World conflict, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe

Unless you are a news junkie, you probably don’t know (but need to) what’s happening around the world. The U.S. military knows and is making plans, as always:

Afghanistan: Civil war, terrorism. Reduction of NATO forces in 2014 resulted in resurgence of the Taliban (what we used to call the Mujahedeen). 14,000 more troops now arriving plus increased U.S. air strikes.

The Arctic: Rising sea temperatures are melting ice, so new sea routes being opened, causing conflict (negotiation) among Canada, Russia, the United States and northern European Nations.

Armenia and  Azerbaijan: Simply, they are fighting each other over border control.

Balkans: Twenty years after the Bosnian War, remain “culturally and administratively divided.”

Baltic States, Eastern Poland: Russia wants them back. NATO is ramping up protection with long-range surface-to-air missile banks and short range ballistic missiles. Flyby aircraft incursions are frequent.

Bangladesh: Terrorism and political instability caused by Rohingya refugees.

Burundi: Social and political unrest with violence continues.

  China: New arms deliveries now make China a direct strategic competitor to Russia and the United States. South Sea incursions (islands) continue. Strength in Middle East and Africa grows. 

Columbia (along with Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile): Cocaine trafficking violence and gang activity increase (and exported).

 Democratic Republic of Congo: The UN has 22,000 peacekeepers there,  20 percent of the population moves frequently to avoid violence.

Ukraine: Conflict continues. Russia wants to stop Ukraine becoming a NATO partner.

Egypt: Islamic insurgency in the Sinai continue as well as to the west of the Nile.

Europe: The migrant crisis continues — 100,000 from Libya and Syria in 2017 — and anti-migrant violence and political unrest continues.

Greece and Turkey: Renewed arguments over sovereignty of islands.

India: Border skirmishes with Kashmir and China, plus insurgency of Maoists in the north.

Iran: Expanding Shiite influence, arms, conflict exported throughout the Middle East.

Iraq: Islamic State is still being pursued plus Kurds dispute (with fighting) over oil fields in the north.

Israel: Tension with Hezbollah growing and soon to explode.

 Lebanon: Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shiite) factions still battling.

Japan and South Korea: Tensions over North Korea continue, both sides also blaming China.

 Libya: Islamic militants and some Islamic State factions still battling it out.

Macedonia: Ethnic Macedonian Orthodox and minority Muslims increasing violence.

 Mali: Al-Qaeda activity in the Islamic Maghreb actively facing off against French troops.

 Mexico: Mexican cartels cause bloody conflict between gangs on U.S. border.

Myanmar: Transition from military to democracy ongoing but suffering setbacks (Rohingya Muslim pogroms).

 Nigeria: Boko Haram (jihadist militia) being pushed back with 5,000+ U.S.-backed forces.

 North Korea: More sanctions from the United States to follow as a terrorist state declaration is again made.

 Philippines: Anti-Islamic militant battles rage on (especially in Marawi).

Qatar: Air, land, and sea routes cut off as they supported terrorism.

Saudi Arabia: New ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, trying to clean house, dozens of ministers and senior royals arrested. Instability is threatened.

Somalia: Al-Shabaab with 9,000 fighters continues to thwart peace.

South Sudan: 50,000 civilians have been killed since Dec. 2015. War continues.

 Syria: A standoff is in place, US-backed freedom fighters vs. Soviet backed Bashir Al-Assad’s forces.

Thailand: Military regime holding power — tensions (civil unrest) remain high.

Turkey: A standoff with the West and NATO brewing, Turkey now turning to Russia for defense systems.

Venezuela: Unrest, inflation and widespread food shortages cause unrest and violence.

Yemen: Significant civilian deaths. Iran-backed vs. Saudi Arabia-backed forces in bloody conflict and causing famine, widespread disease.

Zimbabwe: Military control in full force in 2018. Many ex-ministers disappeared.


Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now lives in New Mexico.