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Highest level since 2014: More and more wars are raging around the world

Highest level since 2014
More and more wars are raging in the world

Researchers are currently counting 21 wars, significantly more than in previous years. Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly hard hit. At the same time, hundreds of other conflicts are being waged across almost all parts of the world. The reasons for this are diverse.

The world is not only suffering from the corona pandemic, last year millions of people all over the world fell victim to conflicts: According to the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK), the number of wars was at its highest last year Value increased since 2014. The now published Conflict Barometer 2020 registered 21 wars after 15 in the previous year.

These included 13 ongoing wars. 7 Conflicts turned into wars, such as the struggle to secede South Yemen and the conflicts between Islamist groups and the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique. A confrontation was fought from scratch at war level – the fight for the Ethiopian region of Tigray.

The most affected area was the sub-Saharan region with 11 wars – in the previous year it was the region of West Asia, North Africa and Afghanistan. In 2020, the institute identified 359 (2019: 358) conflicts worldwide, including 139 non-violent ones. But when does a conflict turn into a war? The institute has based its statistics on a grid with which it classifies the conflicts – from disputes to war with many deaths and massive destruction.

Differentiation between conflict and war

On a scale with five levels, there are no disputes with unusual regulatory procedures and, in the worst case, violence against objects and threats of violence against people on the first two levels. For the other three levels, the indicators dead, refugees, weapons, number of those involved and affected, and destruction are examined. Depending on how massive these characteristics are, these clashes are classified as violent conflict, limited war, and war.

The main arguments are about the ideological, religious, legal or socio-economic orientation of the political system. Raw materials and the profits from them come second. In the conflict-ridden region south of the Sahara with around 920 million people, eleven wars raged in 2020 alone, including five new ones. South Sudan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Somalia and Ethiopia were among those affected. The experts could not observe any relaxation in any of these conflicts.

In America, the scientists recorded the Brazilian drug conflict and in the region of Europe defined by the institute, the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan as wars. The Heidelberg conflict research comprises the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, founded in 1991, and the Conflict Information System research group that joined it in 2005. The aim is to record the conflict as precisely as possible and to provide the conflict cause research with data sets for further analysis.

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