Special Report

13 Major Wars Happening Right Now Around the World

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News via Getty Images

13. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
> Type of conflict: Territorial Dispute
> Start date: May 14, 1948
> Forces currently involved: Israel, Palestine, Hamas
> Continent: Asia

The longest-running unresolved conflict predates the creation of Israel nearly 74 years ago with the end of the British Mandate, a move that escalated tensions that had been simmering since the late 19th century. Since then, violence has ebbed and flowed. Despite the 1974 U.N.’s two-state solution and the promising talks between Israel and the Palestinians beginning in the 1990s, the conflict remains unresolved.

This century, flare-ups in the form of terrorist attacks against civilians in Israel or rocket launches from Gaza towards Israeli settlements on one hand, and Israel keeping a military occupying presence in the West Bank and implementing a siege on the densely-populated Gaza strip and responding with air or drone strikes on the other have left many casualties on both sides.

Source: John Moore / Getty Images News via Getty Images

12. Somali Civil War
> Type of conflict: Civil War
> Start date: Jan 27, 1991
> Forces currently involved: Somali Democratic Republic, Ethiopia, Islamic Courts Union, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Islamic State
> Continent: Africa

For more than three decades, Somalia has gone through periods of civil war and famine. In the early ’90s, in a period the Somalis call the “burbur” (catastrophe), a drought exacerbated simmering inter-clan conflict that killed 25,000 people and displaced millions others, followed by a period with virtually no central government.

More than 30 years after the burbur, al-Sahbab, a home-grown Islamist armed group, conducts periodic attacks on civilians and government forces and their allied troops from the regional African Union Mission in Somalia.

11. Allied Democratic Forces Insurgency
> Type of conflict: Terrorist insurgency
> Start date: Nov 13, 1996
> Forces currently involved: Allied Democratic Forces, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Islamic State
> Continent: Africa

The ADF was formed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995 with an alliance between two rebel groups that had fought in the Ugandan civil war of 1986-94 against the government of President Yoweri Museveni who has held office since 1986. Though the ADF is believed to have colluded with Islamic State group attacks in recent years, it has also reportedly recruited insurgents along secular ethnic lines as part of its fight regarding political and economic issues that encompass Uganda and eastern DRC.

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

10. Mexican drug war
> Type of conflict: Drug war
> Start date: Dec 11, 2006
> Forces currently involved: Mexico, Sinaloa Cartel, CJNG, Gulf Cartel, and numerous other cartels
> Continent: North America

More than 60,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since the beginning of the country’s most recent war on drugs that began in 2006. About 360,000 homicides have been recorded since then in this country of 127 million. Though Mexico has been grappling for decades with drug cartel violence, the most recent 17-year crackdown has been the most violent. The Sinaloa Cartel, led formerly by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who is serving a life sentence at a U.S. supermax prison in Colorado, is one of Mexico’s oldest and largest cartels, with presence in nearly half of Mexico’s 32 states.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

9. Boko Haram insurgency
> Type of conflict: Terrorist insurgency
> Start date: Jul 26, 2009
> Forces currently involved: Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Benin, Boko Haram, ISIL, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Ansaru, Ghana
> Continent: Africa

The radical Islamic militant organization whose name translates roughly as “Western education [is] forbidden” has been highly active in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries for the past 13 years. Though Boko Haram dates back at least to the early 2000s, it became more violently radical after a government crackdown killed hundreds of its members in 2009, including the death in police custody of its leader Mohammed Yusuf.

In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 school girls, most of whom were Christian, in the northeastern town of Chibok. They were forced to convert to Islam and sold into marriage. As of 2021, only about 100 of the girls have escaped or have been rescued.

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