December 2007 News

Rise In Kashmir Violence Part Of Increasing Global Conflict Problem

22 December 2007
Kashmir Watch

Washington DC: A new report on armed conflict has mentioned that the Taliban’s increased military activity in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda’s operations have a negative impact on the otherwise promising drop in violence in Kashmir. The report also says that these prevalent conditions would also affect the stability and chances for democracy in Pakistan. The findings, which are a part of an annual report on “States in Armed Conflict” conducted by Uppsala University Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Sweden, primarily state that the number of conflicts in the world is no longer declining. Since the most conflict-ridden years in the early 1990s, a continuous decline was registered up to 2002. Since that time, the number has held steady at around 30 active armed conflicts per year. This is probably also the case for 2007. “This is of course a cause of concern. Today’s ongoing conflicts are extremely protracted, ” said researchers Professor Peter Wallensteen and Lotta Harbom. “This indicates that the successful negotiation efforts of the 1990s are no longer being carried out with the same force or effectiveness, ” they added. Today’s conflicts appear to be intractable and drawn-out, and the researchers believe that the 1990s peace strategies need to be improved in order to achieve results. According to the report, the Middle East is the region in which peace initiatives are most clearly conspicuous in their absence. The central importance of the region for the world’s oil supply and for world religions makes this serious. “The conference in Annapolis in late November 2007 was the first attempt since 2001 to bring the parties together. But, they even found it difficult to agree on the declaration that started the negotiations, ” notes Peter Wallensteen. “This is a worrisome sign. At the same time, we have to welcome all attempts to bring peace to this area. It has been more than 60 years since the UN General Assembly adopted a plan for Palestine. It must be adapted to today’s reality and implemented, ” he added. During this yea, r other regional conflict complexes have emerged and worsened as well. For example, the crisis in the Sudanese region Darfur is now spreading to the surrounding countries, such as Chad and the Central African Republic. “These developments have prompted neighboring countries to take certain peace initiatives, ” said Lotta Harbom. “The international mediators in the Darfur conflict, including Jan Eliasson, who is also a visiting professor at Uppsala University, are working to arrange negotiations among the parties. But thus far they have had no success, ” she added. Other bleak scenarios include the situation in Africa’s Horn, which continues to be troublesome because of the region’s own conflict dynamics becoming intertwined with the US-headed war on terror. This has led to new conflict issues being added to the unresolved disputes between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Also, Somalia has once again become a seat of conflict. At the same time, there are some encouraging trends as well. Conflicts between different groups and peoples, with no involvement of the state, are decreasing in the number of both conflicts and fatalities. “This type of conflict often arises in the wake of civil war, but they seem to be easier to bring to an end, ” said Joakim Kreutz at the Uppsala Conflict Data Program. There are also points of light when it comes to conventional conflicts. Peace negotiations are underway in a number of conflicts, and they are also leading to peace treaties. The agreements in Nepal (from 2006) and Aceh in Indonesia (from 2005) are now being implemented with some degree of determination. Also, peace- making measures in a number of West African countries, like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast, continue to be fruitful. (ANI)


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