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DESIP: WarDatabase /1 of 3
DESIP: WARDATABASE (1 of 3)
DEMOGRAPHIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND SECURITY
ISSUES PROJECT (DESIP)
by Ronald Bleier (rbleier@xxxxxxxx org)
The purpose of DESIP is to present information on a host
of issues which impact life on our planet. Most of the
effort thus far has gone into the WarDatabase: a
compilation of ongoing and incipient wars, war related
situations and war related information.
A key aspect of this project is to invite the
participation of the on-line community in this information
gathering effort. If you email me at: rbleier@xxxxxxxxxxx,
I will endeavor to include your contributions in future
Also, readers are invited to share their knowledge of sites
on-line where relevant information is available.
WARDATABASE -- January 1995
HOW MANY WARS?
31 Wars in 1994 or 34 or 35?
* According to the Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook for 1995, in 1994 there were 31
major armed conflicts in 27 locations in the world.
According to SIPRI, all of these were intra-state
conflicts with inter-state components in Nagorno-Karabach,
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Takjikistan.
* According to "Vital Signs" (Worldwatch Institute, 1995,
pp. 110-111) in 1994 there were 34 wars with more than
1,000 dead (7 with more than 100,000).
* According to The State of the World Atlas, "during
1994 more than 35 states were waging war inside or outside
their territories. Altogether more than 50 states were at
war at some time between 1990 and 1994." As part of their
definition of war, they write that war is "an open and
armed conflict" in which "more than 25 people are killed
in a year."
PART 1. ONGOING WARS
1. Burundi -- More than 100,000 people have died in the
conflict which began in October 1993 pitting the Tutsi
dominated military against the Hutu rebels with civilians
and refugees caught in the middle (NYT, Reuters, 24
The low-level civil war began when the first elected Hutu
president was killed in a failed coup. Fierce clashes
between the Burundi army and Hutu rebels erupted in
December 1995 in the capital, Bujumbura. Amnesty
International (AI) believes that attacks by Tutsi
dominated security forces in the capital are aimed at
ridding Bujumbura of Hutu. In addition, armed Hutu groups
are responding by killing ethnic Tutsi.
According to Amnesty International there are about 1,000
casualties per month; and there have been more than 1,300
dead since the start of November 1995. AI believes that
there are unreported massacres in the inaccessible
provinces of Bubanza and Cititoke where fighting has
intensified during 1995 (12.20.95). The Hutu president
of the Hutu majority country is Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.
2. Eritrea vs. Yemen -- December 1995 clash over control
over the Hamish Islands which are in the midst of an
important waterway 100 miles north of the southern entrance
to the Red Sea. Eritrea claimed that it agreed to a
cease-fire but this was disputed by Yemen.
Yemen has F-5 warplanes, Russian MIGs, Sukhols and attack
helicopters. Eritrea, which gained independence from
Ethiopia in May 1993 , has warships. Yemen claimed that
Eritrea invaded island on December 15, 1995 and admitted
that 160 of its 500 man garrison had been captured
including the garrison commander. 16 soldiers have been
reported killed. President of Yemen: Ali Abdullah Salih;
President of Eritrea: Issaias Afeweiki (AP, in NYT,
December 18/19, 1995).
3. Mozambique vs. tribes
4. Rwanda -- Mid-93 population estimate: 7.4 million. The
plane crash on April 6, 1994 killing Rwanda's president,
Juvenal Habyarimana, precipitated the war between Hutus
and Tutsis which left as many as one million dead and about
2 million refugees between April and August '94.
In mid-1995, there were 57,000 (mostly Hutu) prisoners in
Rwandan jails which were built to hold 12,000; the prison
population has gone up from 53,000 to 57,000 in less than a
month. Some 2,300 inmates have died from disease over the
past 15 months (NYT, Reuters, Oct 29, '95). Rwandan
President: Pasteur Biziwungu.
Evidence has surfaced which indicates that Hutu militias
were rearmed (perhaps from France) and were preparing to
attack Rwanda before a successful Rwandan pre-emptive
attack on Lake Kivu on the Rwanda-Zaire border in late
NYT Review of political turmoil in area by Donatella Lorch,
November 26, 1995.
"President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, entrenched in power
for almost two decades, feels threatened by President
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, a former guerrilla commander
who took power in a civil war. Mr. Moi has cut off
relations with Rwanda and has accused Rwanda's leader
General Kagame, another victorious civil war commander, of
being a puppet of Uganda.
