Bush Administration 2001: we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” General Wesley Clark
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began with the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition. The invasion regime toppled the government of Saddam Hussein. However, the conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict. The United States officially withdrew from the country in 2011 but became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue.
The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict with international interventions taking place in Syria. The unrest began in the early spring of 2011 within the context of the Arab Spring protests, with nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns. The conflict gradually morphed from mass protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges. A United Nations report released in December, 2012, stated that the conflict had “become overtly sectarian in nature”, between Alawite–dominated government forces, militias and other Shia groups fighting primarily against Sunni-dominated rebel groups; however both opposition and government forces denied that.
The Second Libyan Civil War is an ongoing conflict between four rival organizations seeking to control Libya: the internationally recognized government of the Council of Deputies that was elected democratically in 2014, also known as the “Tobruk government” and internationally known formally as the “Libyan Government”, which has the loyalty of the Libyan Army under the command of General officer Khalifa Haftar and has been supported by air strikes by Egypt and the UAE.; the rival Islamist government of the new General National Congress based in the capital Tripoli, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, backed by the wider Islamist coalition known as “Libya Dawn” and aided by Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey; the Islamist Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, led by Ansar al-Sharia (Libya), which has had the support of the New General National Congress and the unrecognised government in Tripoli led by former Prime Minister Omar Al-Hassi, stating that Ansar al-Sharia are “simple, beautiful and amiable” as well as being engaged in “missionary work”; and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s Libyan provinces
The Somali Civil War is an ongoing civil war taking place in Somalia. In 2000, the Transitional National Government was established, followed by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in 2004. The trend towards reduced conflict halted in 2005, and sustained and destructive conflict took place in the south in 2005-07. However, the fighting was of a much lower scale and intensity than in the early 1990s. In 2006, Ethiopian troops seized most of the south from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU then splintered into more radical groups, notably Al-Shabaab. which have since been fighting the Somali government and the AU-mandated AMISOM peacekeeping force for control of the country. Somalia topped the annual Fragile States Index for six years between 2008 and 2013.
On July 9, 2011, after decades of civil war and the loss of more than 2 million lives, South Sudan seceded from Sudan and became the world’s newest nation—a peaceful and democratic breaking-in-two of what was Africa’s largest country. The mood was more somber in Khartoum, where the feeling among many was uncertainty about their suddenly smaller country’s economic future, since most of Sudan’s oil—the lifeblood of the economy—is in the south. Because of the severe human toll and destabilizing consequences of conflict in Sudan—not only the north-south conflict, but also the tragedy of the Darfur conflict that began in 2003—Sudan has for years been the U.S. Government’s highest priority in Africa.
On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran has completed the necessary steps under the Iran deal that will ensure Iran’s nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful.