Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Resource wars are an all-too-real phenomenon in the Global South. Despite Samuel Huntington's popular 'clash of civilizations' thesis which claims most civil wars in the world today are fought over identity issues, the facts are that most reach their horrifying levels of violence and duration due to the valualble natural resources which lie within the borders of the country which can be sold on the world market to fuel the war effort. The infamous 'blood diamonds' of Sierra Leone are an excellent example.

The General says this to put in context news that "War and lawlessness have helped make Afghanistan the world's largest opium producer and a government ban is unlikely to make a significant dent in last year's poppy production". It turns out that after the stunning success of Operation Infinite Justice (better known by its later more Muslim-friendly moniker "Operation Enduring Freedom") hasn't been all that successful: one-third of the country is so dangerous it is inaccessible to the United Nations; UN Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno sees "an apparent marked increase" in infiltration by Taliban remnants in the south and southeast of the country; 3,400 tons of poppy were produced in just five Afghan provinces last year, a 15-fold increase over 1979; and the opium money, earned by selling drugs primarily in Asia and Europe, fuels the entire cycle.

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