Monday, October 13, 2008

The World is Still Spinning

Any of my regular readers here at GUBU will have noticed that the US election is beginning to dominate this blog. I cannot help it as its just such good craic. However its not just me. Over the last number of weeks the main stream media has been so focused on events in the US combined with the global financial crisis that many issues of tremendous importance have barely been reported on. But let me assure you, the world is still spinning. Governments are rising and falling and people are still butchering people for being of the incorrect religion or race or what have ya. Here is a small sample of some of these happenings that in less remarkable times, would be global front page news.

The death of Jorg Haider occurred this week. The charismatic far right 58 year old Austrian politician was killed in a single car accident while on his way to a family gathering. Haider is the only politician from the far right to gain any position of authority in European Union. This has proved a massive embarrassment to Vienna which has had to deal with EU sanction as a result and even calls for Austria's expulsion from the Union. It is unclear what effect Haider's death will have on the far right in Austria. He may be seen as a martyr or his neo fascist politics may fizzle out as a result of his death.

There is a vicious war going on in Pakistan's South Waziristan, a federal district along the Afghan border. The war is being fought between the Pakistani army, with occasional help (sought or unsought) from the US Air force, and Taliban fighters. South Waziristan has not been under the control of the central government in Islamabad for many years but following the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan the Pakistanis have, under massive pressure from the US launched an all out offensive to retake the Provence. There is it appears large scale fighting going on with high levels of civilian casualties. The Taliban have retaliated against this offensive in their own way, most notable the bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad last month that killed over fifty foreigners.

A massive bomb crater in front of the Marriott hotel after last months attack

The Middle East
There has been a series of blasts throughout the Middle East. Scores have been killed in last ten days in blasts in Beirut, Baghdad and Damascus.

There has been an upsurge in violence in the last month in Iraq. While not comparable to 2006 levels there has been a noticeable increase in car bombings. Most of the tension has been caused by the "sons of Iraq" and their refusal to absorb, or to be allowed absorb into the Iraqi army. Similarly tension is growing between the Iraqi government and the Shiite militias that agreed to a ceasefire last year. While the ceasefire is holding it is very fragile and several recent clashes have led to fears of it falling apart. This would significantly undo all the progress of the surge. Just another regular chapter of these Gubu times and the Gubu World that we live in.

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