Western Media has a bad habit of only reporting stories that directly affect them and their interests. This is in part due to reporting on things that sell clicks and gatekeeping information that they think is relevant to the population. The result is an incomplete picture of the world as it exists now.
There are major armed conflicts happening that most people are abreast of, such as the War in Syria and the War in Afghanistan, but there are also many more serious conflicts happening right now that get little to no media coverage in the mainstream. These are four you probably haven’t read about in quite some time.
1. Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
The Nagorno-Karabakh region occupies the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and is the source of an ongoing territorial dispute. This conflict has been hot for decades and is a low intensity, constant skirmish between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the region.
- Countries involved: Armenia, Azerbaijan
- Type of conflict: Territorial dispute
- Countries interested: Russia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan
The conflict erupted in 1988 and saw most of the heavy fighting done in the 1990s. The conflict has killed an estimated 40,000 people since it started, and dozens of people are still killed every year, mainly by border skirmishes and artillery shelling.
This is a conflict living in the shadows of other countries in the region. Armenia and Azerbaijan don’t usually make the headlines, but they border Iran and Turkey. Russia has heavy interests in the conflict and the region in general. Georgia, their northern neighbor, was also recently embroiled in regional unrest, which saw Russia attempt to gain more influence over the region and its resources.
The conflict has spawned a self-governing region known as the Republic of Artsakh. The region is technically Azerbaijani territory but has an ethnic makeup that is over 90% Armenian. This ethnic and territorial dispute continues to drag on with no solid resolution in sight and threatens to destabilize an already precarious region of the globe.
2. War in Ukraine
Despite making a brief and potent appearance in the headlines in connection to the impeachment of President Trump, the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine has been woefully under-reported by major news outlets in recent months. The fighting continues, and there has been no solid basis for a resolution. The war itself has degraded into a stalemate that has seen flashes of intense violence flare up and dissipate. Ukraine’s territorial integrity and internal control are still dangerously frayed, and people continue to die in the conflict, which first began in 2014 following the chaos caused by Russia’s annexation of Crimea from the Ukraine.
- Countries involved: Ukraine, Russia, Donetsk People’s Republic, Luhansk People’s Republic
- Type of conflict: territorial dispute, secession
- Countries interested: The United States, NATO members, Russia
Despite starting as a monumental conflict on the world stage, it has slowly faded into the background of the news landscape. This war has seen the downing of a fully-loaded passenger plane, the ousting of a regime, thousands of casualties, the declaration of independence of new states, and annexation of territory but now lies largely uncovered in the media. Currently, the war has reached a stalemate with neither side being able to make progress against the other.
The Ukraine has recently seen an influx of money and weapons from the United States and others in an attempt to bolster their flagging front while the separatists in the Donbas region have received generous Russian support in the way of supplies, weapons, and volunteers. Heavy weapons continue to pour in for both sides, and the conflict has the potential to become dangerous and wide-reaching if full-fledged fighting breaks out again.
There has been a recent push for a peaceful resolution to the six-year old conflict, but in the meantime, people continue to die in the stalemate along the front lines in eastern Ukraine.
3. Insurgency in Mali
Mali has long been an interest of France after its independence in 1960. Recently, the country has been befallen by an all too common occurrence in northern Africa: the rise of a violent Islamist separatist movement fueled by insurgency and terrorism.
The growing insurgency in Mali has begun to pull in a larger and larger international coalition of forces to deal with the problem. Over 13,000 United Nations peacekeepers are currently deployed to the region. The United States has an estimated 1,500 troops involved, including special forces. France has roughly 3,000 troops deployed to Mali. Both the US and France have offered air support in the way of drone strikes and airstrikes on militant positions in recent years.
- Countries involved: Mali, France and a coalition of United Nations peacekeepers
- Type of conflict: insurgency
- Countries interested: Mali, France, Niger, the USA, Burkina Faso
The conflict in Mali has been gobbled up by the global War on Terror military machine and continues to see outsized international support. Recently, instead of being contained, militant activity has been strengthening and spreading to neighboring northern African countries. The whole Sahel region is now seen as a hotbed of growing Islamic terrorism.
Early 2020 has already seen dozens of Mali regular soldiers killed in attacks on bases in the northern part of the country, and casualties continue to mount for government forces. The insurgency has spread to nearby Niger and Burkina Faso, threatening to destabilize the entire region.
Despite the being called the UN’s most dangerous mission and the continued presence of US forces in the region, this conflict has seen very little news coverage and continues to be the War on Terror’s most under-reported theater.
4. South Sudan Civil War
This is not a continuation of the Sudanese Civil War but a new conflict. The two are often conflated due to their similarity and lack of familiarity. South Sudan was formed as an independent nation in 2011 following a successful break away from Sudan. The Sudan Civil War birthed South Sudan.
Now South Sudan is having its own civil war, which began two short years after gaining its independence. The new conflict engulfing South Sudan has been long and bloody.
- Countries involved: South Sudan, South Sudanese anti-governmental forces, UN coalition
- Type of conflict: civil war
- Countries interested: the United States, Uganda, Sudan
An estimated 400,000 people have been killed since 2013, making it one of the bloodiest ongoing conflicts in the world today and one that gets zero media coverage. The fighting continues between the anti-government forces and the South Sudan government and has dragged in United Nations peacekeepers, Ugandan regular forces, local tribal forces and has touched every facet of life in the country.
The United States was seen as an inspiration and engine in pushing South Sudan to be recognized as a country following its break from Sudan in 2011 and has an interest in seeing the country return to stability.
So far, in 2020, the two sides have agreed to attempt to form a unity government and push the country towards a lasting peace. Observers are hopeful yet cautious as similar efforts in the past have collapsed. If a lasting peace comes to fruition, then this awful conflict might soon come to an end, but in the meantime, fighting continues between the vast array of splintered groups across South Sudan.