"In recent months, Kenya has accused Uganda of backing
rebel movements and hiring African mercenaries for an
invasion. Uganda has in turn accused Kenya of massing
troops on the border.
"The Sudan meanwhile, has threatened to invade Uganda and
Uganda has increased its support of southern Sudanese
"Zaire has accused Rwanda of plotting bomb and mine
explosions in the Hutu refugee camps. Kenya and Zaire
each accused Uganda of trying to destabilize the entire
"Burundi is rudderless and crumbling in a slowly grinding
civil war." (NYT)
5. Sierra Leone -- More than 100,000 have been killed in
the civil war begun in 1991 by the Revolutionary United
Front, a guerilla movement. Currently a military
government heads the country. Mid-1993 population estimate:
4.5 million; more than half are refugees; 1.2 million
internal refugees; tens of thousands of casualties;
currently severe malnutrition; the countryside is empty
because of the lack of security. According to press
reports, South African mercenaries have been helping the
military government fight the bush insurgency.
6. Sudan: Ruled by General Omar el Bashir. Ongoing civil
war between the largely Muslim north and the African
south. The war is between the African Sudan People's
Liberation Army (SPLA) -- as well as simultaneously between
Khartoum and the Nuba hillmen. The war has been on and off
since 1995 but was heightened in 1983 when Khartoum imposed
Islamic Sharia which effectively rendered the non- Moslem
population of Southern Sudan to second class status. The
non-Muslim population make up 35% of the country's
27.4 million people (mid-1993 estimate). Dr. Hasan al
Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front (INF), is
the key supporter of the Islamic Militia and is the defacto
leader of Sudan.
Deaths have been estimated at 1.5 million and nearly 3
million have been forced to flee their homes in the south
and are living in squalid camps in Khartoum; there are
100,000 Sudanese refugees in Zaire and Central African
Republic; (InterPress Third World News Agency -- IPS --
October - December '95).
Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt are a regional
grouping opposed to Khartoum's brand of militant Islam.
There have been reports of U.S. military support for
Sudan's opponents based on Washington's distaste for a
regime it accuses of international terrorism (IPS, Moyiga
Nduru, Dec. 6, '95).
7. Sahel Pastoralists (Moors and Tauregs) vs. Black
8. Somalia -- Ongoing fighting between rival clans began
in 1991. The notable clan leaders are Gen. Mohammed Farah
Aidid, Gen. Mohammed Said Hirsi and Mohammed Haji Aden --
a vice president in the government formed in 1995 by Gen.
Aidid but rejected by many Somalis. Said Hirsi, known as
Morgan, is a son-in-law of the former dictator, Mohammed
Siad Barre (AP, in NYT, 12.12.95).
9. Senegal -- secessionist armed insurrection of the
10. Western Sahara -- The war began in 1975 when Spain
pulled out of the region which it had colonized in 1904.
Morocco had long claimed Western Sahara, while the
Saharans' Polisario Front, which was formed in 1973,
wanted independence. Fighting all but died away after a
1991 cease fire. However, Morocco has long hindered a
referendum which would allow the Sahrawi to determine
their future, while Algeria supports it and war could
resume if no progress is made on the diplomatic front
(NYT, December 8, 1995, Barbara Crossette).
CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA
11. Columbia -- Population mid-1993: 34.9 million.
President: Ernesto Samper. Rebel war ongoing since 1960.
NYT reports massacres and brutal armed confrontations
between guerillas, military and paramilitary forces in
Uraba; 92 people reported killed from September-November
1995. Negotiations between guerrillas and government,
begun in late 1994 have been stalled. Guerilla groups
include Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, National
Liberation Army and Popular Liberation Army (NYT, November
27, 1995, Pamela Mercer).
12. Guatemala -- President: Ramon de Leon Carpio; war began
in 1961 vs. leftist guerillas called the Guatemalan
National Revolutionary Unit; 100,000 dead; 40,000 missing;
(NYT, 27 August 95, by Larry Rohter). Activists give higher
estimates: they say civilian deaths alone may be in the
150,000 - 200,000 range. A CIA coup against a
democratically elected government led to military
dictatorship in 1954.
13. Mexico - mid-1993 population: 90 million. Rebellion in
Mexican state of Chiapas by Mayan rebels, known as
Zapatistas; began in January 1994. Estimated indigenous
population in 1995: 7 million. President: Ernesto Zedillo.
