The internal conflict in Peru is an ongoing armed conflict between the Government of Peru, the Communist Party of Peru (also known as Shining Path) and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.  

The conflict began on May 17, 1980. It is estimated that there have been nearly 70,000 deaths, making it the bloodiest war in Peruvian history, since the European colonization of the country.

The high death toll includes many civilian casualties, due to deliberate targeting by many factions. Since 2000, the number of deaths has dropped significantly and recently the conflict has become dormant. There were low-level resurgences of violence in 2002 and 2014 when conflict erupted between the Peru-icon Peruball's Army and Guerrilla remnants in the VRAEM region. The conflict has lasted for over 39 years, making it the second-longest internal conflict in the history of Latin America, after the Colombian Conflict.

Dictator-icon Background

Prior to the conflict, Peru-icon Peruball had undergone a series of coups with frequent switches between political parties and ideologies. On October 2, 1968, General Juan Velasco Alvarado staged a military coup and became Peru-icon Peruball's 56th president under the administration of the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces, a left-leaning Dictator-icon military dictatorship. Following a period of widespread poverty and unemployment, Velasco himself was overthrown in a bloodless military coup on August 29, 1975. He was replaced by Francisco Morales Bermúdez as Peru-icon Peruball.

Morales announced that his rule would provide a "Second Phase" to the previous administration, which would bring political and economic reforms. However, he was unsuccessful in delivering these promises, and in 1978, a Constitutional Assembly was created to replace Peru-icon Peruball's 1933 Constitution. Morales then proclaimed that national elections would be held by 1980. Elections were held for the Constituent Assembly on June 18, 1978, whilst martial law was imposed on January 6, 1979. The Assembly approved the new constitution in July 1979. On May 18, 1980, Fernando Belaunda Terry was elected president. Between February 1966 and July 1980 approximately 500 people died of political violence.

Many affiliated with Peru-icon Peruball's Communist Party had opposed the creation of the new constitution and formed the extremist organization known as Soviet-icon Shining Pathball. This ultimately led to the emergence of internal conflict, with the first attacks taking place a day before the elections. Despite this, national elections continued and Fernando Belaúnde Terry was elected as the 58th President of Peru-icon Peruball in 1980. Terry had already served as the country's 55th president prior to Velasco's coup in 1968.

Soviet-icon Shining Pathball

During the governments of Velasco and Morales, Shining Pathball had been organized as a Maoist political group formed in 1970 by Abimael Guzmán, a communist professor of philosophy at the San Cristóbal of Huamanga University. Guzmán had been inspired by the Cultural Revolution which he had witnessed first-hand during a trip to China-icon Chinaball. Soviet-icon Shining Pathball's members engaged in street fights with members of other political groups and painted graffiti encouraging an "armed struggle" against Peru-icon Peruball.

In June 1979, demonstrations for free education were severely repressed by the army: 18 people were killed according to official figures, but non-governmental estimates suggest several dozen deaths. This event led to a radicalization of political protests in the countryside and the outbreak of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball's terrorist actions.

Military-icon Timeline

Jihad-icon Outbreak of hostilities (1980-1982)

When Peru-icon Peruball's military government allowed elections for the first time in 1980, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball was one of the few leftist political groups that declined to take part. They opted instead to launch guerrilla warfare actions against the state in the province of Ayacucho-icon Ayacuchoball. On May 17, 1980—the eve of the presidential elections—members of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball burned ballot boxes in the town of Chuschiball, Ayacucho-icon Ayacucho. The perpetrators were quickly caught and additional ballots were brought in to replace the burned ballots; the elections proceeded without any further incidents. The incident received very little attention in the Peru-icon Peruball's press.

Soviet-icon Shining Pathball opted to fight in the style taught by Mao Zedong-icon Mao Zedong. They would open up "guerrilla zones" in which their guerrillas could operate and drive government forces out of these zones to create "liberated zones". These zones would then be used to support new guerrilla zones until the entire country was essentially a unified "liberated zone". There is some disagreement among scholars about the extent of Maoism-icon Maoist influence on Soviet-icon Shining Pathball, but the majority of scholars consider Soviet-icon Shining Pathball to be a violent Maoist organization. One of the factors contributing to support for this view among scholars is that Soviet-iconShining Pathball's economic and political base were located primarily in rural areas and they sought to build up their influence in these areas.

