Despite naming ourselves the so- called ‘civilised race’, brutal and violent war all around the world remains a sad reality, even in 2019. Entire countries have been ravaged by war terror and violence for generations, children having been born, growing up and dying in a state of war. Spanish philosopher George Santanaya rightly wrote, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Everyday, countries in Asia, Middle East and South America are ravaged by civil wars or violence perpetrated by other countries. These wars are fought over money, power, territory, religion- all considered more important than millions of lives that have been lost in waging these wars. Here are 10 countries which have been ravaged by war and violence in the recent times.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, in a bid to dismantle al- Qaeda and driving out the Taliban from Afghanistan. Besides that, the American government also ensured the implementation of a series of counter- insurgency troops to combat any further attacks from the Taliban. However, the clashes between the US troops and the Taliban continue to claim civilian lives. The invasion began in 2001, and has been going on for close to two decades. Because of that, lives of the common people continue to be in constant danger through crossfiring, bombings, explosions, assassinations, etc.
The longest ongoing civil war in history, the civil war in Myanmar is primarily waged due to ethnic
differences between various communities. The war started shortly after Myanmar (then Burma) got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. The ethnic groups, originally formed as parties
opposing the British occupation of the country, were dissatisfied with the newly formed government
post independence. Certain communities felt discriminated against, and undermined; for example,
Buddhists were felt to be given more preference in positions of power than the Christians. Hence,
dissatisfied groups turned insurgent and started fighting for independence.
This conflict has been stretched over centuries of tensions, disagreements and violence. While formal hostilities can be traced back to the late 18 th centuries, internal and subtle undercurrents of the conflict go back even further. The conflict has been going on between the Russian, former Soviet, government and the various Chechen forces. The two factions have a long history of conflict, but the most recent happened in the 1990s. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Chechens declared independence in 1991, which led to the breaking out of the First Chechen War.
4.) Sierra Leone
The Ukrainian crisis began in November 2013, and has been prolonged for an extended period of time. Several factors have contributed to this crisis, the conflict with Russia being a crucial factor. The crisis began with the then president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, suspending the talks within the Ukrainian government to associate with the European Union. After the supporters of the agreement succeeded in ousting the president, a conflict erupted between them and supporters of Yanukovych. Subsequently, the crisis inflated when Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is facing not one, but multiple skirmishes within itself. The Lord’s
Resistance Army Insurgency is conducting a guerilla campaign. Other conflicts include the Batwa-Luba, the Kivu and the Ituri conflicts. The so- called objective “gravity” of all these conflicts are different; however, all of them are same in that they are costing more and more civilian lives each year. The United States government has issued an official warning against travel to Congo because of the prevalence of armed conflict in the region.
The civil war in South Sudan has been going on for close to 6 years now. It started as a conflict between the two opposing factions of the government- the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) and the SPLM-io (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- in opposition). Nations like Uganda and their troops were also involved. Mediated by the United Nations and the African Union, their were several peace agreements that were reached upon by the warring factions. However, renewed fighting broke out for various reasons each time. The last peace treaty was signed in September 2018. Close to 4 lakh people are estimated to have been killed in the war.
The Libyan civil war has been going on since 2014, and is fought primarily for control over oil resources of the country and Libya’s governance. The conflict is mainly between the government formed by the House of Representatives, also called the ‘Tobruk’ government, and the opposition government formed by the General National Congress, which worked out of the Libyan capital Tripoli. Various surrounding nations were also involved in the conflict. The Tobruk government was supported by Egypt and the UAE, while the GNC government was backed by Qatar, Sudan and Turkey. While an agreement was signed in 2015, its terms are not followed and agreed upon by all parties involved in the conflict.
The southern part of the African country of Somalia has been rife with a civil war for more than ten
years. The war, which started in 2009, is being waged between the Somali government, which is being assisted by various organizations like the African Union peacekeeping corps, and various militant and extremist religious groups. The conflict, like many others, has displaced thousands of citizens in the southern part of Somalia. Neighbouring countries like Kenya have also been involved in the conflict. In 2014, the Somali government launched an operation to “clean up" various militant areas in the outskirts of the country.
Iraq, after Afghanistan, is the second country to be ravaged by war due to an invasion by the United States of America. In 2003, the US forces invaded Iraq to overthrow the dictatorial Saddam Hussein and his regime and government. This resulted in the ultimate defeat and death of Hussein. However, even after the overthrow of the Saddam regime, Iraq has been the grip of a bitter civil war between the Iraqi government and the ISIS militants. The insurgency reached the status of a civil war in 2014, when the ISIS conquered major areas in northern Iraq. Even earlier in its history, Iraq has been ravaged by wars, such as the Gulf War in the 1990s and the Kurdish conflict in 1974.
The Syrian conflict is one of the most brutal across the world, one which has caught a lot of attention of people all over the globe. The war started as protests against the Arab Spring in early 2011. The government forces brutally and violently shut down the civilian protests, calling for a complete dethroning of the president and his government . The attacks, which came under severe criticism by agencies such as the UN, were met with further protests. This conflict escalated into the present- day Syrian Civil War. The war has resulted in the displacement of millions of Syrian citizens. Despite attempts towards peace, the war still continues.