There are instances when conflict arises not between states, but within a particular country. There are different reasons why civil wars happen. It can be political, religious or even political divide that drives a country to implode. These are instances when bloody civil wars of modern era could actually take its toll on the population. This could lead to human rights abuses, not to mention hamper progress.
It is common to see both economic and social drawbacks to countries that have engaged in these types of wars. Unfortunately, these wars could go for years or even decades at a time. Here are 12 bloody civil wars of modern era.
12. Bosnian War
There are countries that are just waiting to erupt. This is exactly the case with Bosnia during the early 1990s. During the early 1990s, we’ve seen the collapse of the Soviet Union. Bosnia being a multi-cultural country has resulted to a civil war. In fact, it has been viewed by many human rights advocates as ethnic cleansing.
Bosnia along with Herzegovina and other former republics under Yugoslavia declared war. Bosnian Serbs attacked mainly the Muslim population in 1992. This civil war lasted for more than three years. Estimated total number of casualties is from 90,000 to 300,000.
The nationalist Croats and Serbs attacked the countryside which can be considered ethnic cleansing. The problem was only resolved by the UN after air strikes and sanctions. In the end, both parties agreed to enter a peace treaty.
11. Sectarian Violence in Pakistan
There are constant attacks to different groups in Pakistan. The usual targets are Sunni, Shia, Ahmad, Hindu and Christian groups. From 1987 to 2007, there were 4,000 deaths between Shia and Sunni sectarian conflicts alone. The groups blamed for the sectarian attacks are TTP, Sunni Militant Groups and even ISIS.
10. Islamic Resistance and Communism in the Philippines
Another one that made it in our list of bloody civil wars of modern era is The Philippine armed conflicts with communist guerrillas and Muslims. The Philippines is familiar with armed conflict. There are many insurgents that the Philippine government is dealing with.
To give you a background of the insurgencies happening in the Philippines, it can all be traced during the Martial Law years in 60s and 70s. Moro National Liberation Front was formed almost at the same timeline as the Communist Party of the Philippines. Both factions were fighting to free the country from a dictator, while the Muslim insurgents are also looking to secede from the country. Most of the gun fights happened in the countryside. Until today, these insurgencies are still present in the country.
The country has tried to enter different treaties in the past in order to potentially stop the gun fight in the countryside. However, it has resulted to more Muslim insurgents, Islamic extremists and a thriving communist guerrilla group.
9. Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War officially started during the the 1920s. However, during the Second World War, both Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Ze Dong’s communist party decided to unite in order to defeat the Japanese invaders.
Chang Kai-shek did not believe in democracy. Instead, he believes in ruling China under one ruler which is backed by a military. With right wing tactics, Chiang Kai-shek rooted out opposition in China including communists. What Mao Ze Dong believed in is to utilize the poor people from the countryside and unite them to with the war against Chiang Kai-shek’s forces. By the end of the Chinese Civil War, Taiwan was formed.
What made the Chinese Civil War on our list of bloody civil wars in modern era is the protracted nature of its revolution that incurred 8 million casualties.
8. Sri Lankan Civil War
In 2011, UN released a report saying that the Sri Lankan Civil War has lost over 100,000 lives in a span of 26 years. The war was fought between Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the local government of Sri Lanka.
A war that started in 1983, it only ended in 2009 when the Tigers considered to surrender. Unfortunately, civilian casualty is at 40,000 especially in the last five months of the conflict. With casualty of this magnitude, Sri Lankan Civil War made it in our list of bloody civil wars of modern.
Though peacetime was welcomed by Sri Lankans, there were a number of problems that still emerged after the civil war. For instance, restoration of rule of law has been quite difficult. Also, investigations regarding violations of human rights are still yet to be completed.
7. Angolan Civil War
Angola fought for its independence from Portugal. With the help of the Cubans and Soviet Union, Angola gained its freedom and established a socialist government. Soon after, civil war broke out. Union for Total Independence of Angola or UNITA, backed by the CIA fought against the Movement for the Liberation of Angola. For nearly 27 years, the battle was fought by both sides. It is considered by many as one of the most prolonged civil wars in modern history.
