1. Major armed conflicts
In 1998 there were 27 major armed conflicts in 26 locations throughout the world. Both the number of major armed conflicts and the number of conflict locations were higher than the previous year (in 1997 there were 25 major armed conflicts in 24 locations). However, both figures for 1998 are lower than those for 1989. The rise in the number of conflicts and locations in 1998 is accounted for by the conflicts on the continent of Africa.
All but two of the conflicts in 1998 were internal - that is, the issue concerned control over the government or territory of one state. The two interstate conflicts in 1998 were those between India and Pakistan and between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
In at least six of the conflicts the intensity of the fighting in 1998 increased to a higher level than in the previous year. Thirteen of the major armed conflicts in 1998 incurred at least 1000 deaths during the year - Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea-Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).
A root cause of the conflicts in Africa is to be found in the weakness of many of its states, which became especially obvious after the cold war. Corruption, lack of efficient administration, poor infrastructure and weak national coherence make governance both difficult and costly. The combination of weak states and rich natural resources in Africa has resulted in a dangerous structural environment fuelling conflicts. Natural resources have become a cause for war as well as a necessary source of wealth for keeping the conflicts going. In several parts of sub-Saharan Africa semi-political actors are fighting for the control of natural resources without any wider political ambitions.
1A. Major armed conflicts, 1998
MARGARETA SOLLENBERG STAFFAN ÅNGMAN, YVLA BLONDEL, ANN-SOFI JAKOBSSON AND ANDRÉS JATO
Appendix 1A presents data on the major armed conflicts of 1998.
Appendix 1B. The Kashmir conflict
The conflict in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir continues despite attempts over the past three years to revitalize democratic institutions. The 1990s has been a decade of violence for Kashmir during which the relationship between India and Pakistan has remained volatile. Although the levels of violence have varied greatly from year to year, fighting has been continuous since 1989. In 1998 no political or diplomatic solutions to the conflict were in sight and both separatist-related violence and cross-border firing increased. Estimates of the number of lives claimed by the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, including civilians, military personnel, border security forces and separatists, vary greatly. Some of the observations that might be described as comparatively neutral suggest around 25 000 casualties between 1989 and 1996.
The nuclear tests worsened the relationship between India and Pakistan and were followed by a drastic increase in firing across the Line of Control and an escalation of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. If the attempt to reinstall democratic institutions had some effects in decreasing tension in Jammu and Kashmir in 1996 and 1997, all such processes were reversed in 1998. The separatist movement, although internally divided, continues its war against the Indian Union.
Appendix 1C. The Kosovo conflict
During the entire first half of the 1990s, the Kosovar Albanians exercised non-violent resistance but were ignored by both Belgrade and the international community. In turning increasingly to violent resistance from 1996, the conflict acquired an international dimension, involving other countries and multilateral organizations. In 1998 the conflict escalated to full-fledged warfare between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Serbian Army and police forces. While both sides in the conflict included outside political factors in their calculations, the actual impact of the international community on the development of military events was modest. By the end of 1998 the long-term solutions to the Kosovo conflict favoured by the Serbian and the Kosovar Albanian sides were even more complex and difficult to reconcile than they were at the beginning of the year.
Appendix 1D. The Tajikistan conflict
Tensions and armed conflict were still prevalent in Tajikistan in 1998, in spite of an ongoing reconciliation process between the Tajik Government and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO). Several factors obstructed reconciliation in 1998. Most notable were the mounting inter-regional and inter-ethnic controversies. A rebellion in the Leninabad region of northern Tajikistan in November and the ensuing reactions of the government and the UTO signified a new emerging balance of forces. For the first time the government and the opposition were united in their efforts to suppress a 'third force'. The bilateral accommodation between the government and the UTO may promote peace and stability in the short term but could well become destabilizing in the medium term if the two partners continue to exclude the Leninabad region from a share of the power.