RSS
 

Posts Tagged ‘somalia’

Is the World On the Brink of Major War?

20 Aug

What on earth is the world coming to?  We now live in a time of war, and rumors of war, and the rumors just keep coming!  A recent article in the magazine Foreign Policy actually postulates what may occur if China and Japan were to fight a naval war over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.  Back when we lived through the Cold War, in a bipolar world, (that means that there were two main superpowers in the world), and most conflicts in the world revolved around the Soviet-American rivalry, the basic calculus was simple:  The two superpowers would keep their allies and satellites in check, and, barring some extraordinarily crazy sparking event, the chances of an actual war between the superpowers would likely not happen due to the threat of mutually assured nuclear destruction.  That also meant that if America’s ally Israel got the upper hand over Soviet-allied Egypt and Syria in the latest Middle Eastern War, the Americans would rein in the Israelis before they could march on Cairo or Damascus and trigger possible Soviet intervention.  Similarly, it was fairly certain that the Soviets would convince Syria to not use its stockpile of chemical weapons on Israel for similar fear of an American intervention.  In many ways, the Cold War rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union kept a lid on many possible conflicts that could have sparked a bigger war.

Well, the Soviet Union is gone now, and we are faced with a multi-polar world.  Make no mistake, the U.S. is still the only legitimate superpower around.  The U.S. can project power literally anywhere in the world with a high degree of certainty of tactical victory.  For example, on a month’s notice in 2001, American and allied forces launched an invasion/liberation of Afghanistan (literally on the other side of the planet from the U.S.), following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  But other, regional powers are flexing their muscles and making threatening noises, and this will continue to be a reality as those regional powers (such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Japan, Russia, India, and others), come into conflict with their neighbors.  Notice that several of the nations named above are neighbors with each other, or at least inhabit the same neighborhood.

In August of 2012, a look at the current wars, border conflicts, and potential international problems that are currently being discussed, and reported on in the news:

Israel is openly debating whether or not to attack Iran.  The Iranians, for their part, continue to develop their controversial nuclear program, while simultaneously we hear their leaders call for the destruction of Israel.

–The United States continues to place increased military forces in the regions surrounding Iran, just in case there is an Israeli-Iranian War.  If such a war breaks out, the U.S. will almost certainly be drawn in.

–The ongoing Syrian Civil War is getting bloodier, and the Assad regime may be getting more desperate.  Speculation has arisen over the possibility of Assad using his stockpile of chemical weapons on either the rebels or on the nations that support them, namely Turkey and Jordan.  Of course, Assad could also just use them on Israel, hoping to gain traction with his own people or with other Arab nations.  All of the above-named anti-Assad nations are friends of the U.S., which has made no bones about intervening if Assad were to use his weapons of mass destruction.

Israel is openly preparing for a possible intervention of their own in Syria if they believe that Assad is going to transfer his chemical weapons to his Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.

Egypt is engaged in a low-level but growing battle to re-assert authority in the Sinai, where Islamic militants are launching more frequent and more deadly attacks on Egyptian, Israeli, and American forces. (The Americans are in the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force & Observers, which has helped keep the peace between Egypt and Israel since the Camp David Accords).

-China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian nations are engaged in name-calling and posturing over the contested Spratly Islands.  China has increasingly asserted authority on the islands, even to the point of setting up a small city on one of them.  The military forces of several nations are in the area.  The main reason for this conflict is the belief that the area is rich in oil and natural gas. The United States is a close ally of the Philippines, and is increasingly establishing strong military and diplomatic ties with Vietnam, and any military conflict over these islands would almost certainly the U.S. against the Chinese.

–Similarly, China and Japan are currently engaged in serious name-calling and worse over their contested islands, which the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands, and the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands.  Some respected publications like Foreign Policy are posting articles speculating on the outcome of a possible Sino-Japanese Naval war in 2012.  Of course, the United States is a close ally of Japan, and any military conflict would almost certainly bring the U.S. on the Japanese side.

–American military forces are still heavily engaged against Taliban forces in Afghanistan, while other U.S. assets continue to deploy against al-Qaida and other Islamist forces throughout the world.

–In Yemen, American trainers continue to aid the Yemeni government while occasional U.S. drone attacks take out al-Qaida operatives.  Several terrorist attacks against American targets have originated out of Yemen in recent years.

— U.S. drone attacks against al-Qaida and other Islamist targets in Pakistan continue unabated.  One estimate places the number of dead from these attacks since 2004 at over 3,000.

–U.S.-funded allies, actively aided by American air and naval forces (and of course, more drone attacks), provide the military muscle in the Somali government’s war against the Islamist and al-Qaida allied Shabab rebels.  These allies include Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and Ethiopia.

