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'Foreign Policy' Looks At 'Next Year's Wars'

A military police officer watches at the scene of a drug-related murder in Juraez, Mexico.
Spencer Platt
Getty Images
A military police officer watches at the scene of a drug-related murder in Juraez, Mexico.

Foreign Policy magazine reminds us this morning that there are nearly three dozen conflicts raging around the globe right now.

And then it focuses on these 16 hotspots as "brewing conflicts to watch for in 2011":

-- Ivory Coast, where ( as we noted earlier) there are warning of genocide as President Laurent Gbagbo tries to cling on to power.

-- Colombia. Leftist guerrillas "still maintain about 8,000 armed troops."

-- Zimbabwe, because next year's elections could lead to violence.

-- Iraq. "It's still far from out of the woods."

-- Venezuela, because President Hugo Chavez is making a power grab as "economic, social and security problems are mounting."

-- Sudan. A "delicate peace will be tested" by next month's "referendum on southern self-determination."

-- Mexico, because of the on-going -- and incredibly violent -- war on drug traffickers. ( Related story: NPR's Claudio Sanchez returned to the Mexican town where he was born and found it totally transformed by the illegal immigration problem.)

-- Guatemala. "Mexico's drug war is also sending shockwaves throughout Latin America."

-- Haiti. Protests over November's presidential election will likely continue.

-- Tajikistan. It "could well become the next stomping ground for guerrillas ... who have been fighting alongside the Taliban for years and may now be thinking of returning home to settle scores with the region's brutal and corrupt leaders."

-- Pakistan. "The country faces a humanitarian crisis in its mid-section where floods displaced 10 million people, a security threat from terrorist groups operating on Pakistani soil, and political instability."

-- Somalia, where "the entire country could fall under Islamist insurgent control."

-- Lebanon. It is "arguably more than ever on the brink."

-- Nigeria. Next spring's presidential election could be a flashpoint.

-- Guinea, because "having tasted the fruits of power under the junta, the military may not so easily return to its barracks."

-- Democratic Republic of the Congo. "There is no end in sight to Congo's troubles."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.