November war roundup

Here’s a brief summary of war-related operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Korean Peninsula:

Afghanistan- 51 U.S. soldiers died, making it the bloodiest November since the conflict commenced in 2001.  The previous November record was 18, set last year.  Military operations ended up costing an additional $10 billion for the month.  Also, two polls revealed somewhat contradictory results regarding public sentiment.  In a Quinnipiac poll, 33% of Democrats, 40% of Independents, and 64% of Republicans favored a continuation of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.  In a Gallup poll, 54% said things are going badly, although 45% said things are going well, which proved to be the highest level of optimisim in a year and a half.  Passing a milestone, the U.S. has now occupied Afghanistan for a longer period of time than the Soviet Union’s nearly ten-year long tenure during the 1980s.  Finally, the Obama administration is now emphasizing a more significant U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2014, instead of the original mid-2011 deadline in which U.S. combat forces were to begin handing over major security operations to Afghan forces.

Iraq- 2 U.S. soldiers died, with one being a direct result of combat operations.  Military operations ended up costing an additional $4 billion for the month.  A new government has loosely formed after an eight-month stalemate, and widespread violence continues to take a devastating toll on the nation’s minority Christian community, 1/2 to 2/3 of which has fled the nation since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. 

Pakistan- Drone attacks targeting suspected militants continued at a steady pace, and after much negotiation, the U.S. is now able to expand CIA operations in Quetta, a suspected hotbed of militants.  Suicide bombings increased inside the nation, and though budgetary figures are not available, the US likely spent millions on military-related operations.

Yemen- The Obama administration intensified military preparations and operations inside Yemen, inserting additional drones and pushing to allow special forces personnel to operate from a growing number of forward bases.  Yemen-based Al Qaeda also claimed that it was utilizing low-budget operations to “bleed the enemy to death” with a strategy of “a thousand cuts”.

Korean Peninsula- After North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island, tensions escalated as the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier into the Yellow Sea as a show of force.  With 30,000 U.S troops standing between North and South Korea, any major conflict between the two nations would likely pull America into an all-out regional war.  However, as of late, tensions have slightly eased as China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. work toward a diplomatic solution.