Ethnic war

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An ethnic war or ethnic conflict is a war between ethnic groups often as a result of ethnic nationalism. They are of interest because of the apparent prevalence in the aftermath of the Cold War and because they frequently result in war crimes such as genocide.

Two controversial questions about ethnic wars is whether they have become more or less prevalent in the post-Cold War period and whether they are really about ethnicity at all. Actual research shows that the fall of Communism and the increase in the number of democratic states were accompanied by a sudden and dramatic decline in total warfare, interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars, and the number of refugees and displaced persons [1].

The post-Cold War period has seen ethnically-informed secessionist movements, predominantly within the former communist states such as the Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks and Albanians in Yugoslavia, Transnistria in Moldova, Armenians in Azerbaijan, Abkhaz in Georgia and the Chechens in the Soviet Union (see O'Leary, Lustick, and Callaghy source below).

There are a number of political scientists who refer to the concept of ethnic wars as a myth because they argue that the root causes of ethnic conflict do not involve ethnicity but rather institutional, political, and economic factors. These political scientists argue that the concept of ethnic war is misleading because it leads to the conclusion that certain groups are doomed to fight each other when in fact the wars between them are the result of political decisions. Opposing groups may substitute ethnicity for the underlying factors to simplify identification of friend and foe.

A classic example of the reformulation of economic differences as ethnic differences is found in Rwanda. In a 1930s census, all people owning ten or more head of cattle were classified as Tutsi; everyone else was classified as Hutu.

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ja:民族紛争 pl:konflikt etniczny

Ethnic war

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