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

Middle East & North Africa

Iran

Islamic State (ISIS) killed 80 in deadliest bombing in decades, while Iran struck Syria, Iraq and Pakistan in sign of increasingly assertive regional posture amid escalation on multiple fronts fuelled by Gaza war.

ISIS killed scores at ceremony for slain commander. ISIS 3 Jan conducted dual bombings at commemoration ceremony for Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Kerman city (south east), which killed over 80 and injured more than 200, marking deadliest terrorist attack in Iran since 1979 revolution. 

Tehran struck out at foes both east and west. IRGC 15 Jan announced it had launched ballistic missiles into Syria’s Idlib purportedly aimed at ISIS, and northern Iraq at sites it claimed were linked to Israeli intelligence. Iranian forces next day launched strikes on village in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, claiming to target “strongholds” of Jaish al-Adl – anti-Iranian Baloch militant group that 15 Dec conducted deadly attack in Iran’s Balochistan province; Pakistan condemned strike and claimed it killed two children. Pakistan 18 Jan launched strikes on village near Iranian border city of Saravan (south east), claiming to target Pakistani Baloch militants; pair took steps to de-escalate late Jan (see Pakistan). Unidentified gunmen 27 Jan killed nine Pakistani workers in Saravan.

Iran-aligned groups continued attacks across region amid Gaza war. Amid Houthi attacks in Red Sea and U.S.-UK retaliatory airstrikes (see Yemen), Iran 15 Jan disavowed involvement. Iran 21 Jan confirmed deaths of five IRGC members in alleged Israeli strikes in Syrian capital Damascus, as President Raisi pledged revenge. Attacks against U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Syria by Iran-aligned groups continued, exceeding 160 incidents from mid Oct to late Jan (see Iraq and Syria). In significant escalation, drone strike 28 Jan, attributed by U.S. to Iran-backed militants, killed three U.S. service members in Jordan; U.S. pledged retaliation (see Jordan).

Iran expanded nuclear activities. After International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) late Dec announced Iran increased three-fold its production of uranium enriched up to 60%, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi 18 Jan stressed need for urgent diplomacy; nuclear expansion, hampered cooperation with IAEA and limited diplomacy with West bode ill for swift resolution of simmering nuclear crisis. 

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