Monday, September 28, 2015

Phase 1, final week!

This is your last chance to get the background right... Make it count: next week's assignment is th first essay.

This week, go back and read your first three posts.
First, check for any confusion and try to fix it.
Second, make sure you have covered the following things:
   A) The basic timeline of the current conflict
   B) The names and motivations of the principal actors (governments, organizations or parties).
   C) The general geography of the conflict zone and the countries involved.

Good luck!


  1. General Geography with Respective Operation Bases of Syrian Conflict
    Central Syria seems to be a relatively “calm” zone during this civil war, with the large majority of the combat being close in north eastern area, until Deir al-Zour (Western border). The Syrian armed forces are spread out in the west, with Aleppo continuously being a battleground between government forces, rebels and jihadists. Also, government forces have begun fortifying approaches to Damascus, since Syrian capital and outskirts are of strategic significance, as well as Latakia in the north west in order to protect their core territory. ISIS, the Islamic State, has control over the north western area, ranging from northern area of Aleppo till Deir al-Zour. Although, from Kobane that has been one of the most high-profile battlegrounds of the conflict, while passing through Hassakeh until the north western tip of Syria, are areas under the control of the Kurdish coalition. Also noting that Aleppo, Syria’s second city (its largest in population terms, at least before the war) is an important air base for the Kurds. Finally, the opposition forces have taken control over a small area of land around Idlib and Aleppo, as well as the control over the Golan Heights border area. All but peaceful geographic controls of belligerents.

  2. In week one I mentioned that the Assad family was of Alawite origin, but what is an Alawite? Alawite is one of the Twelve branches of the Muslim world and is a sub branch of Shia Islam. The Alawites are centred in Syria where approximatively 2000000 reside. They worship Ali, the cousin of the prophet Muhammad. He was supposedly the first young male to accept Islam and was the First Imam after his cousin died. THis is where many things differ: there are two main branches in Islam, Sunni and Shia Islam. The Shia's see Ali as the heir to Muhammad but the Sunnis think that he was an imposter of the real heir, Abu Bakr, Muhammad's father in law. From thins point Sunni and Shia Islam have been fighting over who is right and why for 1400 years. For example, after World War 1, France created an Alawite state in Syria to protect the Alawites from any other branches that wanted to kill them(especially the Sunni branch). Today, the government defends Alawites and since they are a minority in Syria, a defeat of the Syrian Regime would most likely mean that they would be hunted by any other Branch of Islam. This is why most Alawites support Bashar-al-Assad because he shows that this small and pretty weak branch of Islam can live peacefully in Syria since they are protected and that the Assad family has already killed opponents to the Alawite branch

  3. The on going war on terrorism in the United States started with the very first al-Qaeda attack on US forces on December 29th 1992. A bomb was launched in a hotel where the US troops were staying, on their way to a humanitarian mission in Somalia. Since then, the United States has been the victim of numerous terrorists plots and attacks on its soil. These terrorist organisations have been proliferating transnationally since the 9/11 devastating attack. Al-Qaeda central now led by Ben Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawahiri, still aims to attack the west. But according to the CFR, groups that are loosely affiliated with al-Qaeda: like Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in Somalia and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are more focused on their own neighborhoods than the west. Additionally, ISIS was originally more interested in establishing a new caliphate in Iraq and Syria than it was in attacking the west. Although, the United States might not be the most important target for all these terrorist organizations, they still represent a very substantial threat. The number of foreign fighters travelling to Iraq and Syria is increasing insanely day by day. Around 20,000 foreign fighters have joined IS or other affiliated groups, mostly coming from the Middle East and Africa but more than 3,000 are westerners. The American government along with many western countries has been fighting to counter IS's propaganda,prevent radicalization and stop terrorists from going abroad or returning home. However IS's slick propaganda continues to attract a steady number of recruits.

