Review: SIPRI Yearbook 2002

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 830pp

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) contnues to offer a clear, verifiable assessment of the impact of war, the arms trade, and disarmament in its hefty red yearbooks.

One of the ironies of modern warfare is that, while very few conflicts are "international" in the formal sense (that is, they begin and end as wars between UN member states), virtually all modern wars are international in terms of impact and potential threat. This observation was true long before 11 September 2001, but is understood much more starkly since the attacks on New York and Washington.

by SIPRI's criteria, there been only three wholly international wars since 1990 -- the Gulf War, the Indo-Pakistani conflict, and the Ethiopia-Eritrea war of the late 1990s.

As the SIPRI yearbook 2002 notes, the 15 most deadly conflicts in 2001 were intra-state wars, but all were directly affected by external parties. The internationalization of Afghanistan's civil war clearly leads the list in terms of impact, but ongoing conflict in Congo has resulted in greater loss of life and largely unheeded calls for UN action.

Also noteworthy:

Peace Magazine Oct-Dec 2002

Peace Magazine Oct-Dec 2002, page 30. Some rights reserved.

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