NORTH AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST
14. Algeria -- civil war; 40,000 - 50,000 killed since
government annulled elections in 1992 that Muslim
militants were poised to win. Algeria achieved
independence in 1962. At that time nearly 2 million
descendants of French settlers ("pieds noirs") returned to
France as did 700,000 Algerians. Today there are about 5
million Muslims (of 75 million French population) living
in France. France is providing about $1 billion to Algeria
in loans and grants and importing about $1 billion worth
of natural gas. (NYT, 25 Oct. 95, by Craig R. Whitney)
Killings of journalists and others resumed after a brief
lull after the November 16, 1995 re-election of President
Liamine Zeroual who won with 61% of the vote.
15. Afghanistan -- President Burhanuddin Rabbani is the
leader of Shi'ite Jamait Islami party. Hostilities began
with Russian intervention of 1979; Soviets left in April
92. Tens of thousands killed; hundreds of thousands of
In January 1995, an Islamic militia, known as Taliban,
apparently supported by Pakistan, appeared, and by March
1995 controlled about half the country.
The siege of Kabul (pop. 750,000) began in Jan 94 by
Taliban forces, mostly Sunni Pushtuns, the majority ethnic
group that has traditionally provided Afghanistan's rulers.
The Kabul govt is dominated by pro-Iranian Shi'ite,
ethnic Tajiks, a minority in Afghanistan (NYT, 16 Oct. 95,
Iran fears that the Taliban wish to establish a base for
anti-Iranian operations from Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia and
the United States are also backing the Taliban forces
because they want to contain Iran. Russia and China have
expressed support for the Kabul government of President
Rabbani (IPS, November 95).
16. Afghanistan - Tajikistan border; civil war began in
1992; cross-border firefights often involving Russian
troops. Negotiations began in April 1994. President
Imamali Rakhmonov is the leader of the Tajik opposition
17. Turkey vs. Kurds -- Hostilities began in 1984 when
Kurdish rebel forces known as the PKK took up their battle for
autonomy or independence in the mainly Kurdish southeast.
18,000 killed, 2,000 Kurdish villages razed, hundreds of
thousands (some say millions) displaced; a cost of an
estimated $7 billion/yr.
The U.S. provides billions in military aid to Turkey -- $5.1
billion over the last decade and about $120 million a year
in economic aid. (Covert Action Quarterly, Fall '95 and
NYT, 29 Oct. 95, by Celestine Bohlen.)
In late December 1995 parliamentary elections, the Islamic
Welfare Party under the leadership of Necmettin Erbakan,
beat out the secular center-right parties: the True Path
Party and the Motherland Party. The Welfare Party (by
Turkish law, Islam is not allowed in the name) won 159
seats to 133 for True Path under the leadership of Tansu
Ciller, Prime Minister. The Motherland Party won 134
President Suleyman Demirel has until mid-January 1996 to
decide which party will form the new government. Most
expect the center-right parties to form a shaky coalition
with the Social Democrats who have 75 deputies in the 550
member parliament or with the Republican Peoples Party who
won 50 seats.
18. Kurds vs. Iraqis and Iranians
19. Shiites in Southern Iraq vs Iraqis -- The draining of
the marshes in southern Iraq has already forced the
relocation of thousands of Iraqis and serious ecological
20. Israel in South Lebanon. The Israeli occupation of
their so-called "security zone" in Lebanon is opposed by
the Party of God guerillas (Hezbollah is Arabic for Party
of God). In December 1995 reports appeared that Shi'ite
Amal forces may also be joining the fight against the Israelis.
The earliest Israeli military interventions in southern
Lebanon go back to 1975. Israel conducted a major
incursion in 1978; and a full scale war in 1982 which
resulted in an estimated 20,00 or more Palestinian and
Lebanese deaths. Since 1982 Israel has occupied at least a
portion of South Lebanon and declared the area its
"security zone" contrary to a UN resolution. The security
zone includes a portion of the Litani River and there is
speculation that Israel may be diverting Litani River water for
Israeli incursions and occupation of Lebanon has created
hundreds of thousands of refugees. According to the late
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the purpose of the week long
artillery, air and naval barrage of Southern Lebanon in
July 93 which resulted in about 150 deaths and 350,000
refugees was to depopulate the area.
The U.S. provides Israel with about $6 billion a year in
economic and military aid, loan guarantees and arms
21. Bosnia -- Former Yugoslavia -- Serbian occupation of
Vojvodina (the formerly autonomous region between Serbia
and Croatia) in July 1990 led to fighting with Croatia in
August 1990 and a brief war with Slovenia in June 1991.
