systemicpeace.org

Major Episodes of Political Violence
1946-2019
Compiled by Dr. Monty G. Marshall
Director, Center for Systemic Peace
This Web page was last updated on April 30, 2020
State Fragility and Warfare in the Global System 2019

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The following table lists 334 episodes of armed conflict (including 36 ongoing cases) that comprise a comprehensive accounting of all forms of major armed conflicts in the world over the contemporary period: 1946-2019 (12 cases of foreign direct interventions​, "FDI events," are listed separately but not counted as separate episodes; see notes 4 and 6 below). "Major episodes of political violence" involve at least 500 "directly-related" fatalities and reach a level of intensity in which political violence is both systematic and sustained (a base rate of 100 "directly-related deaths per annum"). Episodes may be of any general type: inter-state, intra-state, or communal; they include all episodes of international, civil, ethnic, communal, and genocidal violence and warfare. Episodes are coded on a scale of one to ten according to an assessment of the full impact of their violence on the societies that directly experience their effects. The effects of political violence and warfare include fatalities and casualties, resource depletion, destruction of infrastructure, and population dislocations, among other things such as the psychological trauma to individuals and adverse changes to the social psychology and political culture of affected social identity groups. The resulting categories represent standardized event magnitudes based on levels of societal affect (i.e., a measure of the general magnitude that a society's normal networking and functioning is affected by violent disruption); the scaled categories are considered comparable and standardized units of measurement. Global and regional trends in warfare are visualized graphically by aggregating the coded scores for all ongoing episodes of major armed conflict in a given year; see the CSP Conflict Trends page. For a more detailed explanation of the coding methodology, click here.
Cases highlighted in red were ongoing in early-2020 (25 cases); ongoing cases highlighted in​orange have diminished substantially in magnitude during the six months immediately prior to the most recent update and may be ending (11 cases). All episodes that are denoted as having ended within the past five years (i.e., since January 2015) are highlighted in yellow; these cases are considered at high risk of return to warfare (8 cases).
Note that several revisions were made to the list in regard to episodes in Africa. A thorough re-examination of the case list for African countries was conducted under the auspices of a Summer 2005 contract with the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) and the African Conflict Prevention Pool for a study and report on "Conflict Trends in Africa." The final report was delivered in October 2005; a full copy of the report, including seven data annexes, is available on the CSP Web site. Click here to view the CSP Africa analysis or download the report in PDF format.
Note also that several revisions were made to the list in regard to cases that previously had been included with unknown "estimates of directly-related deaths" (denoted "na"). As new sources of information have become available in recent years, and particularly with the expansion of Keesings Online news archives, all episodes listed as "unknown" were investigated in early 2009 to confirm or disconfirm their listing. As a result, several episodes have been delisted and some others were refined. All episodes listed now include an estimate of directly-related deaths (Death). For a detailed accounting of these changes, please contact the Center for Systemic Peace.
The variables listed in the "Major Episodes of Political Violence" table are as follows:
Inclusive years (Begin and End): The beginnings and endings of most political violence episodes are difficult to determine exactly; various researchers "pinpoint" and denote various dates. The "begin" and "end" years listed for each episode (below) are those considered by the author to be those most likely to capture the transformative "moments" (beginning and ending) of the episodes, according to a comparison of the varying claims of the sources noted. No "end" year is listed for episodes that began and ended in the same year.
Episode type (Type): Episode type is listed according to two character codes. The first character denotes either a (​C​)ivil-intrastate involving rival political groups; (​E​)thnic-intrastate involving the state agent and a distinct ethnic group; or (​I​)nternational event-interstate, usually two or more states, but may denote a distinct polity resisting foreign domination (colonialism). The second character connotes either an episode of (​V​)iolence-the use of instrumental violence without necessarily exclusive goals; (​W​)ar-violence between distinct, exclusive groups with the intent to impose a unilateral result to the contention; or i(​N​)dependence-an attempt to forcibly remove an existing foreign domination.
Magnitude of societal-systemic impact (Mag): The rationale and methodology for assessing the societal and systemic impact of warfare episodes is discussed and described in detail in the accompanying text. The number listed represents a scaled indicator of the destructive impact, or magnitude, of the violent episode on the directly-affected society or societies on a scale of 1 (smallest) to 10 (greatest). Magnitude scores reflect multiple factors including state capabilities, interactive intensity (means and goals), area and scope of death and destruction, population displacement, and episode duration. Scores are considered to be consistently assigned (i.e., comparable) across episode types and for all states directly involved. For a more detailed explanation of the coding scheme used, click here.
Episode location (States Directly Involved): Countries listed are only those upon whose territory the political violence episode actually takes place, that is, those state-societies directly affected by the warfare. Countries intervening in the episodes are not listed as the violence does not take place on their territory and, so, these intervening actors are considered to be indirectly, or remotely, affected by the violence.
Estimates of "directly-related" deaths (Deaths): Accountings of the number of deaths resulting directly from an episode of political violence are difficult to determine and estimates often vary widely. This difficulty is especially problematic as the distinction between combatants and non-combatants has grown increasingly obscure as "less formal" civil conflict interactions in less institutionalized societal systems predominate in the contemporary era. As argued in the text, such estimates of "battle-related deaths" should be regarded simply as estimates of the general magnitude of the violence. The numbers listed here reflect the median or mean of often widely disparate estimates listed in the various sources and are provided solely as a referent point. Casualties among non-combatants directly related to the violent conflict are inconsistently estimated (if at all) in the various source estimates. Far more problematic than "battle-related deaths" for societal systems are the much larger numbers of persons directly and indirectly, physically and psychologically, distorted and disturbed by violence during episodes of armed conflict (for this we have no estimation procedure).

