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World News and Trends: New states of anarchy

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New states of anarchy

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Pointing to events in Algeria, where some 60,000 to 75,000 people have been killed in a six-year civil war, the analyst says the troubled nation is the latest in a series of countries in which breakdown of government has left a vacuum filled by savagery and brutality.

Algeria's road to disaster began when 1991 elections, which Islamics apparently won, were annulled by the secular Algerian government. To overturn the decision, Islamic militants initially chose to fight the government through traditional military means. When that strategy failed, they turned to terrorism, usually choosing to invade villages at night, systematically stabbing, slashing, burning and beheading the innocent inhabitants.

Analysts think the terrorists' goals are twofold: first, to provoke so much chaos that the government will eventually collapse; second, to drive the populace out of various regions so they can move in and take over, creating their own ministates answerable to no one but themselves.

This pattern is paralleled, says writer Geyer, by events in recent years in Europe (Bosnia), Africa (Rwanda) and South America (Colombia). In the case of Colombia, drug overlords have joined forces with communist guerrillas in effect to create their own fiefdoms in remote areas of the country. Events in Bosnia and Rwanda showed that, whether armed with machine guns or machetes, man is capable of incredible savagery toward his fellowman when there is no greater power to keep such brutality in check. (Source: Universal Press Syndicate.) GN