Fewer Wars in 2002 -- But a More Dangerous World
December 31, 2002
The year following the Sept. 11 attacks saw the number of major conflicts in the world decline, but the threat of rogue nations developing weapons of mass destruction may make new wars more deadly. Those are among the conclusions reached by the National Defense Council Foundation in a new report released yesterday.
Here are some observations contained in the report:
- The number of conflicts declined to 53 this year from 59 in 2001.
- The Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa remain the most war-prone regions, accounting for half of all conflicts.
- Ten countries were added this year to the list of conflict zones, including Jordan, Kuwait, North Korea and Venezuela.
- Sixteen nations were removed from the list, including the United States, Malaysia, Macedonia, Sierra Leone and Yugoslavia.
The report noted the war in Afghanistan has spilled over into weak states nearby and threatens to destabilize them.
The report labeled a conflict in Nigeria "the stupidist war." A reporter there wrote Islam's founding prophet Muhammad would have approved of the Miss World pageant scheduled for that country and might even have married a contestant. The story sparked Muslim rioting that killed more than 200 people and forced the pageant to move to London.
"It could have been sloughed off as just a tactless comment, and that would have been the end of it," commented the report's author, F. Andy Messing Jr. He added that "Everybody took the comment seriously and acted like it was the end of the world."
Source: Associated Press, "Report Says Global Conflicts Decline, Threat Rises," Washington Times, December 31, 2002.
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