2014 has been a brutal year. The death toll of Syria’s ongoing civil war likely eclipsed 200,000, while the hideous rise of the Islamic State spurred a U.S.-led bombing campaign. A separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine led to thousands of deaths and clouded relations between the West and Moscow, which is believed to be aiding the rebels. And an Israeli offensive against Hamas militants saw whole stretches of the Gaza Strip reduced to rubble.

Sadly, there was plenty of other mayhem and violence that didn’t make newspaper frontpages as often. Here are seven awful conflicts that merited more attention.


Libya was supposed to be a success story. In 2011, the U.S. famously “led from behind,” as NATO air strikes helped a rebel alliance topple the long-ruling regime of dictator Moammar Gaddafi. But what followed has been a mess.

In 2014, Libya’s fragile democratic transition unraveled into open civil war between a hodgepodge of Islamist militias and tribal factions. It has drawn in rogue generals and foreign governments, and led to an absurd situation of two parallel governments claiming authority over the war-ravaged nation. Militants are battling over strategic oil towns. Just this weekend, Libyan jets pounded militant positions in the city of Misrata, once famed for its brave resistance to the Gaddafi regime.


Another country that saw the departure of long-ruling autocrat in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, Yemen is in the grips of a disastrous civil war. A rebellion led by the Houthis, a political movement that draws key support from a prominent Shiite sect, has swept away the central government and opened what some warn may turn into a dangerous sectarian conflict between Shiites and Sunni militias, including units loyal to al-Qaeda.


In India’s restive northeast, many ethnic and tribal insurgencies persist. Contests over land and resources have seen frequent clashes between an array of groups, including the indigenous Bodo tribe and Muslim settlers in the state of Assam, whom some claim are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The chaos over the years has led to tens of thousands fleeing their homes. Last week, an extremist faction of Bodo fighters massacred at least 72 people from another tribal community, prompting New Delhi to launch an extensive counter-terrorism operation.