Planet War

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  1. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Planet War
    From the bloody civil wars in Africa to the rag-tag insurgiences in Southeast Asia, 33 conflicts are raging around the world today, and it’s often innocent civilians who suffer the most.


    FROM: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/22/planet_war?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

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    Eastern Congo: Eastern Congo has been particularly unstable since Rwandan Hutu militias (Interahamwe) and the Rwandan Tutsi military took their battle into the neighboring Congolese jungle following the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Since then, this massive, lawless region has been home to a number of rampaging militias, leading to the displacement of more than a million Congolese and the death of several million. In 2003, a Congolese Tutsi leader, Laurent Nkunda, took up the fight against the Hutu Interahamwe and established the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) militia. Nkunda was finally captured in January 2009 by Rwandan forces, though remnants of the CNDP and other rebel groups have continued to wreak havoc in the area. Above, family members carry a relative to be buried in a camp for displaced people near Goma on Jan. 19, 2009.

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  3. bengalraider

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    Kashmir: Kashmir has been the site of conflict since the 1947 partition of British India. The resulting countries, India and Pakistan, have fought three wars over the disputed territory, and border skirmishes remain frequent. Unrest in Indian-held Kashmir is also common; tensions flared recently over the deaths of two unarmed teenage Muslims. Here, a Kashmiri Muslim hurls a can of tear gas back to Indian police after it was shot into the streets of Srinagar to disperse a crowd of protesters on Feb. 5, 2010.

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    China: A Uighur woman peers through a security fence as Chinese soldiers look on in Urumqi, Xinjiang, on July 9, 2009. The northwestern Chinese autonomous region is home to 13 major ethnic groups, the largest of which -- at about 45 percent of the population -- is the Uighurs. Although the region is classified as autonomous, some Uighurs have called for outright independence since the mid-1990s. While China has made attempts to further integrate Xinjiang, ethnic tensions, combined with religious repression and economic disparities between Han Chinese and Uighurs, have only made matters worse. When Uighur rioting broke out in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in July 2009, government forces dealt with the protests harshly; at least 150 people died.

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    Iran: Objecting to incumbent President Ahmadinejad's victory in the 2009 presidential election, millions of Iranians took to the streets in support of opposition candidate Mir Hossein-Mousavi, who they thought had legitimately won the election, and in protest of what they thought to have been Ahmadinejad's electoral fraud. The electoral protests, which were soon collectively referred to as the "Green Revolution", marked the most significant event in Iranian politics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But unlike the regimes that were unseated as a result the color revolutions" that swept across Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine during the first half of the decade, the Iranian regime showed no reservations about using force to quash the protesters. Here, a protester wearing a symbolic green wristband covers his face after an altercation on Dec. 27, 2009 with the Basij, a praetorian guard that doubles as a thuggish internal security service.

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    Chad: Chad is entering its fifth year of nearly continuous civil war, its anti-government rebels often aided by neighboring Sudan. Compounding matters further, war-torn Chad is a relative safe haven not only for thousands of Darfuri refugees but also for those fleeing the Central African Republic next door -- as many as 20 per day. Above, three Chadian soldiers take a break from fighting in the Battle of Am Dam, a two-day clash in May 2009 that saw the Chadian army successfully prevent a rebel group from taking the capital city of N'Djamena and toppling the government.

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    Eastern Chad: Over the last half-decade, fighting in eastern Chad and neighboring Darfur, Sudan, have sent at least 400,000 refugees spilling into refugee camps in the dusty Chadian desert. Rebel groups in the two countries cite a litany of grievances ranging from state neglect to ethnic persecution, and they are often backed by one government or the other. Civilians have been caught in the crossfire, terrorized by wanton rape, scorched-earth tactics, and ethnic cleansing. Above, Sudanese refugee women carry branches for firewood at the Farchana refugee camp in Chad on June 26, 2008.

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    Korea: More than a half-century after the Korean War's end, relations between communist North Korea and democratic South Korea remain tense. The two countries have never signed a formal peace agreement, and the United States continues to station well over 20,000 troops in the South. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who succeeded his father Kim Il Sung in 1994, has pushed forward with Pyongyang's nuclear program despite repeated U.S. attempts to curtail it through negotiations. The North tested its first nuclear device in 2006, followed by a second in May 2009. Here, a North Korean soldier stands opposite a South Korean soldier at the border of the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas on Feb. 19, 2009.
     
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    Pakistan: Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are two of the world's most volatile war zones. Located along Pakistan's porous, 1,500-mile border with Afghanistan, the two regions have, since 2001, seen fierce battles between Islamist militants and the Pakistani Army. Al Qaeda's top leaders are thought to reside here, and U.S. drones patrol the skies in search of terrorist and Taliban leaders. Above, a Pakistani soldier stands guard while an Afghan-bound NATO oil tanker burns in Peshawar after being destroyed by militants on Feb. 1, 2010.
     
