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Presentation on theme: "Year 10 Global Studies GLOBAL CONFLICTS AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ."— Presentation transcript:


2 U.S invasion of Afghanistan Causes of conflict  U.S response to September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington  Taliban’s refusal to hand over bin-Laden  al Qaeda training camps established in Afghanistan during period of Taliban rule – 1996-2001  S11 culmination of a series of terrorist attacks against U.S 1998 – bombing of embassies in Kenya/Tanzania 2000 – USS Cole 2001 – September 11

3 Afghanistan – nature of the conflict-phase 1  Began as a combination of conventional warfare between states and civil /ethnic conflict  U.S use of air power to bomb Taliban positions & al Qaeda camps, combined with extensive use of Afghan ‘Northern Alliance’ ground forces - U.N authorised use of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under NATO leadership to support U.S forces  Rapid capture of cities by U.S/Northern Alliance - removal of Taliban regime from power

4 Afghanistan – ethnic make up Pashtun regions (Taliban ) Northern Aliance groups

5 Changing nature of Afghan conflict  Re-grouping of Taliban in rural areas in the predominantly Pashtun south and east  Taliban insurgency against Afghan government and U.S/ISAF forces - terrorist campaign against Afghan civilians co-operating with Afghan government/U.S/ISAF forces Insurgency – armed rebellion against an established system of government within a state Terrorism – use of violence against civilians aimed at instilling fear to achieve a political goal

6 Taliban insurgency- key factors Geography

7 Taliban insurgency- key factors U.S. use of military power - Bombing raids targeting Taliban result in civilian casualties - Focus on capturing/killing Taliban rather than protecting civilians against Taliban violence & intimidation - Civilian casualties fuel ‘accidental guerilla’ syndrome ( Kilcullen) Afghan villagers bury their dead- 6 women, 2 children following U.S bombing raid aimed at Taliban- Feb. 2009

8 Taliban insurgency-key factors ‘Accidental guerilla syndrome’ ‘Most of the adversaries Western powers have been fighting since 9/11 are in fact accidental guerillas: people who fight us not because they hate the West and seek our overthrow but because we have invaded their space to deal with a small extremist element…They fight us not because they seek our destruction but because they believe we seek theirs.’ David Kilcullen – The Accidental Guerilla

9 Taliban Insurgency – key factors  Ineffective and corrupt government - Karzai elected President 2004, 2009 -Parliamentary elections 2005, 2010 -Widespread corruption and ineffectiveness together with tradition of local tribal governance = lack of legitimacy President Hamid Karzai Afghan elections

10 Evaluation – extent & limitations of U.S power U.S objectivesoutcomes -Removal of Taliban from power -Capture/kill bin Laden, al Qaeda leaders -Destruction of al- Qaeda training camps -Establishment of democracy in Afghanistan Taliban removed from power but re-grouped – ongoing insurgency 2010 - ‘troop surge’ and shift in tactics to focus on protection of Afghan population- too early to judge if this will succeed but some promising early signs Dispersal/capture/killing of some key al Qaeda figures but fail to find bin Laden or Zawahiri (bin-Laden’s ‘deputy’) Presidential and parliamentary elections held but government remains weak and ineffectual outside the capital Kabul Afghan government/President lack legitimacy

11 U.S invasion & occupation of Iraq Causes  Iraq’s alleged possession of biological and chemical weapons – attempts to acquire nuclear weapons  Iraq in breach of UNSC Resolution 1441 requiring return of U.N weapons inspectors  Alleged links with al qaeda – fears of passing on Weapons Mass Destruction (WMD)  Neo-Conserative ideology – belief U.S should use its power to spread liberal-democratic values

12 Influence of neo-conservative ideology in Bush Administration -‘we need to strengthen ties with democratic allies and challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values’ - ‘we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, prosperity and principles’ Statement of principles – Project for New American Century

13 Sunni Arab Shi’a Arab Sunni Kurd Sunni/Shi’a Arab Sunni Arab/Kurds

14 Changing nature of the conflict 2003 –regime change Overwhelming U.S military power in conventional warfare against a state-removal of Saddam’s Baathist regime from power 2004 – 2007 Sunni and Shi’a insurgencies Sunni/Shi’a civil conflict al Qaeda in Iraq – (no link prior to U.S invasion) 2007 – 2010 Ongoing insurgent and terrorist activity but ‘troop surge’ & changed tactics=improved security

15 Armed opposition to U.S occupation Sunni insurgents -Former high ranking Baath Party members - Remnants of Iraqi armed forces –Baath loyalists - Iraqis with grievances against U.S occupation (accidental guerillas) Shi’a insurgents -Militia groups who aimed to impose Sharia law in Shi’a dominated southern Iraq al Qaeda in Iraq - foreign fighters from other Arab states

16 Factors in the insurgencies  U.S decisions to disband Iraqi army and dismissal from jobs of all Baath Party members  Iraq placed under rule of Coalition Provisional Authority 2003 – June 2004 – loss of sovereignty  Human rights abuses by U.S – Abu Ghraib prison  Use of mass arrests by U.S alienates Iraqis  Lack of troop numbers 2003-2007

17 Sectarian civil conflict 2004-2007  Attacks by Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda in Iraq against Shi’a civilians, provoking response from Shi’a militia groups  Causes – Sunni fear of Shi’a domination -Creation of civil conflict makes U.S occupation more difficult 2007 – present -Sunni tribal groups turn against al Qaeda -U.S ‘troop surge’ – improved security

18 Iraqi civilian deaths in civil conflict Deaths per day from bombingsDeaths per day from shootings Source:

19 U.S/coalition forces Sunni insurgents al Qaeda in Iraq Shi’a insurgents Shi’a civilians Conflict in Iraq Sunni Arab tribal groups* * Sunni tribal groups turn against al Qaeda from 2007

20 Extent and limitations of U.S power To what extent has the U.S succeeded in Iraq? Extent of U.S powerLimitations Military power Rapid overthrow of Baathist regime shows overwhelming U.S military power in conventional conflict against a state Diplomatic power Capacity to put together a coalition of states to support Iraq invasion without U.N authorisation (though many = small, weak states) Economic power -Able to sustain forces in Iraq (and Afghanistan) despite enormous economic costs of the conflict Military power -Shows limits of U.S military power in countering insurgencies/terrorism -Lacks resources to effectively fight two wars at once over long period - Sensitivity to casualties led to use of tactics that fuelled the insurgencies Diplomatic power - No U.N authorisation for invasion - Democracy established in Iraq but government weak and ineffectual -A number of states have withdrawn from the coalition (including Australia) Economic power - Cost of war in Iraq (and Afghanistan) major factor in U.S debt – also a factor in its decision to withdraw by end of 2011

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