#ICYM Friday Roundup: Protracted Conflicts September 9, 2016

A Free Syrian Army fighter looks through a hole in a wall in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district. REUTERS/Loubna Mrie

A Free Syrian Army fighter looks through a hole in a wall in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district. REUTERS/Loubna Mrie

Sunday marks 15 years since September 11 attacks in New York and Washington DC that led to the US-led war in Afghanistan. In July 2016, President Obama promised a drawdown of 1,400 US troops by the end of the year, leaving 8,400 American service members in the country through the end of his presidency.

This week, the ICRC released a report, Protracted Conflict and Humanitarian Action. Characterized by their length, difficulty and complexity, protracted conflicts aren’t a new phenomenon. What IS new is their ever changing and increasingly complicated nature. They keep countries at a constant breaking point year-on-year, ruining support systems vital to the lives of the general public. These challenges are particularly acute in cities, where essential services take a battering from years of war. People see the complex infrastructure of facilities they rely on, such as water and electricity systems, schools and hospitals, destroyed or badly damaged by years of fighting.

Today, nearly 70% of the ICRC's humanitarian spending, some 1.1 billion US dollars, goes to helping people engulfed in these types of conflicts. As a result, the ICRC is asking for $115 million dollars to fill the 2016 funding gap for victims of protracted conflicts.

In this week’s roundup, we take a look at how a few protracted conflicts from around the world have been portrayed by the media and other online outlets.** 

From NPR Sept. 11 Legacy: One Endless War against Many Radical Enemies

NPR reporter Greg Myre writes: “In the quarter-century from the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s until Sept. 11, 2001, the United States rarely went to war, and when it did, the conflicts were so brief they were measured in days. But since the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States has been fighting every single day for 15 straight years, the longest unbroken period in American history.”

The Jerusalem Post Can Israel and Palestine learn from Colombia?

Opinion contributor Dahlia Scheindlin writes, “It is rare to hear good news about conflicts de-escalating. This week, the world rallied around the implementation of a cease-fire between the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombia government. The conflict has dragged on for over 50 years. The most obvious and optimistic point is that a long and bloody past need not be the future forever. But other useful points are emerging for comparison and maybe inspiration.”

Washington Post Colombia’s war has displaced 7 million. With peace, will they go home?

Reporter Nick Miroff writes: “In the nation with more internal refugees than any other, you won’t find the uprooted and the dispossessed huddled in tent camps or fleeing in long caravans. Colombia’s war doesn’t look like that, at least not anymore. The United Nations counts about 7 million ‘internally displaced people’ here, more than in Syria, Iraq or any other war zone. Forced to flee their farms and villages, they have resettled at the edges of Colombia’s cities, finding refuge in places like this treeless, teeming slum on the outskirts of the capital, Bogota.”

From Reuters Aleppo from the Beginning (Photo slide show)

The fierce fighting in Syria has been going for five long years. Reuters profiles the work of several of its photojournalists in a striking – and disturbing – 50-image photo gallery from the city of Aleppo, where the ICRC has described the humanitarian situation as “devastating and overwhelming.”

From Netflix Documentaries White Helmets

From the official movie trailer: “In Aleppo, the most important thing to remember is that all life is precious. The White Helmets search for survivors among the wreckage as bombs continue to fall. These ordinary men are extraordinary heroes.””

From +Acumen and the filmmakers from Living on One and 1001 MEDIA The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Stories beyond the Headlines (A Film and Discussion Guide)

“Since the Syrian armed conflict erupted in 2011, millions of Syrians have fled their homes. Due to the scale and complexity of this humanitarian crisis, many still struggle to grasp the human reality beyond the news reports. +Acumen teamed up with the filmmakers from Living on One and 1001 MEDIA to bring a free Discussion Toolkit, which challenges participants to go beyond the headlines of the Syrian refugee crisis and learn about some of the individuals and families in the Za’atari refugee camp.” The guide uses the award winning documentary film, Salam Neighbor, as a jumping off point to discuss the complexities of the crisis.

**The usual Intercross disclaimer: Just because something is featured here, doesn't mean we endorse or agree with it, and the views expressed on the platforms we're highlighting don't necessarily represent those of the ICRC.**

Are you a writer, videographer, photographer or blogger publishing interesting stuff linked to armed conflict, international humanitarian law (a.k.a. the law of armed conflict), innovation, compassion, history, etc. that you think deserves a shout-out here? Send us a link and we might feature your content next week. Write to: nclark (at) icrc (dot) org