December 23, 2007:
headlines concentrate on peace breaking out in Iraq, that's but part of a
worldwide trend for the last few years. Violence has also diminished, or
disappeared completely, in places like Nepal, Chechnya. Congo, 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 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 become 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 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
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.
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 made
a lot of noise, but accomplished little. A sharp increase in Taliban activity
in 2006 brought forth a sharp response from government and NATO forces. This
years' Spring Offensive was a flop. 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 Pakistani
government has gone to war against the pro-Taliban tribes and various Islamic
terrorist organizations. That has reduced 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 a growing number of Islamic
radicals.West Europeans inclined to let Kosovo become independent, Serbia
disagrees, and Big Brother Russia offers all manner of support. Bosnia
continues to attract Islamic terrorists, despite the local government becoming
increasingly hostile to these foreign troublemakers and alien Islamic
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 government thought they had a peace deal,
but it quickly fell apart. European peacekeepers are on the way, but are having
problems obtaining sufficient helicopters and air transport. Much of the unrest
is caused by refugees from tribal battles in Sudan, who bring their feuds with
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 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
After over three decades, leftist
rebels losing support, recruits and territory.Leftist demagogue Hugo
Chavez of Venezuela supports the Colombian rebels, and is 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 slowly 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 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 is 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.
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
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. But
that changed this year when the tensions triggered a major army effort against
the Pushtun tribes and their terrorist allies. 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 have joined a coalition of other groups to overthrow
the military dictatorship controlling the Pakistani
government.Pakistan has always been a mess, and does not appear to be getting
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,
however, is becoming a stronghold for Islamic conservatives. 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 improving living standards. Unrest and terrorist violence becoming
more common, and government seeks foreign adventures to distract an unhappy
The "surge offensive" earlier in the year
was a success, and violence plunged by over 60 percent. More areas of the
country are now at peace (as some have been since 2003.) The Sunni Arab
minority tries to make peace with the majority Kurds and Shia Arabs, which now
possible because the Sunni Arab Islamic radicals are seen as on the way out.
Some Sunni Arabs, who had fled the country, are returning, but nearly half the
Sunni Arabs are already gone. The new threat is Shia militias seeking to
acquire more power with firepower, as well as votes. Corruption and inept
government continues to be a major problem.
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 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 the North Korean government has long
exercised. North Korea continues to destroy its economy, in order to maintain
armed forces capable of invading South Korea and keeping 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
Radical communist rebels still struggle
to overthrow a popular monarchy, but now do it inan alliance with
political parties. This has decreased Maoist violence, and greatly
reduced the powers of the monarchy, and triggered uprising by other unhappy
groups (more radical Maoists, hill tribes, ethnic Indians). Maoists still
pushing for an immediate end to the monarchy, and making threats about it.
Maoists apparently believe they would lose a vote over the monarchy.
Too many tribes, not enough 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).Local rebels threaten loss of most oil revenue, which
is getting the governments attention.
POTENTIAL HOT SPOTS
Various places where the local
situation is warming up and might turn into a war. Zimbabwe and Yemen are hot
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 towards neighbors.
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, then changing its mind.
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 wiped out 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.
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.
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. But new military dictatorship took a softer
line towards the south, and that appears to be hurting the terrorists. But the
generals are about to be voted out of power, and the new government may go back
to dealing with the Islamic terrorists using the traditional Thai approach
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.
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.
Their last refuges are chaotic, or cynical, places like Iran, Syria, Lebanon,
Somalia, Gaza, the Sahel, a few of the Philippine islands, and tribal regions
of Pakistan. They are being chased out of Iraq, Somalia and the
Philippines, while Pakistan is getting increasingly tough with terrorists and
pro-terrorist groups. 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 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. For example, an al Qaeda suicide
bomber recently blew himself up in a crowded mosque, killing 48 worshippers.
This, naturally, turns 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.