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Wars Update: Less War, More Peace in 2006
   

Quick & Dirty Guide to Wars In The World

 

January 1, 2007:  You'd never know it from the headlines, but, overall, things quieted down in the past year. Fighting has died down considerably, or disappeared completely, in places like  Nepal, ChechnyaCongo, Indonesia and Burundi. This continues a trend that began when the Cold War ended, and the Soviet Union no longer subsidized terrorist and rebel groups everywhere. 

The War on Terror  has become the War Against Islamic Radicalism. This movement has always been around, for Islam was born as an aggressive movement, that used violence and terror to expand. Past periods of conquest are regarded fondly by Moslems, and still called upon to inspire the faithful. The current enthusiasm for violence in the name of God has been building  for over half a century. Historically, periods of Islamic radicalism flared up periodically in response to corrupt governments, as a vain attempt to impose a religious solution on some social or political problem. The current violence is international because of the availability of planet wide mass media (which needed a constant supply of headlines), and the fact that the Islamic world is awash in tyranny and economic backwardness. Islamic radicalism itself is incapable of mustering much military power, and the movement largely relies on terrorism to gain attention. Most of the victims are fellow Moslems, which is why the radicals eventually become so unpopular among their own people that they run out of new recruits and fade away. This is what is happening now. The American invasion of Iraq was a clever exploitation of this, forcing the Islamic radicals to fight in Iraq, where they killed many Moslems, especially women and children, thus causing the Islamic radicals to lose their popularity among Moslems.  

Normally, the West does not get involved in these Islamic religious wars, unless attacked in a major way. Fighting back is considered, by Moslems, as culturally insensitive, and some of the Western media have picked up on this bizarre interpretation of reality.  Historians like to point out, for example, that the medieval Crusades were a series of wars fought in response to Islamic campaigns against Christians, not the opening act of aggression that started everything. Thus, the current war on terror is, indeed, in the tradition of the Crusades. And there are many other "Crusades" brewing around the world, in the many places where aggressive Islamic  militants are making unprovoked war on their Christian neighbors. Political Correctness among academics and journalists causes pundits to try and turn this reality inside out. But a close look at the violence in Africa, Asia and the Middle East shows a definite pattern of Islamic radicals persecuting those who do not agree with them, not the other way around.

While Islamic terrorism grabs most of the headlines, it is not the cause of many casualties, at least not compared to more traditional wars. The vast majority of the military related violence and deaths in the world comes from dozens of little wars. Actually some of them are not so little. While causalities from terrorism are relatively few (usually 5,000-10,000 dead a year worldwide), the dead and wounded from all the other wars are much more numerous (more than twenty times as much as terrorism). 

Current wars are listed in alphabetical orders. Text underneath briefly describes current status. Click on country name for more details. 

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban are fighting back more vigorously, but without much success. A sharp increase in Taliban activity in 2006 brought forth a sharp response from government and NATO forces. Independent minded tribes, warlords and drug gangs remain a greater threat to peace,  prosperity and true national unity, than the Taliban (which is based across the border in Pakistan).

ALGERIA  

A few hundred Islamic rebels fading away, but a general uprising a threat because of dissatisfaction with the old revolutionaries that refuse to honor election results or share power.

ANGOLA

Main rebel group (UNITA) defeated, but some smaller ones have appeared to fight over oil wealth. This war is basically over. 

BALKANS 

The Greater Albania Movement is driven by part time Albanian nationalists, full time gangsters. Kosovo separatists and a growing number of Islamic radicals. Bosnia continues to attract Islamic terrorists.

CENTRAL ASIA

Dictators brew rebellion by suppressing democrats and Islamic radicals. But not much violence, just a lot of potential. 

CHAD

Rebel movements grew and united, aided by government backed Arab militias from Sudan. There was a three month mini-war with Sudan in mid-2006. More unrest is caused by refugees from tribal battles in Sudan.

CHINA

The confrontation with Taiwan continues, as do hostilities with neighbors, separatists, dissenters and ancient enemies. China speeds up modernization of its armed forces, but in ways Westerners have a difficult time understanding (China is developing major Cyber War capabilities, and using them now.).

COLOMBIA

After over three decades, leftist rebels losing support, recruits and territory. Leftist demagogue in Venezuela threatens to support rebels, but has not done much yet. The drug gangs and rebels have merged in many parts of the country, and war in increasingly about money, not ideology. 

CONGO

Multiple tribal and political militias, plus an increasing number of bandits, continue to roam the countryside. Peacekeepers and army action have reduced the size of these violent groups, but not eliminated them.  However, there are fewer places that the bad guys can roam freely.

ETHIOPIA

Border dispute with Eritrea festers, and invasion of Somalia threatens to get out of hand. Internally, rebellious Moslem groups are a constant threat. 

HAITI

Peacekeepers keep a lid on two century old violence between the rich and the poor, and the criminal and political gangs.

INDIA-PAKISTAN

Kashmir is but one of many rebellions that beset the region. India also has tribal and Islamic rebel in the northeast, and Maoist (communist) ones in between. Pakistan has Islamic radicals in the north, and rebellious Pushtun and Baluchi tribes along the Afghan border.  India and Pakistan have nukes, making escalation a potential catastrophe. As a result, recent peace talks have lowered the possibility of war, but both sides continue an arms race. Pakistani Islamic radical groups continue to support terrorism in India and Afghanistan, although with less support from the Pakistani government. 