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  5. The Ukrainian conflict is being fought in Ukraine, more specifically on the Eastern border of the country as well as in Crimea. Feeling close to Moscow, some of the Eastern population in Ukraine have taken up arms for Russia, joining the fight with the pro-Russian separatists. In 2014, soldiers of ambiguous affiliations started taking control of strategic positions within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. The region was quickly invaded by such troops. Vladimir Putin first denied any interference of the Russian army but shortly after admitted to the activity of the Russian troops in Crimea. This invasion led to a “Crimean status referendum”. The results were that of 96.77% of votes in favor of joining Russia,which are, in my own opinion, very imprecise numbers. After the annexation of Crimea, violent conflicts erupted between separatists and the Ukrainian government in the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. These are cities located in the very Eastern side of Ukraine. Once more denied by Moscow, Russian military personnel and equipment were seen crossing the border into these regions in August 2014. This aid led to the defeat of the Ukrainian army in those Eastern regions. Afterwards, ceasefires have been signed although the fighting has not completely stopped. The battles have still greatly diminished although no significant border changes have occurred and president Poroshenko has declared they will not stop fighting until Crimea is taken back while rebels are still fighting for control in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

  6. In last week's episode the question was to see if Khamenei would be interested in Iran's nuclear program. Well the answer is yes, he makes it obvious by signing an 800 million contract with Russia for the Bushehr nuclear plant in 1995. The United States are suspicious of Iran's growing intelligence in the nuclear program and President Bill Clinton imposes sanctions on foreign companies with investments in Iran. These new rules take effect for U.S companies as early as 1996. These suspicions seem justified because in 2002 the U.S discover secret plants unknown to the United Nations, this a big deal because in these plants are vast uranium enrichment plants and heavy water plants. The U.S, currently in the Iraq war, accuse Iran of "across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction" but are too busy with the Iraq war to act at this point. In response to America's invasion of Iraq Khamenei decides to suspend the research of what seemed to be weapon based technologies but continues to enrich uranium. After different attempts to find an agreement Iran would not violate, Iran elects Ahmadinejad in 2005. Ahmadinejad looks like a scary man encouraging Iran's nuclear program and saying that Israel needs to be wiped out. Production in their nuclear plants restart through Ahmadinejad's command. The UN start to put sanctions on Iran, these sanctions consist in banning the import and export of materials and technology to Iran but also years later, sanctions on those aiding Iran. Until 2013 the relationship between Iran and the United States is very complicated with Iran blaming the U.S for cyberattacks or the killing of scientists. A turning point for this relationship is the election of a new president called Hassan Rouhani. Hassan Rouhani advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world. Shortly after his election Hassan Rouhani slows Iran’s gathering of enriched uranium and says he seeks a nuclear accord to stop sanctions. The United States are now trying to make a deal with Iran that could solve the Iran nuclear conflict. Iran seems to want to agree but key issues still have to be resolved today. The working of the deal is a top priority because Iran is one of the world's leading state sponsors of terrorism through its financial and operational support for groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and others therefore threatening the U.S and others.

  7. The Afghan struggle between the Taliban and the government has caused severe human right’s violation and danger for the local population. The rejection of the Taliban by the government has brought violence on the Afghans who reject the extremist group. For example on January 17th 2015, a suicide attack on a Kabul restaurant resulted in the death of 20 people: 13 foreign nationals and 7 Afghans. About 40 civilians were killed during the election, and 100 injured. Many other tortures and deaths have been recorded by the country, along with numerous hostages held. The situation also leaves women’s right largely unconsidered: women are still denied or ignored court justice, and police women and activists remain unprotected from threats, attacks and assassinations. However, the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) has made the president and vice-president sign and agree to commit to following 30 recommendations that support women’s rights.

  8. After having read the previous entries, I found that the actual origin of the conflict in the East China Sea was too obscure. It was in fact an imperialism problem that dated back to the early 1900s. After the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, the once deserted Senkaku islands became Japanese territory (fishing business was once developed there). Later on starting from 1945, Japan as well as the islands were occupied by US authority, but in 1972 the US ceded the Senkaku islands back to Japan. However, the most important thing is that, during all this time China never expressed a single word of disapproval. It is only after the islands were returned back to Japan in 1972, that China became enraged. Based on old Chinese maps and texts, China declares that Japan has violated her territorial rights. China also argues that she had to cede Taiwan (which included the islands) to Japan after the war in 1895, but she regained control of Taiwan after World War II. Except meanwhile, the US were the ones who controlled the islands and the islands were given back to Japan separately in 1972. On the other side, China doesn't have any proof of her sovereignty over the islands in 1895. Furthermore, if Japan really did seize the territories illegally, China would have pointed that out ages ago. So the conclusion we could make is that China's interest on the Senkaku islands only boomed upward when fossil fuels reserves were found in the zone, and that China used her historical "sovereignty" over the islands as an excuse to try and steal them back during these late few years.

