Syeda Rabbab Zahra

THIS is the 21st century and the shadow of war is still haunting us. Efforts for sustainable peace are in process. Today, we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species existence and the truth is that global violence has indeed decline, especially in terms of interstate wars fought among countries. If we examine the history we can see that the zones of war and peace always collide. Apparently, the world is not on fire but we cannot ignore the smoldering embers which can suddenly alight. The nature of wars has been changed. The countries may not fight directly with each other but foreign countries intervene in internal conflicts of other countries. Indeed, world is moving from interstate conflicts to civil wars, insurgencies and guerilla warfare. In war and peace times, there are always good news and bad news. First start with good news.

Since World War II, there has been a decline in interstate wars but due to international political errors interstate wars do still happen like Iran–Iraq war of the 1980s. For the sake of “long peace” Great powers have not fought each other since the Korean War.  There are many factors for interstate peace are highlighted by scholars of war and peace including memories of world wars, spread of democracy, nuclear deterrence, economic interdependence and creation of international institutions like United Nations. Now move towards the bad news, conflicts still occur in the form of civil wars or organised crimes within the boundaries of the state. Guerilla warfare is nothing new and term dates back to era of Napoleon warfare when Spanish rebels battled against Napoleon over two centuries ago. With the disappearance of interstate wars, Insurgencies have got dominance on global conflicts.

 Today, world is facing large number of civil wars which are more disastrous than interstate wars because conflict erupts as asymmetric conflict, due to use of guerilla tactics large number of causalities occurred and this conflict goes on for longer period of time. Democracy, changing global norms, economic interdependence and nuclear weapons are the factors that produce interstate peace are less effective to stopping civil wars. We are in 2014 and the world is facing large scale violence, civil wars, insurgencies and intrastate conflicts which not only affect the local population but also have a deep impact on international community. The escalation of these wars increases which affects the neighbouring countries and stirrup debate at United Nations. The most important and most violent conflict in 2014 is Syrian civil war, which has been going on since 2011. This conflict began as clashes between government and opposition forces, non-violent protests against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria materialised into brutal civil war. The US and Russia involvement as supplier of weapons while Islamic State (IS) the former ISIS has also entered the fray. The IS movement swept from Syria into northern Iraq and declared a new caliphate. The Iraq insurgency, another violent conflict in 2014, began due to precarious conditions of Iraqi security forces. The removal of Saddam Hussein from power and the withdrawal of US troops created a vacuum of power and cleared the way for emergence of new players. The insurgency has dramatically escalated with the emergence of IS in the catalytic heat of sectarian violence.

One of the most deadly conflicts of 2014 is Mexican Drug War.  This is an ongoing asymmetric war between Mexican government and drug traffickers since December 2006. According to the most recent data available from Human Right Watch, from 2006 to 2012 more than 60,000 people have been killed. The battle has been so bloody due to drug cartels fighting with each others for control of territory. War in Donbas (Ukraine) is the most important event of 2014. The media has been extensively covered the Ukraine situation partially due to fact that it is turned into power struggle between Russia on one side and US and Europe on the other side. It is an armed conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine. It begins in March 2014 by pro-Russian and anti-government groups demonstrations as aftermath of 2014 Ukrainian Revolution and Euromaidan movement. The violence continues to claim lives and diplomacy has failed to reserve the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Now have a glimpse of ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict, it is one of the oldest and largest bloody conflict which has been ongoing since 1948. Israel launched a bloody intervention to suppress rocket fires from Gaza during the summer of 2014. On July 8, 2014 Israel has made 5,226 air strikes on Gaza. In result, 2,104 people killed in Gaza. UN estimates 69pc of deaths are civilians. Somalia Civil War is the endless war. The Somalia Civil War is famous for its brutality and claiming more than 500,000 lives since its outbreak in 1991. Despite international intervention the conflict is far from over. The modern day Taliban insurgency is rooted in Afghan civil war which began in 1978. It has transformed into open combat between Taliban forces and the US backed the Afghan government.

It is a universal truth, “every coin has two faces”. Viewing through the spectrum of peace, apparently the whole world is not on fire because states do not go for direct confrontation with each others and the promise of international peace is being prevailed. We can also count it as success of United Nations, who is responsible to maintain international peace and security. On the other side of coin, the whole world is still on fire especially when we have a glimpse of civil wars and insurgencies or ongoing flashing events of 2014. Famous saying of Augustine of Hippo, “The purpose of all war is peace”. But on the reality grounds peace is seen nowhere in the world. Therefore, it can be said, the whole world is passing through phase of war. It is seen in 2014, the escalation of civil wars is increasing dreadfully day by day so that nobody can predict about “How dreadful and fatal shape will it acquire up to year 2020?” Indeed, the world is still on fire.