Global Conflict Case Study Project Due to interdependence, present conflicts are often global in nature involving several nations. Causes for global conflicts have included political ideology, self-determination, religious differences, ethnic differences, limited resources, and national identity.
Tension over limited resources is a factor in most conflicts, although not always the primary cause. Conflicts may arise between business interests and environmental groups, those in power who benefit from the sale or use of resources and those without power wishing to increase their access to the resources, and multinational corporations and domestic companies.
Half of Brazil’s farmland belongs to 4% of the population. There are concerns about the loss of the rainforests, environmental damage, and the impact on indigenous people caused by farming, mining, logging, and drilling. Conflicts can be found throughout the world around issues of water, land, oil, gold, coffee, coal, diamonds, and many other resources.
Additional Case Studies over Limited Resources: • Conflicts over oil and natural gas o The oil crisis and its aftermath in the early 1970s o Russia: control of natural gas pipeline to Europe • Conflicts over mining rights o Since 1998, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, fights over control of gold mines o In the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan, fights for control of gold mines o Cajamarca, Peru, protests over expansion of mines • Conflicts over land use o Ineffective land reform efforts in Zimbabwe o Land reform efforts in Kenya
Religious differences have contributed to conflicts in many countries/regions, including Afghanistan, whose population includes a complex variety of languages, religions, and ethnicities.
After the withdrawal of Soviet troops, Afghanistan became dominated by the Taliban, an extremist Muslim group that demanded strict adherence to their religious views and practices. Their control of the country led to violence, murder, and extreme human rights violations against those suspected of non-conformity to Taliban religious views. The Taliban encouraged Al Qaeda, an extremist Islamic terrorist organization, to use Afghanistan as a training round and headquarters. After the September 11th, 2001, attacks, American forces ousted the Taliban from ruling the country; however the Taliban continues to fight NATO and American forces for power. Religious differences have contributed to conflicts in India/Pakistan, the Balkans, Sri Lanka, Iran, and Iraq. The populations of these countries/regions include a complex variety of languages, nationalities, religions, and ethnicities.
Additonal Case Studies: • India/Pakistan: Since the Indian partition in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought over land, especially Kashmir. • The Balkans: Clashes have occurred between Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians after the breakup of Yugoslavia • Sri Lanka: Sinhalese Buddhists have ruled the country since the late 1990’s, but the minority Tamil Hindus struggle to overcome discriminatory laws. • Iran: Since 1979, when Iran became an Islamic Republic, women and members of other religions have suffered due to strict cultural rules. • Iraq: Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds struggle for power in a post-Saddam government
In order to unite a nation, governments may attempt to shape or form a national identity based on common, shared cultural characteristics. Conflict may occur when people in a nation do not all share the same cultural characteristics and may face persecution or discrimination as a result. The Cultural Revolution in China is one example of how a government attempted to forge a common national identity but caused massive upheaval and crisis. China has tried to unify its people by creating a common, shared culture. The Cultural Revolution was an extreme effort taken by communist leaders to unify the nation. Although ultimately unsuccessful, political opposition and individual expression continues to be restricted. One of the main goals of the Cultural Revolution was to abolish Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. Another goal was to neutralize intellectuals and Mao’s political enemies.
Ethnic differences have contributed to conflicts in many countries, including South Africa, whose population includes a complex variety of languages, religions, and ethnicities
Nonwhite South Africans struggled for racial freedom from ruling white governments within a system of racial apartheid since 1965. In this system, nonwhites were denied civic rights, had limited economic opportunity, and few freedoms. Opposition to apartheid was harshly repressed. Leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu increased global attention and support for the end of apartheid, culminating in the legal end to apartheid in 1990 and universal suffrage for all South Africans in 1994. Ethnic differences have contributed to conflicts in India/Pakistan, Rwanda, Sudan, and Somalia. The populations of these countries/regions include a complex variety of languages, nationalities, religions, and ethnicities.
Additonal Case Studies: • India/Pakistan: Since the Indian partition in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought over land, especially Kashmir. • Rwanda: Civil War between Hutus and Tutsis in the 1990s led to murder and displacement of millions. • Sudan: Arab led government leaders discriminated against non-Arab populations, leading to violence and genocide. • Somalia: Since 1991, ethnic tribal warfare has prevented Somalia from creating an effective government.
Conflicts over self-determination, one group’s right to free itself from domination of another, occurred in many places, including Israel-Palestine. Following the creation of Israel after World War II, this region experienced several wars for self-determination. For Israel, the wars were a fight to maintain their political existence against Syria, Egypt, and other Arab nations and resulted in disputed, occupied territories such as the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon underscores the competition for autonomy and political rule in the region. Palestinians, living in Israel, have fought to gain independence and establish their own nation through the efforts of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and more recently, Hamas. Additional Case Studies: Conflicts over self-determination occurred in many countries including: • Ireland: IRA (Catholics) fought to regain control of Northern Ireland from Protestants. • Indonesia (East Timor): calls for independence finally successful in 2002 • India/Pakistan: partition in 1947, continuing disputes over Kashmir region • Sri Lanka: Tamil Tigers independence group • China (Tibet): nonmilitary and mostly nonviolent opposition to Chinese control • Chechnya: separatist group in Georgia, former Soviet republic • Former Yugoslavia: fighting and civil war between Serbs and other groups
After World War II, conflicts over political ideology primarily occurred between democratic and communist governments or forces, including the conflict in Chile.
The US secretly supported the overthrow of the leftist democratically elected Salvador Allende. Pinochet, his successor, ended socialist economic practices and had US support despite his dictatorial government. Additional Case Studies: Egypt v. Israel during the Yom Kippur War Cambodia in the 1970s through 1990s. The Chinese supported the Khmer Rouge; the Soviet Union supported the Vietnamese backed communist government. Poland: Struggle for free elections, democracy from 1980 to 1990 Iraq: The Iraq War was described as a war for democracy in the Middle East. Some democratic institutions have been established; however, instability continues