Forever Wars: 5 Constantly Conflicted Places Around the World

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We in the west are often so comfortable as to grow complacent – we forget that in many parts of our world, there are military conflicts going on each and every day. True, no all-consuming conflict like a World War threatens to embroil the entire globe, but for those people who hear the crack of gunfire more often than they hear the laughter of the carefree, their world is shaped by the warring around them. Let’s take a few minutes today to think about a few places where the seeds of peace have not sprouted in some time.

5 The Korean Peninsula

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As the North Korean military and government (as much as those can even be called separate entities) like to periodically remind the world, there is still technically a state of war between North and South Korea. The savage, bloody war in which America took part may have ostensibly ended in 1953 with an armistice, but no actual peace treaty was ever signed, and both countries remain vigilant in their military training and equipment.
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4 Sri Lanka

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For longer than a generation, the Tamil Tiger rebels of Sri Lanka waged a fierce guerrilla war, seeking to carve out a homeland for themselves in the north of this large island off the southeast coast of India. The Tamil Tiger rebel group “officially” formed in 1976 after years of strife between the ethnic Tamils and the ruling Sinhalese population. While the Tamil Tigers were ostensibly defeated in 2009, there have been subsequent protests, often met with violence, that bespeak an enduring will to fight back against the perceived oppression of the ruling Sri Lankan government.
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3 Mali

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For the past year and several months, once peaceful Mali has seen a horrific uptick in violence, started by various insurgent groups with ties to militant Islamic factions and ethnic groups, especially the Tuareg peoples who hoped to carve out a homeland in northern Mali. At one point in mid-2012, the rebel offensive grew to such a pitch that the historic city of Timbuktu was briefly overrun and occupied. Many of the insurgent groups imposed harsh version of Sharia law on the areas they held, silencing the country’s long tradition of beautiful music. With the help of various African allies and a large push by the French military, most territory has been reclaimed and most rebel groups tamped down, but unrest continues and threatens to boil over again at any time, with potential spillover into nearby regions.
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2 Syria

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Tens of thousands of people have died in the bloody civil war raging across Syria. It is hard to believe that a little more than two years ago Syria was a stable, relatively accepted member of the world’s family of nations. It was in March of 2011, as the fabled Arab Spring swept across much of the Middle East and Northern Africa, that the government of President-cum-dictator Assad decided to respond to political protest with violence, thus igniting the conflict that still burns white-hot today.
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1 Afghanistan

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Few places on earth today have known strife and conflict for as long as war-torn Afghanistan. From the time on the Mongol rule dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries, the Afghans have been a people long accustomed to fighting for every inch of their homeland. In the 19th century they battled the Brits, in the 20th Century they fought among themselves, then fought the Soviets. And in the 21st century, into that Afghan “house divided” went the United States, precipitating yet another state of war that remains with them today.
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