MAJOR EPISODES OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE, 1946-2019*
BeginEndTypeMagStates Directly InvolvedBrief DescriptionDeathsReferences
19451946IN2IndonesiaIndependence10000a b c f g h
19451947EV2IranAzerbaijani and Kurd rebellions2000c f g
19451949CW5GreeceGreek civil war150000a b c f g h o
19451954IN6VietnamIndochina independence500000a b c f g h
19461954IW*2France4Indochina independence (FDI event)30000a b c f g h
1946*CV1BoliviaPresident Villarroel ousted by general armed uprising1000c f o
19461947IN2AlgeriaSetif/AML Rebellion6000p
19461948EW6India
Pakistan
"Partition"--Muslims vs Hindus/Sikhs1000000a b c d f g
19461950CW6ChinaChinese civil war1000000a b c f h o
1947*IV1ChinaTaiwan invasion1000a c h o
1947*CW3ChinaRepression of Taiwan dissidents20000a c e f
1947*CV1ParaguayParaguay Civil War "Febrerista Insurrection"1500a c f h o
19471948CV1Yemen ARCivil violence (Yahya clan coup attempt)5000a c h o
19471948IN4MadagascarColonial repression40000a b c e f g h
19471949EV2IndiaKashmir rebellion4000a c f g h n
1948*IN1IsraelIndependence4000b
1948*CV1ColombiaCivil violence (Conservatives)1000a b c f h o
1948*CV1Costa RicaCivil violence (National Union)2000a c f g h o
1948*CV1South KoreaCivil violence (Army)1000a c f
1948*CV1IndiaCivil violence (Hyderabad)2500a c f g h
19481949IW5Egypt
Israel
Jordan
Lebanon
Syria
Palestine-Israel war10000a b c d f g h
19481956EW2MalaysiaRepression of Chinese by Malay militia12500e
19482019+EW4Myanmar (Burma)1Ethnic war (Karen, Shan, and others)115000a b c d e f h j k l o p
19481960CW5Colombia"La Violencia" civil war (Liberals)250000a b c f h
1950*IV2China
Taiwan
International violence (Formosa Straits)5000f g
1950*EV2IndonesiaEthnic violence (Moluccans)5000a b c f h o
19501951IW2China2Tibet invasion2000a c f g h k
19501951CV4ChinaRepression of the landlords1500000a e
19501952CV3PhilippinesCivil violence (Huks)10000a b c f h o
19501953IV2Myanmar (Burma)Chinese Kuomintang forces led by Gen. Li Mi3000c p
19501953CW6North Korea
South Korea
Korean War (civil war)1500000a b c f g h n
19501953IV*3USA4Korean civil war (FDI event)54000a b c f g h n
19501953IV*4China4Korean civil war (FDI event)100000a b c f g h n
19501960CV3Malaysia3Independence and civil violence15000a b f g h o
1951*CV1ThailandMahattan Naval Revolt1200c p
1952*CV1EgyptCivil violence (Nasser coup)1000f
1952*CV2Bolivia"National Revolution"2000a c f h
19521954IN2TunisiaIndependence3000a c f g h
19521963IN3KenyaIndependence (Mau Mau rebellion)20000a b c f g h
19522014EW2IndiaEthnic war (northeast tribals; Assam separatists)27000c k o p
1953*CV1IndonesiaCivil violence (Darul Islam)1000a b c h o
1953*CV1IranOuster of Mossadeq government by Shah loyalists800p
19531954CV3VietnamRepression of landlords15000e
19531956IN2MoroccoIndependence3000a c f g h
1954*CV1GuatemalaCivil violence (coup against Arbenz)1000a c h o
19541955IW3China
Taiwan
First Taiwan Strait Crisis25000c p
19541955EV2TaiwanEthnic violence (Native Taiwanese v KMT)5000a c
19541962IN5AlgeriaIndependence100000a b c f g h k
19541962IW*3France4Algerian independence war (FDI event)18000a b c f g h k
1955*CV1Costa RicaCivil violence1000c f
1955*CV2TaiwanCivil violence (Taiwanese v KMT)5000a
1955*CV2ArgentinaCivil violence (army rebellion)3000a c h k
19551960IN3CameroonIndependence30000a b c f h
1956*IW2EgyptSuez War3000a c d f g h n
1956*IW3Hungary
USSR
International war20000a b c f g h o
19561960EV1Yemen AREthnic violence (Yemeni-Adenese clans)1000c f
19561967EW4ChinaEthnic war (Tibetans)100000a b c e f g h j o
19561972EW5SudanEthnic warfare (Islamic v African)500000a b c e f g h k o
1957*IV1Honduras
Nicaragua
International violence (border dispute)1000c f
19571958IV1Mauritania
Morocco
International violence (border dispute)1000f g
19571959CW2CubaCivil war (Castro ousts Batista)5000a b c f h k o
19571961CV3IndonesiaCivil violence (dissident military)30000a b c f h k o
1958*CV1LebanonCivil violence2000a c f g h k o
1958*CV1IraqCivil violence (coup ousts monarchy)2000a c g o
1958*CV1VenezuelaCivil violence (popular revolt against President Perez Jimenez)800p
19581975CW7North Vietnam
South Vietnam
"Vietnam War" (civil war)2000000a b c e g h k n o
1959*CV1IraqCivil violence (Shammar tribe)2000a c h
1959*CW2ChinaRepression of counter-revolutionaries50000k
19591966EW3RwandaPARMEHUTU overthrow of Tutsi monarchy; repression of Tutsis75000a b c e f g h k o p
19601961EV1PakistanEthnic violence (Pushtun)1000k
19601965CW4ZaireKatanga civil war100000a b c e g h k o
19601973CW3LaosCivil war25000a b c e f h k o
1961*IV1CubaUS-instigated "Bay of Pigs" invasion700c p
1961*CV1TunisiaColonial violence1000c f
19611975IN4Angola5Independence50000a b c e f g h
19611975IV*1Portugal4Angolan independence (FDI event)7000a b c e f g h
