Over the last ten years, we’ve seen conflicts emerge across the globe. From the Mexican drug war to the war in Darfur, the civil war in Libya, the South Yemen insurgency and ISIS, these conflicts have a ripple effect that touches nearly every corner of the world in some way.
But what about the future? Which potential world conflicts could shake up the globe in the next 10 years?
1. Syria and Iraq
The war in Syria is, arguably, the biggest conflict unfolding in 2016, and the effects of this war stretch far beyond the country’s borders. Europe is struggling to manage all of the refugees fleeing the country.
Over a quarter million Syrians have died in the conflict, and nearly 11 million are displaced. That’s about half the country’s population.
The Islamic State now controls a large section of eastern Syria and the northwestern corner of Iraq.
While the conflict has drawn in firepower from major world powers, including France, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom, none of these countries has developed a strategy to defeat the Islamic State.
The war in Yemen, led by the Saudis, is backed by Britain, the United States and Gulf allies, has been waging on since 2015 with no signs of stopping.
Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in the war, and nearly half of the casualties have been civilians. Over 2 million people have been displaced from their homes, and another 120,000 have fled the country.
Turkey has long been in conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Since the war began in 1984, over 30,000 people have died.
The conflict has escalated in recent months and is reaching its most violent point since the war began.
Libya’s political crisis has left the country in shambles, and the Islamic State has consolidated its base near Sirte, on the Mediterranean coast of the country.
Military intervention from NATO led to the ousting of Qaddafi in 2011, but tribes, militias and political parties have been fighting for power and control of the country’s oil resources ever since.
5. South Sudan
The world’s newest country is once again at risk of descending into a full-blown civil war. A peace agreement between the country’s largest armed opposition group and the government is at risk of falling apart.
Over the last two years, conflict in the country has resulted in the displacement of more than 2.4 million people. Tens of thousands have been killed.
On the streets of Burundi, dead bodies surface daily, and no one knows the circumstances of the deaths. Over the last year, 300 people have been killed after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he was seeking a third term despite strong opposition.
The re-election of Nkurunziza in July led to the escalation of violence between armed opposition and government forces.
Despite the U.S.’s efforts to pull out of the country, Afghanistan is still mired in conflict more than 14 years after the United States intervened to destroy al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban is still a major threat, and al Qaeda still has a presence in the country. The Islamic State has also established a foothold in the country.
8. Lake Chad Basin
Boko Haram, a jihadi militant group, threatens Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. Conflict between the militant group and countries in the Lake Chad basin have been brewing for the last six years. The group has evolved and strengthened, proving that it’s capable of launching devastating, deadly attacks across the region.
Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State last March. While countries in the region have boosted their efforts to fight the group, little progress has been made.