  9. The country of Afghanistan witnessed a variety of rulers in the last decades. In 1979, the Soviets seized the power and installed a communist government until 1988. Afterwards, civil war struck between a multitude of groups and ended in 1996 with the Taliban seizure of Kabul. The Taliban lost control of Kabul in 2001, since then a new Afghan government was put in place with its leaders being presidents. Karzai was president until 2014 and today Ghani is the president of Afghanistan.
    The amount of territory under Afghan government control considerably evolved over the past years. With the departure of Taliban forces from Kabul, the government obtained vast areas of control. However, the Taliban continue to control parts of the South and the Pakistani border. They also influence a great portion of the country. In opposition, the Northern area of Afghanistan remains, for the most of it, under Afghan government control.
    Finally, the effectiveness of the Afghan government is poor. In 2012, Transperancy International declared Afghanistan as the third most corrupt country. This corruption is effective at all levels whether it be the police forces, the judiciary branch or within the bureaucracy. Bribes are the cardinal factor in this national conflict.

  10. A little background is needed here. During the Arab Spring, Tunisia’s uprisings created tensions in Egypt which led to a revolution and the president Hosni Mubarak's resignation (2011). The power was transferred to the Armed Forces of Egypt (they dissolved the parliament and suspended their Constitution). Mubarak and his former interior minister Habib al-Adli were convicted to life in prison on the basis of their failure to stop the killings during the first six days of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Then came Morsi to power. Protest had stop after Mubarak’s resignation but Morsi in power aroused new disapproval which after his removal, did not stop and tensions are still high because of him. Egyptians were once again angry with their leader. Today’s tensions are do to the struggle to maintain a stabilised power in Egypt and many parties want to take over today's president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. For example the Muslim Brotherhood have always wanted to take over, since Morsi was formerly with them they thought they would finally have power but ultimately they did not. Protesters from that political group have protested against Sissi and many other presidents throughout the years.
    Egypt’s unrest is largely concentrated in the Sinai Peninsula since there are terrorist groups but the conflict is only in Egypt. The increased instability in Egypt has prompted a debate within the United States about its long-standing relationship and annual aid to the Egyptian military. Since two Egyptian leaders have been deposed by the military over the past four years, there is continued concern that Egypt could deteriorate into a state of sustained civil conflict, martial law, and political violence. The United States relies on Egypt for its assistance in counterterrorism efforts in the Sinai.

  11. Following Crimea’s annexation by Russia, other regions proclaimed independence from their country. There is the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic which cooperate in a newly formed confederation the Novorossiya (New Russia). This name comes from the former territory of the Russian Empire, taken from the Ottoman Empire and later cede to Ukraine when it became independent in 1917. These young republics are not recognised at the international level, only by a small limitedly recognised state, South Ossetia. The Ukrainian government even refers to these self-proclaimed republics as “temporarily occupied territories” and as terrorist organisations. The reason for this secession is once again because of the majority of the Russian speaking population. Russia has been of course supplying them military and humanitarian assistance as well as support their cause as President Putin says "in the tsarist days – Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Nikolayev and Odessa – were not part of Ukraine but part of Novorossiya.”
    Adrien Lopez

  12. Surprisingly enough, the origin of the Mexican drug cartels can be traced back to a former Mexican Judicial Federal Police agent named Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, also known as “The Godfather”. He founded the Guadalajara Cartel in 1980; since there were no cartels at the time in Mexico and thanks to his relations with Columbian’s cocaine cartels, Gallardo became the lord of Mexican drug smugglers. After some time and a minor mishap, the Godfather decided to split up his business as it would be harder to be brought down and easier to run. He split it up in 4 regions: the Tijuana Route was left to the Arellano Felix brothers, the Sonora Corridor, run by Miguel Caro Quintero, the Ciudad Juarez route went to the Carillo Fuentes family and finally the Matamoros, Tamaulipas corridor was left to Gallardo.

  13. Although I have already outlined the basic timeline of the Libyan Civil war as well as the principal governments involved (Tobruk government, General national congress and the Islamic State). I have not discussed the involvement of the European Union, and United States. In 1986 the United States decided to bomb Libya in an attempt to kill general Gaddafi, which failed. In 2011, NATO (backed by many countries in the European Union) began a military intervention to kill the general. Although it would be incorrect to blame Libya's current political situation on western powers, I can say with confidence that shelling the country encouraged the rise of fanatical groups and instability within the region. If we look at countries like Libya today I think it is safe to say that our recent military interventions failed.

