NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cold War's End Didn't Bring Peace

August 24, 2000

While the end of the Cold War may have led some to believe the world is at peace, no fewer than 14 full-scales wars and several major armed conflicts were being waged in 1999. Civil, religious and economic wars raged in South America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific and most notably Africa. In Africa alone,

  • The fight in Congo for regional influence, political power and natural resources may have killed more 1.7 million people in the eastern part of the country alone.
  • The civil war in Angola that has been fought since 1975 has killed more than 500,000 and displaced millions.
  • The religious battle between Islamic fundamentalists and the government in Algeria has killed between 80,000 and 100,000 since 1992.
  • And in a civil war that began with independence in 1956, more than two million have died in Sudan in the clash between the Muslim-led government in the north and rebels in the south over religious and racial issues.

However, Africa hardly has a monopoly on violence.

  • The island nation of Sri Lanka has been in a state of civil war for 17 years, and the battle between Tamil separatists and the Sinhalese majority has cost 62,000 lives.
  • Between 30,000 and 40,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have been uprooted since 1984 in fighting between the Turkish government and the Kurdish minority.
  • The Muslim-dominated state of Kashmir has been in dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947; since 1989 between 20,000 and 40,000 have died in clashes led by rebels in the Indian-controlled part of the state.

Bitter wars either continue or have only just died down in such far-flung locations as Afghanistan, Indonesia, Colombia, Chechnya and Peru.

Source: "Hidden Wars," (special section, various authors), Dallas Morning News, August 13, 2000.


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