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DESIP: Addendum #1-- June 96
- Subject: DESIP: Addendum #1-- June 96
- From: rbleier@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 27 May 1996 19:13:00
DEMOGRAPHIC, ENVIRONMENTAL AND SECURITY
ISSUES PROJECT (DESIP),
ADDENDUM #1 JUNE 1996
by Ronald Bleier, editor (rbleier@xxxxxxxxxxx)
with an article, special to DESIP, by Michael Strutt
NOTE: The purpose of DESIP is to present information on a
host of issues which impact life on our planet. Addendum
#1 is the fourth in a series containing information about
ongoing conflicts, environ mental and demographic issues.
The entire DESIP series is available on the WWW at:
If you would like an email copy of any or all parts of the
DESIP series, or if you would like to be placed on the
DESIP mailing list, write to Ronald Bleier
Also please write with comments,
corrections, suggestions or for further information.
1. Afghanistan -- President Burhanuddin Rabbani is the
leader of Shi'ite Jamait Islami party and is supported by
the forces of Admad Shah Massoud.
Hostilities began in the spring of 1978 when Marxist
conspirators overthrew the Afghan president and war broke
out when the Soviets invaded in December 1979. (The U.S.
spent more than $5 billion supporting the anti-Soviet
forces.) The Soviets withdrew in the spring of 1989. The
puppet Communist government that remained fell in April 92
giving way to a new civil war between rival Muslim groups
The population of Afghanistan was 15.5 million in the last
census before the Communist takeover. At least 1 million
have been killed and 2 million displaced from their homes
to other towns and cities of Afghanistan. 6 million others
have been driven across the borders to Pakistan and Iran.
Less than half the refugees have returned since the end of
Communist rule in 1992. About 2 million others, according
to international relief agencies, have been permanently
In January 1995, an Islamic militia, known as Taliban,
apparently supported by Pakistan, appeared, and by March
1995 controlled about half the country.
The siege of Kabul (pop. 1.2 million) began in Jan 94 by
Taliban forces, mostly Sunni Pushtuns, the majority ethnic
group that has traditionally provided Afghanistan's rulers.
The Kabul government is dominated by pro-Iranian Shi'ite,
ethnic Tajiks, a minority in Afghanistan. The civilian
toll in Kabul has been estimated at least 25,000 by the
International Committee of the Red Cross and at least
45,000 by the government. In comparison, 10,000 to 15,000
people are said to have died during the 40 months of
Serbian bombing of Sarajevo that ended in the fall of 1995.
A relief effort by the United States Agency for
International Development ended in 1994 and American aid
channeled through the United Nations and other relief
groups has fallen to between $40 million and $60 million a
year. (NYT, 16 Oct. 95 and 5 February 1996, John Burns).
Iran fears that the Taliban wish to establish a base for
anti-Iranian operations from Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia and
the United States are also backing the Taliban forces
because they want to contain Kabul government of President
Rabbani (IPS, November 95).
Main Arms Suppliers: Pakistan, USA, USSR
2. Bosnia: "Violence Flares As Bosnians Try to Regain
Prewar Homes," by Mike O'Conner (NYT, 22 April 96)
During the war, an estimated 2.4 million Bosnians were
forced from their homes; virtually none have returned.
Neither the major foreign peacekeeping authorities nor
Bosnian officials have been able to solve the problem.
The issue is explosive, say NATO and UN officials.
Crowds of Serbs moved on Muslims trying to reach the town
of Bosan Novi and Doboj in Bosnian Serb territory and
Croats were attacked by Serbs near Modrika.
"Most of the houses to which refugees want to return are
now occupied by refugees of another ethnic group. They
feel they will be displaced if the refugees return and --
because they are not being allowed to return to their
homes either -- they will have no place to live."
2. Burma (Myanmar) : Correction: Popular leader Aung San
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won the
presidency in 1990 with over 61% of the popular vote,
giving her party 80% of the seats in parliament.
Human Rights Abuses and Destruction of Karen Lands
A cross-country gas pipeline has been constructed across
Karen lands north of Tavoy, Burma, in order to transport
gas to Thailand from huge gas fields which have been
discovered beneath Burma's Andaman Sea. To protect the
pipeline from rebel attacks, the Burmese military has
turned the areas surrounding the pipeline into a free fire
zone where villagers are either shot on sight, or rounded
up into forced labor camps, or forced to flee to Thailand.
