Wars and conflicts in the modern world



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Wars and conflicts in the modern world



Throughout human history, there have been many threats to the security of nations. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people, and devastating economic loss.

Nowadays on everybody's lips we hear the words: terrorism, war, conflict, revolution, civil disorder. One of the main orientations of policy of every country is to protect its citizens and secure them with a peaceful settlement of the world problems.

Unfortunately political leader not always can evade different conflicts that sometimes can lead to war.

The type of conflict varies widely

· Secession (отделение) of a territory to form a new sovereign state

· Dominance of territory or resources by various ethnic groups

· Imposition of a particular form of government, such as democracy, theocracy, or anarchy

· Economic deprivation (лишение) of a population

· Opposition to a domestic government or occupying army

Nowadays one of the burning issues of the day is the war in Iraq.

The Iraq War (March 20, 2003 to present), sometimes known as the Second Gulf War, is an ongoing war that began with the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The US-led coalition overthrew Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and occupied Iraq, causing ongoing asymmetric warfare with the Iraqi insurgency and the civil war between Sunni and Shia Iraqis. Whether Iraq should be considered part of the American War on Terrorism is debated, although the war was authorized by the U.S. Congress to help "prosecute the war on terrorism" in October 2002. Nearly two years after the Hussein regime was toppled and major combat operations ended, U.S. and coalition troops are still fighting an Iraqi insurgency. The causes and consequences of the war remain controversial.

About a month ago Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, December 30, 2006 at 0605 local time (0305 UTC). He was convicted of crimes against humanity following his trial and conviction for the murder of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites in the town of Dujail in 1982 in retaliation for an assassination attempt against him.

The execution took place at the Iraqi army base Camp Justice in Kadhimiya. CNN reported that celebrations broke out at the execution location after Saddam was dead, and that people were "dancing around the body".

Reactions to Saddam's death were varied. Some strongly supported the execution, particularly those personally affected by Saddam's actions as leader. Some of these victims, however, wished to see him brought to trial for his other actions, alleged to have resulted in a much greater number of deaths than those he was convicted for. Some believed the execution would boost morale in Iraq, while others feared it would incite further violence.

Another burning issue takes place in Spain in Pais Basco.

ETA (Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom"; [ɛːta]), is an armed Basque nationalist separatist organization founded in 1959. It grew rapidly from a group advocating traditional cultural ways to an armed group demanding Basque independence. Its ideology is Marxist-Leninist.

All formulations of ETA's goals have centered on sovereignty and self-determination for the Basque Country. ETA's motto is "Keep up on both". This refers to the two figures in the ETA symbol, a snake (representing politics) wrapped around an axe (representing armed fight).

ETA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, European Union and (since 2003) the United States in their relevant watch lists. ETA has committed approximately 900 killings and dozens of kidnappings. More than 500 ETA militants are held in prison in Spain and France. On March 22, 2006 the organization declared a "permanent ceasefire." ETA broke the ceasefire with a car bomb attack on December 30, 2006 at Barajas International Airport, Madrid killing two Ecuadorian immigrants.

We must not forget about country. For a month all newspapers were writing about a conflict raised between Belarus and Russia.

Gazprom is raising prices closer to market levels after years of selling gas cheaply to former Soviet republics. The company is demanding Belarus pay $105 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2007 -- $75 in cash and $30 in shares of its gas pipeline operator, Beltransgaz.

The price would increase annually and by 2011 reach a market-style European price. For the next four years, Belarus would pay a portion of the cost in shares of Beltransgaz.

Optimists on the contrary state that some things could be done to change Human Nature. For instance: education (humans are to be educated with love of peace and hatred of war), cultural exchange (better understanding, dialogue between peoples, civilizations. The notion that what is “ours” is necessarily in conflict with what is “theirs” is false and dangerous. We can love and respect what we are without hating what we are not.) Furthermore, if war is caused by human nature then so is peace.