INDONESIA

Separatism, pirates, Islamic terrorists and government corruption create a volatile situation that is slowly calming down. Aceh, however, is becoming a stronghold for Islamic conservatives. Newly independent East Timor has been unable to govern itself. 

IRAN

Minority of Islamic conservatives have veto power over the majority of reformers. The supply of peaceful solutions is drying up. After that comes another revolution. Half the population consists of ethnic minorities (mainly Turks and Arabs), and these groups are getting more restive and violent. Meanwhile, the Islamic conservatives are determined to build nuclear weapons, rather than improving the economy and raising living standards. Unrest and terrorist violence becoming more common.

IRAQ

Sunni Arab minority tries to make peace with the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs. But Sunni Arab Islamic radicals still back terrorism attacks against government and Shia Arabs (who are considered heretics). Many Sunni Arabs are fleeing the country, and this appears to be how the war will end, with nearly all the Sunni Arabs dead or expelled. That sort of thing is an ancient practice in this part of the world. U.S. backing out of the picture, with U.S. casualties down four percent compared to last year. 

ISRAEL

Jewish and Palestinian radicals continue to confront peacemakers. The Palestinian people got tired of terrorism, even though they still support it, and are trying to work out a peace deal with Israel. Palestinian economy has collapsed as foreign charity dried up because the people elected Hamas (Islamic terrorists) party to power. Iran backed Islamic radicals in Lebanon have dragged Lebanon into a war with Israel, that left Lebanon a mess. Meanwhile, Israeli economy booms as Israel carries out its plan to wall itself off from the Palestinians (who don't seem to be able to do anything right).

IVORY COAST

The north and the south fight over money, religion and power. This war is stalemated, courtesy of peacekeepers set up between the factions. 

KOREA

After half a century, North Korea continues to destroy its economy, in order to maintain armed forces capable of invading South Korea. A nuclear weapons test changed nothing, although continued famine in the north has prompted China to send more and more troops to the border.  North Korean military declines in power, as lack of money for maintenance or training cause continuing rot. 

KURDISH WAR

Kurds continue 5,000 year struggle to form their own country. But Iran cracks down on its Kurds, while Turkey threatens to move more troops into northern Iraq. 

LIBERIA

Chaos, collapse and tired of fighting. There is peace, but no prosperity.

MEXICO

The passing of one-party rule, the growth of drug gangs, and increasing corruption in the security forces, has triggered growing violence and unrest. 

MICRONESIA

Several "failed states" (countries with populations that cannot govern themselves) are found here. Fiji has another coup, Tonga suffers major riots by democrats. 

NEPAL

Radical communist rebels still struggle to overthrow a popular monarchy, but now do it in an alliance with political parties. This has stopped nearly all the violence, and  greatly reduced the powers of the monarchy. 

NIGERIA

Too many tribes, too much oil money and too much corruption creates growing  violence. The tribes in the oil producing region (the Niger Delta) are getting organized, and a lot more violent. The northern Moslems want more control over the federal government (and the oil money). 

POTENTIAL HOT SPOTS

Various places where the local situation is warming up and might turn into a war.

PHILIPPINES

Islamic minority in the south wants it's own country, and expulsion of non-Moslems. Communist rebels in the north fight for social justice and a dictatorship. Both of these movements are losing and the Moslems are negotiating a peace deal. The communists are taking a beating.

RUSSIA  

Rebuilding and reforming the Soviet era armed forces continues. The war against gangsters and Islamic radicals in Chechnya has been won, but the Islamic radicals continue to operate in other parts of the Caucasus.  

RWANDA & BURUNDI

War between better organized and more aggressive Tutsis and more numerous Hutu tribes. It's been going on for centuries, but the latest installment has finally ended, with the last Hutu group in Burundi giving up.

SOMALIA

A failed state. It was never a country, but a collection of clans and tribes that fight each other constantly over land and other economic issues. The  new "transitional" government, was nearly wiped out by  an " Islamic Courts" movement (which attempted  to put the entire country under the rule of Islamic clergy and Islamic law). When Islamic Courts threatened to expand into Ethiopia, Ethiopia invaded and wiped out the Islamic Courts. The country remains an economic and political mess, a black hole on the map. 

SRI LANKA

Tamil minority (19th century economic migrants from southern India) battles to partition the island.  A long ceasefire ends and fighting has resumed. Tamils (the LTTE) are losing this time.

SUDAN

Moslems in the north try to suppress separatist tendencies among Christians in the south and Moslem rebels in the east and west. All this iscomplicated by oil fields in the south, and Moslem government attempts to drive Christians from oil region. Battles over land in the west pit Arab herders against black Sudanese farmers. Both sides are Moslem, but the government is backing the Arabs.

THAILAND 

Moslems in the south have a different religion than most Thais, and are different ethnically as well (they are Malays). Islamic radicalism has arrived, along with an armed effort to create a separate Islamic state among the few million people in the area. Islamic terrorists grow more powerful month by month, but are still a minor, but high media profile,  problem.

UGANDA

Religion and tribalism combine to create a persistent rebellion in the north, which was aided by Sudan. But now the northern rebels have been worn down, and the unrest is just about done with. Final peace deal with LRA rebels being negotiated.

WAR ON TERROR

International terrorism has created a international backlash and a war unlike any other. The only terrorist victories are in the media. On the ground, the terrorists are losing ground everywhere. There least refuges are places like Somalia, a few of the Philippine islands, and tribal regions of Pakistan. They are being chased out of Somalia and the Philippines, while Pakistan is under constant pressure to do the same.