The military regime in Burma, known as SLORC, is in
business with Unocal gas and oil company and stands to
make $400 million annually beginning in 1998 in profits
from the pipeline.
(Documentary by International Dispatch, 1996; and letter
by Tyler R. Giannini, Co-Director, EarthRights
International, in In These Times, 13 May 1996).
3. Burundi -- More than 100,000 people have died in the
conflict which began in October 1993 pitting the Tutsi
dominated military against the Hutu rebels with civilians
and refugees caught in the middle (NYT, Reuters, 24
November '95). 15,000 dead in 1995 (Time Magazine, Andrew
The low-level civil war began in 1993 when Tutsi soldiers
assassinated Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu and the country's
first democratically elected president after he threatened
to bring an end to 30 year s of Tutsi domination. 50,000
died in 1993 alone. Since 1993, 250,000 Burundians, mostly
Hutu have escaped into Zaire and Tanzania, adding to
nearly 2 million Rwandan refugees. In January 1995, 20,0
00 Rwandan Hutu managed to flee the Burundian fighting to
the Tanzania border. There are an additional 130,000
Rwandan Hutu still in Burundi (Time Magazine, Andrew
According to a NYT story by James C. McKinley Jr. (2.7.96)
there are 1.7 million Rwandan Hutu refugees in 59 camps in
Tanzania, Zaire and Burundi.
Fierce clashes between the Burundi army and Hutu rebels
erupted in December 1995 in the capital, Bujumbura.
Amnesty International believes that attacks by Tutsi
dominated security forces in the capital are aimed at
ridding Bujumbura of Hutu. In addition, armed Hutu groups
are responding by killing ethnic Tutsi.
According to Amnesty International (AI) there are about
1,000 casualties per month; and there have been more than
1,300 dead since the start of November 1995. AI believes
that there are unreported massacres in the inaccessible
provinces of Bubanza and Cititoke where fighting has
intensified during 1995 (12.20.95). The Hutu president of
the Hutu majority country is Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.
Main arms supplier: USSR
5. India and Pakistan and Kashmir
Indian government vs. Muslim separatist rebel groups who
use various methods in order to gain their aims, which
range from gaining the referendum on autonomy which was
promised as far back as 1950, limited autonomy in
confederation with India, a completely independent Kashmir
(Islamic or secular) or merger with Pakistan.
Some of these groups are sponsored by Pakistan, some by
Iran or the Gulf states and others seem to be made up
largely of displaced ex-Mujahadeen from the Afghanistan/
Pakistan border areas.
One of these groups, a very minor one called Al-Faran,
gained much publicity in 1995 due to its taking of Western
hostages. (According to an unconfirmed report in the New
York Times (5.16.96) the group killed their remaining four
hostages) Other groups, such as the largest one JKLF -
Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front, are engaged in regular
full scale actions against Indian army formations and seem
to enjoy wide popular support among the Kashmiris.
Some observers have argued that the best ally of the
central government are the various groups themselves, as
much of their energy seems to be expended in fighting each
other. (Michael Strutt, special to DESIP)
6. Iran: Date of Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salmon
Rushdie: February 14, 1989.
7. Liberia -- War began in 1989 when forces led by Charles
Taylor invaded from the Ivory Coast and overthrew the
regime of Sgt. Doe who had violently ousted the
Americo-Liberian elite in 1980 and was widely considered
one of the modern Africa's most corrupt and brutal
figures. By the time of the shaky cease-fire of August
1995, 150,000 Liberians were killed by 5 warring factions.
3/4 of Liberia' s population are refugees -- one-half in
capital Monrovia, and one-third in neighboring countries:
(mid-1993 population estimate: 2.8 million).
Fighting re-erupted towards the end of 1995 between the
forces of Charles Taylor and Mr. Kroma, the leader of
As 1996 began, dozens of people were killed in the worst
fighting since the August cease-fire. The clashes have
sent 80,000 people fleeing into Tubmanborg. Liberia's
diamond-rich northwestern region is controlled by rebels of
the ethnic Krahn branch of the United Liberation Movement
called Ulimo-J, led by General Roosevelt Johnson. Members
of the 7,000 troop peacekeepers of the Economic Community
of West African States (Ecomog) have been taken hostage by
rebel forces. They were spread out across Liberia to
prepare for the disarmament of 60,000 combatants, a key
component of the cease-fire (AP, in NYT, 1.4.96).
