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21 November 2005



AFGHANISTAN: The war in Afghanistan is ongoing. Since Soviet troops withdrew, various Afghan groups have tried to eliminate their rivals. Although the Taliban strengthened their position in 1998 they have not achieved their final objective.

Afghanistan harbours Osama bin Ladin, a wealthy Saudi Arabia dissident responsible for terrorist acts around the world. On 11 September 2001 members from bin Ladin's el Qaeda group highjacked 4 passenger jets in the USA, crashing one into the Pentagon and 2 into the World Trade Center, killing more than 2,000 citizens. The USA and its allies declared war on terrorism and counter-attacked, removing the Taliban from power. The war on terrorism and the el Qaeda continues.

ALGERIA:  Armed Islamic groups formed and since 1992 have carried out attacks on key economic points, security forces, officials and foreigners. In 1995 Algeria's first multiparty presidential elections were held and the incumbent president Liamine Zeroual won 60% of the votes in a poll with a 75% turnout. The first multiparty legislative elections were held in June 1997 which were won by the National Democratic Rally, which holds the majority of seats along with the FLN. Although the armed wing of the FIS declared a ceasefire in October 1997, an extremist splinter group, the Islamic Armed Group (GIA), continued attacks. There is also evidence that many attacks are carried out by militias backed by the Algerian security forces. After years of civil strife, Amnesty International estimates that around 80,000 people have died
The Caucasus and Russia: The Central Asian republics have a long history of conflicts. Fighting breaks out regularly between warlords and religious groups calling for the establishment of Islamic states outside the Russian Federation. Russia is trying to hold on to the federation because the Caucasus is a vital supply route for the oil riches of the Caspian and Black Sea. With the break-up of the Soviet Union various groups fought for control in the republics. Conflicts from one republic spills over to the other and they continually blame each other for attacks. Chechnya, still part of Russia, was flung in an almost full-scale war in 1994-96 and, after a disastrous campaign, Russia was forced to re-evaluate its involvement in the area. In August 1999 Russia stepped up security in the Caucasus region as rebels from within Dagestan - a small republic where more than 100 languages are spoken - went on the attack in support of Chechnyan Muslim groups who claim independence from Russia. In September 1999 Russia launched a ground invasion into the area to cut rebels off from Central Asian supply routes. By January 2000 Russia was once again involved in a full scale conflict in Chechnya. The Caucasus issue is complicated by the more than 50 different ethnic groups each insisting to proclaim their religious convictions on the area. The situation holds serious danger for neighbouring countries, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Russia itself.

EYGPT: Fundamentalist Muslim rebels seek to topple the secular Egyptian government. At least 1,200 people have perished since the beginning of the rebellion.  The conflict was primarily waged as an urban guerrilla/terrorist war.  The opposition Muslim Brotherhood took part in elections in 2000, indicating that they felt armed force would not work.

INDONESIA: The struggle on the Indonesia islands is complicated by leaders of pro- and anti-independence movements, and by religious conflicts. More than 500 churches have been burned down or damaged by Muslims over the past six years. Both the Christians and Muslims blame each other for the violence and attempts at reconciliation made little progress. After a bloody struggle East Timor gained independence in 1999. The hostilities on other islands continue to claim dozens of lives, to such an extent that the break-up of Indonesia seem imminent.

INDIA/PAKISTAN: Muslim separatists in the Indian section declared a holy war against the mostly-Hindu India and started attacks in 1989, mainly from Pakistan-occupied section of Kashmir, and from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The conflict continues, with Pakistan also crushing rebellions with brute force in their section.

IRAQ: Supports Islamic terrorist acts around the world. Differing culture and religious groups within Iraq continues to clash with Shiite Muslims.

ISRAEL:  Within its own borders, Israel continues to battle various Muslim organizations that seek independence for a Palestine state, areas made up of the Gaza strip, West.Bank, and part of Jerusalem. There is heavy international pressure on Israel to recognise a Palestinian state. The area of what today is Palestine was settled by Semitic tribes at a very early date. It was then called Canaan, and controlled by Canaanite tribes for more than 1,000 years. In about 1500 BC Hebrew, or Jewish, tribes began to enter the area. They later came into conflict with a people of Greek origin known as the Philistines. It is from them that the term Palestine is derived.

IRAN: After the Iranian Revolution in 1979 toppled the government of the Shah, the Mujahadeen Khalq soon began a bloody guerrilla war against the new Islamic government.  The Mujahadeen are currently based in Iraq and conduct cross-border raids into Iran, as well as conducting urban guerrilla operations in the cities and conducting political assassinations.  Iran occasionally launches raids against Khalq bases in Iraq.

KOSOVO: The ethnic Albanian KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) in this Serbian province fought a guerilla war against Serbia to claim the region. Beginning in February 1999, Albanians were forced out of the province, prompting NATO to attack Serbia. By July 1999 Serb troops were forced out of Kosovo, only to open an avenue for Albanian Kosovars to attack Serb Kosovars. The Albanian Muslims have since burned down dozens of centuries-old Christian churches. In an effort to establish a Greater Albania, Albanian Muslim rebels also launched attacks in Macedonia.

NIGERIA: There are violent religious clashes in the city of Kaduna in northern Nigeria beginning February 21 2004 and have continued. Kaduna is the second largest city in the north. The clashes followed a march by tens of thousands of Christians to protest the proposal to introduce Muslim sharia law as the criminal code throughout Kaduna state. Reports speak of rival armed gangs of Christians and Muslims roving the streets. Churches and mosques have been put to the torch. Corpses were seen lying in the streets and people's bodies hanging out of cars and buses, apparently killed while attempting to flee the violence. Local human rights workers said that more than 400 had been killed as a result of the clashes.

SUDAN: The largest country in Africa, has been plagued by a succession of unstable civilian and military governments since it gained independence in 1956 from an Anglo-Egyptian condominium. The long-running conflict continues between the Arab Muslim northerners of Sudan, (the base of the government), and the African Christians of the south. In the mid-90s Sudan was home to Osama bin Ladin, the international terrorist responsible for the World Trade Center attack. It is estimated that more than 1,2 million people have been killed in the Sudan war, brining devastation to the Sudanese economy.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: At war with terrorism.

PHILIPPINES: The Phillipines armed forces, with assistance of US troops, are fighting Moslem rebels - they have been linked to Osama bin Laden's el Qaeda terrorist group - on the southern islands of the country. Muslim rebel groups seek autonomy/independence from the mostly Christian Philippines. One rebel group, the Abu Sayaf Group, is believed linked to Osama bin-Laden's Al-Qaida.  This connection, plus their tactic of kidnapping and beheading Americans, led the United States to send Special Forces to aid the Philippine Army.

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