January 5th. The bimonthly Foreign Policy published an article entitled “10 Conflicts to Pay Attention in 2021” on December 29, 2020, written by Robert Robert, President and CEO of the International Organization for Crisis Research and Special Assistant to Middle East Affairs of the Obama Administration.
Mali, the article takes stock of the past year, from the coronavirus epidemic to the increasing impact of climate change, to the scorched earth policy of the Trump administration after Biden’s election, to the Azerbaijan-Armenian war around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, to the deadly conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
In 2021, the world will start a rehabilitation and clean up the debris. The full text is excerpted as follows:
If you want to evaluate which event in 2020 has the most far-reaching impact on global peace and security, the stadium will be overcrowded.
Many people around the world have experienced the disaster year just passed.
But as the following list of conflicts worth paying attention shows, the long shadow of this year will continue. 2020 may be a year to be forgotten, but 2021 will most likely – and unpleasantly – keep us thinking of it.
Despite the modest but important progress of the peace talks, there are many things that may be problematic for Afghanistan in 2021. After nearly 20 years of war, the United States signed an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020.
Washington promised to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s commitment to prohibit terrorists from using the country for operations and began negotiations with the Afghan government.
The sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops may destabilize the Afghan government and may lead to an expanded multi-party civil war.
the other hand, the extension of the military presence may lead to the Taliban abandoning negotiations and intensifying attacks, which will lead to a serious escalation of the situation.
Either scenario will mean that 2021 is the year when Afghanistan loses its best chance for peace in a generation.
On 4 November, after the Tigray launched a deadly attack and took over the local federal military forces, the Ethiopian federal army began to attack the area. By the end of November 2020, the army had entered the capital of Tigray. Tigray People’s Liberation Front leaders abandoned the city, claiming that they wanted to avoid suffering.
In view of the blockade of the media, many situations are still unclear. However, the violence is likely to cause thousands of lives (including many civilians), more than 1 million people are internally displaced, and about 50,000 people will flee to the Sudan. The question now is what will happen next.
3. Sahel Region
As inter-ethnic violence intensifies and extremist groups expand their sphere of influence, the crisis sweeping the Sahel region of North Africa continues to worsen. 2020 is the deadliest year since the outbreak of the crisis in 2012. Extremist organizations control or influence large areas of Mali and Burkina Faso villages and are advancing to southwest Niger.
In 2020, France’s increasing anti-terrorism operations dealt a certain blow to these militants, knocking on the local Islamic State extremist branches and killing many al-Qaeda leaders in the Maghreb. However, the military strike and the killing of the leader did not undermine the command structure or recruitment of extremists. In fact, the more foreign troops enter, the more bloody the area seems to become.
The war in Yemen has become the most serious humanitarian disaster in the world in the eyes of the United Nations. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the suffering of civilians who are already plagued by poverty, hunger and other diseases.
Without correcting the course, 2021 seems bound to be another bleak year for Yemenis.
War will continue, disease and possible famine will spread, hope for reconciliation will disappear, and millions of Yemenis will fall into disease and hunger every day.
Nearly two years have passed since the Venezuelan opposition, the United States and Latin American and European countries declared Congressman Guaidó the interim president of Venezuela and predicted the demise of incumbent President Maduro.
Nowadays, any such hope has become a fragment.
The new U.S. government will provide an opportunity to rethink. In Washington, support for the Venezuelan opposition has always been a bipartisan position.
Somalia’s elections are about to come in a fierce dispute between the president and his opponents. The war against Al-Shabaab will enter its 15th year and there is no end.
Aid countries are increasingly dissatisfied with spending money on the African Union army to help contain this armed group.
Libya’s hostile military alliance no longer engages in war, and the United Nations has resumed negotiations aimed at reunifying the country, but achieving lasting peace will remain a difficult struggle.
In the near future, it seems unlikely that the war will resume. However, the longer the ceasefire provisions are not implemented, the greater the risk of accidents reinciting war.
In order to avoid this result, the United Nations must help formulate a road map to unite Libya’s divided institutions and ease tensions between hostile forces in the region.
8. Iran-United States
In January 2020, the U.S. killed Iranian general Suleimani, causing tensions between the United States and Iran to approach the flashpoint.
In the end, Iran’s response was relatively moderate, and neither side chose to upgrade, although the temperature was still dangerously high.
The new U.S. government can calm one of the most dangerous confrontations in the world, especially by returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement.
But doing so quickly, managing relations with Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which are strongly hostile to Iran, and then starting negotiations on broader regional issues, will be absolutely a great achievement.
Russia and Turkey are not at war, often collusion – but often support opposing sides (such as in Syria and Libya) or compete for spheres of influence (such as in the Caucasus).
They usually regard each other as partners, distinguishing differences on one issue from other negotiable issues, and even cooperate when their local allies fight.
However, as Turkey shot down a Russian military aircraft near the Turkish-Syrian border in 2015 and the killing of dozens of Turkish soldiers in a Russian-backed Syrian army air strike in 2020 show that the risk of unexpected confrontation is high.
Although Turkish President Erdoğan and Russian President Putin have so far proved to be good at handling such accidents, the deterioration of the problem will cause trouble for both sides and involve them in the conflict.
10. Climate change
The relationship between war and climate change is neither simple nor linear. The same weather type will exacerbate violence in one area, but not in another.
Although some countries have excellently controlled climate-induced competition, others cannot control it at all. Much of this depends on whether the governance of the state is inclusive, whether the state has the ability to mediate conflicts around resources, or whether it can support citizens when their lives or livelihoods are destroyed.
It is uncertain how much climate-related violence will occur in 2021, but the broader trend is clear enough: if urgent action is not taken, the risk of climate-related conflict will rise in the coming years.