Most projected conflicts for 2019 have common thread: US forces

Most projected conflicts for 2019 have common thread: US forces

Members of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization team up with Nigerian Army Infantry School soldiers in Nigeria during early 2018. (Capt. James Sheehan/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — The majority of conflicts of concern as 2019 begins are in places most of the world knows about — and then others are in some places off the radar of most Americans.

They are firmly on the Pentagon’s radar, however,

The U.S. has forces in the top 9 of the 10 cited conflicts — with Venezuela the exception. In that case, the Pentagon is ready to spring at the White House’s command, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

“In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot,” Foreign Policy magazine notes in its look-ahead to this year’s wars compiled by its crisis group.

The top 10 tension spots listed by Foreign Policy for 2019 are, in order: Yemen; Afghanistan; U.S.-China tensions; Saudi Arabia, the United States, Israel, and Iran competition and tension; Syria; Nigeria; South Sudan; Cameroon; Ukraine and Venezuela.

“As the era of largely uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international order has been thrown into turmoil. More leaders are tempted more often to test limits, jostle for power, and seek to bolster their influence—or diminish that of their rivals—by meddling in foreign conflicts. Multilateralism and its constraints are under siege, challenged by more transactional, zero-sum politics,” the magazine wrote.

Reasons for the deeper threats: “Instruments of collective action, such as the United Nations Security Council, are paralyzed; those of collective accountability, including the International Criminal Court, are ignored and disparaged,” the study said.

“The erosion of Western influence, in short, looks different from Moscow, Beijing, and the developing world than it does from Brussels, London, or Washington,” it said.

Moved off some top-10 lists: North Korea, which had been No. 1 on many danger lists for 2018; the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh; the Sahel, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The conflict landscape seen by U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo is similar.

Her top-tier conflict concerns are Yemen, Syria, the Rohingya crisis, and Colombia, according to an interview with U.N. News.

“My role is twofold. First is to help resolve conflict and to help prevent conflicts,” she told the U.N. News. “I cover the entire world now. I have never in my entire career had a job where I had to cover the entire world.”

A separate study projecting the worst humanitarian crisis for 2019, compiled by the International Rescue Committee, aligns very closely with the list of conflicts.

Expected to have the worst humanitarian challenges are Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Central Africa Republic, Syria, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia.

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