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War not only in Ukraine: 7 main armed conflicts of our time


Nadezhda Verbitskaya

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Ukraine is heroically fighting for its independence, but this is not the only hot spot in the world. Let's analyze 7 topical conflicts that are shaking the world right now - in the Middle East, the Transcaucasus, the Balkans and Central Africa. Why do wars start, how long do they last and how does this affect the situation in the world and the national interests of Ukraine?Фокус".

Unfortunately, the seven military conflicts in this article are not all. There are many more wars in the world. However, the selected examples are original, although they have much in common. Together, they somehow influence global politics and affect the global security system.

1. The struggle of the Kurds for Kurdistan

  • Participants: Turkish government против Kurdistan Workers Party
  • What are they fighting for? existence of Kurdish statehood
  • Start: 1984 (probation)
  • Number of victims: about 40 thousand
  • Key names: Kenan Evren, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Abdullah Ocalan
  • Parties concerned: USA, Israel, Iran, Assad Syrian government, Iraq, RF

The Kurds are the largest people in the world without their own state. They compactly live in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria and call these lands Kurdistan. In total, there are about 40 million Kurds in the world, more than three-quarters of them live in Kurdistan. A state with this name should have appeared more than a hundred years ago as a result of the Treaty of Sevres (1920).

The option imposed by the Entente provided for the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, but the decisive resistance from the Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led to the signing in 1923 of a new agreement in Lausanne. It no longer provided for any Kurdish state.

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In Turkey, newly created on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, even the very word “Kurd” was banned. Until the beginning of the 2007st century, representatives of this ethnic group were called “mountain Turks”. Any manifestations of their culture and even writing were strictly prohibited. So, already in XNUMX, the mayor of Diyarbakir, Abdull Demirbas, was removed from office for calling for the publication of open public information in Kurdish. However, the Kurds have not abandoned their struggle for statehood.

In 1984, the situation in the region escalated into a heated conflict. The most radical political force of the Kurds, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, launched an armed struggle for independence. In response, the Turkish authorities declared martial law in the region and sent punitive detachments there. By 1995, as a result of military clashes between government troops and rebels, about 15 Kurds were killed. Over the next decades - another 25 thousand. In the 1980-1990s. up to 200 thousand soldiers of the Turkish army and 5-10 thousand militants of Kurdish formations took part in the conflict.

In 1999, PKK leader Abdul Öcalan was arrested. First, he was sentenced to death. But then the sentence was commuted, which opened the way to negotiations. The softening of the position of the Turkish authorities on the Kurdish issue was due to progress in negotiations with the EU regarding Turkey's membership in this organization. And in Brussels it is not customary to conduct military operations against national minorities, and any discrimination against them is also prohibited. Therefore, to negotiate accession with a country where people are imprisoned for any inscriptions in their native language, no one would.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who led the Justice and Development Party and became prime minister at the beginning of the 2016st century, began to target the Kurdish electorate. However, the situation changed dramatically after the deterioration of relations with the EU in the mid-XNUMXs and the military coup in XNUMX.

Then the Turkish authorities suspended negotiations with the European Commission on Turkey's membership in the EU. Accordingly, any concessions to the Kurds were curtailed. Their leaders have been thrown into prison, the PKK has again been labeled terrorists, and all those who support them are sponsors of terrorism. Turkish troops began to strike at Kurdish positions in Iraq and Syria.

The issue of support for the Kurds almost slowed down the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO, but here Ankara, unexpectedly for everyone, made concessions. However, on other aspects of Kurdish politics, the Erdogan government takes the most intransigent position. It categorically denies the right to statehood to both the Kurds living in Turkey (about 20 million people) and the Syrian Kurds (about 3 million people).

Situation today

Now the Turkish military is carrying out operations against the PKK outside the country. For example, a military operation has been going on in Iraq since April, against the will of official Baghdad. Ankara claims that it strikes exclusively on the positions of the militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (that is, on the "Turkish Kurds"). At the same time, the Iraqi authorities accuse the Turks of killing civilians. The Turkish army also suffers losses: for example, on September 12, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced the death of four of its military.

2. On the ruins of Palmyra. Syrian Civil War

  • Participants: the government of Bashar al-Assad, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Peshmerga, Turkey, Iran, Russia, USA and others
  • What are they fighting for? control over the territory
  • Start: November 2011, XNUMX
  • Number of victims: about 350 thousand
  • Key names: Bashar al-Assad, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi
  • Parties concerned: Saudi Arabia, EU, Qatar, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, USA

As a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which lost the First World War, the territory of the modern Syrian Arab Republic was transferred to the control of the victorious country - France. In 1930, Syrian statehood was proclaimed.

De facto, these territories were colonized, and the state with its capital in Damascus received real independence after the Second World War. Although the country inherited its name from the powerful Middle Eastern monarchy of the ancient world, only geographical names remained from the former Syria for more than 2 thousand years of history. In fact, lines were drawn on the map that did not reflect the real ethnic-civilizational and religious distribution of the population.

Although 90% of Syria's population is Arab, the cultural division is more multifaceted. Among them, 73% are Sunni Muslims, 10% are Christians, about 16% are Alawites (Shiite sect), to which the ruling dynasty belongs. The remaining almost 10% are Kurds, Armenians and other ethnic groups.

The father of the current Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, who seized power in 1970, tried to reconcile this entire conglomerate with the secular nature of the state and brutal repression. So, during the suppression of the uprising of the radical Islamist organization "Muslim Brotherhood" in the city of Hama in 1982, about 25 thousand people were killed.

However, the political stagnation in which the country met the XNUMXst century after the thirty-year rule of Assad Sr., and the transfer of power to his son, only exacerbated the existing contradictions.

The transfer of power from father to son showed its dynastic character. In a country where the majority of the population is Sunni Arabs, the concentration of all power in the Alawite dynasty significantly aggravated the confrontation on ethno-religious grounds.

The rule of the younger Assad only exacerbated the situation. He tried to reform and transform "Arab socialism" into a market economy. Bashar al-Assad has eliminated existing state monopolies, but privatization has not been transparent. Most of the former state resources were concentrated in hands close to the ruling elite. On top of that, in 2006-2010. Syria experienced an unprecedented drought, which significantly affected the economic situation of the prosperous part of the population. This state of affairs, together with social problems, resembled a powder keg that is just waiting for its spark.

The spark flared in 2011 when the protest wave of the Arab Spring reached Syria. Several teenagers in the city of Deraa (Daraa) wrote an anti-government slogan on a wall. The police arrested and tortured them, which outraged the relatives and friends of the detained teenagers - they went on a demonstration. Its dispersal outraged already familiar protesters, which led to an avalanche effect.

In the end, everything turned to armed clashes with government forces and the rebels taking control of entire settlements in which the ideas of radical Islam were spreading. Among them are al-Qaeda, which formed the Jabgat al-Nusra group, and the Islamic State of Iraq, which itself previously broke away from al-Qaeda.

The United States, the European Union and some Arab states recognized the Syrian government-in-exile and helped it form its own army from the most active demonstrators and defectors from government forces. The Syrian Kurds have become a separate large current of the opposition movement of Bashar al-Assad. Numerous smaller groups also opposed the Syrian authorities. Already in the first months of the conflict, entire cities went over to the side of the rebels, the largest of which was Aleppo. In response, the Assad regime began to use chemical weapons against the rebels, in particular in the territory of large cities, where civilians suffered and died from them.

In 2013, the United States was ready to use force against the Syrian authorities, but they were dissuaded from this by the Russian Federation, which itself sent troops to Syria two years later.

At the time, the Assad regime was in trouble, and its fall seemed quite real. However, the most powerful force among the scattered rebel forces since 2014 has already become ISIS, which controlled the territories of Eastern Syria and Western Iraq.

