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

Asia

Afghanistan

Islamic State’s local branch launched multiple attacks across country and in neighbouring Iran, while Taliban authorities made first arrest under draconian 2022 decree on women’s dress. 

After short pause, Islamic State resumed deadly attacks. In its first attack of 2024 following pause since mid Nov 2023, Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP) 4 Jan beheaded Taliban member in Kunar province (north east). IS-KP 6 Jan conducted explosive strike in capital Kabul’s Dasht-e Barchi district, which killed two and injured over a dozen. Suicide explosion 14 Jan rocked office of provincial governor in Nimruz province (south west), killing three security guards; although unclaimed, it also bore hallmarks of IS-KP. Relatedly, IS-KP claimed twin bombings in Iran’s Kerman city that killed scores (see Iran). 

Taliban enforced conservative dress rules on women. Reports 2 Jan surfaced that Taliban authorities had arrested women in Kabul for violating religious hijab-wearing rules, marking first reported arrest for such violation since May 2022 decree enforcing rules; Taliban officials claimed women were detained and released on bail after male relatives had been informed. Meanwhile, crackdown on political space continued: reports indicated that Taliban authorities had arrested over dozen Hizb-ut-Tahrir members in Takhar province (north) as part of broader crackdown on group. 

Pakistan and Afghanistan took steps to repair ties, but bilateral tensions remained. Acting Deputy Defence Minister Shirin Akhund 3 Jan visited Pakistan for meetings with senior Pakistani officials. Pakistani politician Fazal-ur-Rehman 7 Jan visited Kabul; unconfirmed reports claimed Rehman was granted audience with Taliban emir, making him only the second foreign dignitary to meet Taliban leader in recent years. Talks followed months of tension between two countries over anti-Pakistan militants growing active in borderlands, but issue remains unresolved. 

Norway and UK engaged diplomatically with Taliban. Norway’s Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan Paul Klouman Bekken 9 Jan met Taliban’s Deputy FM for Political Affairs Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai. UK’s Chargé d’Affaires to Afghanistan Robert Dickson 12 Jan met Stanekzai; Dickson stated bilateral “engagement will be further enhanced in the future”.

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