The worldwide review of political, military and humanitarian trends in current conflicts.

Armed Conflict Survey 2016The Armed Conflict Survey provides in-depth analysis of the political, military and humanitarian dimensions of all major armed conflicts, as well as data on fatalities, refugees and internally displaced persons. Compiled by the IISS, publisher of The Military Balance, it is the standard reference work on contemporary conflict.

The book assesses key developments in 37 high-, medium- and low-intensity conflicts, including those in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Israel–Palestine, Southern Thailand, Colombia and Ukraine.

The Armed Conflict Survey features essays by some of the world’s leading experts on armed conflict, including Lawrence Freedman, Achim Wennmann, Daniel Byman and Carol Mann. They write on:

  • pessimism and planning in armed conflict;
  • the political economy of conflict; 
  • foreign fighters; and
  • the shifting roles of female combatants.

The authors’ discussion of principal thematic and cross-national trends complements the detailed analysis of each conflict at the core of the book.

The Armed Conflict Survey also includes maps, infographics and multi-year data, as well as the IISS Chart of Conflict.


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Online Access, Digital Download & Print £144.00 + shipping (Inc VAT if applicable)
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  • Editor’s Introduction

    The inaugural edition of The Armed Conflict Survey charted a steady increase in the lethality of armed conflicts from 2010 to 2014, even as the overall number of active conflicts declined. Results for 2015 indicate that lethality is no longer rising, while the number of conflicts barely changed. Headline numbers, however, can be misleading. The fall in the overall level of conflict deaths for 2015 can be explained solely by...
  • Chapter 1, Part I: Pessimism and Planning in Armed Conflict

    Predictions about developments in inter-state and intra-state armed conflicts are naturally influenced by recent experiences. This explains the optimism that followed the end of the Cold War and the singular experience of the 1991 Gulf War, and the pessimism now following the long insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, the souring of relations with Russia, the anxieties surrounding China, and the sudden prominence of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS...
  • Chapter 1, Part II: The Political Economy of Violent Conflict

    With violent conflict rapidly changing the strategic landscape in many parts of the world, new perspectives are required to inform analysis and policy responses. This essay focuses on how a political-economy perspective could provide policy­makers with a means to better understand the organisational aspects of armed groups and the behaviour and motives of their members, often vaguely labelled ‘terrorists’, ‘warlords’ or ‘criminals’. The practical value of this perspective rests on...
  • Chapter 1, Part III: Measuring the Threat from Foreign Fighters

    On 13 November 2015, teams of attackers linked to jihadist group the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) killed 130 people in Paris. Several of the attackers, including the mastermind, had fought in Syria, and their operation appeared to realise the fears of counter-terrorism officials in the United States and Europe: that the Syrian war would prove an incubator of terrorism on the scale of pre-9/11 Afghanistan. Yet...
  • Chapter 1, Part IV: The Shifting Roles of Female Combatants

    Throughout 2015, the international media paid great attention to female combatants of all kinds: glamourised Kurdish fighters; those taking up arms for the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), including suicide bombers and the group’s all-female brigade, al-Khansaa; and Hayat Boumedienne and Hasna Ait Boulahcen, who worked alongside male jihadists in France in January and November respectively. In many armed conflicts, women position themselves as modern-day warriors fighting...
  • Chapter 2: Maps, Graphics and Data

    The Armed Conflict Survey provides in-depth analysis of the political, military and humanitarian dimensions of all major armed conflicts, as well as data on fatalities, refugees and internally displaced persons. Compiled by the IISS, publisher of The Military Balance, it is the standard reference work on contemporary conflict. The book assesses key developments in 37 high-, medium- and low-intensity conflicts, including those in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Israel–Palestine, Southern Thailand...
  • Chapter 3: Middle East

    Egypt (Sinai) As President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi strengthened his control of Egypt throughout 2015, the security situation in the country deteriorated significantly. Wilayat Sina (Sinai Province), an insurgent group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in November 2014, posed a severe security threat, launching deadly attacks and challenging the security forces’ tenuous control over Sinai. Egypt concurrently faced a medium-level insurgency led by radicalised...
  • Chapter 4: Sub-Saharan Africa

    While still troubled by sporadic sectarian violence, Central African Republic was generally more peaceful in 2015 than in the preceding two years of conflict. The country’s leaders made considerable progress in setting a timetable for presidential and parliamentary elections in December, despite the fact that fighting periodically threatened the transitional process. Nonetheless, there remained many unresolved issues between Muslim Séléka rebels and the predominantly Christian anti-balaka militias. Protests broke out...
  • Chapter 5: South Asia

    The conflict in Afghanistan escalated sharply in 2015, as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) assumed full responsibility for the country’s security following NATO’s drawdown the preceding year. Emboldened by the departure of most Western troops, the Taliban conducted an aggressive countrywide insurgency campaign that led to a series of major victories, including the brief but symbolically important capture of Kunduz in September. A nascent peace process was suspended on...
  • Chapter 6: Asia-Pacific

    Despite undergoing only limited changes on the ground, the conflict in Xinjiang led to far fewer recorded fatalities in 2015 than in the previous year. This apparent shift reflected either improvements in the region’s security or a tightening of restrictions on journalists. Violence in Xinjiang continued to follow well-established patterns: Uighurs carried out knife attacks before being shot by police, or else were killed by the authorities in battles and...
  • Chapter 7: Europe and Eurasia

    Throughout 2015, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh was characterised by active but mostly ineffective diplomacy, conducted against a backdrop of escalating violence and belligerent rhetoric from both sides. Although the security situation in the conflict zone showed clear signs of deterioration, there was little change in the political positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan, or in the drivers and dynamics of their interaction. The countries began once again to accuse each other...
  • Chapter 8: Latin America

    Throughout 2015, corruption and organised crime caused severe security problems and political instability in Central America’s ‘northern triangle’, comprising El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The resignation and imprisonment of Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, who was implicated in a corruption scandal, caused a shift in his country’s political environment. Meanwhile, criminal violence assumed troubling new forms in El Salvador, where the gangs intensified their coordinated armed campaign against the government...
  • Chapter 9: Explanatory Notes

    The Armed Conflict Survey provides analysis and data on active armed conflicts involving states and non-state armed groups across the world. The data in the current edition is accurate according to IISS assessments as at January 2016, unless specified.
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Armed Conflict Survey 2016

The worldwide review of political, military and humanitarian trends in current conflicts.

From £89.00
Product variations
Online Access, Digital Download & Print £144.00 + shipping (Inc VAT if applicable)
Online Access & Digital Download £96.00 (Inc VAT if applicable)
Print edition £89.00 + shipping (Inc VAT if applicable)