Every year we do a summary of the conflicts around the world which for a number of reasons have been significantly overlooked by the media. Read on to discover our list of the regions of the world which have been forgotten, despite their ongoing internal and external violence.
High in the Caucasus Mountains, the former Soviet Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to fight a conflict that has now stretched over the course of more than two decades. While a ceasefire is technically in place, the two countries continue to trade occasional blows, particularly over the unrecognised statelet of Nagorno-Karabakh. In 2015, the number of ceasefire violations significantly increased, causing a similar rise in the death toll. While clear numbers are hard to verify due to the often highly-exaggerated statements released by each side, likely close to 100 soldiers and civilians have been killed over the last 12 months.
ISIS in Libya
Compared with 2014, 2015 has been somewhat more peaceful in Libya, due in no small part to international diplomatic attempts to end the fighting. This being said there is one concerning point that remains. ISIS has over the course of this year increased its holdings within the country. While it lost control over Derna to another Islamist group, it nonetheless managed to solidify its hold on the Sirte area and then expand both east and westward, threatening key oil producing areas. Analysts now believe that ISIS has 3000-5000 fighters based in the country, and may be preparing to use the region as a backup should they face defeat in Iraq and Syria.
Another conflict zone overlooked by the media is not characterized by its size, or death toll, but rather what it could balloon into. This year has seen a large number of cross-border incidents between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region. Tens of soldiers and civilians have been killed on both sides, through gun battlers with insurgents, cross-border shelling and bombings. Due to the fact that both sides are nuclear armed, should one of the ‘incidents’ be significantly larger, or indeed be leveraged for political gain, it could spark a war which would be very dangerous for the wider world. One positive thing which this year might have shown is that it is possible for significant attacks to occur without causing any real escalation on the ground – showing that the ceasefire between the two countries is perhaps more stable than thought.
Like many conflicts in Africa, the deteriorating situation in Burundi is largely ignored in face of larger conflicts in the Middle East. Since the country’s president attempted a (possibly illegal) third term in office there has been widespread unrest within the country. Opposition supporters first tried to remove the president in a failed coup before forming rebel groups which conducted a number of hit and run attacks on government officials. What has made the situation worse however, was the heavy handed government response which included cracking down on communities suspected of supporting the opposition and alleged mass killings of civilians. Following a particularly violent incident in early December, the African Union announced that it would send peacekeepers to help stabilize the country. Despite this, there are still questions which remain regarding just how welcome these AU forces will be in Burundi when they eventually deploy.