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Top Five Wars of 2006

Posted December 29, 2006

2006 was an olla podrida for global conflict, a filled with old favorites and some surprises. The conflict in Darfur was off the list this year. It might be a tear jerker, but just like in the Oscars, that's not enough. It has promise - Janjaweed is a great name for the bad guys, and if they come up with a decent enemy it could be a 2007 smash.

Iraq V. United States
These days it's more like Shiite vs Sunni vs Kurd vs Iran vs Turkey vs United States - a Robert Altman-like cast of favorites makes it hard to know who to route for. This wars been a fantastic standby, but seniority doesn't guarantee a spot on next year's list, just like a billion dollars a day production costs don't make it a blockbuster. We expect real innovation from Iraq in 2007, like maybe remote-controlled suicide-ROBOT-car bombs.

Afghanistan the Return Of the Taliban
This war has been off the list for a few years, mostly because nobody famous has been killed there in a while. And in the year Justin Timberlake brings sexy back, the Afghans bring Central Asian anarchy back. Just like George Lucas, the Taliban don't know when to quit. They're taking over the southern part of the country, and hiding weapons under giant marijuana plants, which shield them from air surveillance. So James Bond.

Ethiopia Vs. Somalia
This war has snuck in at the very end of the year, just like any Oscar contender who likes a limited release during Christmas week just to qualify. The conflict ranks highly because it pits two enemies we've never heard of and forces us to look at a map. Apparently, Islamist insurgents control Mogadishu (cool name), and the Somali government and Ethiopia are fighting to get it back. A hint here fellas don't let the rebels take over the capital that's pretty much the one place you're supposed to keep safe. Just think in 1984, everybody was singing "We are the World" in support of famine relief in Ethiopia, and now they're starting wars. They've come a long way.

The kingdom of Nepal is fighting off a Maoist insurgency. It's so old school, I'm thinking a black and white George Clooney vehicle. Do they fight on horseback using blunderbusses? Update: Google tells me that Nepal has recently signed a peace accord. Peace may be great for the Nepalese, but keep it up and you'll be crossed off the list.

Lebanon vs. Israel
It was a hot couple of weeks in the summer, and during a slow news cycle the Middle East delivered the goods. There was no prolonged buildup, or UN declarations - one day you're installing the window unit AC in your bedroom, and the next day Israeli tanks are halfway to Beirut. Favorite scene: Hassan Nasrallah declaring victory on top of the giant rubble heap called southern Lebanon was very Planet of the Apes.



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