19611993EW5IraqEthnic warfare (Kurds)150000a b c d e f h j k l o
1962*IV1China
India
International violence (border dispute)2000a b c f g h n
19621963CV1AlgeriaCivil violence (rebel factions)2000a c e h o
19621964IV1Burundi
Rwanda
International violence1500c p
19621966IV1Indonesia
Malaysia
International violence (north Borneo)1500c g
19621970CW3Yemen ARCivil war (following coup)40000a b c f h k o
19621973EV1EthiopiaEritrean separatists2000p
19621974IN3Guinea-BissauIndependence15000h m
1963*CV1IraqMilitary coup ousts Kassem and aftermath5000c p
1963*CV1IranCivil violence (land reform)1000k
19631964IV1Somalia
Ethiopia
International violence1000c f
19631964IV1Algeria
Morocco
International violence (border dispute)1000c f g
19631968CV2CyprusCivil violence (Makarios crisis)2000k o
19631993EW2IndonesiaEthnic warfare (Papuan-West Irian)15000j o
1964*CV1ZambiaCivil violence1000a c
1964*CV1TanzaniaZanzibar Revolution2500c p
1964*IV1Ethiopia
Somalia
Ogaden clashes2000p
19641966EV1KenyaShifta; Somali separatism1000p
19641973IV*3USA4Vietnamese civil war (FDI event)60000a b c e g h k n o
1965*EV2BurundiEthnic violence (failed coup; Hutu/Tutsi)5000k
1965*CV2Dominican RepublicCivil violence3000a b c h k o
1965*IW3India
Pakistan
2nd Kashmir War20000a b c d f g h n
19651966CW5IndonesiaRepression of Chinese/Communists500000a b c e f k o
19651968CV1USACivil violence (urban Afro-American unrest)1000k
19651975IN3MozambiqueIndependence (FRELIMO)30000a b f g h
19651975IV*1Portugal4Mozambique independence (FDI event)5000a b f g h
19651983CW2ThailandCommunist insurgency8000l p
19651990IN2NamibiaIndependence25000b c f g
19651994CW4ChadCivil war75000a b c f g h j k l o
19652019+EW2IsraelEthnic war (Arab Palestinians/PLO-Hamas)27000d f g j k l o p
1966*CW3NigeriaRepression of Ibo20000c e
1966*EV1UgandaEthnic violence (Buganda)2000a b c h o
19661970EW6NigeriaEthnic warfare (Biafra separatism)200000a b c f h k o
19661975CW5China"Cultural Revolution"500000a c e f h k
19661996EW5GuatemalaRepression of indigenous peoples150000a b c d e f h j k l o
1967*CV1ZaireCivil violence800c p
19671970IW4Egypt
Israel
Jordan
Syria
"Six-Day War" and war of attrition75000a b c d f g h n
1968*CV1Czechoslovakia"Prague Spring" civil violence1000c f g
19681982CV1IndiaRepression of Naxalites2000e
1969*IV1USSR
China
Ussuri River border dispute1000a c f g
1969*IW2El Salvador
Honduras
"Soccer War"5000a b c f g h n
19691979CV4Equatorial GuineaRepression of dissidents50000p
19691994EV2UKEthnic violence (Northern Ireland/IRA)3000b c d f j k l o
1970*CV3JordanCivil violence (Palestinians)10000a b c f g h k o
19701975CV1OmanCivil violence (Dhofar rebellion)3000g k o
19701975CW5CambodiaCivil war150000a b c f h k o
19701982EV1ItalyEthnic violence (Sardinians)2000f
1971*CV2Sri LankaCivil violence (attempted coup)10000a b c f h k o
1971*EW6Bangladesh
Pakistan
Ethnic war (Bengali independence)1000000a b c e f g h k o
1971*IW3India
Pakistan
International war11000a b c d g h n
19711978EW5UgandaEthnic warfare (Idi Amin regime)250000a b e k o
1972*EV2BurundiEthnic violence (Hutus target Tutsis)2000b f g o
19721973EW4BurundiRepression of Hutus100000a b c e f g h k o
19721979EV3ZimbabweEthnic violence (ZANU/ZAPU v Whites)20000a b f g h k o
19721997CW3PhilippinesCivil warfare (New Peoples Army)40000a b c d h l o p
19722019+EW3PhilippinesEthnic warfare (Moros)60000a b c d e f h j k l o p
1973*IW3Egypt
Israel
Syria
"Yom Kippur War"16000a b c d f g h n
1973*CV2ChileCivil violence (army ouster of Allende)5000a b c f
19731977EW2PakistanEthnic warfare (Baluch separatism)12000a b e f h k o
1974*CV2CyprusCivil violence5000a b c f g h k n o
19741975IV1Iran
Iraq
International violence (Shatt el Arab)1000f g
19741976CW3ChileRepression of dissidents ("disappeared")20000a b e k
19741985CV2TurkeyCivil violence8000f
19741991EW6EthiopiaEthnic warfare (Eritreans and others)750000a b c d e f h j k l o
19751978CW6Cambodia7Khmer Rouge repression of dissidents1500000a b e g k
19751979IV1Mozambique
Zimbabwe
Rhodesian armed incursions1400i p
19751978IW2Cambodia7
Vietnam
International war10000h n
19751989CW3Mauritania (1979)2
Morocco
Colonial war (Western Sahara)15000a b c d f g h j k l o
19751990CV2LaosCivil violence (rebel Lao and Hmong)10000d f g k l
19751991EV2IndonesiaEthnic violence (Aceh)15000j l o
19751991EW5LebanonEthnic war (Various sects)100000a b c d g h k l o
19751992EW2BangladeshEthnic war (Chittagong Hills)25000d j l o
19752002CW6AngolaCivil war (UNITA)1000000a b c d f g h j k l o p
19752005CV1AngolaCivil violence (Cabinda separatists; FLEC)3500p
19752019+CV4ColombiaCivil violence, land reform, and drug trafficking (left: ELN, FARC, ELP, MAO, M-19; right: MAS, AUC)59500a d f h k l o p
1976*EV1South AfricaEthnic violence1000a d k o
1976*CV1SudanIslamic Charter Front1000p