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    Pakistan: While Iraq and Afghanistan have captured much of the public's attention of late, Pakistan may well be the country whose security, stability, and partnership is most important to American success in the war on terrorism. Under increased pressure from the United States, Islamabad has recently begun to intensify its efforts at fighting the Taliban within its borders. While Pakistani forces have enjoyed some success in their counter-insurgency operations against the Taliban, such success has come at the cost of alienating civilian populations and destabilizing Pakistani society. Above is a photograph from June 21, 2009 of Pakistani refugees who fled from the fighting in northwest Pakistan and are now living in the Shah Mansoor relief camp in Swabi, Pakistan.
     
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    Somalia: This East African country has been without a central government since the 1990s and without peace for even longer. Shortly after ousting strongman leader Mohamed Siad Barre in January 1991, rebel groups began splintering into various camps headed by individual warlords. The United States intervened in 1992 with Operation Restore Hope, but pulled out in 1994, several months after the infamous "Black Hawk Down" incident. The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) government brought a measure of stability in 2006, but its reign was short-lived. Wary of spreading Islamist activity, an Ethiopian-led offensive installed a U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in early 2007. Today, much of the country falls increasingly under the control of militant groups while the TFG and its president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a former ICU leader, control only a few blocks. Since 1991, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed, and the number of internally displaced persons is upwards of 1.5 million. Here, Somalis prepare a meal at a displaced persons camp near Mogadishu on Nov. 19, 2007.
     
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    Somalia: Somalia is a failed state and as such is controlled by several competing players. A weak government is seated in Mogadishu (backed by a joint U.N.-African Union force), while powerful warlords control territory across the country. Sharia courts provide some semblance of order while Islamist militias, the strongest of which is al-Shabab, are still gaining ground. In 2009, however, the major conflict narrowed into one between the central government and al-Shabab. Al-Shabab recently announced publicly that it would be joining the international jihad movement led by al Qaeda. Above, a government soldier stands next to the body of an Islamist militia fighter in Mogadishu where al-Shabab fighters attacked government positions on Dec. 1, 2009.

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    Philippines: The Philippines is home to one of Asia's longest-running wars, a 40-year conflict that has taken 40,000 lives. The fighting began in 1969 with the formation of a communist rebel group called the New People's Army (NPA), founded to overthrow Ferdinand Marcos's dictatorship. Despite Marcos's 1989 death, efforts by international mediators have continually failed, including the two-decades-long attempt by Norway that collapsed in 2004 and has not resumed. The NPA is known for its guerrilla tactics and recruitment of child soldiers, who by some estimates make up 40 percent of new recruits. Above, Philippine Army soldiers man a watchtower in Luzon on October 17, 2006.
     
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    Gaza: After disputed parliamentary elections and a bloody fight against the rival Palestinian Authority, Hamas gained full control of this impoverished strip of sand and soil in 2007. When Israel tightened its sanctions, Hamas and other groups retaliated by firing homemade Qassam rockets into nearby Israeli cities. In December 2008, Israel launched a massive operation aimed at crushing Hamas's military capability. Neither side came out of the war untarnished; Hamas has since been accused of using human shields while Israel has battled allegations that it improperly utilized white phosphorus and indiscriminately killed civilians. Above, a Palestinian man searches through rubble after an Israeli airstrike destroyed his home on Jan. 5, 2009.

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    India: According to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the raging Communist Party of India (Maoist), known as Naxalites after Naxalbari, the site of their first rebellion, are "the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country." Although the Naxalite movement began as little more than a local peasant rebellion in 1967, over time it has evolved into a regional insurgency whose aim is to overthrow the Indian regime and install a Maoist government. In the last decade, the movement has quadrupled in land area, today active in up to 223 districts of the country. Above, CPI (Maoist) members protest the Andhra Pradesh state government's bus-fare hikes on Jan. 7, 2010.

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    Afghanistan: Mere months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. forces drove the ruling Taliban and its al Qaeda allies out of power and installed a regime headed by President Hamid Karzai. Eight years later, elections have failed to bring stability, and the Taliban-led insurgency continues to rage. In December 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 more troops to join the flagging NATO efforts in Afghanistan, bringing the coalition contingent close to 150,000. Above, an Afghan family watches U.S. Marines near Marjah on Feb. 16, 2010.

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    Nigeria: The militant movement in Nigeria's Niger Delta sprung up after environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and several of his colleagues were executed by the country's military regime in 1995. Saro-Wiwa had been protesting the poverty and pollution of his home region after oil companies began exploring there a decade earlier. Today's Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), founded around 2003, demands a higher percentage of the country's oil wealth and a cleanup of villages polluted by oil. This September 2008 photograph shows MEND members celebrating a recent victory against the Nigerian military. On Jan. 30, 2010, MEND reneged on a unilateral cease-fire it had adopted the previous October, which has led to widespread fear of kidnappings and attacks against oil companies.

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    South Ossetia: South Ossetia is a breakaway province of Georgia along that country's Russian border. In 1988, the South Ossetian Popular Front (Ademon Nykhaz) was created to fight for secession from Georgia and reintegration with Russia. Military confrontations since then have been frequent, with major episodes in 1991, 1992, 2004, and most recently in 2008, when Russia joined the conflict in support of South Ossetian separatist forces. Today, South Ossetia is firmly in Russian control, but tensions remain high. Above, a convoy of Russian troops makes its way through the mountains toward the conflict in South Ossetia on Aug. 9, 2008.
     

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