Bosnia declared independence in March 1992 and siege of
Sarajevo began in April 1992.
Casualty estimates range from a low of 60,000 (George
Kenny) to a high of more than 250,000+ deaths; 3.3
million refugees (NYT). The Center for Defense Information
estimates 280,000 killed since 1992 and European Journal
estimates that more than 60,000 childern alone have been
killed (November 1995).
Some refugee figures.
500,000 Muslims and Croats have been evicted from Banja
Luka area and the Banja Luka region found itself a
depository of 300,000 Serb refugees. About 12,000 Muslims
remain in Banja Luka area.
The successful September 1995 Croatian attack on Krajina led
to a new wave of 150,000 to 200,000 refugees (WarReport,
Sept 95). 10,000 dead in Sarajevo (NYT, by Kit R. Roane,
The Bosnian accord, initialed in Dayton, Ohio on November
22, 1995 and signed in Paris on December 14, 1995, put at
least a temporary end to the major hostilities. One of the
flash points is likely to be the 80,000 separatists Serbs
living in Serbian-held districts of Sarajevo led by
Some 40,000 Serbs live in parts of Sarajevo controlled by
the Muslim government and are committed to a multi-ethnic
state (NYT, 12.7.95, Roger Cohen).
The accord provides that 60,000 NATO troops including 20,000
Americans are to be positioned in Bosnia.
Refugee resettlement plans: The first phase of coping with
the refugees will deal with about half of the 2.7 million
refugees in Bosnia living in temporary, sometimes
difficult conditions, some for t heir fourth winter. Phase
two will deal with the 463,000 displaced people and
refugees in Croatia and 330,000 in Serbia, most of whom
want to go back to Bosnia. The third phase will deal with
about 700,000 Balkan refugees scattered in other
countries, mostly in Europe, about half in Germany. (NYT,
Chris Wren, 24 November '95)
UN Report on Serb Atrocities
According to the New York Times, the UN issued a report on
November 29, 1995 "on atrocities in Bosnia in which ...
Bosnian Serbs had been engaged in 'a consistent pattern of
summary executions, rape, mass expulsions, arbitrary
detentions, forced labor and large scale disappearances.'"
"At least 5,000 people have been missing since the Bosnian
Serbs overran Srebenica...on July 11, 1995. In Zepa, which
was captured by the Bosnian Serbs on July 25,1995, UN
observers reported large numbers of foreign mercenaries,
among them Greeks and Russians.
"The report says numerous paramilitary groups were
present around Srebrenica when the enclave fell. Dutch
soldiers identified the groups as the Drina Wolves, Seslj
Militia, Specialna Policia, White Eagles, units of Krajina
Serbs and troops commanded by Zeljko Raznatovic, who is
known as Arkan " (NYT, 11.30.95, Barbara Crosette).
22. Spain and Basque separatists known as E.T.A. (Basque
Homeland and Liberty). More than 750 people have been
killed and several thousand wounded since 1968 when E.T.A.
began their fight for an independent nation in Spain's
northern Basque provinces. More than 500 E.T.A. activists
are in Spanish jails.
EX-SOVIET UNION AND CHINA
NOTE: According to the SIPRI Yearbook for 1995, there are
areas of conflict or tension in eight states or regions in
the former Soviet Union with 3 classified as major armed
23. Russia vs. Chechen rebels -- Fighting began in December
1994; thousands killed, tens of thousands displaced.
Partial peace accord signed in July 1995 did not end the
fighting. In November 95, the NYT reported that shooting
was common at night in Grozny and in the villages that ring
the city. Hundreds more were killed and thousands fled
December 1995 fighting in Gudermes, Chechnya's second
largest city. The fighting was linked to rebel attempts to
prevent Russia from holding parliamentary elections in
Russian head of State: Boris Yeltsin. Moscow backed head
of Chechnya: Doku Zavgayev. Rebel leader: Gen. Dzhokhar M.
Dudayev. Population of Russia: 148 million.
24. Georgia (ex Soviet Republic); war with Abkhazian
rebels began in 1993. Thousands died and hundreds of
thousands displaced (NYT, 19 Oct. '95). Mid-93 population
estimate: 5.5 million.