19761980CW3Argentina"The Dirty War" repression of dissidents20000a b e f k
19761992CW5IndonesiaColonial war (East Timor)180000a b c d e f g h j k l o
1977*IV1Angola
Zaire
International violence (dispute over Shaba)1000f g
19771979EW2Ethiopia"Ogaden War" ethnic violence (Somalis)10000b c f g h n o
19771980EV2TurkeyEthnic violence (Armenians)5000a b
19771983CW2ZaireRepression of dissidents10000e k
19771987IV1Cambodia
Thailand
International violence1000i n
1978*IV2Israel
Lebanon
International violence (PLO factions)5000d
1978*IV1Angola
Zaire
International violence (dispute over Shaba)1000f g
1978*CV1SomaliaMilitary faction500p
1978*CV1Yemen PDROuster of President Ali; factional fighting750p
19781979IV1Yemen AR
Yemen PDR
International violence1000i p
19781979CW3NicaraguaCivil war (Sandinistas)40000a b c f g h k o
19781979IW2Tanzania
Uganda
International war (ouster of Idi Amin)3000a b c g h n
19781989IW5Cambodia7
Vietnam
International war (ouster of Khmer Rouge)65000a b c d f g h o
19781993CW4IranCivil war (Islamic state)50000a b c d e f h k l o
19782000CW7AfghanistanCivil war1000000a b c d e f g h j k l o p
1979*IW4China
Vietnam
International war30000a b c f g h n
19791980CV1South KoreaUnrest, riots, and government repression1000a k
19791982CW3SyriaRepression of dissidents (Muslim Brotherhood)25000a b e f k
19791985EW3IranEthnic war (Kurds)40000j k o
19791992CW6El SalvadorCivil war (FMLN)75000a b c d e f g h k l o
19791998EV3IraqEthnic violence (Shias)25000f h j o p
1980*CV1BrazilRepression of dissidents (death squads)1000a
1980*CV1JamaicaCivil violence (elections)1000a f
19801985EV2NigeriaEthnic violence (Islamic groups)9000a f h k o p
19801988IW6Iran
Iraq
International war500000a b c f g h n
19801988IV*3USSR4Direct Intervention in Afghanistan civil war (FDI event)50000a b c d e f g h j k l o p
19801998EV2ChinaEthnic violence (Uighurs, Kazakhs)10000j k o p
1981*EV1GhanaCivil violence (Konkomba v Nanumba)1000a f
1981*CV1GambiaSRLP rebellion650p
19811986CW4UgandaRepression of dissidents100000a e f h k o
19811986IV1Honduras
Nicaragua
International violence; Contra armed forces2000i p
19811987EV2ZimbabweEthnic violence (Ndebele)3000a f k o
19811990CW3NicaraguaCivil war (Contras)30000a b d f g h k l o
19811992CW6MozambiqueCivil war (RENAMO)500000a b d f g h k l o
1982*IV1Israel
Syria
International violence1000h n
1982*IW1Argentina
UK
Falklands-Malvinas War1000a b f g h n
19821990IW4Israel
Lebanon
International war50000a b
19821997CV3PeruCivil violence (Sendero Luminoso)30000a b d f h j k l o p
1983*CV2IndiaCivil violence (elections in Assam)3000a
19831984CV2ChinaRepression of dissidents5000a
19831993EW3IndiaEthnic warfare (Sikhs)25000a b d f h j k l
19831996EW3South AfricaEthnic/civil warfare20000a d j k l o
19831998EV1PakistanEthnic violence (Sindhis; Muhajirs)5000k
19832009EW5Sri LankaEthnic war (Tamils)75000a b d e f g h j k l o p
19832002EW6SudanEthnic war (Islamic v African)1000000a b d f h j k l o p
1984*CV1CameroonMilitary faction750p
1984*EV1ZaireEthnic/civil warfare1000k
19841999EW3TurkeyEthnic warfare (Kurds)40000d g h j k l p
1985*CW2LiberiaRepression of dissidents (failed coup)5000a
19851987IW2China
Vietnam
International war4000h n
19861987CW2Yemen PDRCivil war10000a b h k o
19861989EW1SurinameRebellion by Surinamese Liberation Army (black-Maroons)900p
19861993EV2NigeriaEthnic violence (Muslim-Christian)10000j o
19862006EV2UgandaEthnic violence (Lord's Resistance Army: Langi and Acholi)16000d j k l o p
1987*IV1China
Vietnam
International violence1000a i
1987*CV2ChileCivil violence3000a b
19871990CW4Sri LankaCivil war (JVP-Sinhalese extremists)25000h k l o
1988*CV1MyanmarCivil violence (student protests)2000k
1988*EV3BurundiEthnic violence (Tutsis against Hutus)10000a b h k o
19881997EW3AzerbaijanEthnic War (Nagorno-Karabakh)15000h j k l n o p
19881997EW1Papua New GuineaEthnic warfare (Bougainville)1000k l o p
19882019+CW5SomaliaCivil war130000a b d h j k l o p
1989*CV1ChinaCivil violence (Tiananman protests)2000a k
1989*IV1Panama
USA
International violence1000a l
1989*CV1RomaniaCivil violence1000a h k l o
1989*IV2Mauritania
Senegal
Reciprocal violence against foreign nationals; forced repatriation500l p
1990*CW1ChinaRepression of dissidents2000a
19901991EV2USSRSporadic ethnic/communal violence5000k l
19901991IW5Iraq
Kuwait
Gulf War100000h l n
19901994EW3RwandaEthnic warfare (Tutsis v Hutu regime)515000h j k l o
19901994IW3Armenia
Azerbaijan
International war (Nagorno-Karabakh)10000h j k l n o
19901995EV1MaliEthnic violence (Tuareg)1000k o p
19901997CW4LiberiaCivil war40000a d h j k l o p
19901997EV1NigerEthnic violence (Azawad and Toubou)1000l o
19901997CW2CambodiaCivil warfare (Khmer Rouge)5000l
19902019+EW3IndiaEthnic war (Kashmiris)45000j k l o p
1991*CW2CroatiaCivil war (Croatian independence)10000h k l
