In 2023 he leaves, leaving bloodlines that permeate the entire planet. Welcome to our chaotic world 2024 Almost with 200 battles. Wars old and new, between states and civil wars, for a piece of land, for power, for water, for resources that create wealth, for an olive root, have been forgotten. More and more fuses are lit in the powder keg of the world …
Once upon a time, the news of the outbreak of war came late, but it was truly shocking. Today, in the age of information overload, news arrives in seconds, but at the same time it is becoming routine.
Nearly 25 years after the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's book was published Thomas Friedman “Lexus and Olive”, his prophecy seems to be confirmed: half the world follows Lexus (the symbol of consumption) and the other half fights to prove who owns the olive root.
The winds of war are blowing in all corners of the world. And it's not just them. This includes climate change, droughts and floods, famines and epidemics, natural disasters and terrorism, torture and human rights violations, the war on drugs and human trafficking. Many say World War III is here.
There have been ongoing conflicts since the last century: conflicts in the Middle East since 1948, in Myanmar (formerly Burma) since 1948 as well as (with the latest chapter in 2021 coup), between India and Pakistan in Kashmir since 1947, in Mozambique since 2017 against jihadists, in Congo since 1999 with more than five million dead ( Controlling gold and diamond mines is an ongoing crime), effective in war since 2017 in Cameroon, since 2011 in Libya, and since 1971 in Afghanistan. The war on drug cartels in Mexico has claimed 350,000 lives since 2006.
The war in Syria has been going on since 2011 (more than 500,000 dead and more than 13 million refugees and 60% of the population are starving), the war in Ukraine since 2022 and the new war in the Middle East, with the attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, has only just begun and its duration will be long. It is predicted that
Faced with the threat of nuclear weapons
The outbreak in the Middle East has sparked a resurgence of all existing wars, with devastated Lebanon as the weak link and Ukraine seeing the worst attacks since the war began.
At the same time, with complete indifference, the fight over the Ukrainian Zaporizhia nuclear power plant continues to rage, never before has a nuclear threat been on Europe's doorstep.
The conflict between Serbs and Kosovar Albanians in our Balkan neighborhood has not stopped, while the situation in Africa is desperate.
In Sudan, a civil war erupted eight months ago, adding a million internally displaced people each month. Another seven million people have been displaced by civil war in eastern Congo, which borders Rwanda, stemming from the 1994 genocide. Another two million have been displaced by civil war in Nigeria.
No one deals with these wars yet.
Sudan is now the world's most displaced country, while in Somalia, nearly a million people have been forced to flee their homes due to flooding. In total, the UN estimates the number of internally displaced people at 114 million, with 40 million of them added by 2023.
Eight coups in Africa resulted in civil wars within three years (two in Burkina Faso, two in Mali, one each in Guinea, Chad, Gabon and Niger). There are civil wars with their associated humanitarian crises, while the Sahel region is surrendering to Islamic terrorism and one European country after another is retreating.
In Somalia, war has been ongoing since 2004 when the jihadist terrorist group Shebaab was founded, Ethiopia has been in a civil war since autumn 2020 and is at war with neighboring Eritrea, where civil war broke out in 2020. with Tigray region. , which fortunately ended in November 2022.
Nigeria and Cameroon live under the terror of Boko Haram. Especially in Cameroon there is a civil war between English speakers and French speakers.
In Yemen, fighting between Saudi-backed government forces and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels began on March 26, 2015. Thousands of airstrikes, 40% of homes destroyed, more than 15,000 civilian deaths, since 2017, more than 4 million internally displaced, thousands of children killed or displaced.
Today, the Houthis continue their attacks against merchant ships in the Red Sea under the pretext of a crisis in the Middle East.
Not coincidentally, 82% of the 149 million people experiencing acute food crisis live in war zones. This is a 150% increase compared to 2019.
In Asia, tensions between China and Taiwan are in the red, with Haiti at the mercy of gangs after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021.
