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Under the radar armed conflicts to watch in 2022

What are some of the more underreported ongoing armed conflicts to watch this year? The latest episode of The Roundtable takes a look at some of the current armed conflicts that may be going under the radar but are worth paying attention to in 2022.

While global headlines are dominated by the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia and the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas region, there are a number of other armed conflicts to track in 2022 that are perhaps further out of the spotlight. In the third episode of The Roundtable intelligence podcast, our analysts sit down to discuss six of these conflicts, hoping to shed some light on the wars taking place outside of the headlines.

Senior Regional Analyst for Latin America, Aaron Arends, explores what is happening in Colombia, with the ELN, FARC dissidents continuing to fight after the Colombia-FARC peace deal, and Colombian cartels such as the Clan del Golfo, taking part in fierce armed conflict, particularly in the border region with Venezeula, and terrorist insurgencies targeting the government of Ivan Duque ahead of the 2022 presidential elections in Colombia. Viraj Pattni, Senior Regional Analyst for Africa, then takes a look at the jihadist insurgency in Mozambique, with the Islamic State in Central Africa Province (ISCAP) affiliated local insurgent group, Al Shabab, continuing to carry out terror attacks in the Cabo Delgado region, and wage armed conflict with Mozambique’s armed forces and their allies, following their co-ordinated attack on Palma in early 2021. Then, Senior Regional Analyst for Asia and the Middle East, Max Taylor, takes a look at what is happening in Afghanistan, to see how the conflict in the country has changed since the Taliban takeover in August 2021. While the country is undoubtedly a lot more secure than at the height of the conflict between the Taliban and the Western-backed government last year, there are now a number of smaller-scale conflicts worth keeping an eye on, including a Taliban vs Isis conflict playing out via IS-KP terror attacks and a Taliban-led counter-insurgency – as well as potential anti-Taliban resistance, particularly from the Panjshir province of Afghanistan, and tensions with its bordering countries in Central Asia.

In the second half of the episode, Aaron then takes a look at how the war on drugs in Mexico – while not a war in the traditional sense – is worth analysing in the same way as any other armed conflict, with the complex landscape of feuding Mexican cartels such as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and United Cartels, Mexican self-defence groups or vigilante militias, and the Mexican armed forces, causing one of the deadliest ongoing armed conflicts in the world. Viraj then explains what is going on with terrorism in West Africa, how it has contributed to coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, the potential impact of French withdrawal from Mali and the increased presence of Russian Wagner mercenaries, and the future prospects for the region with affiliates of Al Qaeda and Islamic State in Africa continuing to make gains and carry out ever more sophisticated and deadly terrorist attacks. 

Finally, Max explores some of the more underreported aspects of the civil war in Yemen,  with a deadly Houthi rebel drone attack on the UAE in January 2022 showing how that country now finds itself at risk and may be drawn further into the conflict, the risks to shipping in the region given the continued attacks on shipping in the area – as well as the ongoing humanitarian crisis unfolding with the Yemen famine.

Listen to the full episode now.

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