Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Witness to the Start of Sri Lanka’s Brutal Civil War

The Sri Lankan Civil War was one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent times, claiming the lives of nearly 100,000 people. Foreign Service Officer Dorothy Black was posted in Sri Lanka in the early years of the conflict (1983-86) and recalls a time of constant tension, political intransigence, and death.  Terrorists routinely placed plastic bombs […]

Billion-Dollar “Plan Colombia” to End Decades of Civil War

Published January 2016 A guerrilla organization known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo, FARC–EP and FARC) has been at war with the Colombian government since 1964, marking it as the hemisphere’s longest-running armed conflict. The FARC has claimed to be a Marxist-Leninist army representing […]

Leveling the Playing Field in the Salvadoran Civil War

The Salvadoran Civil War, lasting from 1979-1992, pitted the military-led government of El Salvador against a coalition of five left-wing guerrilla groups known collectively as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).  Combat was vicious and fought by both the government and guerrilla forces without regard for human rights. More than 75,000 Salvadorans lost their lives and an […]

The Dominican Civil War of 1965

In the period immediately following the assassination of General Rafael Trujillo, known as “El Jefe,” the Dominican Republic was in shambles. The nation was under the control of a three-man junta which, with the help of the United States, was preparing for presidential elections. In 1963, Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño was elected President of the […]

Suicide Bombers and the Rapper M.I.A. — The Sad Legacy of the Sri Lankan Civil War

Artistic inspiration, such as it is, can come from the most unexpected of places. Case in point, Grammy-nominated one-hit wonder rapper M.I.A. (2007’s “Paper Planes”), who fills many of her songs with references to the violent conflict in Sri Lanka. Her father, Arul Pragasam, founded the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS), a political Tamil […]

The Famine in Biafra — USAID’s Response to the Nigerian Civil War

Known as the ‘Giant of Africa,’ Nigeria stretches across the continent like a patchwork quilt, sewn together from dozens of historically independent religious, ethnic and linguistic subgroups, all vying for political representation and control. After achieving independence in 1960, the infant nation struggled to maintain a fragile peace as members of the Muslim Hausa-Fulani ethnic […]

The Civil War in China, Part II –The Dixie Mission and Losing China

After attempting to convince Washington that a civil war in China was imminent and that the Communists would be the likely victors, John S. Service and a group of other U.S. diplomats traveled to Yenan in July 1944 to meet with the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Nicknamed the Dixie Mission, the U.S. Army Observation […]

The Civil War in China, Part I – The Bureaucratic Fight in Washington

Oftentimes the greatest foreign policy struggles are not with the host government but rather with the government bureaucracy back home. Such was the case with China in the 1940’s in a fight that would define geopolitics for a generation and would ultimately ruin the careers of those diplomats who were on the losing side. After […]