While the mass media continues to feature wars and
terrorism, the overall trend continues away from such unpleasantness. Such
stories are anathema to the mass media, because they do not attract eyeballs,
and revenue. That's the way people are, and the result is a distorted view of trends
in global violence.
Worldwide, violence continues to decline, as it has for the last few
years. Violence has also greatly diminished, or disappeared completely,
in places like Iraq,
Nepal, Chechnya, Congo, Indonesia and Burundi. Even Afghanistan,
touted as the new war zone, is seeing less violence this year than last.
All this continues a trend that began when the Cold War ended, and the
Soviet Union no longer subsidized terrorist and rebel groups
everywhere. The current wars are basically uprisings against police states
or feudal societies, which are seen as out-of-step with the modern world. Many
are led by radicals preaching failed dogmas (Islamic conservatism, Maoism),
that still resonate among people who don't know about the dismal track records
of these movements.
The War on
Terror has morphed into the War Against Islamic Radicalism. This
religious radicalism 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. The current enthusiasm for violence in
the name of God has been building for over half a century. Historically,
periods of Islamic radicalism have 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 needs 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. Moreover, modern sensibilities have made that
more difficult. For example, fighting back is considered, by Moslems, as
culturally insensitive ("war on Islam"), and some of the Western
media have picked up on this bizarre interpretation of reality. However,
some historians like to point out, for example, that the medieval Crusades were
a series of wars fought in response to Islamic violence against Christians, not
the opening act of aggression against Islam that continue to the present. 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
many little wars that get little media attention outside their region. 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 actually comprise about 95 percent of all the
casualties. The Islamic terrorism looms larger because the terrorists threaten
attacks everywhere, putting a much larger population in harms way, and unhappy
with that prospect. But in the West, and most Moslem nations, Islamic terrorism
remains more of a threat than reality.
Current wars are listed in alphabetical orders. Text underneath briefly
describes current status. Click on country name for more details.
The Taliban attempt at a comeback has been reinforced by drug gang
profits and al Qaeda choosing the Pakistani border area the location for their
last stand. With all that, violence nationwide is still lower than last year. 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). The newly elected Pakistani government is reluctant to
make on the pro-Taliban tribes and various Islamic terrorist organizations.
That has increased the flow of gunmen from Pakistan into Afghanistan. But the
violence inside Afghanistan is growing, largely because of the growth of the
drug gangs, and their support for tribes (especially pro-Taliban ones) that
oppose the national government.
A few hundred Islamic rebels persist, despite the hostility of most
Algerians. The local Islamic terrorists have now officially become a part of al
Qaeda, and have turned to suicide bombing. This kills a lot of civilians, and increases
the hatred the population already feels towards the Islamic radicals. The level
of terrorist violence is still much lower than it was a few years ago. The
population is not happy, and a general uprising remains a threat because of
dissatisfaction with the old revolutionaries that refuse to honor election
results, share power or govern effectively.
The Greater Albania Movement is driven by part time Albanian
nationalists, full time gangsters, political opportunists, Kosovo separatists
and some Islamic radicals. West Europeans got their way, and Kosovo became
independent. Serbia disagrees with that, and Big Brother Russia offers all
manner of support, and threats. Bosnia continues to attract Islamic terrorists,
despite the local government becoming increasingly hostile to these foreign
troublemakers and alien Islamic conservatism.
Dictators brew rebellion by suppressing democrats and Islamic radicals.
But not much violence, just a lot of potential.
Rebel movements grew and united, aided by Sudanese backed Arab militias
from across the border. The Chad government gave refuge to Sudanese Darfur
rebels. The government thought they had a peace deal, but it quickly fell
apart. European peacekeepers are arriving, but are having problems obtaining
sufficient helicopters and air transport. Much of the unrest along the border is
caused by refugees from tribal battles in Sudan, who bring their feuds with
them. Prospects for peace are not good.
The confrontation with Taiwan continues, as do hostilities with
neighbors, separatists, dissenters and ancient enemies. A new government in
Taiwan plays down independence, and China responds with soothing words. But
also China speeds up modernization of its armed forces, but in ways Westerners
have a difficult time understanding. China has developed a major Cyber War
capability, and has been using it for over a year. The targets of this, in
Western Europe and the U.S., have figured this out, and a new crises is born.