1991*CV1BurundiCivil violence1000h l
1991*CV1HaitiMilitary coup ousts Aristide700k l p
19911993EV2BhutanRebellion and forced repatriation of Lhotshampas (ethnic-Nepalese)1200p
19911993CW1GeorgiaCivil war1000h k l
19911993EW2GeorgiaEthnic war (Abkhazians-Ossetians)3000h j k l o
19911993EV1KenyaEthnic violence (Kalenjin, Masai, Kikuyu, Luo)2000j k o
19911994CW1DjiboutiFRUD rebellion1000l o
19911995EW3CroatiaEthnic war (Serbs)40000j k l o
19911997EV1MoldovaEthnic violence (Trans-Dniester Russians)2000j k l o p
19912001CW3Sierra LeoneCivil/Ethnic warfare (RUF/Mende)25000k l m p
19912004CW4AlgeriaCivil warfare (Islamic militants)60000k l o p
19912002EV2IndiaEthnic violence (Ayodhya Movement; Hindu vs Muslim)3500j
19921995EW6BosniaEthnic war (Serbs, Croats, Muslims)200000h j k l o
19921996EV2ZaireEthnic violence10000j k o
19921998CW3TajikistanCivil warfare25000h k l o p
19921999CV1EgyptCivil violence (Islamic militants)2000k o p
19921999EV1SenegalEthnic violence (Casamance)3000l p
1993*EV1Congo-BrazzavilleEthnic violence2000m
19932005EW4BurundiEthnic warfare (Tutsis against Hutus)100000j k l p
1994*EW7RwandaEthnic violence (Hutus target Tutsis)5500000k l o
1994*EV1GhanaEthnic violence1000m
1994*EW1YemenEthnic warfare (south Yemenis)3000l o
19941996EW4RussiaEthnic war (Chechnya secession I)40000k l o
19941997EV1MexicoEthnic violence (Chiapas)1000l o p
19941998EW3RwandaEthnic warfare (Hutus vs Tutsi regime)515000p
1995*IV1Ecuador
Peru
International violence (border dispute)1000l
19961998EW1IraqEthnic warfare (Kurds)2000k l p
19962006CW2NepalCivil war (UPF "People's War")8000l p
19962019+CW5Dem. Rep. of Congo (Zaire)Civil War (ouster of Mobutu & aftermath; Interhamwe in NE)2500000k l p
19962002IV*2Rwanda4Direct Intervention in DRCongo civil war (FDI event)3500l p
19962002IV*1Uganda4Direct Intervention in DRCongo civil war (FDI event)1200l p
19971999CW3Congo-BrazzavilleCivil warfare10000l p
1997*CV2AlbaniaCivil violence (Pyramid Schemes)2000l p
19972005EV1IndonesiaEthnic violence (Aceh; GAM militants)3000l p
19972010EV1NigeriaCommunal violence (Delta province; Ijaw, Itsekeri, and others)2500l p
19972019+EV1PakistanSectarian violence: Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Ahmadis4850l p
19981999EW4YugoslaviaEthnic war (Kosovar Albanians)15000l p
1998*CV2IndonesiaCivil violence (ouster of Suharto)2000l p
1998*EW1GeorgiaEthnic warfare (Abkhazia)1000l p
19981999CW2Guinea-BissauCivil war (coup attempt)6000l p
19982000IW5Eritrea
Ethiopia
Interstate war100000l p
19982003IV1IraqInternational violence (US/UK airstrikes)1000l p
19982003EV1Solomon IslandsCommunal violence (Malaita/Isatabu islanders)500l p
1999*IV1India
Pakistan
International violence (Kargil clashes)1500l p
1999*CV2IndonesiaEthnic violence (East Timor independence)3000l p
19992002EV1IndonesiaEthnic violence (Moluccas; Muslim/Christian)3500l p
1999*IV3YugoslaviaInternational violence (NATO airstrikes)1000l p
19992000EW1EthiopiaEthnic war (Oromo separatists)2000l p
19992006EW4RussiaEthnic war (Chechnya secession II)30000l p
20002001CV1GuineaParrot's Beak clashes1000l p
20002003CV1LiberiaCivil violence (attacks by LURD guerillas)1000l p
20002005CW2Ivory CoastCivil war (north, south, and west divisions)3000l p
2001*EV1IndonesiaCommunal (Dayaks vs Madurese immigrants)1000l p
2001*EW1RwandaEthnic war (attacks by Hutu guerillas)2500l p
2001*IV2United StatesAl Qaeda attacks on New York/Washington3000l p
20012003CV1Central African Rep.Civil violence (attacks by Bozize loyalists; coup)1000l p
20012004EV3NigeriaEthnic violence (Christian-Muslim; Plateau, Kano regions)55000l p
20012019+CW4AfghanistanOuster of Taliban and continuing civil war160000l p
20012019+CV2IndiaMaoist insurgency (People's War Group; Maoist Communist Centre; People's Liberation Guerrilla Army)9000l p
20022003CV1Congo-BrazzavilleCivil violence (Ninja militants in Pool region)500l p
2003*CV1ThailandAnti-Drug Traffiking Campaign2500l p
20032010IW6Iraq6US-led Ouster of Hussein-Ba'athist regime and consequent sectarian strife: Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, and foreign al Qaeda250000l p
20032010IW*2United States6Invasion of Iraq and military occupation (FDI event)4400l p
20032007CV1Saudi ArabiaIslamic Militants700l p
20032019+EV5SudanCommunal-separatist violence in Darfur350000l p
20042014CW2YemenFollowers of al-Huthi in Sadaa4500l p
20042007CV1HaitiGeneral unrest surrounding ouster of President Aristide and his Lavalas Family ruling party2000l p
20042017EW4PakistanPashtuns in Federally Administered Tribal Areas50000l p
20042019+EV1ThailandMalay-Muslims in southern border region (Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala provinces)4650l p
20042019+EV2TurkeyKurds in the southeast16000l p