There is great debate over why wars happen, even when most people do not want them to. Representatives of many different academic disciplines have attempted to explain war. Historians tend to describe wars as being like traffic accidents. There are some conditions and situations that make them more likely but there can be no system for predicting where and when each one will occur. Social scientists criticize this approach arguing that at the beginning of every war some leader makes a conscious decision and that they cannot be seen as purely accidental. Psychologists have argued that human beings, especially men, are inherently violent. While this violence is repressed in normal society it needs the occasional outlet provided by war. This combines with other notions, such as displacement where a person transfers their grievances into bias and hatred against other ethnic groups, nations, or ideologies. While these theories can explain why wars occur, they do not explain when or how they occur. In addition, they raise the question why there are sometimes long periods of peace and other eras of unending war. They try to prove that peace does not really exist. Periods that are seen as peaceful are actually periods of preparation for a later war or when war is suppressed by a state of great power. In his fictional book “1984” George Orwell talks about war being used as one of many ways to distract people. War inspires fear and hate among the people of a nation, and gives them a 'legitimate' enemy upon whom they can focus this fear and hate. Thus the people are prevented from seeing that their true enemy is in fact their own repressive government. By this theory, war is another 'opiate of the masses' by which a state controls its people and prevents revolution. Several anthropologists take a very different view of war. They see it as fundamentally cultural, learned by nurture rather than nature. Thus if human societies could be reformed, war would disappear. The acceptance of war is inculcated into each of us by the religious, ideological, and nationalistic surroundings in which we live. Another school of thought argues that war can be seen as an outgrowth of economic competition in a competitive international system. In this view, wars begin as a pursuit of new markets, of natural resources, and of wealth. Unquestionably economic reasons could be a cause of some wars, for example the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in pursuit of oil. This theory has also been applied to many other conflicts including the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

War seems as old as human society. The earliest city states and empires in Mesopotamia became the first to employ standing armies. Organization and structure has since been central to warfare, as illustrated by the success of highly disciplined troops of the Roman Empire. The war has been changing through the ages. As well as organizational change, technology has played a central role in the evolution of warfare. Armies with iron weapons easily defeated armies armed with bronze. Invention of new weapon created for warfare plays an important role in advances of military conflicts. Modern technology has greatly increased the potential cost and destructiveness of war. In fact, military conflicts prosecute Humanity. Nowadays ethnic and religious conflicts, genocide, inter-ethnic violence and separatism inside one country play the leading role on the world’s military scene.

Among the examples of modern conflicts is The Balkan conflict which took away the lives of thousands people. The former Yugoslav Federation comprised Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. For decades, Yugoslavia was held together by the dictatorship of Marshal Tito. With his death in 1980, the union of mutually hostile ethnic groups was in danger of coming apart. The main reason for hostility was the difference in religious beliefs. Serbs are Orthodox Christians, Croats are Roman Catholic and Bosnia’s Muslims are Islam believers who adopted their faith during centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule. War erupted in June 1991 after Slovenia and Croatia declared independence. Slovenia's war ended in less than a month with fewer than 70 dead. Croatia's war of secession against Serb rebels backed by the Yugoslav army lasted six months and killed an estimated 10,000 people. A tenuous cease-fire took hold in January 1992.And the same year Bosnia-Herzegovina voted for Independence. In April 1992, Bosnian Serbs rebelled against Bosnia's independence and an estimated 200,000 people have died and millions lost their homes in their war against the Muslim-led government. In fact, all sides during the series of civil wars in Yugoslavia have been accused of “ethnic cleansing” but the rebel Serbs in Bosnia did most of it against Bosnian Muslims. This included torture, mass murders, sexual attacks, forced expulsions and other acts of terrorism against civilians and soldiers alike.

