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Appendix 2A. Patterns of major armed conflicts, 1999–2008


I. Introduction

II. Global patterns in major armed conflicts

III. Regional patterns in major armed conflicts

IV. Changes in the table of conflicts for 2008

V. One-sided violence

VI. Definitions, sources and methods

Figure 2A.1. Regional distribution and total number of major armed conflicts, 1999–2008

Table 2A.1. Regional distribution, number and type of major armed conflict, 1999–2008

Table 2A.2. Regional distribution of locations with at least one major armed conflict, 1999–2008

Table 2A.3. Major armed conflicts in 2008


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In 2008, 16 major armed conflicts were active in 15 locations around the world, 2 more than in 2007.


  Conflict location
Africa Burundi‡
Americas Colombia↓
Asia Afghanistan*↓
  India (Kashmir)↓
  Myanmar (Karen State)↓
  Philippines (Mindanao)↑
  Sri Lanka (‘Tamil Eelam’)↑
Middle East   Iraq↓
  Israel (Palestinian territories)↑
  Turkey (Kurdistan)*↑


Where a conflict is over territory, the disputed territory appears in parentheses after the country name. All other conflicts are over government.

* Fighting in these conflicts also took place in other locations.
↑ Increase in battle-related deaths from 2007.
↓ Decrease in battle-related deaths from 2007.
‡ Conflict inactive or not defined as ‘major’ in 2007.


All of these conflicts are intrastate: for the fifth year running, no major interstate conflict was active in 2008. However, troops from another state aided one of the parties in four conflicts: USA, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Over the past decade, the total number of conflicts has declined overall from 21 in 1999. However, the decline has been uneven, with increases in 2005 and 2008.


Major armed conflicts, 1999–2008

Major armed conflicts, 1999–2008


Lotta Harbom (Sweden) is a Research Assistant with the Uppsala Conflict Data Program at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University.


Prof. Peter Wallensteen (Sweden) is Dag Hammarskjöld Chair in Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, where he directs the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, and Richard G. Starmann Sr Research Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.