20052019+EV2PakistanRebellion in Baluchistan9000l p
20052010CW1ChadAnti-Deby regime: United Front for Democratic Change (FUC), Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), and others2000l p
20052019+EW3Central African RepublicAPRD, UFDR, and Seleka rebels and "anti-balaka" (Christian) militias24000l p
20052014IV*1United States6Stabilization operation in Afghanistan (FDI event)2200l p
2006*IV2Israel
Lebanon
Israel vs Hezbollah1500l p
20062008EV1KenyaSabaot Land Defense Forces (SLDF) rebellion in Mt. Elgon800l p
20062019+CV4MexicoFederal Army and police offensive against entrenched drug cartels and corrupt police and officials, mainly in the northern region bordering the USA100000l p
20062010EV2ChadCommunal fighting between Toroboro ("black" sedentary farmer) and Janjawid ("arab" pastoralist) militias5000l p
20072008EV1LebanonPalestinian/Islamist militants500l p
20072018EV1EthiopiaSomalis (ONLF) and Oromo (OLF) militants in Ogaden region4500l p
2008*IW1Georgia
Russia
South Ossetia War850l p
2008*EV3KenyaCommunal violence following disputed presidential election1500l p
2008*EV1NigeriaCommunal violence in Jos: Christian and Muslim800l p
20082017EV1RussiaEthnic violence (Islamist militants in eastern Transcaucasus region: Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia)4500l p
20092015EV1ChinaEthnic violence (Uighers in Xinjiang province)800p
20092019+CW3NigeriaRebellion by radical-Muslim Boko Haram in north border region27000l p
20092019+EV1South SudanCommunal violence in south: Lou Nuer and Murle; rebel militias4000l p
20102019+EV1NigeriaCommunal violence in Jos/Plateau state: Christian and Muslim4500l p
2010*EV2KyrgyzstanEthnic violence (Kyrgyz; Uzbeks, following ouster of Bakiyev)600l p
2011*CV1EgyptPopular protests against Mubarak regime1000l p
2011*CW2Ivory CoastRejection of December 2010 presidential election results by regime leads to resumption of civil war and ends with arrest of President Gbagbo3000l p
20112019+EW5IraqContinuing Sunni-Shia sectrian strife; Islamic State insurgency212000l p
20112019+EW6SyriaPopular protests and regime crackdown trigger warfare with ethnic-Sunni miltants and Islamist-extremists against Assad's ethnic-Alawite regime560000l p
2011*CW3LibyaAnti-Gaddhafi elements centered in the eastern coastal region; NATO intervention25000l p
20112014CV1YemenAnti-Saleh demonstrations, southern separatists, army mutiny, clan rivalry, and al Qaeda militants4000l p
20112019+EV1SudanArmed supporters of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states5500l p
20122019+CV1MaliIslamist Ansar Dine and ethnic-Tuareg "Azawad" separatists3000l p
20132019+CV2EgyptMilitary ouster of President Morsi and crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood; Islamist rebellion in Sinai and south5500p
20132019+EW5South SudanRebellion by ethnic Nuer supporters of Reik Machar leads to war with ethnic Dinka supporters of President Salva Kiir400000p
20132015EV1Dem. Rep. of CongoEthnic Mai Mai separatist rebellion in Katanga Province850p
20142019+CW2LibyaFighting among several militias over control of oil revenues and central authority (mainly east/west/south and secular/Islamist splits)7700p
20142019+EW2UkrainePro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine13000p
20152019+CV1BurundiGovernment forces target opposition in dispute over President Nkurunziza's "election" to a third term1900p
20152019+EV1CameroonBoko Haram militants conduct operations along northwest border with Nigeria1600p
20152019+CV3VenezuelaGovernment security forces, especially the Special Actions Force (FAES), engage in extrajudicial killings of opposition figures.15000p
20152019+EW4YemenHouthi rebels ally with Saleh loyalists to oust Mansour Hadi government: Hadi forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition91000p
20162019+CV2PhilippinesAnti-drug violence directed by Duterte regime26000p
20162017EV2Dem. Rep. of CongoKamwinda Nsapu rebellion in Kasai5000p
20162017CV1EthiopiaViolent protests and State of Emergency in Amhara, Oromiya, and SNNP690p
20172019+EV1CameroonAmbazonia separatists mount a rebellion in Anglophone regions in the north and west2400p
20172019+CV1MozambiqueIslamist militants in the northern region of Cabo Delgado900p
2018*EV1Dem. Rep. of CongoCommunal violence between Batende and Banunu in Yumbi890p
20182019+EV1NigerCommunal violence between Islamic and other ethnic groups900p
20192019+EV1Burkina FasoCommunal violence between Islamic and other ethnic groups1700p
Notes and Sources
* The research described in this data-collection project has been sponsored by the Political Instability Task Force (PITF). The PITF is funded by the Central Intelligence Agency. The views expressed herein are the author's/authors' alone and do not represent the views of the US Government.