  14. Growing Instability in Thailand:
    In 2006, Thaksin Shinawatra accused the military to have attempted to kill him as he found a car full of bombs near his house. A month later, while he was at a UN General Assembly, the military led a coup. Thaksin was then banished from his country. It is only a year later that democracy is restored and Thaksin’s political party, the People Power Party (PPP), comes back to power. He, therefore, returns from his exile. In 2008, Thaksin’s wife is found guilty of fraud and condemned to three years in prison. The Shinawatra family, unwilling to be charged, flees to Britain. The Thai Supreme Court also found Thaksin guilty of corruption over a land deal and later takes away half of his wealth because he illegally obtained 1.4 billion dollars.
    Athina Gunnarsson

  15. Along with its political instability, North Korea holds hostile relations with the US and South Korea due to their ongoing threats and their three nuclear weapons tests. Beside the border skirmishes, North Korea was provocative at sea in the Yellow Sea, situated west of the peninsula, and in the Sea of Japan, situated east of the peninsula. The conflicts there were mostly harmless, besides a dramatic provocation in 2010: the South Korean warship “Cheonan” sank in the Yellow Sea on the border with North Korea, causing the death of 46 sailors. International experts concluded that a North Korean submarine torpedoed the ship. Therefore, South Korea cut off almost all trade with North Korea, which denied involvement in the sinking. Military provocations also reached Japan, raising tension with this concerned country as well. This shows to the world their nuclear capability of striking targets thousands of miles away. In addition, North Korea conducted three nuclear tests since 1998, threatening a fourth test in 2014. U.S. intelligence agencies estimate that North Korea has enough plutonium to produce five nuclear weapons. Even China, generally perceived to be on friendly terms with North Korea, is opposed to their threatening nuclear program and banned export to them of items that could be used to make nuclear weapons in 2013. Additionally, with Kim Jong-un as “Supreme Leader” since 2011, North Korea has become unpredictable. Having power over this autocratic and communist government, the 3rd North Korean leader relies heavily on a cult of personality to consolidate his power. He even eliminated North Korea’s decision counselors, including his uncle, to strengthen his power: this increases political instability and unrest in the country which could escalate in dangerous ways that lead to armed conflict with neighboring powers. To prevent a conflict, international cooperation and coordination is necessary.

  16. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based around the territory of Palestine, and how each party wants to reclaim it based on what is, to them, a legitimate right to it. Despite the growing importance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the foundation of Israeli and Palestinian states in 1947, the start of the conflict can truly be traced back to 30 years before that, in 1917, when the British government promised the same parts of Palestine to several different groups. Since then, a seemingly never-ending series of tensions and disputes have occurred between Israel and Palestine. This conflict has been extremely violent, with deaths of civilians and militants on both sides, as well as the founding of various terrorist groups, such as the Palestinian ones called Hamas and Hezbollah. Both parties claim to be responding to acts of aggression and to be fighting for what is their legitimate right. To Palestinians, they have been declined a state since decades before the creation of Israel, and are unhappy about living under such strong military occupation. To Israelis, Jews need a homeland; which to them was created by the UN in 1947 and need to protect their state against the many other attacking neighbouring states. Although this conflict has been ongoing for over a century, it is still nowhere near resolved.

  17. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based around the territory of Palestine, and how each party wants to reclaim it based on what is, to them, a legitimate right to it. Despite the growing importance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the foundation of Israeli and Palestinian states in 1947, the start of the conflict can truly be traced back to 30 years before that, in 1917, when the British government promised the same parts of Palestine to several different groups. Since then, a seemingly never-ending series of tensions and disputes have occurred between Israel and Palestine. This conflict has been extremely violent, with deaths of civilians and militants on both sides, as well as the founding of various terrorist groups, such as the Palestinian ones called Hamas and Hezbollah. Both parties claim to be responding to acts of aggression and to be fighting for what is their legitimate right. To Palestinians, they have been declined a state since decades before the creation of Israel, and are unhappy about living under such strong military occupation. To Israelis, Jews need a homeland; which to them was created by the UN in 1947 and need to protect their state against the many other attacking neighbouring states. Although this conflict has been ongoing for over a century, it is still nowhere near resolved.

