EDUCATION

Expert Reveals War Secrets & Conflict

Introduction

Conflict is a situation where two parties have incompatible interests and one of the parties tries to restrict the interest of the other. When this happens, the other party will be frustrated, afraid, and angered which will lead to action and later reaction.

It is very important to study the different types of conflict. conflicts are like illnesses where we have to study the different types of conflict before searching for a solution. Many experts usually give the impression that, all conflicts are one, but with further studies, it has been proven that, there are different types of conflicts that demand different mechanisms to resolve them.

Usually, when there is a conflict, the first obligatory question to ask is, what type of conflict is that? It is just like when a patient goes to a hospital, the doctor will ask what Signs are you feeling in your body? The reason for this question is to come out with the right diagnosis. It is usually important to identify the type of conflict so as to know which mechanisms will be used in resolving the conflict.

Will it be a conflict resolution strategy? A conflict management strategy? Or a  Conflict transformation strategy? That is, will it be a contingency strategic or Complimentary strategy  where two or three mechanism will be put in place to resolve the conflict. Again, It is always important to identify the type of conflict so as to figure out the material element of the conflict (the main cause of the conflict). for example, the Bakassi peninsula conflict was not because of the richness of the soil but because it was a territory of Cameroon that another country (Nigeria) wanted to occupy. Usually, we have two broad types of Conflict which are; inter-state and intra-state conflicts.

Types of Conflicts

1. Inter-state or international conflict

Inter-state conflicts are conflicts that happen between two or more independent sovereign states like the Bakassi peninsula conflict between Cameroon and Nigeria. Another example of international conflict was the conflicts between Chad and Libya. In this situation, there was a piece of land called Aouzou Strip which was full of the oil of very good quality that both countries were claiming ownership of. This led to a war that was later resolved at the international Court of justice. In the court, a treaty known as the Franco-Libyan treaty of  1955 was signed to end the conflict. a treaty which confirmed that Aouzou strip was Chad’s territory

2. Intra- state or internal conflicts

These are usually conflicts happening within states. The different types of intra-state or internal conflicts include;  

  • Ethno-national conflicts,
  • Ethno-Class conflict
  • Farmer-gracias conflict
  • Religious conflict
  • Indigenous conflict
  • Minority conflict
  • Inter-ethnic conflict

a) Ethno-national Conflict.

There are always main groups that make up a nation. Ethno-national conflict is a type of conflict where different groups with historical political autonomy merged to form a state but later in the future became rivals against each other. This type of conflict has happened in Rwanda, USA and many other countries.

In Rwanda, there were three main groups that build-up the state

Hutus – 85%

Tutsi – 14%

Twas – 1%

The Hutus were farmers, the Tutsi were cattle rearers, and the Twas were gatherers (the original settlers). During colonialism, these three entities were brought together, as one. Because of their differences (heterogeneity), it became difficult for them to govern their differences. This led to genocide in Rwanda where close to a million people were killed.

In the United States of America the nation-state ideology was built on homogeneity which means that a state is supposed to practice one language one religion and one law. The western states from their foundation claimed to be one. They minimize the different groups that were found in the country. The many different groups in America include Blacks, Latinos, red Indians, and Whites. America denied the fact that these groups were existing and described America as a melting pot. This means that the different identities melted into one.

As time went on, these different groups suffered revendicating their identities and this brought a lot of conflict within America. The government was forced to accept the fact that America is not a melting-pot state but a rain bow of salad. This means compose of blacks, whites, reds, and yellow, people. The differences in America was therefore accepted. Though accepted, there is still racial inequality in America.

b) Ethno-class conflict

Ethno-class conflicts arise when migrants who have settled in a country still feel excluded and marginalized by the government in which they live. They want their cultures to be accepted respected and recognized

c) Farmers Gracias conflicts

 These are conflicts happening between farmers and herders over land. The farmers need a place to cultivate while herders need the land to feed their cattle. Because of drought, and dryness, the gracias are forced to be moving from one place to another(transhuman). During this movement, the cattle, go into the farms and eat the crops of farmers or their land becomes hardened. This has been a continuous problem in many parts of Africa.

d) Religious conflicts

This is a situation where each religious denomination believes that its way of preaching is the best and others are pegans or satanic and do not respect the right way of communicating with God. They usually fight wars known as just wars ( Jihads for the Muslims). Just war is a belief that war is not necessary but if it’s to fight for the law or for God, then it is a justification. Due to this belief, many religious groups are attacking each other.

e) Indigenous conflicts.

Indigenous conflicts arise when indigenous people fight the government because their political life has become peripheric and more to that, their culture, language, and every other thing is completely different from that of the state. Indigenous people are the original settlers of a particular area.

f) Minority conflicts

Minority conflicts happen when a minority group that is smaller in population feels marginalized and excluded from mainstream politics and because of that is fighting for their rights.

g) Inter-ethnic conflicts

These are conflict situations where different ethnic groups within a state are fighting against each other

Why do we have conflicts?

  • Rational/Reasonable reason

This is a situation where there is a justification for people to go to war. Generally, it is said that a conflict is a negative thing but in some cases, it is necessary. If a conflict is going to restore peace and justice in society and eradicate injustices and problems, then it is a noble cause. The second world war was rational when the Allied forces came together to stop Adolph Hitler who wanted to conquer the world. For this reason, the war was just.

  • Ignoble Reason

Ignoble wars are usually created by political elites who manipulate their people to fight against other groups within the country. They always give the impression that they are fighting for the general interest meanwhile, they are fighting for their political and socio-cultural interest. Such a war leads to loss of lives destruction of the economy, and destruction property, for the interest of politicians. Such a conflict is ignoble or unjust. Most conflicts within a state fall under this category

  • Mixed Reasons

Mixed reasons have both characteristics of rational and ignoble causes. For example, in Afghanistan, the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and the Afghans stood up and fought against the Soviet Union and pushed them out of the country. After this, the main ethnic groups in Afghanistan, the Shiite and the Sunnis started fighting among themselves. The fight was due to the manipulation and polarization of political elites from the two ethnic groups. they gave the impression that they were fighting for the general interest meanwhile, they were fighting for their political and economic, and sociocultural interest

Conclusion

Conflicts between states are covered by International law. This means that the conflict can be resolved at the International level and is governed by international principles. These conflicts are different from internal conflicts. Internal conflicts are considered domestic issues which are to be handled by the state. In most cases, before an international body intervenes in an internal conflict, it needs the permission of the state in question. Apart from permission from the internal government, other laws can give the International body the right to enter the country but this requires a lot of international politics.

Shey Julius Nkuh

A Conflict Resolution graduate currently persuing Master's Degree in the University of Buea, Cameroon. Believes in the role of the media as an educational, informational and entertainment tool . He is also passionate about creating awareness to societal crisis. For this reason, has dedicated most of his time to charity. He derives pleasure in blogging and creating contents for you.

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