Unfortunately, the disputes between sovereign countries over control of certain area are not the matter of the past. There are more territorial disputes all around the world than you would think. On all continents, countries are in a row with others, from Africa to Europe, from Asia to America. Some international controversies seem unimportant and one can hardly imagine that they can turn into a hot confrontation. On the other hand, other unresolved controversies are already hot and erupted into a military confrontation. The following list can be taken as an analysis of unresolved controversies, at least of the most important ones.
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Image Credit: The British Army
Turkish-Greek disputes over the island of Cyprus last for centuries. Today’s conflict is nothing new, rather than that, it is continuing of centuries of wars and political crises between Turkey and Greece. Turkish size of the island in 1571, British lease and the following annexation during WWI, 1960 declaration of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish invasion of 1974, NATO peacekeeping operation… all these events led to a present state in which the island is divided, UN force must be present and neither Greece nor Turkey seems to be willing to retreat from their position.
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The Falkland Islands were originally under the control of France but throughout the history, this piece of land changed its owner several times – Britain, Spain, Argentina… Britain declared the control over the islands in 1690. Later, the Argentina tried several times to get the islands under its control. Argentinians were able to gain control of the Falklands in 1833 for a short time. They tried once again in 1982 but this time, Britain intervened. British PM Margaret Thatcher – the Iron Lady – decided to send a task force to repeal Argentinian invasion. Brits succeeded and Thatcher was enjoying a phenomenal success. However, the problem is not solved and the dispute of both countries over Falklands is still among unresolved controversies.
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The problem over KaNgwane is an example of African international controversies. The area is now dissolved among several South African provinces but it is claimed by the monarchs of Swaziland to be the traditional and historical part of their country. The importance of this piece of land is also connected to the fact that it can give Swaziland the access to the sea.
7. Kashmir conflict
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The conflict of India and Pakistan over the Kashmir territory started just after the creation of Pakistan in 1947. From that moment, several insurgencies aiming at the level of autonomy took place and there were no less than three Indo-Pakistani wars. It is one the best known international controversies and is carefully watched by governments all around the world because the larger conflict of the two countries can turn deadly as both posses nuclear weapons.
6. South Kuril Islands
Another well known of unresolved controversies and territorial disputes is that between Japan and Russia over the South Kuril Islands northeast of Japanese Home islands and south of Kamchatka, Russia. Taken by Japan during the Russo-Japanese War and re-taken by the Soviet Union after the World War II, the islands are still claimed by Japan as the San Francisco of 1951 which targeted this problem is – according to Japanese opinion – covering all of the islands in the region.
5. Senkaku Islands
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The islands between the Japan and Taiwan are at the center of a territorial dispute involving Japan, People´s Republic of China (mainland China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan). This is another of the potentially explosive one among international controversies especially because there is a possible undersea oil deposit.
4. Eastern Ukraine
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The crisis in Eastern Ukraine and Russian involvement via the direct support for separationist forces is one of the most urgent disputes and one of the most important of unresolved controversies. It is of crucial importance for European politicians and it will be the problem to be solved for the new US administration as well.
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The Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 ignited one of the most severe international controversies and dispute between The Russian Federation and the European Union as well as with the United States. Along with the continuing war in Eastern Ukraine (see no. 4 of this list), it damaged the Russian-Western relationship. The future of this relationship will depend on the outcome of important elections in Europe and the real approach of Trump administration towards Russia.
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After the World War II, China started its rule over the island of Taiwan. In the next year, it has become the last stand of Chiang Kai-shek´s supporters and generalissimos himself after they lost the power in the Chinese Communist revolution. But the new China – People´s Republic of China – still considers Taiwan as an integral part of mainland China. Taiwan, on the other hand, is enjoying the protection of the United States.
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Definitely the most important and the most difficult of all unresolved controversies in today´s world. Its solution was not found by generations of politicians all around the world. Although the majority of Western politicians support the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian problem, the specific agreement is light years distant.
As you can see from this list, there are plenty of instability spots in the world. The analysis of unresolved controversies shows that most of these disputes can easily exceed local level and become a major global crisis. Different politicians will deal with these crises differently. For better understanding, their political stances, read our list of Top 10 Most Influential Political Ideologies.