* from a NYT report by Howard W. French (2.1.96) "After
Years of War, a Lawless Liberia"
"The arrival of a regional peacekeeping force [in 1991?]
dominated by Nigeria, and the later deployment of hundreds
of United Nations officials here, from military observers
to relief experts, did no thing to reduce corruption.
"West African peacekeepers, unsatisfied with hefty cuts
they took on all rebel sold goods moving through the
country's ports, were soon stripping the country of
everything from railroad stock to street lamps. And
United Nations workers here say unscrupulous United
Nations officials have been making a killing on everything
from real estate deals to procurement kickbacks...."
"A recent outbreak of serious fighting between one armed
group, the Ulimo-J militia, and the West African
peacekeepers appears to be driven by diverging interest
over the question of who controls luc rative illicit
diamond mining in an area just north of the capital."
from a NYT report: 24 April 96 by Howard W. French
Headline: "In a Calm of Sorts, Liberians Ventured Out in
Pullquote: "Boy soldiers roam Monrovia feeling empowered"
"... Monrovia today is a place where zones of influence of
rival warlords come dangerously close and unpredictably
into contact...It was far too early to say whether any of the many players in this c
ountry's crisis possesses a big enough stick to impose a
"Tens of thousands of Monrovians have fled for refuge in
outlying areas like Bushrod Island, to the houses of
friends and relatives, in open lots and near makeshift
international feeding centers...
Food shortage: Jailee Quiee, a 40 year old `block leader'
said: "It's been a week since anyone around here has had
Casualties of recent fighting: City officials have
estimated that at least 200 people, mostly civilians, have
been killed here since the fighting broke out two weeks
Thousands of tons of donated wheat and oil are available
at Monrovia's docks, but UN officials said food aid was
held up this morning by fighters of the United Liberation
Movement, an ally of Mr. Tay lor's force. "The scene was a
repetition of what has happened here hundreds of times
since the fighting began, as teen-age warriors rob
ordinary citizens of their food at gunpoint, often
shooting those who complain too much."
CHINA: Demographic and grain production report from Calypso
Log, February 1996.
Population 1995: 1.23 billion; 55 ethnic minorities;
Population growth reduction campaign began in the 70s. In
1970 the fertility rate (the number of children born per
number of women of reproductive age) was 5.8. By 1980 the
rate had dropped to 2.85. And since 1992, it has
continued to fall to an estimated 2.0.
65% (800 million) of the Chinese are under the age of 35
and the population increases at the rate of 13 million
people a year.
Population aging. According to some forecasts, in 40
years there may be more persons over the age of 65 in
China than in all the developed countries combined. How
will the Chinese deal with this ever-increasing number of
older persons, while the number of working-age people is
China's single child policy leads to gender imbalance.
There is a lack of almost 50 million women.
FOOD PRODUCTION IN CHINA
"Grain production has stagnated at 445 million tons while
demand is skyrocketing as the Chinese population grows, has
increased wealth, and seeks improved diets. Once a grain
exporter (8 million ton s in 1992), China has had to import
16 million tons annually since 1994. This change is all
the more alarming because soil erosion -- due in part to
increased deforestation which, since 1949, has stripped
one-third of the country's forests and woodlands -- and
the thrust toward urbanization have swallowed up 12 million
square kilometers of arable land in the past 50 years.
Combined with demographic growth, this represent a 50
percent reduction in available farmland for every
inhabitant! The return to private land ownership has also
had negative effects, as millions of peasants were no
longer needed to work the farmlands. One hundred fifty
million jobless peasants have already fled to the cities,
despite very strict measures to control migration between
HUMAN RIGHTS -- Asia
from "Asian Childhoods Sacrificed to Prosperity's Lust" by
Nicholas Kristoff, NYT, 14 April 1996
According to estimates by social workers and government
officials, more than a million girls and boys aged 17 and
younger are engaged in prostitution in Asia. Rising
economic development and the fear of AIDS which is driving
customers to younger boys and girls are aggravating the
AIDS is spreading rapidly in the area. India had its
first AIDS case in 1986, yet already some 1.6 million
Indians are infected with HIV. Thailand has 800,000
cases; Myanmar (Burma) where condoms are banned has
400,000 cases. In Cambodia, 39% of prostitutes are
infected with HIV.