China has become major secret supplier of cheap weapons to bad guys everywhere.
World class weapons are planned for the future, some 10-20 years from now.
After over three decades, leftist rebels more rapidly losing support,
recruits and territory. Even leftist demagogue Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has
dropped support for the Colombian rebels, although he is still providing
sanctuary for them and their cocaine producing allies. The drug gangs and leftist
rebels have merged in many parts of the country, and war in increasingly about
money, not ideology. The leftist rebels are definitly losing, but all that
drug money will keep them in the game for quite a while.
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. Attempts to
merge rebels into the army has not worked well. The last major problem is a
Tutsi militia in the east, which will not disarm until the government destroys
Hutu militias built around Hutu mass murderers who fled neighboring Rwanda in
the 1990s. UN peacekeepers criticized for not fighting more, but that's not
their job. Congolese army not up to it yet either, so there it simmers.
Border dispute with Eritrea festers, and invasion of Somalia bogs down in
local clan feuds. Internally, rebellious Moslem groups are a constant threat,
especially with more active support from Eritrea. Ogaden province, right
on the Somali border, and full of ethnic Somalis, has rebelled again. Not a big
deal, but one more hot spot that burns up troops and scarce cash. These two
border wars have been around for centuries, and not likely to go away now.
Peacekeepers keep a lid on two century old violence between the rich and
the poor, and the criminal and political gangs. Peacekeepers have busted up
many of the gangs, and sharply lowered the crime rate. But the government is
still corrupt and prone to breed lawbreakers and disorder.
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. The Taliban had become stronger
in Pakistan, where it originated, than in Afghanistan. Newly elected Pakistani government wants to
make peace with the Taliban and the Taliban is willing to pretend it is
cooperating. India and Pakistan both 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, and are still
threatening the Pakistani government with attacks. Pakistan has always
been a mess, and does not appear to be getting better.
Basically at peace, but separatism, pirates, Islamic terrorists and
government corruption create a volatile situation that could get hot real fast.
Islamic terrorists have been greatly diminished, as Islamic moderates flex
their traditional popularity. Aceh still has a few diehard separatist rebels.
Newly independent East Timor has been unable to govern itself.
The basic problem is that an Islamic conservative minority has veto power over the reformist majority.
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 support terrorism overseas and build
nuclear weapons at home, rather than improving the economy and living
standards. Unrest and terrorist violence becoming more common, and government
seeks foreign adventures to distract an unhappy population.
The "surge offensive" last year capitalized on years of work, crushed the
Islamic terrorists. Violence plunged by over 80 percent. More areas of the
country are now at peace (as some have been since 2003.) The Sunni Arab
minority has worked out peace deals with the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs. Some
Sunni Arab Islamic radicals are still active, but are in decline. Some Sunni
Arabs, who had fled the country, are returning, but nearly half the Sunni Arabs
are already gone. The Shia militias have been defeated as well, mainly by Iraqi
police and troops. Corruption and inept government continues to be a major
Palestinians are trying to make some kind of peace, in order to reverse
the economic disaster they brought on themselves because of their seven year
terror campaign against Israel. Palestinians are tired of terrorism,
even though they still support it. The Palestinian economy has collapsed, as
foreign charity dried up because the people elected the Hamas (Islamic
terrorists) party to power. Civil war between radical Hamas and corrupt
Palestinian old guard (Fatah) has split Palestinians. Iran backed Islamic
radicals (Hizbollah) in Lebanon have revived fears of civil war up there. Hizbollah
threatens to drag Lebanon into another
civil war, or another war with
Israel. Meanwhile, Israeli economy booms as Israel continues its effective
An uneasy truce continues. The north and the south finally make a deal
over money, religion and power. All this is watched over by peacekeepers
set up between the factions.
Growing unrest, corruption and privation threaten the iron control that
has long kept the north peaceful. North Korea continues to destroy its economy,
in order to maintain armed forces capable of invading South Korea and keep its
own population in bondage. Continued famine in the north has prompted China to
send more and more troops to the border to keep hungry North Koreas out. North
Korean military declines in power, as lack of money for maintenance or training
cause continuing rot. Government split into reform and conservative
factions, making change difficult to achieve. South Koreans are growing tired
of the madness that still reigns in the north.
