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Major Wars

Perpetual peace is no empty idea, but a practical thing which, through its gradual solution, is coming always nearer its final realization..."
Immanuel Kant

Like all history, military history is an ongoing story, one that grows daily with each bullet fired or bomb detonated. The United Nations defines "major wars" as military conflicts inflicting 1,000 battlefield deaths per year. In 1965, there were 10 major wars under way. The new millennium began with much of the world consumed in armed conflict or cultivating an uncertain peace. As of mid-2005, there were eight Major Wars under way [down from 15 at the end of 2003], with as many as two dozen "lesser" conflicts ongoing with varrying degrees of intensity.

Conflicts currently making the planet bleed

1. Palestinian Territories
Making war since: 2007
Estimated fatalities: Nearly 100 in the June fight for Gaza
When 2006 elections handed Palestinian Authority power to the militant Islamic group Hamas, the secular Fatah party""and the West""worked to limit Hamas' power. No fair! Hamas said. Hamas then went on a massive offensive in June, seizing the Gaza Strip.
2. Iraq
Making war since: 2003
Estimated fatalities: 74,000-plus, including more than 3,600 U.S. servicemen and -women
After the prophet Muhammad died, in 632 A.D., his followers divided over whom to follow next. Today Sunni and Shiite Muslims carry on that disagreement in blood.
3. Kashmir
Making war since: 1947
Estimated fatalities: 70,000
India and Pakistan began fighting for Kashmir in 1947, when it was liberated from the Brits. Both claim a portion, but Pakistan wants it all. And both have nukes.
4. Somalia
Making war since: 1991
Estimated fatalities: 1,000 in February's Uprising
Since Somalia's central government crumbled 16 years ago, 14 attempts to form a government have been toppled. Last December troops from Ethiopia entered the capital, Mogadishu, to repel Islamic insurgents.
5. Pakistan
Making war since: 2001
Estimated fatalities: Hundreds of local citizens
Tribal leaders, strengthened by an influx of aid from the Taliban and Al Qaeda, flex their muscle against the government's military forces.
6. Turkey
Making war since: 1984
Estimated fatalities: More than 35,000
The Kurdistan Workers Party fights for a home for the Kurds of southeastern Turkey by attacking Turkish targets, then melting back into Iraq. Turkey has resisted launching a cross-border strike into Iraq""for now.
7. Myanmar
Making war since: 1949
Estimated fatalities: More than 600,000
The Karen people's fight for independence from the dictatorship of Myanmar""formerly Burma""is the world's longest-running civil war. The junta has responded by leveling towns, leaving one million homeless.
8. Afghanistan
Making war since: 2001
Estimated fatalities: 426 U.S. soldiers alone
The post-9/11 U.S. invasion removed the Taliban from power, but today 46,000 NATO- and U.S.-led troops continue to clash with the insurgent rebels. Documents suggest Al Qaeda sanctuaries have increased fourfold.
9. Chechnya
Making war since: 1999
Estimated fatalities: As many as 200,000
Muslim Chechnya fought Russia for independence in 1994. In 1999, Chechen terrorists entered Russian territory, prompting Vladimir Putin, then prime minister, to use force against the region. Rebel attacks continue.
10. Sri Lanka
Making war since: 1983
Estimated fatalities: 67,000
The Tamil Tigers guerrilla group formed to fight for independence in northern Sri Lanka, and bloody violence continued until a 2002 ceasefire. In March, Sri Lankan government troops pushed back into Tiger territory.
11. Algeria
Making war since: 1992
Estimated fatalities: 200,000
All-out civil war began after the military canceled elections as a fundamentalist Islamic party looked set to win. Hostilities have eased, but groups of Al Qaeda""supported Islamic terrorists continue to plant bombs.
12. Colombia
Making war since: 1964
Estimated fatalities: 3,000 annually
Marxist rebel groups try to topple Colombia's class system with help from drug money. Right-wing paraÂ-­military groups protect rich landowners' farms. And peasants get caught in the crossfire.
13. Sudan
Making war since: 2003
Estimated fatalities: 200,000
In Darfur the Janjaweed militia has fought the liberation armies""and killed hundreds of thousands of nomads""since 2003 with government backing. Before that a 20-year civil war claimed over two million lives.
14. Mexico
Making war since: 2006
Estimated fatalities: 3,100 people since 2006
In response to the surging power and increasing ferocity of drug cartels, President Felipe CalderÃ-³n has sent thousands of federal troops to eight Mexican states, using military force to patrol gangland territory.
15. Democratic Republic of Congo
Making war since: 1998""2003; attacks continue
Estimated fatalities: Nearly four million
The first democratic elections in 40 years were supposed to end a civil war. But last March a militia loyal to a losing candidate filled the capital with 600 corpses.

