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Armed conflicts in 1998.

The number of conflicts declined in 1998, but war continues to plague almost one out of every six countries.

For the third year in a row there has been a reduction in the number of armed conflicts (1) worldwide. While that still leaves almost one in six countries subjected to the trauma and devastation of war, 1998 marked a continuation of the latter 1990s' modest decline in warfare, with 36 armed conflicts taking place on the territories of 31 countries (compared to 37 in 32 countries in 1997, 40 in 34 countries in 1996, and 44 armed conflicts in 39 countries in 1995).

Proportionately pro·por·tion·ate  
Being in due proportion; proportional.

tr.v. pro·por·tion·at·ed, pro·por·tion·at·ing, pro·por·tion·ates
To make proportionate.
, the Middle East continues to be the most warring region (2) (see accompanying Table) with just over two-fifths of the region's 14 states experiencing warfare on their territory in 1998. In Africa and Asia about one-quarter and one-fifth of states respectively had war on their territory.

Africa hosted just over a third of all the world's wars in 1998, with Asia the scene of one-quarter of all wars and the Middle East one-fifth.

Only one new armed conflict is added to the 1998 list. In Yugoslavia, fighting between the central government and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo The Albanians are the largest ethnic group in Kosovo, a Serbian province currently under UN administration. According to the 1991 census, boycotted by Albanians, there were 1,596,072 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo or 81.6% of population.  province, which had begun already in 1997, escalated to pass the threshold level Noun 1. threshold level - the intensity level that is just barely perceptible
intensity, intensity level, strength - the amount of energy transmitted (as by acoustic or electromagnetic radiation); "he adjusted the intensity of the sound"; "they measured the
 of 1,000 combat deaths.

Two conflicts are removed, for the net decline of one. In Albania, the conflict that began in early 1997 was under control by year's end, when a peace accord was reached and a new government of national reconciliation put in place. There were no deaths related to the conflict reported in 1998. The war in Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (păp`ə, –y  was also removed from the list following a 1997 truce which led to a formal ceasefire agreement in 1998, monitored by the UN and regional military forces.

As reported in earlier years, several countries continue to host multiple conflicts. India has three separate armed conflicts within its borders (reported clashes in Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (än`drə prä`dāsh), state (2001 provisional pop. 75,727,541), 106,052 sq mi (275,608 sq km), SE India, on the Bay of Bengal. The capital is Hyderabad.  have claimed some 800 deaths, a trend that could see it soon added to the list as India's fourth armed conflict). Philippines, Indonesia, Iran and Iraq were each the site of two armed conflicts. The Israel/Palestine conflict continues to be defined as a single armed conflict, but takes place in the territory of two states - Israel and Lebanon.

All 36 armed conflicts underway during 1998 must be regarded as intrastate in·tra·state  
Relating to or existing within the boundaries of a state.

Adj. 1. intrastate - relating to or existing within the boundaries of a state; "intrastate as well as interstate commerce"
 or civil wars (the fighting is internal to a single state, although often with significant international involvement and regional implications).

[Part 1 of 2]

Georgraphic Distribution of Armed Conflicts, 1998

Region        # of countries  # of conflicts  # of countries
              in region       in region       hosting conflicts

Africa        50              13              13

Asia          42              13              9

Europe        42              1               1

The Americas  44              2               2

Middle East   14              7               6

World Totals  192             36              31

[Part 2 of 2]

Georgraphic Distribution of Armed Conflicts, 1998

Region        % of countries in  % of world
              region hosting     conflicts

Africa        26                 36

Asia          21                 36

Europe        2                  3

The Americas  5                  6

Middle East   43                 19

World Totals  16                 100

(1) Defining Armed Conflict: For the purposes of the annual Armed Conflicts Report an armed conflict is defined as a political conflict in which armed combat involves the armed forces of at least one state (or one or more armed factions seeking to gain control of all or part of the state), and in which at least 1,000 people have been killed by the fighting during the course of the conflict. An armed conflict is added to the annual list of current armed conflicts in the year in which the death toll reaches the threshold of 1,000, but the starting date of the armed conflict is shown as the year in which the first combat deaths included in the count of 1,000 or more occurred.

The definition of "political conflict" becomes more difficult as the trend in current intrastate armed conflicts increasingly obscures the distinction between political and criminal violence. In a growing number of armed conflicts, armed bands, militia militia (məlĭsh`ə), military organization composed of citizens enrolled and trained for service in times of national emergency. Its ranks may be filled either by enlistment or conscription.  or factions engage in criminal activity (e.g., theft, looting, extortion extortion, in law, unlawful demanding or receiving by an officer, in his official capacity, of any property or money not legally due to him. Examples include requesting and accepting fees in excess of those allowed to him by statute or arresting a person and, with ) in order to fund their political/ military campaigns, but frequently also for the personal enrichment of the leadership and the general livelihood of the fighting forces Fighting Force is a 1997 3D beat 'em up developed by Core Design and published by Eidos in the same lines of classics such as Streets of Rage and Double Dragon. . Thus, in some circumstances, while the disintegrating order reflects the social chaos borne of state failure, the resulting violence or armed combat are not necessarily guided by a political program or a set of politically-motivated or -defined military objectives. However, these trends are part of the changing character of war, and conflicts characterized more by social chaos than political/military competition are thus included in the tabulation tab·u·late  
tr.v. tab·u·lat·ed, tab·u·lat·ing, tab·u·lates
1. To arrange in tabular form; condense and list.

2. To cut or form with a plane surface.

Having a plane surface.
 of current armed conflicts.

In many contemporary armed conflicts the fighting is intermittent intermittent /in·ter·mit·tent/ (-mit´ent) marked by alternating periods of activity and inactivity.

1. Stopping and starting at intervals.

 and involves a very wide range of levels of intensity. An armed conflict is deemed to have ended if there has been a formal cease-fire or peace agreement and, following which, there are no longer combat deaths (or at least less than 25 per year); or, in the absence of a formal cease-fire, a conflict is deemed to have ended after two years of dormancy Dormancy

In the broadest sense, the state in which a living plant organ (seed, bud, tuber, bulb) fails to exhibit growth, even when environmental conditions are considered favorable.
 (in which fewer than 25 combat deaths per year have occurred).

The above definition builds upon, but differs in some aspects from, the definitions of other groups producing annual conflict tabulations, notably reports by Peter Wallensteen and Margareta Sollenberg of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University Uppsala University (Swedish Uppsala universitet) is a public university in Uppsala, Sweden, 64 kilometres (40 miles) north-northwest of Stockholm.[1] Founded in 1477, it claims to be the oldest university in Scandinavia, outdating the University of Copenhagen  (Sweden), published annually in the yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an organization that conducts scientific research into questions of conflict and cooperation of importance for international peace and security, in order to contribute to an understanding of the conditions for .

(2) Defining the regions: For purposes of the annual Armed Conflicts Report, the world is divided into five broad regions. Africa includes the entire continent, plus Madagascar but excludes Egypt, which is included in the Middle East. The region of Asia includes the Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, as well as the Pacific region, including Australia, New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland.  and Micronesia. Europe includes all the states of Europe and the former Soviet Union (except for the Asian republics). The Americas include all of North, Central, and South America South America, fourth largest continent (1991 est. pop. 299,150,000), c.6,880,000 sq mi (17,819,000 sq km), the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. , and the Caribbean.
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Author:Regehr, Ernie
Publication:Ploughshares Monitor
Date:Mar 1, 1999
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