Warriors and other serious armed conflicts are today mainly civil wars or other internal conflicts. The typical war between states – as we have known it for hundreds of years – plays almost the same role as before. In the world’s many armed conflicts – large and small, non-governmental parties play a more prominent role than before. In a way, we can speak of a de-nationalization – a privatization – of the face of war.
- What are the characteristics of armed conflicts today?
- Who are the parties to the conflict?
- What happens to modern warfare?
2: Where do we find the serious conflicts?
The number of civil wars (war: more than 1,000 killed in combat in one year) and other serious conflicts (mainly> 100 killed, etc.) has decreased since the mid-1990s. For 2007, the Conflict Barometer 2007 (see map) reports 31 serious conflicts in the world – five fewer than in 2006. This means conflicts at the two highest and most conflict-intensive of a total of five conflict levels (see Figure 1) . All were internal conflicts, and six of them were characterized as war. The map mainly deals only with these conflicts. At the same time, we find a large undergrowth of conflicts that are not as devastating as the most serious conflicts, but which still include the use of sporadic violence (category 3 in Figure 1), threatening vocabulary (2) or unresolved border issues (1).
3: Internal conflicts can spread
With modern communications, cheaper transport and better technology in a globalized world, civil wars are “contagious” quickly, especially to surrounding countries, but also to the global society. This can happen in the form of refugees, organized crime, infectious diseases, political unrest, economic problems, violence learning (that violence pays off) or other. The outside world is therefore often affected by civil war. Professionals talk about transnational – cross-border – the character of civil wars. History can show more than one example of civil wars spreading to neighboring countries. According to ANIMALERTS.COM, the civil war in Rwanda spread to Zaire (no Congo); the civil war of recent years in West Africa must be seen in this light, etc.
But the currents do not just go one way. Refugees from conflicts in a number of countries constitute diasporas ( About internally displaced persons ) far from their home countries’ war code places. From their exile they often helped to finance “their conflict party”. How does it affect a course of conflict that people in exile feed their party with money transfers at the same time as they do not have to take the consequences in the form of killed family members, fear of their own lives, etc.? It is not uncommon for one effect to be that the war and the conflict last much longer than the local resources would suggest. And what is it that also contributes to keeping conflicts alive if not “sucked” in the outside world for, for example, diamonds, drugs and oil?
4: Why most internal conflicts?
The reasons why the open conflicts of our time are primarily about internal strife can be several and certainly vary from conflict to conflict: It has become easier to obtain light small arms from outside (automatic rifles, grenade launchers). In this way, it has become possible even for small players, perhaps with little support, to assert themselves with only a minimum of weapons and people.
On the other hand, we could also have asked why there have been fewer intergovernmental wars: Increased interdependence between countries has increased costs and the reluctance to go to war. A war can destroy its own access to resources, its own exports or its own foreign investments. Many would also say that there is less economic benefit in war than before – the road to welfare goes more through international trade and foreign investment than through hardening countries and physical resources.
5: Two conflicting developmental features
We see that countries in the north are equipping themselves with increasingly expensive, high-tech weapon systems – with in part enormous purchasing and operating costs, which largely only states can manage to finance. In a time of violent military-technological development, it is to a greater extent open to more technological solutions and the use of fewer and often more professional soldiers than before.
On the other hand, what some call the new wars are taking place , primarily in the south. And they are characterized by relatively cheap and light weapons that are easy to handle, including landmines. These are weapons that are particularly effective, that many can obtain and that are easy to transport, hide, smuggle and use.
6: The New Wars
What are the characteristics of the new wars beyond light and relatively cheap weapons? One important aspect is a decommissioning . Non-governmental groups or semi-militaries are far more involved than before in politically motivated use of force – in armed conflicts. In addition, many of the groups are more driven by commercial (tene money) than by apparent political interests. It is then characteristic of new warriors that the state in several countries in the south has lost its monopoly on the use of force.