Most of these are civil or "intrastate" wars, fueled as much by racial, ethnic, or religious animosities as by ideological fervor. Most victims are civilians, a feature that distinguishes modern conflicts. During World War I, civilians made up fewer than 5 percent of all casualties. Today, 75 percent or more of those killed or wounded in wars are non-combatants.

Africa, to a greater extent than any other continent, is afflicted by war. Africa has been marred by more than 20 major civil wars since 1960. Rwanda, Somalia, Angola, Sudan, Liberia, and Burundi are among those countries that have recently suffered serious armed conflict.

War has caused untold economic and social damage to the countries of Africa. Food production is impossible in conflict areas, and famine often results. Widespread conflict has condemned many of Africa's children to lives of misery and, in certain cases, has threatened the existence of traditional African cultures.

Conflict prevention, mediation, humanitarian intervention and demobilization are among the tools needed to underwrite the success of development assistance programs. Nutrition and education programs, for example, cannot succeed in a nation at war. Billions of dollars of development assistance have been virtually wasted in war-ravaged countries such as Liberia, Somalia, and Sudan.

The world is a violent place, and for various political, economic, religious and other reasons, wars and conflicts often erupt. Religions are not supposed to be used to justify violence. It is important to realize that most of the world's current "hot spots" have a complex interaction of economic, racial, ethnic, religious, and other factors.

For the past thirty years at least, since the end of the independence struggle of the 1960s, Africa has been plagued by all kinds of disasters. Drought, famine, malaria, Aids, it has been one after the other. But with all the malaises the continent has confronted in its path to growth and maturity, none is greater than the man-made disasters. The greatest harms done to Africa and its people were African made. These derived from problems of governance and the greed of power. It is either an Ojukwu in Nigeria seeking to carve a republic of his own out of the great Nigeria or a Dr. Savimbi in Angola, fighting an ideological war at a time when most people don't even remember the divide between East and West ideologies.

Some African conflicts have to do with the way countries were created to suit the needs of colonial powers. In many cases, tribes were divided in order to weaken them and they fell under various flags. After independence, some of these tribes tried to regroup and this led to border conflicts. In other cases, century old tribal antagonisms resurfaced once the colonial power left. This may be the case of one of the oldest modern armed conflict in Africa and still going on in Sudan. There has always been an opposition between the North and South Sudan, due to cultural and religious differences. The Muslim North dominated political and economic power, drawing its strength from ethnic Arabs. The South, mostly populated by Black Africans and mostly Christians, has constantly been fighting to gain "respect". The war in Sudan, where instances of slavery by the North on the South have been reported, has now become the subject of a new peace process. The US government sent a special envoy to talk to both sides of the conflict. Can the North accept an autonomous South? Meanwhile, the killing goes on.

Just as the Nazi threat was not confined to Jews, the "Islamofascist"- threat is not confined to Jews, as demonstrated by the events of September 11, 2001 and by Islamic terrorist bombings in London, Madrid, Bali and Israel. Nazism held a genuine appeal for the Arab populace, who were attracted to its messages of rejection of democracy, recovery of past military glory and Jew-hating. In 1935, Reza Shah, the ruler of Persia, changed the country's name from Persia to Iran to reflect that they, like the Nazis, were Aryans.

The historic Nazi connection to today's Islamic terrorism is Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He became a Nazi agent after meeting Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust, in Palestine in 1937, and with Nazi funds organized the Arab Revolt of 1936-39 which led to the British closing Palestine to Jewish immigration. This facilitated the "Final Solution" by closing off the avenue of refuge. In 1941, the mufti orchestrated a short-lived, Nazi-backed generals' coup in Iraq. One of the participants in that coup, Gen. Khayrallah Tulfah, was Saddam Hussein's uncle and mentor.

The Iraq coup was followed by the Farhud, a pogrom against Baghdad's Jews, an event viewed by Sephardic Jews as comparable to the German "Kristallnacht." The Mufti obtained Hitler's assurance in November 1941 that after dealing with the Jews of Europe, Hitler would treat the Jews of the Middle East similarly. Husseini promised the support of the Arabs for the Nazi war effort. In Berlin, Husseini used the "sonderfund," money confiscated from Jewish victims, to finance subversive pro-Nazi activities in the Middle East and to raise 20,000 Muslim troops in Bosnia, the infamous Hanjar S.S. Waffen, who murdered tens of thousands of Serbs and Jews in the Balkans and served as police auxiliary in Hungary.