On December 3, 1982, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball officially formed an armed wing known as the "People's Guerrilla Army".

MRTA-icon Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movementball

In 1982, MRTA-icon Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movementball (MRTAball) launched its own guerrilla against Peru-icon Peruball's state. The group had been formed by remnants of the Movement of the Revolutionary Leftandball identified with Castroite guerrilla movements in other parts of Latin America. The MRTA-icon MRTAball used techniques that were more traditional to Latin American leftist organizations, like wearing uniforms, claiming to fight for true democracy, and accusations of human rights abuses by the state; in contrast, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball did not wear uniforms and did not care for democratic processes.

During the conflict, MRTA-icon MRTAball and Soviet-icon Shining Pathball engaged in combat with each other. MRTA-icon MRTAball only played a small part in the overall conflict, being declared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to have been responsible for 1.5 percent of casualties accumulated throughout the conflict. At its height, MRTA-icon MRTAball was believed to have consisted of only a few hundred members.

President-icon Government response (1981)

Gradually, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball committed more and more violent attacks on the National Police of Peru until the Lima-icon Lima-based government could no longer ignore the growing crisis. In 1981, President Fernando Belaúnde Terry declared a state of emergency and ordered that the Peru-icon (modern soldier) Peruvian Armed Forces fight Soviet-iconShining Pathball. Constitutional rights were suspended for 60 days in the Huamangaball, Huantaball, Cangalloball, La Marball, and the Víctor Fajardoball Provinces. Later, the Peru-icon (modern soldier)Armed Forces created the Ayacucho Emergency Zone, where military law superseded civilian law.[citation needed] The military committed many human rights violations in the area where it had political control, including the infamous Accomarca massacre. Scores of peasant farmers were massacred by the Peru-icon (modern soldier) armed forces. A special USA-icon (1980) US-trained "counter-terrorism" police battalion is known as the "Sinchis" became notorious in the 1980s for their violations of human rights.

Soviet-icon Shining Pathball's reaction to Peru-icon Peruball's government's use of the military in the conflict was to increase violent warfare in the countryside. Soviet-icon Shining Pathball attacked police officers, soldiers, and civilians that it considered being "class enemies", often using gruesome methods of killing their victims. These killings, along with Soviet-icon Shining Pathball's disrespect for the culture of 3-icon indigenous peasants, turned many civilians in the Sierra away from the group.

Soviet-icon (soldier) Shining Path massacres (1982-1989)

Faced with a hostile population, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball's guerrilla campaigns began to falter. In some areas, fearful, well-off peasants formed Anticommunism-icon anti-Shining Path patrols called Aymara-icon rondas. They were generally poorly equipped despite donations of guns from the Peru-icon (modern soldier) armed forces. Nevertheless, Soviet-icon (soldier) Shining Path guerrillas were attacked by the Aymara-icon rondas. The first reported attack was near Huataball in January 1983, where some Aymara-icon rondas killed 13 guerrillas. In February in Sacsamarcaball, Aymara-icon rondas stabbed and killed the Soviet-icon Shining Pathball commanders of that area. In March 1983, Aymara-icon rondas brutally killed Olegario Curitomay, one of the commanders of the town of Lucanamarcaball. They took him to the town square, stoned him, stabbed him, set him on fire, and finally shot him. Soviet-icon Shining Pathball responded by entering the province of Huancasancosball and the towns of Yanaccollpaball, Ataccaraball, Llacchuaball, Muylacruzball, and Lucanamarcaball, where they killed 69 people. Other similar incidents followed, such as ones in Hauylloball, Tambo Districtball, and La Mar Provinceball. In the Ayacucho Department, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball killed 47 peasants.

Additional massacres by Soviet-icon Shining Pathball occurred, such as one in Marcasball on August 29, 1985.

Soviet-icon Shining Pathball, like the government, filled its ranks by conscription. Thousands of Soviet-icon (soldier) child soldiers were recruited by Soviet-icon Shining Pathball.

Alberto Fujimori-icon Administration of Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000) and decline

Under the administration of Alberto Fujimori-icon Alberto Fujimori, the state started its widespread use of intelligence agencies in its fight against Soviet-icon Shining Pathball. Some atrocities were committed by the National Intelligence Service, notably the La Cantuta massacre, the Barrios Altos massacre, and the Santa massacre.

