[IWAR] GLOBAL flash points

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Fri Jan 02 1998 - 10:13:24 PST

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             Analysts name potential flash points around the globe for 1998
          Copyright ) 1998 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1998 The Associated Press
       LONDON (January 2, 1998 01:18 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -- Serbia's
       restive Kosovo province could be a flash point in 1998. Israel's
       northern border with Syria and Lebanon may also heat up. There's a risk
       of another border conflict between Peru and Ecuador, and trouble in
       divided Cyprus.
       Military analysts considering what the New Year may hold warn of
       potential hot spots throughout a troubled world.
       Tensions in Rwanda and Burundi may blow up again, and the United States
       can expect more problems with Saddam Hussein. The analysts predict more
       difficulties for Israel with Hamas, further trouble for Egypt with
       Islamic extremists and no end to civil wars in Afghanistan and Sri
       "In terms of arms control, the priorities for 1998 must be to identify
       and control weapons of mass destruction, to continue nuclear
       disarmament, and prevent countries like Iran from becoming nuclear
       weapon powers," said Paul Beaver, spokesman for Jane's Information
       Group, which publishes Jane's Defense Weekly.
       Kosovo, where more than 90 percent of the people are ethnic Albanians
       seeking independence, tops the list of potential hot spots.
       In the last six months, many weapons stolen in Albania have reached
       nationalists in Kosovo, giving them arms capability equal to the Serbian
       police for the first time, Beaver said.
       "I would expect there to be some problem in Kosovo in the next 12
       months," he said.
       Michael Clarke, executive director of the Center for Defense Studies, an
       independent think tank, called the Kosovo situation "very dangerous."
       "Kosovo, if and when it blows up, will be a lot more dangerous than
       Bosnia ever was because it won't be so containable," he said.
       Problems in Kosovo could lead to a wider conflict between Serbia and
       Albania also was spotlighted by the National Defense Council Foundation
       as a country where law and order broke down in 1997. The Alexandria,
       Va.-based think tank listed Albania on its yearly index of world
       conflict areas.
       Serbia faces problems on another front in 1998. Clarke and Beaver agreed
       that tensions between Orthodox Christian Serbs and Muslim Slavs in
       Bosnia could lead to renewed war.
       President Clinton's decision to keep American troops in the NATO-led
       peacekeeping force in Bosnia won praise from the analysts.
       Clarke said NATO needs a success in Bosnia because of Russia, which
       remains concerned about NATO's planned expansion into eastern Europe.
       "The success of these forces will be critical to convincing the Russians
       that NATO has a useful role to perform which is not anti-Russian," he
       Beaver said there is a real concern that Israeli policies could lead to
       conflict on its northern border, either with Lebanon or Syria.
       The analysts said Iraq's latest face-off with Washington gave Saddam
       breathing space, possibly to redeploy his weapons of mass destruction
       and to increase the profile of Baghdad's protests against U.N. trade
       sanctions. It also forced the United States to spend millions of dollars
       to send two aircraft carriers and additional air power to the region.
       "And he can do this whenever he wants," said Philip Gordon, a fellow at
       the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "If he wants to do it
       again tomorrow, the U.S. response will have to be the exact same one."
       Greece and Turkey remain at odds over the ethnically divided island of
       Cyprus, where tensions have risen following the European Union's
       decision to leave Turkey off the list of potential members.
       Gordon said the situation is compounded by the Greek Cypriot
       government's expected receipt of Russian surface-to-air missiles next
       year and Turkey's pledge to destroy them if they are deployed.
       In Southeast Asia, the financial crisis could lead to instability if the
       economic readjustments prove to be symptoms of weakening government
       structures, Clarke said.
       "The Chinese will have more problems with their northwest frontier,"
       Beaver said, "and we continue to watch North Korea with great
       In South America, the major concerns are in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru
       and Ecuador "which have undefined borders," Beaver said. "This is
       leading to increased instability and the risk of border conflict."
       By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

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