It was the threat of the coming to power of extremely radical and cruel Islamists that the Russian Federation used as a pretext for bringing in troops. By 2018, with the help of Russian aviation and Iranian proxies, Syrian government forces managed to regain control over most of the country's territory. However, in the northeast, a new force has emerged in the fight against ISIS - the US-backed Peshmerga Kurdish self-defense units, which are supported by the US, but Turkey would prefer to destroy. The latter eventually brought in its troops to create a buffer zone between the Kurds and the Turkish border. In the spring of 2022, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his intention to expand the borders of the controlled territory, justifying this with the persecution of militants of the PKK. However, this will take place in the territories controlled by the Peshmerga.

Situation today

On August 17, shelling began on the territories of the “operation” determined by the Turkish authorities. After that, rumors began to spread that Erdogan was trying to renew ties with Bashar al-Assad, but official Ankara denied them.

3. Endless storms in the desert. US intervention in Iraq and Baghdad's fight against ISIS

  • Participants: USA против Iraq and Iraq vs. LIH
  • What are they fighting for? control over the territory of Iraq and its natural resources
  • Start: November 1991, XNUMX
  • Number of victims: hundreds of thousands
  • Key names: Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, George W. Bush, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Qasim Soleimani, Barack Obama, Donald Trump
  • Parties concerned: Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, RF, USA

There is no stability in Iraq, neighboring Syria. Since the end of the 70s. Saddam Hussein usurped power there in the 1980th century. In 1988-1991 he waged war with the main enemy of the United States in the region - Iran. After the war, Saddam decided to annex Kuwait, which angered his former overseas friends, leading the US and its allies to crush the reckless dictator's troops in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Sword in 678. The operations were carried out in accordance with a Security Council resolution. UN No. XNUMX, which allowed states that cooperated with Kuwait to use all means to end the conflict.

Already in the spring of 1991, it was adopted Resolution No. 687, which settled further relations with Iraq - sanctions were imposed against the state until Iraq completely abandoned weapons of mass destruction and stopped repressions against its own people (in the 80s, Kurdish settlements in the north of the country were subjected to brutal repressions by the regime). This involved working with the UN to control this arsenal. Paragraph 34 of this resolution determined the conditions for the implementation of the provisions of the document.

For the next 12 years, Iraq was in almost complete economic isolation. Finally, in 2003, George W. Bush decided to finish what his father had started and remove Hussein's regime. The reason for the war was the unwillingness of the Iraqi authorities to cooperate with the UN on the control of weapons of mass destruction. That is, a violation of resolutions 687 and resolution No. 1441 unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council, which, according to the United States and its allies, declared a violation of previous resolutions, including resolution 687.

David Ignatius, then-International Herald Tribune commentator, said the resolution presented Saddam Hussein with a choice: disarm or die. But disarmament would still eventually lead to the second option, given the attitude of ordinary Iraqis towards the regime after many years of the state being under sanctions and repression. The US said this gave them permission to use force. However, weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq.

US troops withdrew from Iraq in September 2010. After the de-occupation of the country, Baghdad failed to cope with the geopolitical challenges of the region on its own. In 2014, there was an uprising of former military and officials from the time of Saddam Hussein. Under the auspices of ISIS, they captured the western part of the country and moved to Baghdad. The capital was saved by Iranian proxy troops led by General Qasem Soleimani. Thus, as of 2015, the main consequence of the seven-year occupation of Iraq by American troops was the taking of the country under the control of Iran, the main enemy of the United States. In the end, Washington formed a coalition of dozens of countries to fight ISIS, and the territory of Iraq was liberated in 2017. The Kurds were especially noted in this struggle, who, after the expulsion of ISIS from Iraq, proclaimed their own state, Kurdistan, in the territories of their compact residence. Taking the territorial integrity of Iraq as a priority, the United States and the international community did not recognize the Kurdish state. However, the situation in Iraq today remains difficult. There is no political stability. Normal dialogue between the main ethno-religious groups - Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds - too. Although there are no active hostilities in Iraq yet, the return of ISIS (or radical Islam in another form) looks quite likely, as does the aggravation of the situation in unrecognized Kurdistan.