On April 5, 1992, Alberto Fujimori-icon Fujimori dissolved the Congress of Peruball and abolished the Constitution, initiating the Peruvian Constitutional Crisis of 1992. The reason for these actions was that Congress was slow to pass anti-terrorism legislation. Alberto Fujimori-icon Fujimori set up military courts to try suspected members of the Soviet-icon Shining Pathball and MRTA-icon MRTA and ordered that an "iron fist" approach be used. Alberto Fujimori-icon Fujimori also announced that Peru-icon Peruball would no longer be under the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

As Soviet-icon Shining Pathball began to lose ground in the Andes to the Peru-icon Peruball and the Aymara-icon rondas, it decided to speed up its overall strategic plan. Soviet-icon Shining Pathball declared that it had reached "strategic equilibrium" and was ready to begin its final assault on the cities of. In 1992, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball set off a powerful bomb in the Miraflores District of Lima-icon Limaball in what became known as the Tarata bombing. This was part of a larger bombing campaign to follow suit in Lima-icon Limaball.

On September 12, 1992, Peruvian police captured Guzmán and several Soviet-icon Shining Pathball leaders in an apartment above a dance studio in the Surquillo district of Lima-icon Limaball. The police had been monitoring the apartment, as a number of suspected Soviet-icon Shining Pathball militants had visited it. An inspection of the garbage of the apartment produced empty tubes of a skin cream used to treat psoriasis, a condition that Guzmán was known to have. Shortly after the raid that captured Guzmán, most of the remaining Soviet-icon Shining Pathball leadership fell as well. At the same time, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball suffered embarrassing military defeats to peasant self-defense organizations – supposedly its social base – and the organization fractured into splinter groups.

Guzmán's role as the leader of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball was taken over by Óscar Ramírez, who himself was captured by Peruvian authorities in 1999. After Ramírez's capture, the group splintered, guerrilla activity diminished sharply and previous conditions returned to the areas where the Soviet-icon Shining Pathball had been active. Some Soviet-icon Shining Pathball and MRTA-icon MRTAball remnants managed to stage minor scale attacks, such as the January 1993 wave of attacks and political assassinations that occurred in the run-up to the municipal elections, which also targeted USA-icon US interests; these included the bombing of two Coca-Cola plants on January 22 (by Soviet-icon Shining Pathball); the RPG attack against the USIS Binational Center on January 16; the bombing of a KFC restaurant on January 21 (both by MRTA-icon MRTAball) and the car-bombing of the Peruvian headquarters of IBM on January 28 (by Soviet-icon Shining Pathball). On July 27, 1993, Shining Path militants drove a car bomb into the USA-icon USAball Embassy in Lima-icon Limaball, which left extensive damage on the complex (worth some US$250,000) and nearby buildings.

Soviet-icon Shining Pathball was confined to their former headquarters in Peru-icon Peruball's jungle and continued smaller attacks against Peru-icon (modern soldier) the military, like the one that occurred on October 2, 1999, when a Peru-icon (modern soldier) Peruvian Army helicopter was shot down by Soviet-icon SPball guerrillas near Satipoball (killing 5) and stealing a PKM machine gun which was reportedly used in another attack against a Mi-17 in July 2003.

Despite Soviet-icon Shining Pathball being mostly defeated, more than 25% of Peru's national territory remained under a state of emergency until early 2000.

Drug cartel-Icon Reemergence in the 21st Century (2002–present)

Over the last two decades, there have been a number of incidents relating to an internal conflict within Peruball. On March 20, 2002, a car bomb exploded at "El Polo," a mall in a wealthy district of Lima-icon Limaball near USA-iconUSAball's embassy. On June 9, 2003, a Soviet-icon Shining Pathball group attacked a camp in Ayacucho-icon Ayacucho and took 68 employees of the Argentina-icon Argentine company Techint and three police guards hostage. The hostages worked at the Camisea gas pipeline project that takes natural gas from Cuzco-icon Cuzcoball to Lima-iconLimaball. According to sources from Peru-icon Peruball's Interior Ministry, the hostage-takers asked for a sizable ransom to free the hostages. Two days later, after a rapid Peru-icon (modern soldier) military response, the hostage-takers abandoned the hostages. According to some sources, the company paid the ransom.

