August 11, 2006: Military operations continue in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Sudan, Thailand, Colombia, Pakistan, Sudan, Congo, and the Philippines, Meanwhile, peace has broken out in Nepal, Chechnya and Burundi. After four years of ceasefire, war has broken out again in Sri Lanka. But the trend has been for things to quiet down a bit, except where Islamic radicals are concerned.
In all these countries, civil war is the main cause of conflict. The usual trigger is a dispute over scarce resources, or territory that has changed hands in the past. There are no traditional "invasion" type wars going on at the moment. However, some of the conflicts involve the use of irregular troops to "invade" a neighbor and try to conquer disputed territory. This is the case in Kashmir, where Pakistani irregulars have been invading this disputed territory, trying to take it from India. Another example is Darfur, where Arabic Sudanese tribes chase black African tribes out of disputed territory. A major threat of war these days comes from China, which threatens to take Taiwan by force, and uses nationalism and military threats to try and control neighbors.
Many current conflicts arise from the ease with which one can establish a private army. Calling the leaders of these forces warlords is pretty accurate, as these guys live off war. Stealing, or extorting, what they need, these groups have flourished on the availability of cheap Cold War surplus weapons from Eastern European and Russian arsenals. Africa is awash in warlords, with armed groups controlling turf all over the continent. The violence in and around Israel is largely because of warlord organizations like Hamas and Hizbollah, which are funded by Moslems seeking to destroy Israel.
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, 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 strike a blow for the cause. 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.
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.
Taliban are fighting back more vigorously, but without much success. Independent minded tribes, warlords and drug gangs remain a greater threat to peace, prosperity and true national unity than the Taliban.
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.
Main rebel group (UNITA) defeated, but some smaller ones have appeared to fight over oil wealth.
The Greater Albania Movement is driven by part time Albanian nationalists, full time gangsters and a growing number of Islamic radicals. Bosnia continues to attract Islamic terrorists.
Dictators brew rebellion by suppressing democrats and Islamic radicals.
Unrest and rebellion is brewing, spurred on by a three month mini-war with Sudan in mid-2006. More unrest is caused by refugees from tribal battles in Sudan.
The confrontation with Taiwan continues, as do hostilities with neighbors, separatists, dissenters and ancient enemies. China speeds up modernization of its armed forces.
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.
Multiple tribal and political militias, plus an increasing number of bandits, continue to roam the countryside. Peacekeepers and army action have reduced the the size of these violent groups, but not eliminated them.
Kashmir is but one of many rebellions that beset the region. But India and Pakistan have nukes, making escalation a potential catastrophe. 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.
Separatism, pirates, Islamic terrorists and government corruption create a volatile situation that is slowly calming down.
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.
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.
Jewish and Palestinian radicals continue to confront peacemakers. The Palestinian people got tired of terrorism and are trying to work out a peace deal with Israel. Iran backed Islamic radicals in Lebanon have dragged Lebanon into a war with Israel.
The north and the south fight over money, religion and power.
After half a century, North Korea continues to destroy its economy to maintain armed forces capable of invading South Korea.
Kurds continue 5,000 year struggle to form their own country.
Chaos, collapse and tired of fighting. There is peace, but no prosperity.
Several "failed states" (countries with populations that cannot govern themselves) are found here.
Radical communist rebels still struggle to overthrow a popular monarchy. An alliance with political parties threatens to greatly reduce the powers of the monarchy, while reducing the violence level.
Too many tribes, too much oil money and too much corruption creates too much violence. The tribes in the major 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.
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.
Rebuilding and reforming the Soviet era armed forces continues. The war against gangsters and Islamic radicals in Chechnya has been one, 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.
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. Attempting to establish a new government, while an Islamic movement tries to put the entire country under the rule of Islamic clergy and Islamic law.
Tamil minority (19th century economic migrants from southern India) battles to partition the island. A long ceasefire ends and fighting has resumed.
Moslems in the north try to suppress separatist tendencies among Christians in the south. Complicated 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.
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.
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.
WAR ON TERROR
International terrorism has created a international backlash and a war unlike any other.
Quick & Dirty Guide to Wars In The World