North Korea continues to threaten with weapons of mass destruction.
Turkey conducts almost daily attacks in Iraq and Syria.
From Venezuela to the Caucasus
In Latin America, a new source of ignition emerged recently during Maduro's “referendum” to annex with Venezuela the oil-rich region of Essequibo, which occupies two-thirds of Guyana's territory. and minerals.
In a conflict that has been going on for the last 200 years, armies are lining up on both sides of the border. And England sent a warship to Guyana.
Venezuela maintains that the natural border should be the Essequibo River, as it was in 1777 during the Spanish colonial period. Guyana claims that the boundaries drawn during British colonial rule were confirmed by the Paris Court of Arbitration in 1899. Centuries later, the battle cry still rings in the region.
In the Caucasus, the crisis between Azerbaijan and Armenia continues, despite attempts at a final agreement after Baku annexed Nagorno-Karabakh and the expulsion of more than 100,000 Armenians. It could be the only conflict with hopes of ending in 2024.
Climate crisis and water wars
As if all this were not enough, as a result of climate change, 2023 is a year of high temperatures and extreme natural events. Three decades ago, 44% of conflicts occurred in climate-vulnerable countries, and now the figure has risen to 67%.
Currently there are 300 water control micro dams around the world. Thirty years ago, Ishmael Serakeldin, the vice-president of the World Bank, prophesied that the next wars would be fought over water, not oil.
Looks like the time has come to test his theory. Today, one billion people in the world do not have access to clean water. A rare and vital resource that will become scarce as the world's population and droughts increase. It is estimated that the demand for global water will increase by 40% in the next decade, while the resources will decrease. According to the UN, five billion people may suffer from water scarcity.
According to the Pacific Institute, as of 2020, 140 water conflicts have already erupted around the world. Since the earliest water wars in Mesopotamia 4,500 years ago, a total of 1,300 conflicts have erupted.
Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have been fighting over the waters of the Nile since the time of Herodotus.
In the 2000s, a quarter of wars caused by water scarcity were located in the Middle East, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. They have been increasing ever since. 220 were recorded between 2000 and 2009, 620 between 2010 and 2020 and 201 between 2020 and 2022.
Military arsenal from Mariupol to Burkina Faso
Water is also used as a weapon of war today. According to a European Commission complaint, in several Ukrainian cities, “the Russian military deliberately cut off people's access to drinking water, used the threat of dehydration to force the city to surrender and denied access to the most basic necessities.”
Almost 8,000 kilometers from Mariupol in Burkina Faso, on almost the same dates, 32 water supply stations were blown up, leaving 300,000 people without access to this precious natural resource.
Countries like Afghanistan and Chile experience dramatic droughts – more than three years in Afghanistan, more than eleven years in Chile. Countries like Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia are considered high risk. So did Transjordan and Gaza long before the last conflict. and Basra, Iraq, while flows from the Tigris and Euphrates are reduced to meet Turkey's needs.
The Indus River is vital to northern India and Pakistan, but originates in the mountains of China-controlled Tibet.
At the same time, the process of water desalination – in the Mediterranean basin – is prohibited due to the increase in energy costs. This leads to a decline in crops and production, leading to rising prices and a food crisis. Viticulture faces huge problems as one bottle of wine requires 800 to 900 liters of water.
By 2050, the world population is expected to exceed 9.7 billion, and concerns about water and food sufficiency are growing.
Amidst this general paranoia… the soldiers also end up. More and more mercenaries are being “employed” on the war fronts. After Wagner's private army dominates from Africa to Belarus, there are increasing reports of recruitment of hundreds of thousands of “contract soldiers” scattered around the world.
Sixty years after Frederick Forsyth wrote his masterpiece, The Dogs of War, their howls still reach our ears.
* Sofia Voltepsi Member of Parliament for B3 South of Athens, Deputy Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Journalist