During 2015, the USA-icon USAball Treasury declared Soviet-icon Shining Pathball a narco-terrorist organization engaged in the taxing of production, processing, and transport, of cocaine. The allegations of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball drug trafficking have been made by Peru-icon Peruball's government before the USA-icon USAball's decree. This decree will freeze all Soviet-icon Shining Pathball financial assets in the United States. US treasury official John Smith states the decree would help "the government of Peru's efforts to actively combat the group".


  • October 13, 2006 – Guzmán was sentenced to life in prison for terrorism.
  • May 22, 2007 – Peru-icon Peruvian police arrested 2 Soviet-icon SPball members in the town of Churcampaball, Huancavelica-iconHuancavelicaball.
  • May 27, 2007, the 27th anniversary of the Soviet-icon Shining Pathball's first attack against Peru-icon Peruball, a homemade bomb in a backpack was set off in a market in the southern Peruvian city of Juliaca, killing six and wounding 48. Because of the timing of the attack, Soviet-icon Shining Pathball is suspected by the Peruvian authorities of holding responsibility.
  • September 20, 2007 – Police arrested 3 Soviet-icon SPball insurgents in the city of Huancayo, Junín province.
  • March 25, 2008 – Soviet-icon Shining Pathball rebels killed a police officer and wounded 11, while they were performing patrol duty.
  • October 15, 2008 – Soviet-icon Shining Pathball militants attacked an Peru-icon (modern soldier) army patrol, killing 2 and wounding 5.
  • October 20, 2008 – a group of 30 to 50 Soviet-icon Shining Pathball insurgents entered a camp set up by the mining company Doe Run. After delivering a short Maoism-icon Maoist propaganda speech, before leaving, the militants stole communications equipment and food.
  • October 2008 – in Huancavelica-icon Huancavelicaball, the Soviet-icon senderistas engaged military and civil convoy with explosives and firearms, demonstrating their continued ability to strike and inflict casualties on easy targets. The clash resulted in the death of Peru-icon (modern soldier) 12 soldiers and two to seven civilians.
  • April 9, 2009 – Soviet-icon Shining Pathball ambushed and killed 13 Peru-icon (modern soldier) Peruvian soldiers in the Apurímac and Ene river valleys in Ayacuchoball, said Peruvian minister of Defense, Antero Flores-Aráoz.
  • August 26, 2009 – Peru-icon (modern soldier) Two soldiers were killed in two separate incidents outside San Antonio de Carrizales, in the Huancayo Province.
  • August 31, 2009 – Peru-icon (modern soldier) 3 soldiers were wounded in an encounter with Soviet-icon SLball rebels, in the San Antonio de Carrizales, in the Huancayo Province.
  • September 2, 2009 – Soviet-icon Shining Pathball militants shot down a Peruvian Air Force MI-17 helicopter, later killing the two pilots with small arms fire.
  • February 12, 2012 – Comrade Artemio was captured by a combined force of the Peru-icon (modern soldier) Peruvian Army and the Police. President Ollanta Humala said that he would now step up the fight against the other remaining band of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball rebels in the Ene-Apurímac valley.
  • April 14, 2012 – A helicopter crashed after a Soviet-icon SPball sniper killed a police helicopter pilot during a hostage rescue operation in the Peruvian Amazon, Peru-icon (modern soldier) 4 soldiers were also wounded in the crash. The operation started when Soviet-icon SPball took up to 40 hostages, demanding a $10 million ransom, 1500 soldiers were deployed into the abduction area in order to participate in the operation.
  • April 27, 2012 – Soviet-icon Senderista rebels killed 3 soldiers and wounded 2 others in the aftermath of an ambush.
  • May 2012 – It was reported that since 2008, Peru-icon (modern soldier) 71 security forces personnel had been killed and 59 wounded by Soviet-icon Shining Pathball ambushes in the VRAE region.
  • August 11, 2013 – The Peru-icon (modern soldier) Peruvian army killed three Soviet-icon Shining Path rebels, including senior commander Comrade Alipio.
  • November 8, 2013 – General Cesar Diaz was removed from the position of Chief of the Joint Command of Special Operations and the Intelligence Command in the VRAEM. The decision came in the aftermath of the 16 October aerial bombing of Mazangaroball which killed one civilian and injured 4 others.
