The longest ongoing conflicts in the world

It’s that time of year when most websites and blogs do a rather whimsical review of the year with an overly saccharine Christmasy feeling.   That may be all well and good for those of us living in something of a peaceful and prosperous existence but I think it’s important to remember that for many of us even in richer nations, a large majority of people are less fortunate and that there are large parts of the world where just making it through the year in one piece is something of an achievement.

Hot off the press below, there is the results of the annual State of Global Peace Index.  Those countries in green are those which can be considered peaceful both militarily, domestically and politically.   Those in yellow are not particularly peaceful but broadly stable and better than the pink nations that generally have active insurgencies in parts of their territory, low level warfare or less than good socio-political siutations.  Countries in red are as unpeaceful as they come.


The graph below shows just how many countries are suffering from war or paramilitary activies on their territory.  As well as the attention grabbing events in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, much of Africa is also suffering as are areas of India, Pakistan and obviously Ukraine.

It’s interesting to see that Russia is classed as amonst the handful of most unpeaceful countries and instigated one war largely responsible for the worst one continuing and yet has zero domestic casualties which probably says a lot.




Bar Graph by Wykx illustrating the death tolls in recent years due to war and civil unrest.



The charts below are taken from Wikipedia.   For yet another year, the war in Syria has proven to be the most terrible in the world.



The most deadly conflicts of the last year.


The table below is full of almost forgotten conflicts.  Not big enough or with any single catasphrophe to make the news  but rumbling on and responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.


The chart below is of mostly internal unrest, mostly in Asia and Africa.  Many of these have been ongoing for decades at such a low level that no-one but those involved are aware of them.    Some of them are dispute between ethic groups or immoral governments favouring one section of the population over others.

People here live their entire lives with the war rumbling on in the background.  It’s just something that they have to make the best of as for various reasons the conflicts are either intractible or the casualties are so low that in other places they would be less than the homicide counts in other nations.


The Kurdish separatist situation in Iran is the oldest ongoing active trouble-spot.  The Kurds are one of the very few nations that have no state or can even be found as a large majority in one single state.  Instead their lands were divided by amongst others Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Armenia, abused by all and with few friends.  Though I don’t agree with terrorism in any way, I do think there should be a real Kurdistan state.



Finally the table below illustrates the most deadly nations in the previous 3 years.



Let’s hope that even if these low level conflicts can’t be resolved next year that 2017 the worst wars at the top of the page come to a close.  I think it is good to remember that not everyone, perhaps even most people won’t have a Merry Christmas and hundreds of thousands that were here last year aren’t even alive to have a choice at all.






About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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9 Responses to The longest ongoing conflicts in the world

  1. Mel & Suan says:

    Absolutely agree with you! And these charts tell a story. And it is one of enduring conflict that has simmered in Africa and western Asia continuously. Perhaps from the disconnect of post-colonialism or perhaps from inherent struggles that may well date back well into the past. We too are surprised that Russia is classed as un-peaceful given the conflicts it has inflicted are not within its borders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t say for sue but I imagine the African ones are largely due to colonialism. If not from the European nations directly then for the total shock and upheaval of going from largely tribal societies to nation states in just a few decades whilst other places underwent the same change over centuries or millennia. Though I’m sure the colonial period didn’t help western Asia, here I think the problems might be far deeper and related to ethnic and religious differences that go back a long time. Most of the area at one time or the other was under the Turkish Ottomans or Iranian Safavids for much longer than Europeans and further back the Mongols caused much more bloodshed and chaos than the West. I’m sure the concepts of nationalism didn’t help where again in some parts of the world the idea of nations were quite well established but in parts of Africa and Asia they were new and quite foreign. All of a sudden people could go from being a vital and key part of a European or non-European empire and the next minute you were an unwanted and different Armenian, Kurd or whatever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mel & Suan says:

        You have a good point there. In Africa the current political borders were drawn up post colonialism without consideration of historical tribal range.
        On the other hand, the mid east/west Asia has been beset with conflict of one kind or another for nearly a century. First with the revolt against the Ottomans, then independence movements from the colonial powers. These transitions were quite abrupt, thus the aftermath appears to be an extended period of adjustment.
        And in recent years we once again have major powers coming into the fray. Its really like a powder keg waiting for a large ignition.


  2. Plectrumm says:

    “…there is much work to be done in creating a peaceful environment for all humans! It would be interesting to analyze the purpose of these conflicts to gain an even deeper understanding of their roots, such as religious, political, corruption?

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. mhamadcesar says:

    Kurdistan is the safest and the most peaceful place in the modern middle east

    Liked by 1 person

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