Situation today

Massive anti-Iranian demonstrations are now taking place in Iraq. At the end of August, the demonstrators even made their way to the territory of the Green Zone (government quarter in Baghdad). After the end of his political career was announced by the leader of the Iraqi Shiites (pro-American, not pro-Iranian) Muqtada al-Sadr. Dozens of people were killed in clashes with government forces.

4. Israel vs. Arabs and Palestine vs. Israel

  • Participants: Israel против Arab countries, Palestinian Authority
  • What are they fighting for? the right to sole control of the territory of formerly British Mandatory Palestine
  • Start: November 1948, XNUMX
  • Number of victims: tens of thousands
  • Key names: David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin
  • Parties concerned: USA, USSR/RF, Turkey, France, UK, Iran

At the turn of the XIX / XX centuries. The Zionist movement gained strength in the world, professing the idea of ​​returning Jews to their historical homeland. This meant the territory of Palestine, subject to the Ottoman Empire and inhabited (since the 1936th century) by Arabs, on which in the XNUMXst millennium BC. there were Jewish states. With the passage of the territory of Palestine under British control as a result of the First World War, the Zionist movement only intensified. This led to conflicts with the local Arab population and even escalated into a three-year Arab uprising in XNUMX, which was crushed by British troops. Wishing to avoid unnecessary tension in the mandated region, the British authorities tried to slow down the process of settlement of the territory by Jews. The Second World War changed everything, when a significant number of representatives of the Jewish people emigrated to Palestine, fleeing the Holocaust.

In 1945 the Zionists were supported by the USA. It became clear that the end of British rule in the region was approaching. However, his future was to be decided by the UN. Two options for the arrangement of Palestine were prepared - a confederation of Arabs and Jews or the formation of two independent states.

At a meeting of the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947, the second option was adopted. The formation of a Jewish state, which was to occupy 56,47% of the mandated British government of Palestine, and an Arab state, which was to occupy 43,53% of the land. Jerusalem was to remain under international control and open to both nations.

The problem was that in 1947 there were twice as many Arabs in Palestine as there were Jews. Therefore, as soon as the last British soldier left Palestine, the state of Israel, formed the day before, declared war on 6 Arab states at once - Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The first four of the list of these countries sent troops to the territory of Palestine. This turned out to be only the first of a whole series of Arab-Israeli wars that took place in the XNUMXth century. It ended with the occupation by the Jewish state of part of the territories, which, according to the resolution of the UN General Assembly, should be Arab.

After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel occupied several times more territory than its own area - the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Golan Heights.

The government of the Jewish state stated that it would return these lands if the Arab states recognize its right to exist. In response, the Arabs began to massively join the ranks of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was formed in 1964. To achieve her goals, she did not hesitate to carry out terrorist attacks against Jews both in Palestine and abroad. Finally, in 1988, PLO leader Yasser Arafat announced the creation of an independent Palestinian state. A month after that, he abandoned terrorist activities and began to look for opportunities for peace negotiations with Israel.

On September 13, 1993, in Washington, through the mediation of US President Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin, on behalf of Israel, and Yasser Arafat, on behalf of Palestine, signed an agreement on the formation of the Palestinian Authority. After that, Israel withdrew its troops from the territory of the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip. Palestine received self-government, but not recognition.

Both peoples took this agreement ambiguously. The disputed territories are being actively developed by Jewish colonists. Finally, with the support of the United States, Israel achieved recognition by a significant number of countries of the annexation of East Jerusalem and the transfer of embassies there (that is, in fact, recognition of the city as the capital of the Jewish state). In 2020, the so-called Abraham Accords were signed, designed to normalize relations between Israel and the Arab countries.

Situation today

Over the past two years, two striking conflicts have occurred between Israel and Palestine, with mutual shelling of territories and casualties on both sides. The latter ended in early August 2022 with another truce. But will it last at least until next year?

5. Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh

  • Participants: Azerbaijan против Armenia
  • What are they fighting for? control over the territories of the unrecognized republic of Karabakh
  • Start: 1988
  • Number of victims: about 35 thousand, of which 30 thousand during the war of 1992-1994.
  • Key names: Heydar Aliyev, Ilham Aliyev, Robert Kocharyan, Serzh Sargsyan, Nikol Pashinyan
  • Parties concerned: USA, USSR/RF, Turkey, France, Iran

During the formation of the Transcaucasian republics, the USSR did not take into account the real settlement of local ethnic groups. When the Soviet authorities were significantly weakened, in 1988, clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis began in the places of compact residence of Armenians on the territory of the Azerbaijan SSR. This was the first inter-ethnic conflict on the territory of the USSR, which began even before its collapse. On February 22, 1988, after the announcement of the Council of People's Deputies in Karabakh (February 20) about their intention to join Armenia in Askeran (Nagorno-Karabakh), the first big skirmish between Armenians and Azerbaijanis took place . The latter announced two deaths. In response, 5 days later, an Armenian pogrom took place in Sumgayit (a suburb of Baku), where 32 people officially died, but the Armenians claim hundreds of victims. This was the turning point of the conflict, which until the collapse of the USSR remained "street" (ie, there were no direct military clashes). Armenians began to leave Azerbaijan, Azerbaijanis fled from Armenia and Karabakh. With the collapse of the USSR, the confrontation escalated into a full-fledged war between the two states, culminating in the complete victory of Armenia - about 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan was occupied. About a million people became refugees.

Yerevan did not begin to annex the occupied territories. He did not recognize the independence of Karabakh. But he left occupied, in addition to the most unrecognized republic, also the “buffer regions” connecting Armenia with the region. Until 2020, not a single state in the world has recognized Karabakh. However, the conflict was frozen and de facto Nagorno-Karabakh was controlled by Armenia, although in accordance with international law, all these areas are and were the legal territories of Azerbaijan. At the same time, the “Karabakh clan” controlled the power in Armenia itself. It was in Stepanakert (the capital of the unrecognized Karabakh) that the second and third presidents of Armenia Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan were born, who established an authoritarian regime in the country from 1998 to 2018.

In the two decades of freezing the conflict, oil-rich Azerbaijan has significantly rearmed itself. Baku was interested in access to advanced military technologies, which he received by cooperating with Israel, Turkey and, interestingly, by continuing to maintain friendly relations with the Russian Federation. Moscow supplied weapons to both sides. Another thing is that for Armenia, the Russian Federation was almost the only supplier. Baku demonstrated its muscles for the first time in 2016. Then the Azerbaijani army occupied several border heights. Favorable times for a full-scale offensive came after the fall as a result of mass protests of the “Karabakh clan” in Armenia. The new Prime Minister of the country, Nikol Pashinyan, himself had nothing to do with Karabakh. He also turned out to be quite far from Putin. At the same time, Azerbaijan has become significantly closer to Turkey, which has become the new regional leader.

Better conditions could not be expected, and at the end of September 2020, the Azerbaijani army went on the offensive. As a result of the 44-day war, Baku returned all “buffer regions” and part of Karabakh to its control. The rest of the territory of the unrecognized republic was occupied by Russian peacekeepers. After the signing of the agreement in November 2020, the Armenians massively left the territories that were supposed to go to Azerbaijan. Journalists recorded the facts of burning their own property, even windows and doors from cafes and restaurants were taken out, herds of cows and sheep were driven across the Armenian border.

The liberated territories are populated by Azerbaijanis. Official Baku seeks to make the city of Shusha a symbol of new life, the capture of which by Azerbaijani troops in early November 2020 determined the winner of the war. In less than a year, Azerbaijan managed to build a direct road from Baku to Shusha and build a new airport there. The issues of preserving the Armenian cultural heritage remain open, because this people has long lived on these lands and left many architectural monuments. The situation with the restoration of the Cathedral of the Holy Christ the All Savior, which suffered from hostilities, can become indicative. The Azerbaijani authorities promise to restore it, according to Soviet documents, which do not contain any mention of Armenians. Mosques are also being built in the city at a rapid pace.

