president of Islamic Council of Mozambique, in Jan began work to promote talks between govt and insurgents in Cabo Delgado. 

Political fallout from contested municipal elections continued. Attorney General 9 Jan dismissed request from main opposition party RENAMO to suspend Constitutional Council ruling that validated results of Oct local elections. Divisions also emerged within RENAMO after spokesperson 4 Jan announced current leader Ossufo Momade will be candidate in presidential election due to be held in Oct; others in party wished to wait for vote at party congress.

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