  18. In the context of The Six Party Talks involving North Korea, China, the USA, Russia, Japan and South Korea, North Korea has shown that it will defend its nuclear program a long time before giving it up. In fact, during september 2005's Six Party Talks negotations, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear but did another nuclear test the next year. These Six Party Talks' sole objectives have been to give a stop to the North Korean nuclear threat. There was yet another round of this provocation when, in february 2007, another sitting of Six Party Talks ended with an agreement between the US and North Korea, which stated that North Korea would denuclearize. North Korea started accepting US inspectors, and started to take apart their Yongbyong plant, but by the end of 2008, they had blocked the verification protocol and the inspectors, because they were restarting their program. Therefore, the conflict, on the diplomatic scale, is one between North Korea and the rest of the world, because North Korea's access to nuclear power is a unwanted by the all other five of the Six Parties.

    Vincent M.

  19. Indisputably one of the heaviest, if not the heaviest, threat to the United States' national security nowadays is cyber attacks. Ever since computers have become so indispensable, valuable information is stored on private servers that can be hacked into. Some governments are even beginning to use cyber attacks to make certain events occur. Russia, North Korea, China, and the United States are in a major conflict. The control over one of those countries' servers would be a huge advantage in this conflict. Hence, the United States panicked when they discovered that five Chinese hackers had been hired for cyber espionage on the US. At that moment, the US had not established a fully functioning cyber defense force. Since cyber attacks are difficult to trace and are a very efficient way of obtaining valuable information from another country, the United States considered the matter urgent and created a very efficient cyber defense force. It seems as though the United States will need that cyber defense force, as an agreement of cyber peace with China was not met.
    Quentin Siart

  20. The Yemeni crisis has no been going on since 2011. It is a conflict we don’t necessarily hear much about, yet its importance is rather significant. Yet recently, media has been spreading news after the Charlie Hebdo events of Al-Qaida’s jihadis being responsible for the attack, giving an impression that Al-Qaida is the problem for Yemen. Although Al-Qaida cause trouble in the west, many ignore that Yemen’s primary preoccupation is not Al-Qaida at all, but the Houthis. The conflict started in 2011 when a revolution uprose following the two decade long presedency of President Saleh. Since 2004, the Houthis have been leading an insurgency into the country, holding the Yemeni governement responsible for marginalizing them economically, religiously and for taking their independence away in 1962. When the situation was particularily unstable after the riots against Saleh, the Houthis took action and managed to pull off a Coup d’Etat, taking control of Yemen. The conflict still goes on today as soon enough Saudi Arabia decided to join the fight, assembling a “team” of a few african nations and the U.S. to fight the Houthis off, and restore “peace” in Yemen. All this makes it seem like the Saudi-coalition and the U.S. are so generously kind to help out a distressful country, the U.S.’s motive being to prevent Yemen from becoming a safe place to stay for Al-Qaida. Except the coalition’s recent bombings in Yemen to get rid of the Houthis has been having the complete opposite effect. Not only does it cause minimal damage to Houthi forces and kills thousands of civilians, but it actually is pretty much bombing the group that managed to expulse Al-Qaida from Yemen.

  21. Iran’s nuclear crisis is located, unsurprisingly, in Iran. The conflict is about the United Nations having limited trust in Iran, due to the fact that for 18 years they were dishonest to say the least about their nuclear program. But on the other hand Iran finds that the UN are violating their rights, as the United States have a strong nuclear program themselves. So far this conflict has been more political than violent, but this could change very quickly, seeing as both parties have still not found an agreement. This is increasingly worrisome because of the rise of terrorist parties in that region of the world who have almost unlimited funds and want Iran to have Nuclear weapons.


  22. In this post, I will be covering the missing parts of the background information concerning the Venezuelan conflict.
    This is the timeline of the conflict: first, the failure in former president Chavez economic policies, then the oil prices inevitably dropped, followed by hyperinflation, which led to massive shortages of basic goods, then the social crisis happened because the Venezuelans were unhappy since they were not given food (protests start), leading up to Maduro, the actual president, who tries to solve the problem with new economic policies (he is advised by Cuba). The sovietization of the country takes place while the people are still protesting in the streets with the feeling that Maduro's plans are not satisfying. Thus, the social crisis doubles up with a political crisis. Protests spread over the country. The Venezuelans are, as of today, waiting for the December's elections in order to evict Maduro.
    Why did is the hyperinflation still present in the country? The nationalisation of the country's industries has left Venezuela to rely a lot on imported goods. Those goods are expensive for Venezuelans when Venezuela's currency is worth nothing--a real vicious cycle.
    Another presidential plan which hasn't effectively worked: Ex-president Hugo Chávez launched the Great Housing Mission in 2011, a program which aims to tackle a property deficit. Due to the nationalisation of industries, a lack of domestic supplies such as cement or steel has put a limit on this housing scheme.
    There are no exact date for the start of the crisis. It seems that it has emerged in 2011 (probably a consequence of the worldwide crisis of 2008) but striked at its hardest in January 2015.
    The government has total control over the media. It is therefore impossible to know the percentage of Venezuelans who support or are opposed to Maduro's government

