During 2011 the sudden and dramatic popular uprisings in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, which together constituted the Arab Spring, produced diverse patterns of conflict. The events of the Arab Spring were not, however, isolated in terms of contemporary conflict trends. Rather, developments across the region served to underline some of the long-term changes that have occurred in armed conflict over recent decades. This has involved important shifts in the scale, intensity and duration of armed conflict around the world, and in the principal actors involved in violence. Together these changes point to the emergence of a significantly different conflict environment than that which prevailed for much of the 20th century. Adapted from the source document.
In 2011-12 conflict continued to be a major concern for the international community, most notably in the Middle East, western Asia and Africa, but also with increased levels of interstate tension in East Asia. Nevertheless, deaths resulting from major organized violence worldwide remained at historically low levels. Perhaps the biggest single factor that has shaped the significant global decline in the number of armed conflicts and casualty rates since the end of the superpower confrontation of the cold war has been the dramatic reduction in major powers engaging in proxy conflicts. However, the relationship between states and conflict may be changing once again. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of intrastate conflicts that are internationalized -- that is, that have another state supporting one side or another. Such involvement often has the effect of increasing casualty rates and prolonging conflicts. Shifting interests and changing capabilities as a result of a weakening of the unipolar post-cold war security balance and the emergence of elements of multipolarity are clearly affecting the overall international order, even while levels of conflict remain relatively low. Nevertheless, some developments in 2011-12 could be seen as warning signs that if the positive trends in conflict that emerged in recent decades are to be sustained, new ways need to be found to build cooperative international relations to manage the changing global security order. Adapted from the source document.
A growing wave of scholarship suggests that ideology has demonstrable effects on various forms of armed conflict. But ideology remains a relative theoretical newcomer in conflict research, and scholars lack developed microfoundations for analyzing ideologies and their effects. Typically, existing research has primarily presented ideology as either an instrumental tool for conflict actors or a source of sincere political and normative commitments. But neither approach captures the diverse ways in which contemporary social science theorizes the causal connection between ideas and action, and both struggle to reconcile the apparently strong effects of ideology on conflict at the collective level with the relative rarity of 'true believers' at the individual level. This article addresses such problems by providing key microfoundations for conceptualizing ideologies, analyzing ideological change, and explaining ideologies' influence over conflict behavior. I emphasize that ideology overlaps with other drivers of conflict such as strategic interests and group identities, show how ideologies can affect conflict behavior through four distinct mechanisms – commitment, adoption, conformity, and instrumentalization – and clarify the role of both conflict pressures and pre-existing ideological conditions in ideological change. These microfoundational claims integrate existing empirical findings and offer a foundation for building deeper explanations and middle-range theories of ideology's role in armed conflict.
A collection of articles stemming from a conference on "Reconciliation and the Role of Religion in Situations of Armed Conflict," held 16-21 Nov 1989 in Sigtuna, Sweden. In Why Is Religion Still a Factor in Armed Conflict?, Roger Williamson (Life & Peace Instit, Uppsala, Sweden) provides an overview of reasons why religion continues to play a socially divisive role in many areas around the world. The failure of secular economic theories is discussed, relative to their view that religion would play a decreasing role in conflict in comparison to economic problems. The resurgence of religion is explored, especially relative to Christianity in the Third World & Islam as a political force, as well as to the role of the Christian Right in US foreign policy. An overview of the dynamics of various religious conflicts throughout the world is presented, as is a typology for classifying religious armed conflicts. The ineffectiveness of religion in stopping war, & the emergence of theological resistance to injustice in the Third World are discussed. In Religion in the Sudan: Exacerbating Conflict or Facilitating Reconciliation?, Hizkias Assefa (La Roche Coll, Pittsburgh, Pa) addresses the role of religion in armed conflicts in the Sudan, arguing that it has been primarily destructive, though there have been some instances of more positive actions. In Religion and Conflict in the Sudan: A Perspective, Raphael Koba Badal (U of Sudan) provides a historical overview of the Christian/Islam civil conflicts there. In The Role of Religion in Situations of Armed Conflict: The Case of Northern Ireland, Alan D. Falconer (Irish School of Ecumenics, Dublin) explores the role of religion & of memories in exacerbating the Catholic/Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland. Steps that churches must take to help end the conflict through mutual understanding are suggested. In Living with Religion in the Midst of Violence, A. T. Ariyaratne (Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Sangamaya, Inc, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka) provides an overview of the Sarvodaya Shramadana movement in Sri Lanka, which mobilizes village communities to help one another to improve the quality of their lives. The history of the group, which began in the mid-1950s, & its approach to peacemaking are discussed. 2 Tables, 2 Figures, 16 References. D. Dennis
Major armed conflicts in 2000 revealed a diverse set of antagonistic groups, variously driven by political ambitions, economic motives, ideology, & fear. The ultimate objective of all the antagonists was to secure control of governmental power or territory. In addition, individuals within the groups & their outside supporters sometimes were motivated by personal greed. Communal identity was a common tool used by leaders to define & motivate a group. It did not appear to be a cause of violence by itself. All but two major armed conflicts in 2000 were intrastate. However, the vast majority of them exhibited transnational characteristics that threatened regional stability. Virtually all the conflicts elicited the direct political, economic, or military involvement of other states & multinational organizations. Adapted from the source document.