Turkish aircraft and troops now operating on the Iraqi side of the
border, seeking to either destroy Kurdish separatists, or push their bases
further into Iraq. Kurds continue 5,000 year struggle to form their own
country. Iran is cracking down on its Kurds, while Turkey threatens even more
action if the Iraqi Kurdish government doesn't get serious about the Kurdish
separatists who operate inside Turkey, from bases in Iraq. Iraqi Kurds believe
they will get control of some Iraqi oil fields, providing cash for all manner
of opportunities. But that is opposed by Iraqi Arabs and other minorities.
The U.S. border is like a war zone. The passing of one-party rule, the
growth of drug gangs, and increasing corruption in the security forces, has
triggered growing violence and unrest. The government has gone to war with
the drug gangs, and the outcome is still in doubt.
Radical communist rebels succeed in eliminating the monarchy, via an
alliance with political parties. This has decreased Maoist violence, and caused
a struggle for control of the government. All this has triggered uprising by
other unhappy groups (more radical Maoists, hill tribes, ethnic Indians).
Too many tribes, not enough oil money and too much corruption creates
growing violence. The tribes and gangs (both criminal and political) 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). Local rebels threaten loss of most oil
revenue, which is getting the governments attention.
Various places where the local situation is warming up and might turn
into a war. Zimbabwe and Yemen are hot right now.
Islamic minority in the south wants its own country, and the 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
that inches closer to a done deal. The communists are taking a beating, and not
willing to talk seriously yet.
Rebuilding and reforming the decrepit 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.
Russia returns to police state ways, and traditional threatening attitude
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, then changing its
A failed state that defies every attempt at nation building. It was never
a country, but a collection of clans and tribes that fight each other
constantly over economic issues (land and water). 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 smashed the Islamic
Courts. The Islamic radicals have turned to terrorism, and Eritrea continues to
provide support. The country remains an economic and political mess, a black
hole on the map. Not much hope in sight.
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. LTTE will not go quietly,
even though they lose a little more each month.
Moslems in the north try to suppress separatist tendencies among
Christians in the south and Moslem rebels in the east and west. All this is
complicated by development of oil fields in the south, and Moslem government
attempts to drive Christians from the 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. The government uses Arab nationalism and
economic ties with Russia and China to defy the world and get away with driving
non-Arab tribes from Darfur. The government believes time is on its side, and
that the West will never trying anything bold and effective to halt the
violence. So far, the government has been proven right.
Malay Moslems in the south are three percent of the population, and
different. Most Thais, are ethnic Thais and Buddhist. In the south,
however, Islamic radicalism has arrived, along with an armed effort to create a
separate Islamic state in the three southern provinces. Islamic terrorists grew
more powerful month by month for several years, and refuse to negotiate. Security
forces persisted and are making progress in rounding up the terrorists.
Meanwhile, civil war brews between urban and rural segments of the population,
under the leadership of political parties that differ on how the nation should
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. It's taking longer than expected, and the LRA may just
fade away before a final deal is made.
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. Their last refuges are chaotic, or
cynical, places like Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Gaza, the Sahel, a few of
the Philippine islands, and especially tribal regions of Pakistan (where al
Qaeda is staging a last stand). They are being chased out of Iraq, Somalia
and the Philippines. Iran continues to support terrorism in the face of much
local disapproval. Syria and Lebanon are in chaos because of Iranian subsidized
factions. Gaza went the same way. Islamic radicals are a traditional reaction
to tyranny in their region, and the inability of local despots to rule
effectively. Economic and diplomatic ties with the West are interpreted as
support, leading to attacks on Western targets that created a devastating
counterattack. The result of this in the Moslem world has been dramatic,
finally forcing leaders and people to confront their self-inflicted problems. Al
Qaeda is as self-destructive as its many predecessors. Al Qaeda suicide bomb
attacks that continue to kill civilians, continues to turn Moslems against al Qaeda in a big way. But
the terrorists justify such dumb attacks because their doctrine holds that
Moslems who don't agree with them, are not really Moslems. You can imagine how
well that goes over with most Moslems. You can, but al Qaeda can't, and that is
what guarantees their demise.