War in Afghanistan
The war in Afghanistan has been ongoing since the United States led invasion of 2001. After the September 11, 2001 attacks when “Nineteen al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial,” the U.S. renewed American efforts in the historically troubled region. The Afghanistan Taliban government was harboring now deceased Al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks. The war has killed over 3,400 coalition forces, and over 19,000 civilians.
The war has turned the nation into a opium development hub due to lack of economic opportunities. Over 75 percent of heroin is produced in the war-torn nation.
The war, coupled with the destructive Taliban rule of the 1990’s and the Soviet Invasion of the 1970’s, has destroyed the cultural heritage of the, of which the nation’s capital, Kabul, was considered the Paris of south-east Asia. Despite topping the fundamentalist Taliban government, 73 percent of all “U.S.-Afghan war casualties occurred” during the Presidency of Barack Obama while more deaths than the “first two full calendar years of the war.” Obama has proposed a tentative combative end date of 2014.
Syrian Civil War
The Syrian Civil War came about from the popular uprising in the Middle East called the Arab Spring. Peaceful protests turned violent once the government led by President Bashar al-Assad began ferociously attacking political dissidents. The minority Alawite-Muslims, whom have led Ba’athist government, ruled the nation since 1970. They have used repressive means such as torture, secret police and subjugation of free press to assert their rule over the Sunni majority nation.
President for life Al-Assad has attempted to remain in power through the Syrian National Army, combating a fractured and politically unaligned Syrian Freedom Army. The U.S. has condemned the use of chemical weapons against the rebel fighters. U.S. officials, particularly Obama, have been “pressing for United Nations Security Council” to condemn “heightened attacks” by the government on the rebel fighters.
Russia has been backing the Syrian government and is considered by many as their strongest “defender of President Bashar al-Assad.” Other political figures have denounced the rebels for violating human rights in their own bid to overthrow the dictatorial government and for building ties with violent Islamist terrorist groups attempting to enact influence over the unrest.
Somali Civil War
The Somali Civil War has been occurring since 1991, when President Siad Barre was ousted from power following a popular uprising. Siad Barre’s government was backed by both the Soviet Union, then the U.S.- as Satellite client states-during the Cold War. They fell out of favor with the U.S. after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, resulting in a lack of economic funding and military assistance.
The Sunni-Muslim nation has fractured into three distinct unrecognized nations of Puntland, Somaliland and Somalia. The transitional government in Somalia claims the entire nation as a whole, which has led to internal unrest leading to the deaths of over 500,000 people since 1991. Al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization with close ties to Al-Qaeda, has grown powerful and functioned quite freely within the capital Mogadishu as well as throughout southern Somalia due to a lack of a effective centralized government.
In the early 1990’s, the U.S. attempted to cull the unrest through military engagement, but failed to prevent the downward spiral. Neighboring Ethiopia, with financial and military backing of the United States, managed to push the Somali Transitional Government into power, but the distrust of the local populace, coupled with powerful Islamic terrorist factions, and the lack of means to control the inconsolable population has led to a disastrous situation for the once politically-stabled nation.
Civil War in South Sudan
On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan gained autonomy from the nation of Sudan. The city of Juba became the capital of the newly formed country. The Sudanese government has been involved in a civil war with the Juba based Sudan People’s Liberation Army since 1983. The conflict concluded in 2005, resulting in the referendum that allowed South Sudan to become an independent nation.
The two nations have been at odds with each over since 2011 over the region of Abyei, which is noted for its prevalent oil reserves. The border skirmishing between the two nations hse resulted in over 1 million deaths.
South Sudan’s internal power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar escalated in 2013.
An attempted coup de tat against Salva Kiir’s government has resulted in ethnic violence between the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups. The nation now reels from sporadic violence in the streets of the capital, and a politically unstable central government.
– Joseph Abay
Sources: CNN, Washington Times, CNS News, NBC World News, BBC, Zee News – India, Bangkok Post, CBC News, CNN Fast Facts, BBC CBBC Newsround, Manila Standard, NY Times, Conciliation Resources, Somalia Current
Photo: Pge Resource