1. Ethnic separatist resistance in the border regions of Myanmar (Burma) includes several groups, such as the Kachins, Karen, Karreni, Mons, Rohingyas, Shan, Wa, and others. Because information on political activity in Myanmar has been, and continues to be, so poor, it has not been possible to list the rebellions separately despite the fact that there is little evidence of collusion between ethnic-rebel groups.
2. In cases where the sovereignty of a distinct territory is ambiguous and contested by the parties in conflict, the episode is coded as an international conflict until authority has either been successfully imposed or resisted, after which subsequent episodes are coded according to the sovereignty thus established.
3. The case of Malaysian independence and civil violence is continuous and coded IN3 for the period prior to official independence in 1957 (i.e., 1957) and CV3 afterward (i.e., 1958-1960).
4. The United States' and China’s direct involvement in the Korean civil war, France's direct involvement in the Indochinese and Algerian wars of independence, Portugal's direct involvement in the Angola and Mozambique colonial wars, the United States’ direct involvement in the Vietnamese civil war, the Soviet Union’s direct involvement in the civil war in Afghanistan, and Rwanda and Uganda's direct involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire) civil war are unique cases of external involvement that surpass the limited and indirect engagement usually accorded to acts of external interventions and, so, are coded as separate listings of international violence or warfare separate from the civil warfare episodes in which they were engaged. These separate listings for "internationalized civil war" involvements are not considered unique "major episodes of political violence" in tabulating event counts.
5. The end of the Angola independence war (1961-1975) coincides with the beginning of the Angola civil war (1975-2002). The Rwanda case is unique in that it involves a sudden and complete transference of political power as the Tutsi insurgency mounts an offensive and seizes power following the Hutu regime-instigated genocide. Former members of the Hutu regime and, especially, those responsible for the genocide then take up arms against the new Tutsi-dominated regime. These contiguous episodes are listed as two separate episodes but are recorded in the data record as though they were continual episodes (i.e., with no overlap of the two contiguous episodes).
6. The Iraq war (2003-2008+) is recorded as an international war (IW6) because the 2003 invasion by US forces triggered an armed resistance by indigenous and foreign militants within Iraq and a communal war involving Sunni, Shia, and Kurd communal groups; in effect, this episode in treated as a "domesticized interstate war." The effect on the United States resulting from its direct invasion of Iraq, its forceful ouster of the Saddam Hussein-led Ba'athist regime, and its continued support for the new, Shia-dominated government in the ensuing civil war is coded separately from the Iraq case; the US case is coded as an international war (IW) with magnitude 2; the US case listing is not counted as a separate event. Similarly, the US direct intervention in Afghanistan (2005-2014) is recorded as a case of international violence (IV1) in an internationalized civil war and not counted as a separate event.
7. Vietnam armed forces invaded Cambodia in November 1978 and ousted the Khmer Rouge regime in December 1978. This episode escalates a prior interstate war between Cambodia and Vietnam (IW2 1975-1978) and overlaps with the prior civil war episode in Cambodia (CW6 1975-1978). In the data record for the year 1978, Cambodia is recorded with an IW2 and CW6; Vietnam is recorded with an IW5.
Information sources (References): There is no general agreement among scholars as to what constitutes a major episode of armed conflict. The most common divisions in the relevant research center on episode type or interstate-intrastate conflict distinctions, further complicating the comprehensive compilation of episodes of all types. The reference numbers list those from the following sixteen sources that include the episode with the purview of their particular classification scheme.
a. Ruth Leger Sivard. 1991. World Military and Social Expenditures 1991. 14th ed. Washington, DC: World Priorities. (Also, consulted 16th ed., 1996, see "m" below.) Criteria: "...armed conflict involving one or more governments and causing the death of 1,000 or more people per year." (Sivard 1991, 25)
b. Patrick Brogan. 1989. World Conflicts: Why and Where They are Happening​. London: Bloomsbury. Criteria: "...includes all the major wars and insurrections since 1945, but leaves out many lesser insurrections and riots, many of which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people."
c. Melvin Small and J. David Singer. 1982. Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816-1980​. Beverly Hills: Sage. Criteria: Interstate wars during which the total "battle-connected fatalities among military personnel" for all participants was at least 1000 per year; extra-systemic wars during which battle deaths exceeded the 1000 per year threshold for the system-member; civil wars which resulted in at least 1000 deaths per year including both civilian and military personnel. (Small and Singer 1982, 71)
d. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). 1968-1993. World Armaments and Disarmament: SIPRI Yearbook​. Annual series. Stockholm: SIPRI. Criteria: Major armed conflicts, defined as "prolonged combat between the military forces of two or more governments or of one government and at least one organized armed group, involving the use of weapons and incurring battle-related deaths of at least 1000 persons." (SIPRI 1992, 417)
e. Barbara Harff and Ted Robert Gurr. 1988. "Toward Empirical Theory of Genocides and Politicides: Identification and Measurement of Cases since 1945." International Studies Quarterly 32: 359-371. Criteria: Cases of "massive state repression" which are "sustained episodes in which the state or its agents impose on a communal or political group 'conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.'"
f. G. D. Kaye, D. A. Grant, and E. J. Emond. 1985. Major Armed Conflict: A Compendium of Interstate and Intrastate Conflict, 1720 to 1985. Ottawa, Canada: Department of National Defense. Criteria: "In a general sense, the conflict modes involve two or more groups (nations and/or actors) in which the use of force was a significant factor in the event. This includes both internal and international events. At least one nation is involved in every conflict listed."
