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Halcyon monitors change for more than 150 key elements of life.

What's Changing? - Conflict

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Please see below selected recent conflict-related change.

 

These men, and those who opposed them
And those whom they opposed 
Accept the constitution of silence
And are folded in a single party - from Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot

 

See also:

 

January 2021

 

October 2020

  • Weeks into the Covid-19 lockdown, Elizabeth Barajas-Román, president and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, was alarmed to learn that incidents of intimate partner violence were increasing in countries around the globe. Approaches that support organisations had previously relied on to reach people in abusive relationships, like running a hotline or providing safety planning in the workplace, were proving difficult to implement while people were stuck at home, often in close quarters with the person perpetrating violence. Barajas-Román wondered: how could survivors reach out and get the help they need in a safe way? The solution she landed on was Signal for Help, a simple hand gesture that people experiencing abuse could silently use during video calls to tell friends or loved ones that they’re in trouble.

 

August 2020

  • Evidence emerged of a significant fall in the number of civilians harmed in conflicts around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. Data collected by the research charity, Action on Armed Violence, showed a 58% decrease in the number of civilians killed and injured by explosives between April and July 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. There’s been a drop in reported violent events in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. In Syria, the number of civilians killed or injured fell by 78%. Libya is one of the few countries to have seen a rise in civilian harm in recent months, with 479 civilians being killed or injured over the four-month period in 2020, compared with 431 in 2019. The director of Action on Armed Violence said the global response to the pandemic appeared to “stay the hand” of militaries and extremist groups.

 

July 2020

  • July 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the world's first nuclear bomb test in the New Mexico desert. "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds," Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the US-led Manhattan Project, said soon after the successful detonation in Los Alamos. Less than a month later, the US dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing an end to World War II.
  • The editor of China’s state-controlled Global Times tweeted that China was “fully capable of destroying all Taiwan’s military installations within a few hours”. President Xi Jinping is set on what he calls reunification, “by all necessary means”, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile the Rand Corporation has produced a report for the Pentagon urging it to prepare for an “ascendant” China “able to contest all domains of conflict across the broad swathe of the [Indo-Pacific] region by the mid-2030s” and Foreign Affairs published a warning that China’s “civil-military fusion” (43 military-controlled universities, a dozen state-run think tanks, six quasi-private venture capital firms investing in dual-use tech, reported Tortoise Media.
  • Mexico recorded 11,000 disappearances in 2019-20, bringing the country's total number of disappeared people to 73,000 since the government declared "war" on criminal groups in 2006. Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in 2018 pledging to tackle a long-standing violence epidemic fueled by drug cartels and gangs, but killings and crime have surged under his watch.

 

May 2020

  • Countries around the world spent a total of $1.9 trillion on weapons in 2019, the highest mark on record for SIPRI, an arms watchdog. The US, which accounted for nearly 40% of that, spends more than the next nine countries combined.

 

March 2020

 

February 2020

 

January 2020

 

December 2019

 

November 2019

  • Deaths from terrorism fell globally for the fourth consecutive year in 2019, decreasing by 52% since 2014, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
  • A national effort in Colombia to remove improvised explosives resulted in 391 municipalities now being declared mine-free. More than 700 of Colombia's 1,122 municipalities once had landmines, the result of a decades-long armed conflict between leftist guerillas, criminal factions, paramilitary groups, and the government.

 

October 2019

  • For a time, deaths from armed conflict fell around the world, but now, driven by the complex interaction of global power politics and local ideologies, the world is seeing its bloodiest years since the 1980s, leading to evolving ideas abut the possible future of war.

 

September 2019

 

August 2019

  • The US tested a new medium-range cruise missile that flew more than 300 miles. This marked the first time the US has tested a weapon that would have violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Cold War era pact that was officially abandoned three weeks ago, sparking fears of a new global arms race.

 

July 2019

 

June 2019

  • Future Today Institute (FTI) believes that the future of our global security will depend on code, not combat. Using AI techniques, a military can “win” by destabilising an economy rather than demolishing countrysides and city centres. Countries, interest groups or independent actors could manipulate technology in order to inflict strategic pain points, to manufacture chaos and to cripple markets or companies. 
  • The School of Life believes there are many reasons to believe that one of the dominant problems in the world today is an excess of anger. We know about the shouty and their tantrums, their lack of reason, their unwillingness to compromise. Furthermore, it threatens to get a lot worse; we seem locked into a set of dynamics (political, technological, environmental) which promises an ever less patient, ever less serene and ever less forgiving future. But it may be rather more realistic, albeit odd sounding, to insist on the very opposite: that whatever the impression generated by a public and vocal angry cohort, the far more common yet (by nature) invisible problem is a contrary tendency, a widespread inability to get angry, a failure to know how rightly and effectively to mount a complaint, an inarticulate swallowing of frustration and the bitterness, subterranean ‘acting out’ and low-level depression that follow from not allowing any of our rightful sorrows to find expression.
  • Further reading:

 

May 2019

 

April 2019

  • Over the first two months of 2019, the murder rate in Brazil dropped by 25% compared with the same period last year.
  • However, since the turn of this century, more than 2.5 million people have been killed in the homicide crisis gripping Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Igarapé Institute, a research group that tracks violence worldwide. The region accounts for just 8 percent of the global population, yet 38 percent of the world’s murders. It has 17 of the 20 deadliest nations on earth.And in just seven Latin American countries — Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela - violence has killed more people than the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen combined, according to the New York Times.
  • Underpinning nearly every killing is a climate of impunity that, in some countries, leaves more than 95 percent of homicides unsolved. And the state is a guarantor of the phenomenon - governments hollowed out by corruption are either incapable or unwilling to apply the rule of law, enabling criminal networks to dictate the lives of millions.
  • China launched almost 400,000 metric tons of new warships, submarines, support ships, and other naval vessels between 2015 and 2017, according to data compiled by the International Institute for Strategic Studies – about twice the output of US shipyards over the same period. China has the world's fastest growing navy.

