The war in Ukraine may be the most notable event to have captured the world’s attention in 2022, but it is far from the only one. In a recently released list published by the Council of Foreign Relations, the Ukraine War indeed figures at the top of the 10 most significant international events for the year. But the tumultuous year in British politics, protests in Iran and China, and the string of leftist leaders elected across Latin America also warranted a mention. While not on the CFR list, much attention was also given to the world of sport, from the detention and release of U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, to the much-needed global distraction provided by the FIFA World Cup.
Each of these events deserved the attention they received during what was definitely a tumultuous year. But in this column I instead want to highlight what is perhaps the most underreported significant international event of 2022: renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, fighting broke out in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between the Congolese government and the “March 23 Movement,” an insurgency known as M23. Similar to the war in Ukraine, this fighting was, in actuality, an escalation of ongoing fighting in the region between the government and other armed groups. The fighting since March has been intense, resulting in the displacement of nearly 400,000 people and a mounting civilian death toll.