See also: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

1) Afghanistan -
summer offensive by Taliban; civil war involving Tajiks, Hazaras, and Putshtus; sponsors of international terrorism

2) Algeria - civil war between government forces and Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and Da’wa wal Djihad; terrorism

3) Angola - civil war between UNITA and government forces; weapons, narcotics and diamond smuggling; military intervention in Congolese civil war

4) Armenia - conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh; terrorism, including assassination of Prime Minister Vazgan Sargsyan

5) Azerbaijan - conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh; conventional arms proliferation; regime violence against opponents; spillover from conflicts in Dagestan and Chechnya

6) Bangladesh - violent protests; militia violence; separatist activity in Chittagong region

7) Brazil - narcotics activity in western part of the country; unchecked crime and uncertain government control over security forces

8) Burma (Myanmar) -  Karen, Shan, and other ethnic-based insurgencies, terrorism by pro-democracy advocates, violence associated with narcotics production and trafficking

9) Burundi - Tutsi-Hutu violence, regime violence against opponents

10) Cambodia - terrorism, violence related to narcotics trafficking, mob wars

11) Chad - MDJT insurgency in north, terrorism

12) China - political turmoil, regime violence against opponents, including arrest of over 35,000 religious dissidents, tensions over the Spratly Islands and Taiwan, terrorism

13) Colombia - violent insurgencies by FARC and ELN, narcotics trafficking and associated violence, paramilitary terrorist activities, spillover into Panama and Ecuador

14) Comoros - military coup, separatist movement in Anjouan

15) Congo, Democratic Republic of - civil war; military intervention by Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Rwanda, and Uganda

16) Congo, Republic of - civil war between government and forces led by Bernard Kolelas; weapons, diamond and narcotics trafficking; regime violence against opponents

17) East Timor* - government-sponsored militia violence after vote for independence; foreign military occupation

18) Ecuador - incursions by Colombian rebel groups; violent protests following announcement of austerity plan; attempted military coup

19) Egypt - continued violence by Muslim Brotherhood, including several assassination attempts on President Mubarak

20) Eritrea - war against Ethiopia; conventional weapons proliferation; intervention in Somali civil war

21) Ethiopia - war against Eritrea; conventional weapons proliferation, intervention in Somali civil war

22) Georgia - continued separatist activity in Abkhazia, Ajaria and Ossieta; weapons and narcotics smuggling; spillover from fighting in Dagestan and Chechnya

23) Greece - terrorism by 17 November and other groups; anti-foreigner rioting

24) Guinea-Bissau - military coup; continued civil war; uncertain regime control over security forces by regime

25) Haiti - unchecked crime and mob violence; assassinations of key leaders; attempt by President Preval to rule by decree; violence associated with narcotics trafficking

26) India - fighting with Islamic militants and Pakistani forces in Kashmir; sectarian violence; elections-related violence

27) Indonesia - civil war and militia violence in Irian Jaya, Aceh, Ambon, the Moluccas and Spice Islands; political violence by state against dissidents

28) Iran - violent suppression of student protests; terrorism; continued conflict with Mujaheddin-i-Khalq; suppression of Kurdish separatists; proliferation of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons

29) Iraq - continued bombings by Allied forces enforcing no-fly zone; biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs; suppression of Kurdish and Shi’ite separatist movements; regime violence against opponents; terrorism

30) Israel - terrorism by Hamas, Hezbollah, and other groups; violence associated with Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon; religiously-motivated violence and in-migration of violent millenarian cults; clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian and settler groups

31) Kenya - violent protests; narcotics trafficking, piracy and terrorism, particularly along the coast; tribal disputes

32) Kosovo* - separatist movement from former Yugoslavia leading to NATO air strikes; attempted genocide, narcotics and weapons trafficking by Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA); militia violence and reprisal killings following foreign occupation

33) Lebanon - violence associated with continued occupations by Israel and Syria; terrorism by Hezbollah and other radical groups; religiously-motivated violence

34) Mauritania - violent street protests; kidnappings by Tuareg nomads, sometimes leading to slavery

35) Mexico - narcotics trafficking and related violence; ethnic conflict in Chiapas and Oaxaca attacks by EZLN and EPR; piracy

36) Namibia - separatist movement on Caprivi Strip; military intervention in Congolese civil war, election violence and voter intimidation by SWAPO; use of Namibian territory by Angolan government forces for attacks on UNITA