 

February 2019

  • In 2018, violence in Afghanistan killed 3,804 civilians, according to a new report from the United Nations, the highest annual total on record. Rebel groups like the Taliban and Islamic State were responsible for two-thirds of the total. Fighting has escalated even as peace talks gradually move forward.

 

January 2019

 

December 2018

 

November 2018

  • Since 2000, fewer than 100,000 people have died in conflicts worldwide per year. That is about one-sixth the rate observed between 1950 and 2000, and one-fiftieth the rate between 1900 and 1950, the period that included both world wars.
  • According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, 254 armed conflicts have been fought since 1946 of which 114 are classed as wars (defined as more than one thousand battle-related deaths per annum). Since the end of the Cold War, the numbers of armed conflicts have dropped dramatically. Of the 33 armed conflicts listed in 2013, only seven were classed as wars – a 50 per cent reduction since 1989. However, in How to Prevent the Third World War, Chatham House reminded us that we are faced with stark reminders of the fragility of our international system when it comes to the prevention of conflict and war.
  • Researchers created an artificial society to investigate religious conflict. The model found that two xenophobic groups that are in regular contact create “periods of mutually escalating anxiety”. In practice, such a policy would create moral concerns about separating and confining groups based on identity, as well as whether dividing groups based on religion should be a goal in any society, noted Quartz.
  • Nearly 30 percent of anti-Semitic attacks on Twitter are being generated by automated bots, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Evidence suggest bots are increasingly responsible for driving divisive online conversation. The individuals behind the bots remain unknown.
  • Foreign contractors prolong wars, warned Quartz. Intended to save money and boost local economies, contractors make wars more expensive, less democratic, and more dangerous.
  • Turkish President Erdogan argued that the ongoing instability in the Middle East is a product of the flawed peace brokered after WWI, in which Western powers carved up the region in unsustainable ways. The lesson Erdogan draws from World War I: the West must stop interfering in Turkey and the Middle East, reported GZEROMedia.
  • Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commemorated the sacrifice of his countrymen in a “conflict in which India was not directly involved.” His statement and participation in the celebrations in Paris were for GZEROMedia a reminder of the many non-Europeans – including soldiers from 70 nations that had not yet gained independence – who gave their lives in a conflict from which they had little to gain.
  • A study reported by The Economist found that US Thanksgiving dinners in 2016 that were more likely to include a mix of Trump and Clinton voters were between 20 and 50 minutes shorter than dinners that were more likely to have been purely partisan gatherings. Since then, the discomfort of cross-party dialogue has only grown.
  • Further reading:

 

October 2018

  • NATO was set to launch the combat phase of its biggest military war game in decades, an exercise that will involve 50,000 personnel, 10,000 vehicles, 250 aircraft, and 65 ships. Thirty-one countries, the 29 NATO members, plus Finland and Sweden, would take part.
  • The physical effects of conflict can last for generations: the demilitarised zone that stretches for 155 miles along the 38th parallel between North and South Korea is estimated to hold up to 2 million landmines. Teams from the two countries began their first joint-clearance operation in more than a decade, 
  • Mental effect, such as the stress of conflict, can also last for generations, warned Quartz. Data from the US civil war suggests trauma can be can be inherited by the offspring of prisoners of war.

 

September 2018

 

August 2018

 

July 2018

  • The United States signed foreign arms deals worth $46.9 billion during the first half of the fiscal year. That already exceeds the $41.9 billion in weapons deals agreed to during all of fiscal 2017.
  • US special operations forces have carried out missions in 133 countries so far this year. America’s shadow wars continue to expand with little transparency or oversight from elected officials, warned GZEROMedia.
  • The Future of Information Warfare report from CB Insights covers malware, from fake media, to computational propaganda, weaponised memes and more. 

 

June 2018

 

May 2018

  • In almost every one of 27 countries recently polled by IPSOS for the BBC, people said that their countries have grown more divided over the past decade and it looked at what people said was the most polarising issue in their country.

 

April 2018

  • Our World in Data analysed conflicts in which at least one party was the government of a state and which generated more than 25 battle-related deaths are included. The data refer to direct violent deaths. Deaths due to disease or famine caused by conflict are excluded. Extra-judicial killings in custody are also excluded.
  • Latin America suffered 38 percent of the world’s criminal homicides last year, despite accounting for just 8 percent of the world’s population. Rapid urbanisation, corruption, drug trafficking, and a huge influx of US guns all contribute.

 

Pre-2018

 

 

 

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