Global instability challenges
28 sub-Saharan African states have been at war since 1980. Political corruption, Lack of respect of rule of law, human rights violation has been the problem of these countries. European colonialism had also a devastating impact on Africa. Geographically Africa’s conflicts are tightly clustered along an arc stretching from Northern Mali through Southern Algeria and Libya into Egypt extending into the Sinai Peninsula. The Boko Haram conflict in north eastern Nigeria is another epicenter and situated in relative proximity to an area of conflict hot spots in the Central African Republic, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Darfur.
On Africa’s eastern coast, the Somali civil war is still going strong in its third decade. The Boko Haram insurgency is the deadliest conflict that Africa is currently experiencing and has now spread firmly into neighboring Countries as well. Current military successes in combating the diverse groups labeled as Boko Haram are dependent on spending billions on modern military gear that none of the countries involved can actually afford, riding all of them into serious debt. The other internationalist terrorist hot spot in Africa is the Mali- AlgeriaLibya triangle.
With many groups including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb being active across some of the most arbitrary borders in the world, these conflicts are interrelated. But their resolution will still require primarily national approaches. Darfur, Sudan and Somalia have experienced an uptick in fighting recently. Al Queda and Al Shabab offensive in Somalia in 2015 pushed back some of territorial gains made by the government over recent years. Al Shabab has proven to be vulnerable to dangerous attacks due to a corrupt and incapable security sectors.
The war in Syria is presently the world’s gravest, with its effects stretching across the region and sucking in major powers. More than a quarter of a million Syrians’ have been killed and almost 11 millions about half of the country’s population displaced in or outside the country. The rise of the Islamic State, which now controls a large swath of eastern Syria and North West Iraq, has drawn in fire power from countries including the United States, France, UK and Russia. As yet, however none of these countries has articulated a coherent strategy to defeat the Islamic state.
Worse. Still, Moscow and western powers have been working at cross-purpose, with Russians’ jets bombing anti Islamic state rebels that Washington considers partners against the Jihadi group. Syrian president Bashar al Assad regime continues to use indiscriminate aerial bombardment and other methods of collective punishment, inflicting civil casualties in sunni majority areas that dwarf the numbers of victims claimed by the Islamic State violence. Russians intervention in Syria and Islamic Statesponsored terrorist attacks in Paris has spurred the pace of diplomatic action. While the growing internationalization of the conflict presents many dangers, It many also open possibilities for diplomacy.
Question about Assad’s future which provoke the most vehement disagreements between major powers on the Security Council, rival regional powers, Turkey, Saudi one side and Iran on the other side, and Syrian factions remain unaddressed. In Iraq meanwhile the western strategy to defeat the Islamic state relies largely on military offensives by Iraqi Kurds, a mostly Shiite Iraqi army, and Iranbacked Shiite militias.
There emerged a Saudi-led 34 nation alliance which would fight terrorism however; Saudi Arabia’s main regional rivals, Iran, Iraq and embattled regime of Assad were not in the list. The Obama administration has also provided military support to the Saudi-led coalition. Negotiations are underway, however the situation among various groups in Yemen is very complex that are making Yemen’s hostilities almost impossible to stop. Even in Afghanistan since the intervention of United States, The Taliban, despite internal splits, is still a formidable force: Al Qaeda maintains a presence, and the Islamic State has established a foothold. Mullah Akhtar Mnsoor’s recent killing has provided Taliban an opportunity to reorganize once again as the chances of dialogue have diminished.
These are the challenges for the international community to tackle even in the coming years, as president Obama in his state of the union address expressed clearly, “our foreign policy has to be focused on the threat from ISIL and Al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there. For even without ISIL, even without Al Qaeda, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, Parts of Pakistan, in parts of central America, in Africa, and Asia”. — The author writes on International Relations, Politics and Pakistan’s Representative of OIC. She is based in Lahore.