Modern wars and military conflicts are closely connected with genocide (the deliberate and systematic destruction of racial, religious, political or ethnic group). The example of sheer genocide is Rwanda conflict of 1994. Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of central Africa. It is bordered by Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. It is best known to the outside world for the 1994 Rwandan genocide that resulted in the deaths of up to one million people. Before this, it was known mostly as the habitat of mountain gorillas. Prior to European colonization, Rwanda was the site of one of the region's most complex monarchical systems. In 1895 Rwanda became a German province. The Germans, however, were at first completely dependent on the existing government. The German authority kept the native administration system by applying the same type of indirect rule established by the British Empire in the Ugandan kingdoms. After Germany's loss in World War I, the protectorate was taken over by Belgium with a League of Nations mandate. Belgian rule in the region was far more direct and harsh than that of the Germans. However, the Belgian colonizers did realize the value of native rule. Backed by Christian churches, the Belgians used the minority Tutsi upper class over lower classes of Tutsis and Hutus. Belgian-forced labor policies and stringent taxes were mainly enforced by the Tutsi upper class, whom the Belgians used as buffers against people's anger, thus further polarizing the Hutu and the Tutsi. After World War II Rwanda became a UN trust territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Through a series of processes, including several reforms, the assassination of King Mutara III Charles in 1959 the Hutu gradually gained more and more power until, upon Rwanda's independence in 1962, the Hutu held virtually all power. In 1990, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda from Uganda. During the course of the fighting, top Rwandese government officials, mainly Hutu began secretly training young men into informal armed bands called interehamwe ("coming together"). Government officials also launched a radio station that began anti-Tutsi propaganda. The military government responded to the RPF invasion with pogroms against Tutsis, whom it claimed were trying to re-enslave the Hutus. In 1992 the government and the RPF signed a cease-fire agreement known as the Arusha accords in Arusha, Tanzania to form a power sharing government, but fighting between the two sides continued. The United Nations sent a peacekeeping force named the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR).UNAMIR was vastly underfunded and under-staffed. On April 6 1994, President Habyarimana was assassinated when his Falcon 50 trijet was shot down while landing in Kigali. It remains unclear who was responsible for the assassination – most credible sources point to the presidential guard, spurred by Hutu nationalists fearful of losing power, although others believe that Tutsi rebels were responsible, possibly with the help of Belgian mercenaries. Over the next three months, the military and interehamwe militia groups killed between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates in the Rwandan Genocide. The RPF continued to advance on the capital, and occupied the northern, the east and the southern parts of the country by June. U.N. member states refused to answer UNAMIR's requests for increased troops and money. On July 4th, 1994, the war ended as the RPF entered the capital Kigali. In the resulting Great Lakes refugee crisis over 2 million Hutus fled the country after the war, fearing Tutsi retribution. In 1996, Rwanda and Uganda invaded eastern Congo in an effort to eliminate the interahamwe groups operating there and to gain influence in the region. Today, Rwandans continue to struggle with the legacy of genocide. 2004 marked the ten year anniversary with a ceremony in Kigali. The current Rwandan government is led by Paul Kagame.The first post-war presidential and legislative elections were held in August and September 2003, respectively.

I can’t but say some words about the new phenomenon of the XXI century- War on Terrorism. The exact definition of terrorism is highly controversial. According to a working definition, it is the unconventional use of violence against civilians for political gain. "Terrorist attacks" are usually characterized as "indiscriminate," "targeting of civilians," or executed "with disregard" for human life. The term "terrorism" is often used to emphasize that the political violence of an enemy is immoral, meaningless, and unjustified. An interesting fact is that terrorists rarely identify themselves as such, and instead typically use terms that refer to their ideological or ethnic struggle, such as: separatist, freedom fighter, liberator, militant, guerrilla (from guerra Spanish for "war" meaning "small war"), rebel etc.During much of the 20th century, the term terrorism was primarily applied to nationalist movements of various types. Most of them were separatist movements, seeking to create a new independent nation-state on the territory of a larger, existing state. Classic counter-terrorist operations were a feature of the decolonization in Africa and the Middle East. Some of these campaigns, such as the Mau Mau and the FLOSY, were well known in the Western media, but unlike Al-Qaeda, their violence was remote and confined to the disputed colony. However, Irish republican groups did consistently target England, and the Basque ETA often targeted Madrid and other non-Basque parts of Spain. The motives of these groups derive from their nationalist ideology, and an underlying territorial conflict about which state should control what. In this respect, no separate theory of the causes is required, since violence is the standard instrument of geopolitical change. Thus, the violence resulting from territorial conflicts is frequently considered inevitable.

The world community today is discussing the possible militant threats and the importance of winning the war on terrorism. The ideology known as Islamic radicalism, militant Jihadism, or Islamo-fascism - different

 



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