HUMAN RIGHTS -- Africa, Middle East, United States
Female Genital Mutilation
According to a column by Ellen Goodman reprinted from the
Boston Globe in Liberal Opinion Week (30 October 95),
Female Genital Mutilation is increasingly becoming a
phenomenon in immigrant communitie s in the United States.
Estimates of cases range from the hundreds to the
thousands. Only three states, New York, Minnesota and
North Dakota have made FGM on minors a felony while it is
illegal in E ngland, Sweden and much of Europe.
Estimates are that somewhere between 100 million and 130
million women worldwide undergo the practice. It is the
fate of nearly every woman and girl in Somalia, 90 percent
of the females in Ethiopia and half in Egypt [some
estimates put the figure for Egyptian women as high as 90%
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Roadbuilding in the Pacific Northwest
from "Roads Take Toll" by John C. Ryan with research by
Chandra Shah, reprinted in Earth First! Journal, February
1996 (Brigid), courtesy of Northwest Environment Watch
The Pacific Northwest encompasses most of BC, Idaho,
Oregon, Washington, southeastern Alaska, northwestern
California, and western Montana.
In a striking illustration of the increase in two-wheel
drive roads in the Kootenay Mountains in BC, an
accompanying map shows that in 1952, about 80% of the
mountains were unmarked; while in 1986 more than 85% of
the same area was covered by such roads.
In Oregon, Washington and western Montana, roads have
surpassed streams as a defining feature of the landscape.
Roads built for logging as well as driving threaten the
Northwest's natural heritage, " from ceders to salmon,
salamanders to grizzly bears. Roads harm the environment
by degrading and polluting nearby streams, dividing
wildlife habitats into small fragments, and spreading
"Impervious surfaces like pavement collect and concentrate
water and toxins. Because water runs immediately off
pavement rather than soaking into the ground, roads often
lower groundwater tables and destabilize nearby
waterways...Studies in the Seattle area show [a decline
in] stream channel stability, fish habitat quality, and
salmon and amphibian populations if even 10-15 percent of
a watershe d is covered by impervious surfaces...
"Heavy metals and hydrocarbons emitted or leaked from cars
-- along with road salt and roadside herbicides -- run off
roads and into adjacent waterways...Roads built for
logging degrade forests befor e any trees are cut. Erosion
and sedimentation, often in massive landslides, are
inescapable by-products of road building in steep terrain;
sedimentation is particularly harmful to salmon. In Idaho
and Oregon, forest roads have caused erosion at least 100
times greater than natural rates. Even as roads block the
movement of many native species, they open remote areas to
hunters, exotic weeds, a nd diseases. Port Orford cedar, a
highly prized tree found only in southwestern Oregon and
northwestern California, is endangered by a root-rot
fungus that is spread along logging roads."
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY
from Middle East International, 2 Feb 96, by Donald Neff
"...a major influence on Washington's [anti-Iran] policy
is Israel. It has been inflaming U.S. policy against Iran
for years, and especially since President Clinton came to
power in 1993. In the mon ths before the passage of the new
directive [ordering the CIA to launch an $18 million cover
action programme against Iran], AIPAC, the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee, was busy lobbying Con gress to
take tough action against Iran. Its efforts have been
highly successful. Now that Israel is gaining peace with
its Arab neighbors, its strategic perspective has grown to
identify non-Arab Iran as its strongest `outer' enemy."
"Gingrich follows Israel's lead"
"The moving power behind the directive to the CIA is
Congressman Newt Gingrich of Georgia ... an ex officio
member of the House Intelligence Committee, which has to
authorize covert operations. He is a rabid supporter of
Israel, as is his wife Marianne, who is vice-president of
an Israeli company, the Israeli Export Development
Corporation of Jerusalem. Gingrich himself has been a
consistent re cipient of contributions from pro-Israel
groups, totaling through the 1994 election around $70,000,
not including individual donations. In 1994 he led a group
of new Republican Congressmen on a visit to Israel to extol
its virtues, and in Congress he strongly supports massive
aid to Israel while crusading for budget cuts in almost
every other area involving needy Americans.