In 2007 the fragmentation of armed violence, the diversification of armed actors and the blurring of boundaries between categories of violence and between their actors were among the predominant trends in armed conflicts. These patterns were evident in some of the world's deadliest armed conflicts and conflict-prone zones, including Darfur (Sudan), Iraq and Pakistan. While changes in the US-led military surge and counterinsurgency strategy had some stabilizing effect in parts of Iraq from mid-2007, the overall security situation remained uneven. The modest decline in inter-sectarian violence in some mixed areas can also be attributed to increased population displacement. At the local level, the rise of militant power brokers ranging from neighborhood security groups to street gangs and smuggling networks contributed to the further fragmentation of violence. Decline in state-based fighting in Darfur did not lead to improved security conditions. The main patterns of violence continued to shift from state-based armed confrontation to a complex mix of less intensive but numerous mini conflicts. Rebel, defecting and state-affiliated armed groups switched alliances depending on circumstances and engaged in predatory violence, local power-brokering and cross-border incursions. Violence against civilians continued unabated, and the number of people killed by tribal and factional violence was greater than the number killed in battles between the government and the rebels. In Pakistan, following the breakdown of a ceasefire between the government and pro-Taliban militants, the tribal areas saw some of the fiercest violence for several years, including an increase of incursions into Afghanistan, attacks on government forces and suicide terrorism. Growing 'Talibanization' of the tribal areas was paralleled by Islamist radicalization across Pakistan that culminated in the Red Mosque siege in July 2007. The overlapping of local, national, regional and transnational political and religious violence in Pakistan was demonstrated by the dynamics of terrorist activity, including the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In all three locations, state weakness was one of the critical factors stimulating the fragmentation and the growing intractability of armed violence in 2007. In order to reduce violence in weak, conflict-torn states, efforts to support state building that combine functionality with local legitimacy should be seen as a priority. Domestically generated movements that enjoy considerable popular support and pursue broad social, political and security agendas may be most capable of achieving this combination -- even if their ideologies and agendas are significantly different from those promoted by the leading international actors. Adapted from the source document.
Four of the major armed conflicts ongoing in 2002 -- Chechnya, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, & Israel-Palestinians -- intensified substantially. They also underlined the continuous evolution in the methods of war fighting. The conflicts in Sri Lanka, Somalia, & Sudan, each of which came close to achieving a negotiated settlement, highlighted that external influences, such as diplomatic pressure or promises of military, foreign, & humanitarian aid, can play a major role in changing the dynamics of an intra-state conflict. There is also evidence that the effects of the US war on terrorism had a direct impact on most of the eight conflicts surveyed. Adapted from the source document.
Enthält: Stepanova, Ekaterina: Trends in armed conflicts: one-sided violence against civilians. - S. 39-68 Harbom, Lotta; Wallensteen, Peter: Patterns of major armed conflicts, 1999-2008. - S. 69-85 McConaghy, Clyde: The global peace index 2009. - S. 85-93