  • February 2014 – The Soviet-icon Shining Pathball were reported to have attacked a Transportadora de Gas del Peru natural gas work camp in Peru-icon Peruball's Cuzco-icon Cuzcoball region.
  • April 10, 2014 – Peru-icon (modern soldier) Peruvian authorities arrested 24 people on charges of Soviet-icon SPball affiliation.
  • June 18, 2014 – Peru-icon (modern soldier) Security forces killed 3 and injured Soviet-icon 1 Shining Path insurgents during an apartment raid in the Echarate region.
  • October 5, 2014 – 2 policemen were killed and at least 5 injured when they were attacked by Soviet-icon SPball rebels in the VRAEM region.
  • October 14, 2014 – Peru-icon (modern soldier) One soldier was killed and 4 injured in the aftermath of an ambush conducted between Chalhuamayoball and the town of San Franciscoball, VRAEM. A civilian was also injured in the attack.
  • December 17, 2014 – The garrison of the Llochegua army base, in Huantaball, successfully repelled a Soviet-icon Shining Path attack, Peru-icon (modern soldier) one soldier was wounded following the skirmish.
  • April 9, 2016 – Peru-icon (modern soldier) Two soldiers and one civilian were killed, and Peru-icon (modern soldier) 6 other soldiers were injured when Soviet-icon guerrillas believed to be part of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball, hidden in the jungles of the Juninball attacked a truck carrying soldiers to protect voting stations in Lima-icon Limaball, as Presidential Elections were to be held the following day.
  • August 2, 2016 – The Joint Command of the Armed Forces reported that yesterday at 11 pm suspected terrorists attacked a military base in the mazamari district, in the Valley of the Apurimac River, Ene, and Mantaro (abbreviated commonly VRAEM), leaving the balance of Peru-icon (modern soldier) a wounded soldier.
  • September 27, 2016 – At least three people, Peru-icon (modern soldier) one soldier, and two civilians were injured in a shooting, there is a detainee in Huancavelica-icon Huancavelicaball.
  • December 13, 2016 – A policeman died during an operation in the town of Apachitaball in Vraem region.
  • December 14, 2016 – Two policemen (another was seriously injured) and four narco-terrorists died after a clash in the Vraem region, known for hosting remnants of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball and the high traffic of drugs.
  • March 12, 2017 – Soviet-icon Militants of Shining Pathball attacked a helicopter of the Peru-icon (modern soldier) armed forces of Peru, the latter responded to the attack leaving as balance several wounded attackers.
  • March 18, 2017 – Three policemen were killed and another injured during an ambush in Ayacucho-icon Ayacuchoball.
  • May 31, 2017 – According to Channel N, it would be a narco-terrorist attack in which two members of the National Police of Peru were shot dead in the VRAEM region.[73]
  • July 21, 2017 – Llochegua Clashes: An armed confrontation and attempted rescue rescued 10 policemen and a prosecutor injured in Llochegua, in Ayacucho-icon Ayacuchoball. A leader of a local armed group was arrested in the operation.
  • August 1, 2017 – A Peru-icon (modern soldier) Peruvian soldier died and Soviet-icon seven other rebels were wounded in an ambush in a clash between the army and remnants of Soviet-icon Shining Pathball. In other incident in the same district at least Peru-icon (modern soldier) one soldier was killed and other three were wounded.[76]
  • September 6, 2017 – At least three police were shot dead by suspected militants at approximately 6 p.m. in the province of Churcampa, Huancavelica-icon Huancavelicaball.
  • September 22, 2017 –
    • A Peru-icon (modern soldier) military patrol and a group of Soviet-icon Sendero Luminosoball remnants clashed Thursday in a sector of the Vraem in Ayacucho-icon Ayacuchoball without causing injuries, reported the Joint Command of the Armed Forces.
    • A policeman was killed and four injured. A guide were also injured and one missing by the 116 of the Inter-Oceanic road, 15 minutes by motorcycle, in the section of Puerto Maldonadoball, Madre de Dios-icon Madre de Diosball.
  • June 7, 2018 - Four policemen were killed in an ambush by Soviet-icon terrorists in the Anco district of Churcampa province in the Huancavelica-icon Huancavelicaball.
  • June 11, 2018 - A group of Soviet-icon terrorists attacked a military base in the town of Mazángaro in the province of Satipoball. Peru-icon (modern soldier) Six soldiers were injured in the shooting.
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