From the killing of a major ISIS leader to recent military flareups in Ukraine, August has been a month of historic geopolitical interest.
The following map gives a brief rundown of the enduring geopolitical problems across the globe:
Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Ukraine has seen a steady uptick in violence and militaristic posturing by Russia around its borders. In the beginning of the month, a spate of attacks between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian military led to the nation being on the verge of an all-out war.
Fortunately this has not come to pass, but tensions are still high as Russia has accused Ukraine of trying to carry out terror attacks in Crimea. Moscow has also launched snap military drills across the nation, including close to the Ukrainian border.
The South China Sea continues to heat up as China refuses to back down from its controversial territorial claims despite a unanimous ruling against it on July 12 in the Hague. Despite the ruling, Beijing continues to expand its military presence on islands throughout the sea.
Additionally, the US has made a show of force in the region to reassure its ally the Philippines. The US has also considered placing mobile artillery systems throughout the region to deter Chinese aggression.
South Sudan is facing the renewed prospect of civil war after peace talks in the country fell apart in July. The country had faced 20 months of civil before the signing of a peace agreement in August 2015. A recent report from UNICEF shows that fighting is still raging in the nation and that the South Sudanese government is recruiting child soldiers to help in the conflict.
Yemen continues to face a multi-sided civil war that shows no signs of stopping. The fighting, which consists of a Saudi Arabian-led coalition, Iranian-supported rebels backed by military members loyal to the previous government, al Qaeda, and ISIS, has done significant harm to the nation. The UN estimates that at least 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far.
And to make matters even worse for Yemen, the UN envoy recently said that the fighting is fueling extremism, meaning that the war could continue for an unforeseeable duration.
Libya continues to grapple with the difficulties inherent in having two competing governments and an array of armed groups operating in the country. Despite the inherent lawlessness of the state, a Danish team has successfully removed the last of Libya’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
Mexico has reached a grizzly milestone as violence and competition between cartels across the country continues to spiral. In July, Mexico suffered from 2,073 homicides — the most since Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto entered office in December 2012.
Iraq is continuing to push back against ISIS throughout the country, although the country remains as divided along ethnic and sectarian lines as ever. However, a US general has stated that operations to retake Iraq’s second largest city from ISIS are on track to be completed this year. And US-led airstrikes continue to hammer ISIS across the country.
Still, a new report highlighting how ISIS buried thousands in mass graves across the country shows how far Iraq needs to come to fully repair itself.
Syria faces an increasingly complex civil war now that Turkish forces, along with Turkish-backed rebels, have intervened in the north of the country against both ISIS and the US-supported Kurdish YPG forces. The move will only further muddy US efforts to forge an anti-ISIS coalition on the ground.
North Korea has continued to test ballistic missiles despite UN sanctions. The reclusive country successfully tested a submarine-based missile on August 23, following a the test of two ballistic missiles shot into the sea of Japan at the start of the month.
The tests have led to a rare joint statement from Japan, China, and South Korea which stated tha the tests “simply cannot be tolerated.” Japan has also pressured the UN today for a new round of sanctions on North Korea for the tests.