Of the numerous war conflicts in the world today, several of them are Islamic related. The United States is involved in two of those wars. If the news reported on the other Islamic wars, one might have a better knowledge of the real world. Why isn't the rest of the world mad or concerned about the tens of thousands of innocent people who are being killed by Islamic radicals in Sudan or Chechnya? Islamic fascism is being ignored around the world. shame on the rest of the world for ignoring the other Islamic fascist wars of the world!

For centuries Islamic fascists have spread their faith by the sword. I think it's safe to say a majority of the worlds religions have rationally evolved. Almost all of them today can live side-by-side and peacefully with one another. There's one religion, some might say a hijacked religion, that refuses to be at peace with it's neighbors and herein lies the main problem. Around the world Islamic fascists are killing 23 people there, 197 someplace else, 57 there, 83 someplace else. For centuries radical Islam has been at war with it's neighbors. If we ignore them another 30 years, they'll go away, right?

The world's only superpower is distracted with other problems. And the global bad actors are taking notice. Experts both in and out of government are keeping a watchful eye on five hot spots in particular. What each has in common is a set of leaders with the ability to ignite regional, if not global, conflicts, the real global warming.

In 2010, Kim Jong Il's regime launched two of the worst breaches of the armistice that ended the Korean War 57 years ago. First, North Korea sank a South Korean warship with a guided torpedo in March, killing 46 crewmen. Then, in late November, it unleashed an artillery barrage on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, killing four and putting the region on a war footing that prompted China to call for an emergency meeting.

North Korea is nestled alongside three of the largest economies on earth: South Korea, China, and Japan. While a war could kill hundreds of thousands in a matter of days "" the capital city of Seoul is just 30 minutes from one of the largest missile batteries on earth "" the violence, and the millions of fleeing refugees, would swamp China, forcing it to steer resources away from the West. The world's economy could grind to a halt for months.

Revealing the increasing, dark arms market among the nation's rogue regimes, the WikiLeaks documents revealed that North Korea stockpiled Iran with sophisticated missiles that would extend Iran's strike capabilities. Tehran acquired 19 missiles capable of reaching cities in Western Europe or Moscow, U.S. intelligence officials say. But Iran's missile power and its continuing effort to develop nuclear weapons are only part of the problem. The Islamic republic's ultimate goal is to become a new superpower controlling the Middle East much like the Soviets presided over Eastern Europe in the last century. Iran has developed proxy states Hamas with state-of-the-art weaponry. It also has cultivated an emerging Shia ally in Iraq and used it to muscle Saudi Arabia. That's one reason Saudi King Abdullah pleaded with the United States to attack Iran's nuclear plants, according to leaked diplomatic cables.

An aging king, troubled lines of succession, and a radical fundamentalist streak make this oil monarchy a powder keg. America's key regional ally is beginning a very complex and uncertain royal succession process that could take years to play out. Both the king and the crown prince suffer from illness and old age. Who might succeed them remains unclear. Saudi Arabia's stability is vital to American and global economic security. An overthrow of the House of Saud could put radicals in charge of one of the world's largest oil reserves and create such disarray that production would halt. A weapon of mass destruction detonated in those oil fields would collapse the world economy overnight, altering the global balance of power.

Dictator Hugo Chavez continues his efforts to consolidate power in South American oil via Venezuela. To call him "Castro with oil" explains only part of it: Chavez, too, is clamoring for a nuke, and he has been quite open in providing a Latin regional office for Iran, Hezbollah, and other unsavory groups. Chavez's purchases of tanks, fighter jets, and air defense systems in the past few years. The soldier-turned-president says he is merely modernizing Venezuela's aging armaments. And although Latin America's economy, driven by Brazil, Chile, and others, is rebounding, Chavez's machinations could cause the region's fortunes to stall.

Imagine a conflict as brutal and large scale as the war in Iraq spilling over into Texas and California. It's no news that large parts of Mexico essentially have become narco-states within a state. Thus far, however, the drug cartels have focused attention on killing each others' soldiers and not Americans. The stage is set, however, for any dynamic group or single leader to consolidate all of this firepower and turn it on American forces. Mexico's cartels have penetrated America's major cities. Unlike Iran or North Korea, they have agents and firepower stashed away in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Atlanta. The right combination of circumstances could bring this war to the home front very quickly.



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