Situation today

Since 2020, the parties have been periodically shelling each other, and already in September 2022, another aggravation began. It differs in that the shelling is no longer taking place in the disputed territories, but directly on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

6. Conflict between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Participants: Bosnian Serb militias против armed formations of Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats
  • What are they fighting for? control over territories densely populated by Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Period: 1992-1995
  • Number of victims: about 100 thousand people
  • Key names: Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic, Aliya Izetbegovic, Bill Clinton
  • Parties concerned: USA, RF, Serbia

After the First World War, Serbia, as one of the victorious countries, united the peoples of the Balkans into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which in 1929 changed its name to a more neutral one - Yugoslavia. De facto, the dominant position in it was occupied by the Serbs, although the idea of ​​uniting the southern Slavs into one state was declared. But the population of Yugoslavia was too motley. The Serbs themselves are Orthodox Christians, the Slovenes and Croats are Catholics, and the Bosniaks (a South Slavic people living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and on the border of Serbia and Montenegro) are Muslims. This hodgepodge lived relatively peacefully under the dictatorship (Josip Broz Tito ruled the country with an iron fist during 1945-1980).

However, with the weakening of the socialist bloc and the fall of authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe, power also weakened in Yugoslavia (the country itself maneuvered between both warring blocs throughout the Cold War). This resulted in the effect of a boiled kettle with the lid blown off by the steam. The contradictions accumulated over decades between the motley population of the state resulted in bloody ethnic cleansing in different regions of the disintegrating country. When the Yugoslav republics began to declare sovereignty in 1991, it turned out that Serbs, who became separatists in the separatist republics, densely live on the territory of some of them. The same fate befell the Serbs living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the newly formed state was recognized by the whole world, the Serbs began a virtual civil war against the Muslims and Catholics who inhabited the country.

The war lasted three years and was accompanied by brutal ethnic cleansing, which culminated in the massacre in Srebrenica in July 1995. Then the Serbian armed groups killed about 8 thousand Bosnian Muslim males. Finally, in the fall of 1995, the United States invited the parties to talks that lasted about a month at a closed military base in Dayton. Then there was a joke among journalists that politicians would not be released from the base until they agreed. Thus, the Dayton Accords saw the light, according to which state power was equally divided between three ethno-religious groups - Orthodox Serbs, Muslim Bosniaks and Catholics, who were mainly Croatians.

At the same time, Bosniaks and Croats were united into one administrative unit, occupying 51% of the state's territory. Accordingly, Serbian autonomy covered 49% of the country's area. That is, although there are three members of the Presidium, there are only two autonomous administrative entities. Both of them are endowed with their own vertical of power. The Catholic-Muslim territory delegated two representatives to the highest executive body - the Presidium (replacing the president), and Serbian Krajina - one. That is, in the state, instead of the president, a triune head was formed. And they were supposed to be judged by the UN Special Representative, who practically concentrated political power in his hands. Interestingly, the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina turned out to be an annex to the Dayton Accords.

The next quarter century of the existence of this country showed the inefficiency of such a system of state power. The Presidium demonstrated extremely low functionality. Almost any autonomy was managed separately. This only alienated Krajina from the Catholic-Muslim conglomerate. In 2021, Russia blocked the appointment of another UN representative, which ignited the conflict with renewed vigor. Bosnian Serbs have been flexing their muscles all autumn in military exercises. Belgrade is also ready to help the “brothers”.

Situation today

Now the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Milorad Dodik, is returning to the rhetoric of threats on the eve of the upcoming October 2 parliamentary elections in the country. With a high probability, we can expect another wave of aggravation of the situation.