25. Burma -- renamed Myanmar by the reigning military
regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Committee
(SLORC). Population 45 million. The Karen rebels have been
fighting for autonomy since 1949 . Hundreds killed by the
military in 1988. Popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi's
National League for Democracy (NLD) won presidency in 1990
with over 80% of the vote; she was subsequently imprisoned
by SLORC; released from 6 years' house arrest in July '95.
She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1991;
Tensions were raised in November 1995 when the NLD
withdrew from talks on reforming the constitution
protesting that the military government were allowing Suu
Kyi's party only 15% of the seats at the Constitutional
26. Cambodia -- Pol Pot controls about 50% of Cambodia
(The Nation, October 2, '95). Some sources report ongoing
fighting with units up to divisional strength; The New
York Times, however, has described the fighting merely as
"remnant bands on the loose" (Barbara Crossette, 12.4.95).
The last Cambodian elections were held in 1993 and the
next elections are scheduled for 1997. According to the
Times, hopes for true multiparty elections are dying.
27. Indian government vs. Muslim separatist rebel group, Al
Faran in Kashmir. The fighting began in 1989. In November
1995 the New York Times reported rumors that Al Faran may
actually be a front group for those in India's government
who wish to discredit the Muslim nationalist movement.
India's population mid-1995: 931 million; India represents
over 16% of the world's population; fertility rate: 3.4
children per woman.
India: Nuclear issues
On 12.15.95, the NYT reported that evidence has surfaced
of Indian government activity at their Pokaran test site
in the Ragasthan desert which could mean an upcoming
nuclear test. India's one and only nuclear test was
conducted in 1974.
According to Times reporter, Tim Wiener,
observers speculate that the driving force behind the
suspected testing may be the weakness of the Congress
Party in the face of a serious challenge by the right-wing
nationalist Hindu party. If India tests, Pakistan may
test a nuclear device as well. Neither is a signatory to
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Such testing could
have a snowball effect and could jeopardize the signing of
the comprehensive test ban treaty in 1996.
28. India: Naga resistance in Nagaland -- high casualties
29. Philippines -- guerrilla insurgency; head of state:
Fidel V. Ramos. Population: 67 million; mid-1993 estimate:
30. Sri Lanka -- Tamils vs Sinhalese; fighting began in
1983; 36,000+ deaths. Head of state: President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. Government offensive against
Tamils which began on October 17, 1995, had resulted in
about 2,500 deaths and about 6,000 wounded by late
November 1995. Tamil rebels have forced 120,000 - 300,000
population of Jaffna to flee in order to leave a deserted
city to government forces (NYT, November 26, 1995).
Estimated Sri Lankan 1993 population: 17.8 million; nearly
three-quarters Sinhalese and Buddhist. The guerrilla
organization, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, led by
Vellupillai Prabhakaran, claims to represent 2. 2 million
mostly Hindu Tamils in north and east. (from NYT, 27
October 95, by Barbara Crossette).
According to one source, the Tamil/Sinhalese struggle
masks the war between the Sinhalese elite and Sinhalese
youth which has erupted on a regular basis since the
sixties (the last one being the UNP VS. JVP conflicts of
the mid-80s) and resulted in largely unreported killing of
thousands, mostly students.
UNICEF REPORT ON CHILDREN AS CASUALTIES OF WAR
A United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
(UNICEF) (now called the Children's Emergency Fund) report
issued in December 1995 entitled "State of the World's
Children 1996, found that children have been the major
victims of war. They report that in the last decade, 2
million children have been killed in wars; 4-5 million
children have been disabled; 12 million children have been
made homeless and one million orphaned (NYT, December 11,
1995, Barbara Crossette).
EFFECTS ON CHILDREN OF UN SANCTIONS ON IRAQ
An estimated 500,000 children ["The Struggle" Dec. 95
gives the figure of 560,000] have died due to
malnutrition, lack of potable water and disease due in
part to the U.N. sanctions imposed in the wa ke of Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 (NYT, December 11, 1995,
NOTE: All mid-1993 population estimates are from "The
State of the World Atlas" by Michael Kidron and Ronald
Segal (1995) which uses the 1993 World Population Data
END OF PART 1
I'd like to gratefully acknowledge the more than 15 people
who have kindly responded to the first version in November
with information and encouragement.
Part 1. ONGOING WARS; CHILDREN AS CASUALTIES OF WAR
Part 2. MILITARY OCCUPATIONS, SIMMERING, COLD WAR, PEACE
Part 3. FORTHCOMING SECTIONS OF DESIP