"Following Israel's lead, Gingrich has become one of the
most vocal and hysterical critics of Iran. He has called
it `a permanent, long-term threat to civilized life on
this planet ... a terrorist s tate ... committed to
defeating the West in any way it can'... [H]e has warned
Americans that Iran's efforts to acquire weapons of mass
destruction could enable it `to annihilate Tel Aviv and in
the long run to annihilate Chicago or Atlanta.'"
US POPULATION ISSUES
from The Balance Activist, March 1996, a publication of
Population-Environment Balance, a membership organization.
U.S. is the third most populous country in the world:
March 96 population estimate: 263,457,000.
U.S. population increases by about 3 million every year.
Present U.S. growth rate = 1.1%. At this rate our
population will double in 64 years.
To accommodate growth, we pave over an area the size of
Delaware every year. Every person adds an extra acre of
land for urbanization and road-building.
In 1993, more than 53 million U.S. residents drank
The U.S. fertility rate in 1995 was 2.08 which is
approximately replacement level, but up from 1.7 in 1976.
Also, the percentage of unintended pregnancies increased
from 29% in 1970 to 33% in 1990.
Immigration is the largest contributor to population
growth accounting for more than 50% when the higher
fertility rates of immigrants are taken into account. We
currently admit about 800,000 legal immigrants a year.
Dr. George Borjas of Harvard University estimates that
immigration costs U.S. workers $133 billion annually,
mainly in lost job opportunities and depressed wages. Dr.
Donald Huddle of Rice Universit y calculates the cost of
immigration in 1994 at a net $52 billion to U.S.
taxpayers, after subtracting the taxes paid by immigrants,
with that amount slated to increase to an average of $81
billion a nnually by 2004 unless immigration is
California is considering reversing its 1972 ban on
hunting cougars. California's population growth,
increasing from 10 million in 1950 to 32 million in 1996,
has resulted in development in prime co ugar habitat, which
has driven the cougars out of the mountains and into
U.S. Nuclear Issues
"Nuclear Wastes in the Colorado River" by Ken Sleight in
American Rivers, Spring 1996
"The Colorado River and its tributaries are fast becoming
some of the most threatened waterways of America, as great
amounts of radioactive wastes escape regularly into the
Colorado River system.
"Uranium mill tailings make up the largest volume of
radioactive waste in the country. For decades, thousands
of these mill tailings have been abandoned in our canyons.
Piles of waste lie along the Colorado River, beneath the
waters of Lake Powell, and on the upper reaches of their
"Radiation from Uravan, an old tailings site in Colorado,
is still leaking, like a giant sieve, throughout the
subsoil into the San Miguel River. These nuclear wastes
then flow into the Dolores and then the Colorado River.
The Atlas milling site downstream is also leaching its
destructive waste into the Colorado, directly affecting
both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks....The Colorado
Heal th Department issued a permit to Umetco Minerals for a
new tailings pile to be sited over the old dumping ground
"Utah was not consulted, even though the wastes would flow
down the rivers into Utah, Arizona, and then into
ZAIRE: Population and Health Report from The Washington
Post National Weekly Edition Feb 5-11, 1996.
Population: 44 million (mid 1993: 41.2 million)
Growth rate: 3%, at which population would double by 2020.
Fertility rate: 6.7 (children per woman)
Life expectancy at birth: 52
Medical staff: One doctor for 14,286 people; one nurse for
30 million have no access to health services, 24 million no
access to safe water and 31 million no access to sanitation
Note: All information labeled "Main arms supplier(s)" is
from the Armed Conflicts Report 1995 published by Project
Ploughshares, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies,
END OF ADDENDUM #1
Comments, information, contributions, requests, welcome.
Write to: Ronald Bleier (rbleier@xxxxxxx).
Part 1. ONGOING WARS; CHILDREN AS CASUALTIES OF WAR
Part 2. SIMMERING AND TROUBLE SPOTS
Part 3. MILITARY OCCUPATIONS, MINORITIES, PEACE TALKS,
REFUGEES, FORTHCOMING SECTIONS OF DESIP