Letter: New victims of the new warfare

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The Independent Online
New victims of the new warfare

Sir: Christopher Bellamy (report 14 June) claims that "none of last year's wars was between nations". What is the Chechen struggle against Russia if not a war between nations? Or the Tamil struggle against the Sinhalese-dominated state of Sri Lanka, or East Timor's against Indonesia, Kurds against Turks?

The mistake of confusing states with nations lies at the root of these conflicts. It has been precisely the failure to recognise the plight of smaller nations trapped within artificial state boundaries imposed against their will that has prolonged many of these wars and contributed to the global refugee crisis.

If the international community regards these properly as national conflicts instead of civil wars or internal problems, more realistic and just solutions - based on the moral right of national self-determination - might be achieved.


London N19