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What explains this resort to armed conflict to solve the world's problems? Not so long ago, the trend was toward peace, not war. From 1950 to 1989 – the Korean War through the Vietnam War and on to the end of the Cold War – deaths from violent conflict averaged 180,000 a year.In the first decade of this century, it fell still more, to around 55,000 a year – the lowest rate in any decade in the previous 100 years and equivalent to just over 1,000 a year for the "average armed conflict".Given that so many of Africa's wars, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the conflict in Somalia, began decades ago, the explanation lies elsewhere: in the Muslim world from northern Nigeria to Afghanistan and beyond.Indeed, the Syrian conflict alone has been enough to change the graph of conflict – and the upward trajectory becomes even steeper when the deaths in Iraq, Yemen and Libya are included.In other words, the message must change if peace is to return to the Muslim world.
Avoiding conflict: The Gulf of deniability
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