The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India last month continue to stir up trouble between the nuclear-armed states of India and Pakistan. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of not doing enough to suppress terrorist groups in its country (notably the Lashkar e-Taiba, who claimed responsibility for the attack) and Islamabad accusing New Delhi of being behind the recent bombing in Lahore.
Tensions continue to escalate: India's National Command Authority apparently met and both sides are increasing the number and readiness of troops along their shared border and along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region. Both sides trade accusations while at the same time making conciliatory statements. We'll have to keep an eye on this, big time.
Bishop Desmond Tutu weighed in over the Christmas holiday, calling on possible armed force to oust Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe from office. Mugabe, 84 years old, has turned into the biggest handicap to his nation. Inflation is astronomical, malnutrition and cholera are increasing as the economy lies moribund, and the recent elections were a joke. Mugabe will only leave office feet-first.
Please refer to my earlier indication that he is 84 years old. Obviously he doesn't have too much longer to go, and it's only a matter of time before he either goes by natural causes or some member of his own staff puts a bullet in his brain. We'll have to watch this too.
And finally, in our "No Shit" Department, we have word that a recent report from the Heimatsicherheitsdiensthauptamt (or Department of Homeland Security) concludes that we can expect the next five years to feature terrorist activity emanating from Africa and the Middle East due to instability.
Do you think that this 'instability' that Chertoff and his analysts speak of may have been caused by our inaction in Darfur and our stupid blundering about in Southwest Asia? Freaking idiot.
The 38-page assessment goes on to say that we can expect RCyCB (Radiological/Cybernetic/Chemical/Biological) attacks over the next five years, along with increasing pressure along our borders. With the US economy tanking, we've already started to see indications that illegal immigration may slow down. As to cyber attacks, yes, they'll be a major nuisance as well as posing a possible infrastructure threat.
The Big Three (RCB) are problematic, but I think, personally, that radiological and biological weapons of mass destruction are still a bit out of reach. Chemical agents such as mustard gas are cheap and easy to make. Hussein used them against the Iranians and the Kurds for just those reasons (and we gave him those, ladies and gentlemen). Chemical weapons are known as "the poor man's atomic bomb" and that's a true statement. Mustard gas is a blistering agent that can kill but usually disables and disfigures; it's persistent as well.
So the New Year may be born crying and kicking. Either way, it bears watching so it doesn't grow up to be a brat.