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2. Major armed conflicts



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Eight of the
21 major armed conflicts ongoing in 2002 have been selected—Chechnya
(Russia), Colombia, Israel–Palestinians, Nepal, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Sudan—to allow
for a more thorough and analytical discussion. The first four
conflicts, which intensified substantially during 2002, underlined
the continuous evolution in the methods of war fighting. The
latter four are cases of conflict that came close to achieving
a resolution in 2002.

This was the
first full year in which the effects of the September 2001 terrorist
attacks in the USA could be properly assessed and, although no
definite conclusions can be drawn at this time, there is evidence
that they have had a direct impact on most of the conflicts examined.
In Africa, the USA, concerned by possible links between cells
of the al-Qaeda network and Islamic fundamentalist organizations
in the region, paid a greater level of attention to developments
in the conflicts in Sudan and Somalia. This resulted in the application
of considerable pressure on the warring parties in both conflicts
to come to a negotiated settlement. By the end of 2002, there
were prospects for resolutions to both conflicts.

External influences,
such as diplomatic pressure or promises of military, foreign,
and humanitarian aid, played a large role in changing the dynamics
in both groups of conflicts. War-weariness, financial disincentives
arising from the fighting and some internal pressure were also
important reasons for the parties involved in the Sri Lankan
and the Sudanese conflicts to agree to negotiations.


Appendix 2A. Patterns
of major armed conflicts, 1990–2002


In 2002, there
were 21 major armed conflicts in 19 locations throughout the
world. The number of major armed conflicts and the number of
conflict locations in 2002 were lower than in 2001, when there
were 24 major armed conflicts in 22 locations. The conflict between
India and Pakistan continued to be the only active inter-state
conflict. The vast majority of the conflicts in 2002 occurred
in Africa and in Asia. In the 13-year post-cold war period, there
were 58 different major armed conflicts in 46 different locations.
The number of major armed conflicts in 2002 was the lowest since


Appendix 2B. Definitions, sources and methods for the conflict data


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(Indonesia) is a Research Associate on the SIPRI Projects Conflicts
and Peace Enforcement, and Conflict Prevention, Management and
Resolution. Prior to joining SIPRI, she worked at the Center
for International Affairs at the University of Washington in
Seattle. She contributed to the SIPRI Yearbook in 2002.

Dr Ian

(United Kingdom) is SIPRI Research Coordinator and the Leader
of the SIPRI Internet Database on European Export Controls Project.
In 1992–98 he was Leader of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Project.
His most recent publication for SIPRI is A Future Arms Control
Agenda: Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 118, 1999 (2001), for
which he is co-editor (with Adam Daniel Rotfeld). He is also
editor of the SIPRI volumes Russia and the Arms Trade (1998),
Arms Export Regulations (1991) and SIPRI Research Report no.
7, The Future of Defence Industries in Central and Eastern Europe
(1994), and author of The Naval Arms Trade (SIPRI, 1990) and
The Arms Trade and Medium Powers: Case Studies of India and Pakistan
1947–90 (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992). He has written or
co-authored chapters for the SIPRI Yearbook since 1988.


(Sweden) is a Research Assistant on the Uppsala Conflict Data
Project at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala
University. He is currently working on the Uppsala Conflict Data
Project and the Stockholm Process on the Implementation of Targeted


(Sweden) is a Research Assistant on the Uppsala Conflict Data
Project at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala
University. She has been editor of States in Armed Conflict since
1994 and has contributed to the SIPRI Yearbook since 1995.

Peter Wallensteen

(Sweden) has held the Dag Hammarskjöld Chair in Peace and
Conflict Research since 1985 and was Head of the Department of
Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University in 1972–99.
He has most recently published Understanding Conflict Resolution:
War, Peace and the Global System (SAGE, 2002) and Conflict Prevention
through Development Co-operation (Uppsala, 2001). He has co-authored
chapters in the SIPRI Yearbook since 1988.