January 5, 2010

A decade of war

Filed under: Africa, Asia, Europe, History, Middle East, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 07:19

Strategy Page has an annotated list of the last decade’s wars, declared and undeclared, and armed confrontations just short of warfare:

It’s actually been a decade of less and less war. There’s also been a lot of déjà vu, with many wars seeming to be endless. Some wars are like that. So what were all the current hot spots like a decade ago, and what happened to them? Below is a list, with the short version of what happened (check out archives for the much longer version).

Afghanistan was sort of under the control of the Pakistani backed Taliban in 2000. But the civil war, that began in the late 1970s, was still going on. The Taliban were winning, slowly, fueled by taxes on the heroin trade. But the Taliban were increasingly unpopular, mainly for trying to impose lifestyle rules on a hostile population. September 11, 2001 brought in the Americans to help the factions still fighting the Taliban, and within three months, the Taliban were out of power, and fleeing to Pakistan. A democracy was established, but corruption and tribal rivalries crippled it from the start. The Pushtun tribes resented the domination of the non-Pushtun tribes (60 percent of the population), and this enabled the Taliban to rebuild and undertake a terror campaign to regain control of the country. It’s a suicide mission (even most Pushtuns oppose them), but that’s pretty normal for Afghanistan.

[. . .]

Iraq- Saddam Hussein was under siege at the beginning of the decade, refusing to comply with the terms of his defeat in the 1991 war over Kuwait. Saddam, as he later admitted, had no weapons of mass destruction, but did not want the Iranians (who wanted to kill him for invading in 1980) to know. It was a successful deception, so much so that all the world’s intel agencies agreed that Saddam had these weapons, and that was used to justify the U.S./British invasion of 2003. There followed five years of terrorism, as the Sunni Arab minority (which Saddam had led) tried to murder their way back into power. That didn’t work, and Iraq ends the decade with a booming, not shrinking, economy, and a bloody resolution to some long time political disputes.

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