37) Nepal - Marxist guerrilla insurgency; terrorism

38) Niger - military coup; regime violence against opponents; political violence

39) Nigeria - ethnic clashes; particularly in oil-producing regions; narcotics trafficking; political violence; increased violent crime

40) North Korea - naval battle with South Korean forces; attempted infiltrations of South Korea; sponsors of international terrorism

41) Pakistan - military coup; attempted infiltration of Kashmir; religious violence, (particularly against Christains); terrorism; border clashes with India

42) Panama - violence associated with continued narcotics trafficking; Colombian FARC incursions

43) Paraguay - attempted military coup; violent rioting and unrest

44) Peru - guerrilla violence by Sendero Luminoso and Tupac Amaru (MRTA); violence related to narcotics production and trafficking

45) Philippines - offensives by New People’s Army and MILF; tensions with China over Spratly Islands; terrorism; piracy

46) Romania - severe rioting and violent strikes; leading to the ouster of the prime minister

47) Russia - separatist wars in Dagestan and Chechnya; terrorism; mafia and dark-side capitalist violence; narcotics trafficking; weapons proliferation

48) Rwanda - continued domestic political violence in aftermath of 1994 genocide; Hutu rebels active near Uganda border; military intervention in Congolese civil war

49) Senegal - separatist violence in Casamanche region

50) Sierra Leone - continuing clashes between RUF rebels and government; Nigerian intervention in civil war

51) Somalia - civil war; clan violence; intervention by Ethiopia and Eritrea; narcotics trafficking

52) South Africa - political assassinations; drug-related violence; terror campaign by Muslim radical group People Against Gangsterism and Violence; terrorism against white farmers; continued tribal violence

53) South Korea - naval battle with North Korea; attempted infiltration by North Korea

54) Sri Lanka - Tamil Tigers rebel offensive; terrorism

55) Sudan - civil war against Christian and animist groups in south; intervention in Ugandan civil war; regime violence against opponents, particularly religious dissidents; sponsor of terrorism; declaration of state of emergency; slavery-based kidnapping

56) Syria - violence associated with continued occupation of Lebanon; assassinations in growing succession struggle; terrorism; regime violence against opponents

57) Tajikistan - warlordism and militia violence, particularly in areas held by the United Tajik Opposition (UTO); terrorism, narcotics production and trafficking; spillover from civil war in Afghanistan; incursion into Kyrgyz Republic; air raids by Uzbek forces

58) Turkey - terrorism by Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in eastern Anatolia; incursions into northern Iraq

59) Uganda - civil war with Lord’s Resistance Army; incursions by Hutu rebel groups in Congo; military intervention in Congolese civil war

60) United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland)  - terrorism, especially in advance of peace talks; reprisal killings by both Catholic and Protestant militias

61) Uzbekistan - terrorism, including attempted assassination of President Islam Karimov in February; regime violence against opponents; narcotics trafficking; uninvited military actions into Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan

62) Yemen - unchecked militia and clan violence; hostage taking; violence against foreigners; terrorism, particularly after execution of Aden-Abyan Islamic Army leader Zein al-Mehdar

63) Yugoslavia (Serbia/Montenegro) - NATO airstrikes; separatist movement and low-grade violence in Montenegro; regime violence against opponents; narcotics trafficking

64) Zambia - violent protests following collapse of currency; terrorism; political violence, including series of assassinations

65) Zimbabwe - weapons trafficking; regime violence against opponents; terrorism; military intervention in Congolese civil war;

 * East Timor was considered part of Indonesia in the 1998 report; Kosovo was considered part of Yugoslavia

 This Year’s Changes

 ·         New Countries on the 1999 List


1)   Armenia

2)   Azerbaijan

3)   Bangladesh

4)   Chad

5)   Comoros

6)   Congo, Republic of

7)   East Timor

8)   Greece

9)   Kosovo

10) Mauritania

11) Nepal

12) Niger

13) Paraguay

14) Romania

15) Uzbekistan

16) Zambia

17) Zimbabwe



·         Countries from 1998 Removed for the 1999 List

1)   Albania - reduced militia violence

2)   Bosnia-Herzegovina/Croatia - relative stability during IFOR occupation

3)   Cuba - reduction in terrorist violence against Castro regime

4)   Cyprus - reduction in tensions after Turkish-Greek rapprochement

5)   El Salvador - reduction in militia violence, consolidation of peace process

6)   France - relative stability on mainland

7)   Guatemala - continued consolidation of peace process

8)   Ireland - reduction in terrorism, particularly after establishment of new government in Northern Ireland