7. The Civil War in the Central African Republic and the Russian PMC “Wagner”

  • Participants: government troops and Russian mercenaries (not officially confirmed) против armed formations more than a dozen scattered insurgent groups
  • What are they fighting for? power in the state
  • Start: November 2013, XNUMX
  • Number of victims: 6 thousand military (data on civilians unknown)
  • Key names: François Bozize, Faustin-Archange Touadère
  • Parties concerned: France, RF

Active hostilities have been ongoing in the Central African Republic since 2013. Then the rebels accused the incumbent President François Bozize of non-compliance with the peace agreements signed in 2007. According to them, the authorities guaranteed amnesty to members of the Seleka rebel group. Thus, the preliminary exacerbation that had lasted since 2001 stopped.

In 2013, the rebels moved to the capital of Bangui and began terror against the non-Muslim population (the majority of the Seleka group are Muslims). In response, the Christians of the CAR began to form self-defense units, which were also remembered for ethnic cleansing against representatives of other ethno-religious groups. In response to these bloody events, the UN imposed an arms embargo on the country, and France sent troops to protect the legitimate government. However, most of the territory of the Central African Republic remained under the control of Christian and Muslim rebel groups, which continued to fight among themselves. The mission of the French military ended three years later.

Immediately after the withdrawal of the French contingent, the Seleka rebels tried to prevent newly elected President Faustin-Arshan Touadéra from taking office. Then the head of the country turned to the Russian Federation for help. Moscow willingly accepted the request in exchange for control of the country's minerals, predominantly gold and diamonds.

The Russian military training mission was approved by the UN in 2017. Officially, Russian military instructors train the personnel of the CAR government army. However, according to unofficial information, special forces of the so-called private military company (PMC) “Wagner” also operate in the country, which guards mining sites, in particular, diamond mines. In 2018, the Wagnerites “lit up” their base, which turned out to be the former residence of the emperor of the Central African Empire, the cannibal dictator Bokassa, who ruled the country 50 years ago. In the summer of the same year, members of a Russian film crew were killed under mysterious circumstances near this place. The day before they were killed, they visited this base to shoot a story for a documentary film about the Wagner PMC, but they were not allowed to shoot due to the lack of accreditation. Journalist Orkhan Dzhemal, cameraman Kirill Radchenko and director Alexander Rastorguev were filming a film about the Wagnerites in the Central African Republic commissioned by the Investigation Management Center of the Russian opposition leader and former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. On July 30, 2018, their bodies were found on a road near the city of Sibut, which is located 200 km north of the country's capital, Bangui.

At first it was believed that they were killed for the purpose of robbery, but a few months later, private investigators close to Mikhail Khodorkovsky stated that it was members of the Wagner PMC who were involved in the murder of journalists in the Central African Republic.

In January 2022, the Russian ambassador to the Central African Republic stated that the film crew was killed by representatives of a local rebel group. The question of this mysterious murder remains open. Given the high level of mistrust between the various subjects of the investigation, it is unlikely that a version of events will ever be presented that satisfies all stakeholders. In 2019, with the help of mercenaries, the government of the Central African Republic, striking at the forces of the rebels, seated them at the negotiating table. The Khartoum truce was signed with 14 rebel groups. On the eve of the next elections in 2021, François Bozize was removed from the elections due to UN sanctions imposed on him in connection with the accusation of violating human rights. Then he, along with 6 rebel groups, announced his intention to disrupt the elections (interestingly, these are the same Muslim combat units that fought with Bozize in 2013!). They were opposed by the government army and, according to unofficial sources, the same Wagner group, which increased its forces by transferring units from Libya and other African states.

Situation today

In the spring, the Wagnerites defeated the rebel forces and came close to their strongholds. At the same time, international organizations accuse PMC Wagner of numerous cases of illegal kidnappings, torture and other forms of violation of fundamental human rights. After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU and France stopped providing financial assistance to the CAR government until it proves that these funds do not sent to pay for the services of mercenaries. However, it seems that Russian mercenaries are already providing for themselves - in the last six months, information has been received from the Central African Republic about the looting of gold mines by Wagner PMC militants. The US Secretary of State also stated this earlier.

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