–Following the successful campaign by NATO and other allied nations (Qatar among them), to aid rebels in overthrowing Muammar Gadhafi’s tyrannical regime, several thousand Taureg mercenaries previously employed by Gadhafi went home to northern Mali (with the nice weapons Gadhafi gave them), and commenced to defeat the Malian army and establish a de facto Taureg homeland in northern Mali.  These Taureg (that is the name of their ethnic group) have been infiltrated by the North African branch of al-Qaida and other Islamist groups.  Several other West African nations are contemplating sending a military force to Mali to defeat them.  The United States and other Western nations would likely end up supporting such an intervention with funds, material, and possibly troops.  Oh, and probably drones, as well.

There are a few more international issues that are on the back burner as well, but this list gives a pretty good idea of the precarious situation the world is in right now.  And that is not even mentioning the perpetual worries over Korea!  And, as the Democratic and Republican parties in the United States prepare for their presidential nominating conventions, not a single one of these issues is a major item of discussion for the two presidential candidates.  In fact, a quick look at major news stories in America during the middle of August show a fascination with GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s fitness regimen and his six-pack abs.  The major political story on August 20 involves a Republican Senate candidate’s idiotic remarks about rape and conception.  Hardly any mention was made in the news about the recent coalition deaths in Afghanistan, and certainly no debate over the ongoing war there. 

The world is a deadlier place in 2012 than it seemed in 1992, just after the end of the Cold War.  We are on the brink of not just one possible regional war, but several, all with calamitous effects on the world economy, and on world security.

 

 

 

Kenyan Invasion of Somalia Update 10.18.11

19 Oct

al-Shabab War in Somalia Update:

After the disintigration of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) after the U.S.-aided Ethiopian Invasion of 2006, the al-Shabab militia became the leading Islamist military group. In 2007, Shabab publicly aligned itself with al-Qaida, and has waged a bloody guerrilla war against the TFG government forces and the African Union troops (primarily troops from Uganda and Burundi), in Mogadishu and in southern Somalia. Al-Shabab is considered a terrorist group by Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (see alsoU.S. Special Forces Attack on al-Qaida in Somalia (September, 2009)

Shabab engaged in a terrorist attack in Uganda in 2010, and in the autumn of 2011, Shabab militants kidnapped several foreigners from Kenyan soil, prompting a Kenyan military intervention in southern Somalia to battle the Shabab fighters. Kenyan government sources claimed that the goal of their invasion was to end the Shabab presence in the southern Somali city of Kismayo.

Witnesses reported seeing 25Kenyan armoured vehicles carrying Kenyan soldiers passing through the Somali town of Dhobley, and there were reports of warplanes bombing two Shabab bases near the border.

According to the BBC, Somali government troops are acting in conjunction with the Kenyan forces ito attack the al-Shabab-controlled areas in southern Somalia. The third day of the Kenyan offensive featured a slowing down of Kenyan forces due to heavy rain and mud in a region with few paved roads.

Map Kenya and Somalia

Map of Kenya and southern Somalia in 2011

http://www.historyguy.com/somalia_conflict_shabab_war.htm

 

History Guy Website Update

25 Apr

 

New and updated pages on the History Guy Website at http://www.historyguy.com include information on several wars and conflicts, including:

–The Habsburg-Valois wars of the 1400s and 1500s, which were waged largely in Italy between France and the Holy Roman Empire (which was dominated by Austria). See: http://www.historyguy.com/french_wars_in_italy_habsburg_valois_wars.htm

 

–The wars of The Habsburg Empire,(better known as Austria-Hungary), between the years 1815, at the end of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and 1918, at the end of the First World War, resulting in the collapse and death of the Habsburg Empire. See: http://www.historyguy.com/wars_of_habsburg_empire_austria-hungary_1815-1918.htm

–The wars in the region of Africa known as “The Horn of Africa,” including the nations of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia.  This page discusses such wars as Somalia’s “Mad Mullah,” the ongoing Oromo resistance in Ethiopia, the Ogaden War, the bloody Ethiopian-Eritrean Wars, the Somali Civil War, and, most recently, the Somali Pirate Attacks that plague the shipping industry off the coast of Somalia.

See :http://www.historyguy.com/wars_of_the_horn_of_africa.htm

 

Casualties in the Somali War

02 Dec

Some war casualty figures were released by a human-rights group in Somalia. The figures are unverified, but, in the History Guy’s opinion, are not outside the realm of possibility. Mogadishu has seen heavy combat between the insurgent Islamic forces and the heavily-equipped Ethiopian military. Also, the insurgents are using Iraq-style bombing techniques and tactics, which tend to inflict large numbers of casualties among civilians.

According to Somalia’s Elman Human Rights group, 5,960 civilian fatalities occurred in the capital of Mogadishu in 2007. Also, the group claims that 7,980 civilians were wounded and over 700,000 displaced from their homes due to the continuing war between the Somali government and the Islamic insurgency. Ethiopia is aiding the Somali government; providing troops and air power to fight the insurgents. In December of 2006, Ethiopian forces, with American aid, invaded Islamic forces-held Somali territory and overthrew the extremist Islamic regime and helped install a pro-Western government in its place.

Source:

Somali group: 5,960 killed this year–Associated Press, December 2, 2007