9)   Lesotho - relative stability and increased government control over security forces

10) Libya - reduction of threat from Fighting Islamic Group (FIG) and handover of Lockerbie suspects

11) Malaysia - peaceful, not violent, protests on Anwar

12) Nicaragua - continued consolidation of peace process



The instability indicators in the below chart reflect NDCF’s analysis of which countries/areas will be conflict areas in 2000.  Using data such as the infant mortality rate, regime stability, income distribution and the role of the military in politics we have distilled a formula for rating countries from 0 to 100 for stability, with 100 being the most conflict-prone states.  States with index totals above 62 should be considered ‘unstable,’ and states over 78 should be considered ‘highly unstable.’ Indexes for the 10 most unstable states, selected major countries, and the global average are listed below:

Conflict History
The criteria for selection onto this conflict list is based on the level of social, economic, military and political disruption in the fabric of each country that is caused by the relevant conflict.  Accordingly, standardized criteria - such as one group’s threshold of 1,000 deaths per country - are not applied.  Instead, we look at the peculiarities of each situation.  For example, despite its continued sponsorship of international terrorism, Libya was removed from this year’s list due to Col. Qadaffi’s strong control over the country.  This year, Cuba, France (due to violence on Corsica) Libya, and Nicaragua all were marginal cases that just barely did not meet the threshold for inclusion on this year’s list.  However, all of these situations should be closely monitored as potential threats.
For 1999, the conflict count grew to 65 from 60, a significant one-year rise.  Generally speaking, global conflict remains far higher than near the end of the Cold War, when the average was around 35.  Indeed, the bipolar ‘Cold War’ system has disintegrated into a system of  ‘Warm Wars,’ with randomized conflicts popping up in all corners of an interdependent world. 
Recent conflict totals are listed below.  The figure for 2000 is a projection of 66 conflicts based on the instability indicators - a slight increase due to the factors listed below.



Three main factors led to the rise in conflict in 1999.  First, the United States failed to provide a consistent policy framework under which the rest of the world could operate.  With no ‘rules of the game’ established in international relations, the amount of uncertainty, and thus conflict, rose this year.  More importantly, this inconsistent policy over the last few years has left some major problems (i.e. Colombia, Burma and Afghanistan) to fester and spread to other parts of the world.  Simply put, foreign policy by crisis simply does not work.

Second, the unchecked rise in ‘dark-side’ capitalism continued unabated in 1999.  Dark-side capitalism is best defined as a situation when an oligarchy controls virtually all aspects of an economy and political system.  This leads to a dictatorial political system and uncompetitive economy - a situation exemplified by Russia.  While ‘light-side’ capitalism leads to economic growth, greater openness, and increased stability, ‘dark-side capitalism’ leads to weapons proliferation, drug corruption, and increased conflict.

1999 saw the clearest signs yet that the so-called ‘Third Wave’ of democratization has come to a crashing halt.  Despite the Clinton administration’s rhetorical support for enlarging the democratic community, democracy was on the run for much of 1999. Military coups occurred in Guinea-Bissau, Pakistan, Niger, and Comoros and backsliding toward authoritarianism could be seen in, among other places, Venezuela, Russia, and Haiti.  This ‘reverse wave’ could continue for several years and lead to a long-term rise in conflict aggravated by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


The National Defense Council Foundation (NDCF) compiles this list annually after reviewing conflicts in approximately 193 countries.  NDCF is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), non-partisan think tank that studies defense and foreign affairs.  NDCF was established in 1978 and is located in Alexandria, VA.  In addition to academic analysis, NDCF runs refugee relief operations in conflict areas and runs an intern program.  To date, NDCF has delivered over 139 tons of medicine and food worldwide.

The research for this report was compiled over the course of 1999.  Primary research was done by NDCF Interns; the report was drafted by Research Fellow William D. Shingleton, awardee of the NDCF’s academic achievement award for 1997 and who is now on sabbatical at Harvard University.  Final editing and revisions were done by Major F. Andy Messing, Jr, USAR (Ret.), Special Forces, executive director of NDCF.  Major Messing has been to 27 conflicts world-wide and is considered a leading expert on Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.  This material is (C) 1999 The National Defense Council Foundation.

For Further Information, contact:
Major Messing or William Shingleton