g. Herbert K. Tillema. 1991. International Armed Conflict Since 1945: A Bibliographic Handbook of Wars and Military Interventions​. Boulder: Westview Press. Criteria: "An international armed conflict is operationally defined to include all directly related foreign overt military interventions undertaken by one or more states within one or more foreign political territories....Onset of the first directly related foreign overt military intervention and cessation of the last intervention are taken as the beginning and the end of an international armed conflict." (Tillema 1991, 12 fn.8)
h. J. David Singer and Melvin Small. 1993. The Correlates of War Project: International and Civil War Data, 1816-1992​. Computer file. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Criteria: See source reference number 3 above, except that the criteria for "Extra-systemic" wars has been changed from "1000 annual average battle deaths per year" to "1000 battle deaths total for all participating interstate system members and the troop commitment criterion."
i. List of International and Civil Wars Excluded (1980-1988). Personal correspondence with Ricardo R. Rodriguiz, Data Management Assistant, Correlates of War Project, dated May 25, 1993. Criteria: Recognized in the literature as an episode of "armed conflict" but fail to meet minimum criteria for definition as one of the three COW categories; see source reference "c" above.
j. Ted Robert Gurr. 1994. "Peoples Against States: Ethnopolitical Conflict and the Changing World System." International Studies Quarterly 38: 347-377. Criteria: Serious ethnopolitical conflicts involving armed violence and resulting in large numbers of casualties and dislocated populations.
k. Daniel C. Esty, Jack A. Goldstone, Ted Robert Gurr, Barbara Harff, Marc Levy, Geoffrey D. Dabelko, Pamela T. Surko, Alan N. Unger. 1998. State Failure Task Force Report: Phase II Findings​. McLean, VA: Science Applications International Corporation. Criteria: The State Failure Problem Set includes four types of events: Ethnic Wars, Revolutionary Wars, Geno/Politicides, and Abrupt or Disruptive Regime Transitions. Only the first three types of events meet the general criteria to be considered a major armed conflict for cross-referencing here. Ethnic Wars are "episodes of violent conflict between governments and national, ethnic, religious, or other communal minorities (ethnic challengers) in which the challengers seek major changes in their status." Revolutionary Wars are "episodes of violent conflict between governments and politically organized groups (political challengers) that seek to overthrow the central government, to replace its leaders, or to seize power in one region." Geno/politicide is "the promotion, execution, and/or implied consent of sustained policies by governing elites or their agents-or, in the case of civil war, either of the contending authorities-that result in the deaths of a substantial portion of a communal and/or politicized communal group." Episodes of Geno/Politicide must have lasted six months or more to be included. Revolutionary and Ethnic Wars are included if they pass a minimum threshold wherein each party must mobilize 1000 or more people (armed agents, demonstrators, troops) and average 100 or more fatalities per year during the episode. The State Failure Problem Set is updated annually for the Political Instability Task Force by Societal-Systems Research Inc; the most recent version of the data is available on the CSP/INSCR Data Page.
l. Peter Wallensteen and Margareta Sollenberg (and others). 2008-2012. "Armed Conflict and Regional Conflict Complexes."Annual report in Journal of Peace Research​. Criteria: Wallensteen and Sollenberg include three types of events in their study: minor armed conflict, intermediate armed conflict, and war. Only the latter two types meet the general criteria for inclusion here. Intermediate armed conflicts have "more than 1,000 battle-related deaths recorded during the course of the conflict, but fewer than 1,000 in any given year." Wars have "more than 1,000 battle-related deaths during any given year." (Wallensteen and Sollenberg 1998, 621)
m. Ruth Leger Sivard. 1996. World Military and Social Expenditures 1996. 16th ed. Washington, DC: World Priorities. Criteria: "...armed conflict involving one or more governments and causing the death of 1,000 or more people per year." (Updates "a" above.)
n. Correlates of War. 1994. Militarized Interstate Disputes​. Computer File. ICPSR version. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Criteria: Fatality category 5 and 6 cases were chosen for cross-referencing; category 5 includes disputes where fatalities range from 501 to 999 (1 case) and category 6 includes disputes with over 999 fatalities (24 cases).
o. Patrick M. Regan 1996. "Conditions of Successful Third-Party Intervention in Intrastate Conflicts." Journal of Conflict Resolution 40: 336-359. Criteria: Regan defines episodes of intrastate conflict as "armed, sustained combat between groups within state boundaries in which there are at least 200 fatalities." (Regan 1996, 338) Appendix lists only the 85 conflicts that had at least one intervention (of 138 total), only three of the conflicts listed fall below the standard 1000 fatalities threshold.
p. Monty G. Marshall. 1998-2020. "Current Status of the World's Major Episodes of Political Violence." Monthly reports to US Government's Political Instability Task Force, most recent report February 29, 2020.
This comprehensive compilation is a substantial revision and update of earlier works published in the following sources (each are available in the CSP Virtual Library as electronic documents):
Monty G. Marshall. 1999. Third World War: System, Process, and Conflict Dynamics​. Boulder, CO: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Monty G. Marshall. 2002. "Measuring the Societal Impact of War," chapter 4 in Fen Osler Hampson and David M. Malone, eds., From Reaction to Conflict Prevention: Opportunities for the UN System. A project of the International Peace Academy. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publisher.
Monty G. Marshall and Ted Robert Gurr. 2005. Peace and Conflict 2005: A Global Survey of Armed Conflicts, Democracy, and Self-Determination Movements. College Park, MD: Center for International Development and Conflict Management. Biennial report series; also published in 2001 and 2003.
Monty G. Marshall and Benjamin R. Cole. 2014. Global Report 2014: Conflict, Governance, and State Fragility​. Vienna, VA: Center for Systemic Peace. Serial report; also published in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011.
Monty G. Marshall and Gabrielle Elzinga-Marshall. 2017. Global Report 2017: Conflict, Governance, and State Fragility​. Vienna, VA: Center for Systemic Peace.


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