Conflict Trends in the Middle East, 1989–2021

PRIO Paper

Palik, Júlia; Anna Marie Obermeier & Siri Aas Rustad (2022) Conflict Trends in the Middle East, 1989–2021. PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

This PRIO Paper examines trends in armed conflicts in the Middle East between 1989 and 2021 using data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP). In addition, we include a section on sexual violence in armed conflict.

Over the past decade, the bulk of the world’s deadliest conflicts have occurred in the Middle East. From 2020 to 2021, the number of battle-related deaths in the region nearly tripled, primarily as a result of the escalation of the conflict in Yemen. In 2020, 9,026 battle-related deaths from state-based conflicts were recorded in the Middle East. This figure increased to 26,270 in 2021. Of these, 23,189 were recorded in Yemen alone.

Non-state conflicts are less prevalent in the Middle East than state-based conflicts – in 2021 only three were recorded in the region. There were also relatively few fatalities from one-sided violence: 94. All three actors responsible for one-sided violence were governments: Iran, Iraq, and Yemen.

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