The Angolan Civil War ended in 2002 when Jonas Savimbi was killed. Right after, both parties agreed on having a ceasefire and had an election. Unfortunately, the Angolan Civil War left the economy in ruins, and left 500,000 deaths.
6. The Laos Secret War
The Laotian Civil War, otherwise known as the Secret War was fought between communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government. It was called the Secret War because of CIA’s involvement in the crisis. After the French left the Indochina region, the Royal Lao Government received the power but excluded the anti-colonial armed nationalist movement. The number of people lost during this war is at 450,000 for Laos and 600,000 in Cambodia. Refugees have also exceeded a million. Other than the numbers, another reason why it is considered as part of our list of bloody civil wars of modern era is because of the use of chemical warfare. >> 10 Deadliest Wars In Human History.
5. Somali Civil War
Since 1991, the Somali Civil war is still going on until the present. Home to a number of people, Siad Barre during the late 80s was their unpopular leader. In response, he attacked opposing forces which even accelerated his removal from power. In 1990s, he was reinstated in power using a revolution. After this, Northern part of the country declared independence. However, it is still unrecognized.
Until today, Somalia is among the top countries receiving help from the UN. UN constantly sends peacekeeping forces in order to facilitate aids distributed into the populace.
4. Iraq Civil War
Right after 9-11 when America decided to attack Iraq in search of Weapons of Mass Destruction, it has left the country in ruins. In effect, it has created a civil war that has been responsible for the creation of ISIS. It is part of our list of bloody civil wars because of number of other countries directly or indirectly affected by Iraq’s conflict.
It started when Fallujah and Mosul were conquered by ISIS. This forced the resignation of PM Nouri Al-Maliki. Also, this problem resulted to massive number of refugees and civilian casualties.
3. Boko Haram Insurgency
Boko Haram is a jihadist group that decided to take arms in 2009 against the government of Nigeria. By 2012, there were different factions that have been formed from Boko Haram. The most dominant and violent faction is led by Abubakar Shekau. In 2015, there were other Boko Haram groups that have joined Al Qaeda.
By 2013, 1,000 people already died as a result of this conflict. By 2014, it escalated even more and casualties reached to over 10,000 deaths. Today, the conflict has been seen in other African countries.
2. War in North West Pakistan
Another one making it in our list of bloody civil wars of modern era is the War in North West Pakistan. The War in North West Pakistan is a conflict which is also known as War in Waziristan. The state of Pakistan is involved in an armed conflict with groups such as Terik-i-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) and ISIS. It started in 2004 when the government was searching for possible Al Qaeda members in Waziristan. Eventually, it has escalated into fully armed resistance. Cumulative number of casualties is at almost 60,000 today and it is still ongoing. >> Political Experiments On Pakistan In 70 Years.
1. Spanish Civil War
During 1936 to 1939, The Spanish Civil War can be considered as one of the bloodiest civil wars in modern history. It is included in our list of bloody civil wars of modern era simply because of the actions of the fascist Nationalist group.
The conflict is supporters of Nationalists led by General Franco and democratically elect president. The thing that makes Spanish Civil War significant in history is its prelude to the Second World War. Nazi Germany supported Franco who eventually ruled the country as a dictator, while Soviet Union supported the opposing side.
There are many conflicts within countries. From rebel groups trying to gain power to religious groups trying to get rid of each other, these are just some of the reasons why some conflicts are present in some countries. However, there are also instances when it is initiated by other factors such as presence of foreign influence such as CIA supporting groups that can protect US interest.
Bloody Civil Wars of Modern Era
- Spanish Civil War
- War in North West Pakistan
- Boko Haram Insurgency
- Iraq Civil War
- Somali Civil War
- The Laos Secret War
- Angolan Civil War
- Sri Lankan Civil War
- Chinese Civil War
- Islamic Resistance and Communism in the Philippines
- Sectarian Violence in Pakistan
- Bosnian War