CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

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CrisisWatch is our early warning and global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

Global Overview

Outlook for This Month September 2023

Conflict Risk Alerts

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month August 2023

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

Our monthly conflict tracker highlights two conflict risk alerts in September.

  • Significant clashes broke out in Mali’s north between government forces and former rebels for the first time since the 2015 peace agreement. September could see more violence and the collapse of the peace process as the UN mission’s withdrawal continues.
     
  • The West African regional bloc ECOWAS continued to threaten the use of force in Niger to restore constitutional order following the coup in July. An intervention could trigger major pushback and put Niger and the wider region at risk of war.

CrisisWatch identified eleven deteriorated situations in August. Notably:

  • Military officers seized power from President Ali Bongo in Gabon moments after authorities announced his re-election for a third term.
     
  • In Syria, a major battle broke out between the regime and the northwest’s dominant rebel group Hei’at Tahrir al-Sham as Russia renewed airstrikes, while the Islamic State killed dozens as it stepped up attacks in the country’s centre.
     
  • President Lasso declared a nationwide state of emergency in Ecuador following a spate of political assassinations in the lead-up to the presidential election.
     
  • In Cyprus, violent skirmishes between Turkish Cypriots and UN personnel in the buffer zone injured multiple peacekeepers and Turkish Cypriot police officers and sparked a strong diplomatic rebuke. 

Our tracker also assessed two improved situations.

  • The Colombian government’s landmark ceasefire with the National Liberation Army guerrilla group took effect, marking an important step forward in President Petro’s “total peace” efforts.
     
  • Guatemala’s presidential election went ahead despite judicial and other interference, resulting in a landslide victory for centre-left candidate Bernardo Arévalo endorsed by the outgoing president.

Aside from the scores of conflict situations we usually cover, we tracked significant developments in Bahrain, Nile Waters and Senegal

Latest Updates

Asia

Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s second attempt at satellite launch failed as U.S. and South Korea began summer military drills, which raised tensions and could provoke further missile tests by Pyongyang.

North Korea attempted second satellite launch. After first try to launch military reconnaissance satellite into orbit failed on 31 May, North Korea 24 Aug made second attempt but rocket booster faced issues during third phase, according to state media, and disintegrated before falling into sea. U.S. and South Korea condemned launch as violating UN Security Council resolutions, as Pyongyang vowed to try again in Oct.

U.S. and South Korea began summer military exercises. U.S. and South Korea 21 Aug commenced annual summer drills called Ulchi Freedom Shield. Although arguably essential for military readiness, drills risk fuelling instability on peninsula and triggering North Korea response; South Korean National Intelligence Agency 17 Aug warned that Pyongyang had “provocations” in works to respond to combined drills, which may come in form of missile tests. North Korean military 18 Aug said it dispatched warplanes after U.S. reconnaissance aircraft previous day entered North Korea’s economic zone off eastern coast, denouncing “dangerous military provocation”. Leader Kim Jong-un 29 Aug warned of “danger of a nuclear war” in waters off peninsula. Pyongyang 30 Aug fired two short-range ballistic missiles as part of “tactical nuclear strike drill simulating scorched-earth strikes”.

With North Korea in mind, U.S., South Korea and Japan deepened ties. At historic Camp David summit, leaders of U.S., South Korea and Japan 18 Aug signalled enhanced trilateral relations and coordination against North Korea; three pledged to “share information, align our messaging and coordinate response actions” and embark on joint military exercises as well as “annual Trilateral Indo-Pacific Dialogue”; statement also reaffirmed “commitment to the complete denuclearisation of [North Korea]” and urged north to “abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs”.

Pyongyang began repatriating citizens. North Korea 22 Aug began repatriating its citizens from abroad more than three years after country closed its borders amid COVID-19 pandemic; China and Russia play host to significant cohorts of North Korean workers as well as hundreds of govt personnel.

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