War and Peace

A number of wars will be commemorated this year, with historians and analysts pondering over their long-term impact.

It was 10 years ago that a million people in London joined protesters around the world to rally against the Iraq War in February – their views were ignored as the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ invaded Iraq without a second UN Resolution.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War of 1973 where another coalition – this time of Arab states, Egypt and Syria – attacked Israel. But there was a good outcome, eventually: the ceasefire set in motion a process that led to the Camp David Accords.

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu, which saw Somalia’s spiral downwards towards a failed state from which it is only emerging now.

Asymmetric wars using terrorism came to prominence in the latter part of the 20th century: this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie Disaster; the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the IRA bombing in London. Osama bin Laden hit the news radar for the first time 15 years ago in 1998 when he masterminded the bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
But this year also marks the cessation of wars as well: the Vietnam War ended 40 years ago; the Good Friday Agreement was signed 15 years ago to bring peace to troubled Northern Ireland; and this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, a treaty of friendship between Germany and France to end centuries of rivalry.