  23. This is a timeline of major events in the South China Sea that were causes of the conflict:
    -1946, China claims Spratlys Islands
    -1974, China captures Paracel Islands from Vietnam
    -1988, Chinese and Vietnamese ships engage in naval combat. China is victorious.
    -1995, China captures Philippine's military outposts.
    -May 2000, Philippine troops kill and capture several Chinese fisherman.
    -June 2011, USA condemns China's use of military forces in the region.
    -July 2011, American troops conduct training operations with Vietnamese troops.
    -October 2011, Oil discovered in disputed territory.
    -December 2011, China reinforces military presence in the sea with Varyag, a major Chinese ship.
    -June 2012, USA relocates portion of Naval force to South China Sea.

    1. This is a timeline summarising the events that have token place in the South China Sea. All the events have to do with the conflict.

  24. This conflict is happening in the South China Sea, more specifically around the Spratly and Paracel islands. The conflict only became important in the last few years and is between the countries that border this sea because the exclusive economic zones aren’t clear. However the US is also involved because there are important trade routes in the South China Sea and the US want to make sure that nothing stands in the way of these shipping’s. The countries around the sea are more demanding that the exclusively economic zones be well divided because China seems to want to turn these islands into military bases also there are many resources available in this area.

  25. The East China Sea conflict started way back during the beginning of the 1900s with rising global imperialism. The islands are located between China, Japan and Taiwan and the main actors are, obviously, Japan and China (there aren’t any specific parties). Japan claimed the islands as theirs after the 1895 Sino-Japanese War. After World War II the United States took the islands from Japan but gave them back under the Okinawa Reversion Agreement of 1972. At this point China became deeply upset claiming that they’ve discovered and owned the islands since the 14th century.They didn’t have enough proof to make that claim important. The conflict is still going on today with minor events popping up from time to time fueling the tension between the two parties.

  26. Civil War and Sectarian Violence in Iraq

    Like the Shia, the Sunni are also a denomination of Islam. According the Sunni, the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s successor was his father in law Abu Bakr. The Sunni contrast strongly with the Shia with who they do not share the same beliefs when it comes to who is Muhammad’s successor. This denomination is easily the biggest of Islam as it formed by about 90% of the entire world’s Muslim population.
    The Kurdistan Islamic Movement is an Islamist group created in 1979. The Kurds come from the Middle East. The Shia, Sunni constitute the two major Islamic branches that are taking part in the violence that is taking place in Iraq.
    Terrorist groups like al-Qaida in Iraq are continuously attempting to corrupt and influence the government formation process. They are trying to get the government to lose its ability to conserve Iraqi legislation and structure. AQI and many other extremists also conduct major bombings that target urban areas such as mosques, Shia markets and religious pilgrims. An urgent enquiry was pledged by the Iraqi prime minister on January 29, 2015. It regarded the Iraqi security forces as well as Shia militias who had shot dozens of unarmed villagers who had fought against ISIL.

  27. What does Al-Shabab want?

    Al-Shabab’s goals vary. As the group was forcibly pushed out of major urban areas in Somalia, analysts say it suffered its own political infighting about its long-term goals -- the group fractured between those who wanted to focus on taking back Somalia and those who dreamed of international jihad.

    A hint of that struggle was revealed in an oddly public spat between Al-Shabab's leadership and one of its highest-profile American members, the rapping jihadist Omar Hammami. Hammami was reportedly killed by rivals in Al-Shabab last week. Months before he had released an online video in which he said he feared for his life after arguing with the leadership "regarding matters of the Sharia [Islamic law] and matters of strategy."

    Still, the State Department estimated in a 2012 report that Al-Shabab has "several thousand" members "when augmented by foreign fighters and allied clan militias."

  28. Nigeria’s exports of petroleum, rubber, and cacao created foreign relations with Western countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Brazil. These relations have influenced the Nigerian government to be democratic, and modeled after the United States with the separation of power into three branches. Boko Haram strictly opposes these principles and the group’s objective is to replace the democratic government with a purely Islamist one that rejects Western influence. The number of fighters is unknown, but an estimate of more than 1500 fighters was calculated. Many of these fighters joined because of pressure and force. Finance for the Boko Haram is unclear as well, but suspected of being by politicians, international jihadi groups, looting towns, bank robbery and money collected in ransom. In 2013, under their leader Shekau, they attack by guerilla tactics such as kidnapping, abduction, suicide, and bomb assaults, but start to spread in Borno State, especially in its capital Maiduguri. In May 2013, Nigeria declares a state of emergency and gives more power to the military leading to a rise of attacks on the behalf of Boko Haram. In July 2014, Boko Haram changes tactics and begins to attack bigger cities and advancing into Adamawa state. The government has retaken control of many cities but attacks persist on an almost daily basis. Finally in 2015, a new wave of attacks responds to resistance from the civilians and the militia. Boko Haram is spreading its control little by little, killing and causing destruction all the while.

    There are many different militias fighting in Palestine. The main one is the Hamas, a militia founded and financed by Iran until the Hamas started to get close to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Iran then decided to greatly reduce fundings and help a “Hezbollah” (party of god) rising in the Gaza Strip, which started at the beginning of the Hamas’ decline in power. They are considered terrorists and support al Sabirin “the patient”. Iran hopes that it will be a pillar of power in Palestinian politics. There is a Sunni group in Palestine known as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who violently oppose Israel’s presence in Palestine. Hisham Salem, the former leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad created his own group, the al Baqiyat al Salihat. It is unclear how militarily active his militia is, but many say he receives around 10 million dollars annually from Iran. These are the principal militias in Palestine. All three are considered terrorist movements and are trying to fight Israel, but don’t seem to be openly fighting each other.

  30. the main events in Pakistan's history are:
    -the creation of pakistan
    -when general Zia ul-Haq launched his military coup and started an 11 year military rule
    -Benazir Bhutto's rise and fall, followed by her assassination
    -Nawaz Sharif's exile, and come back to power
    -Multiple insurgencies between the different provinces.

    The principal actors are:
    -sectarian groups who are focused on religious issues in Pakistan
    -Anti–Indian groups who are focused on the Kashmir dispute and disagree with its current boundaries
    -Afghan Taliban group, which is focused on tribal/ territorial political power, and Islamist regimes, which require women to wear burqas and banning television and music.
    -Al-Qaeda groups who fled the war in Afghanistan and found a safe haven in rural and ungoverned parts of Pakistan
    -TTP the Pakistani taliban, which is a coallition of extremist groups in the federally Administeed Tribal Areas, led by Mullah Fazullah
    -different provincial groups

    This problem stays an internal issue, but could become global if any terrorist organisation, such as ISIS got hold of the nuclear weapons Pakistan has. Another issue would be the problem it would pose to India and Afghanistan. If it does become a rogue state, then it will probably help the afghan taliban, and take Kashmir by force.

    i think this is too many characters, but I'm not sure how to count how many I have...

  31. The Malian conflict started in 2012 and is currently going on, but the Tuareg desire for independence can date from around the end of the first world war. There is not much more left to say on this conflict's backround as it is pretty straight forward. So I have composed a play to show the war before it happened.

    Act 1 Scene 1
    Enter Bilal , Abdelmalek, Amadou ( to the sit out of hearing distance) and Yasmina

    Bilal (defiantly): We the proud Tuareg people demand independence for Northern Mali!

    Yasmina: Here here!

    Abdelmalek: We deserve this land as we are the only souls to set foot here and we do not feel as if we were Malians!

    Yasmina: Here Here!!

    Abdelmalek: My brothers, Allah willing you will have your independence. We will help you in your most noble cause to fight of the infidels.

    Yasmina: Noble man how wi-

    Abdelmalek: SHUT UP WOMAN! (to Mamadou) We have weapons from Lybia and men from all over this land ready to fight at my very word. Our armies are massive and know well how to fight. Come with us! Join us and together we will rule the Maghreb! *Star Wars music plays in the background*

    Bilal : This plan seems like a good one, will we win most noble man?

    Abdelmalek: God willing we will my brother, my name is Abdelmalek

    Bilal: I am Bilal, at your service

    Abdelmalek: No my brother, in Allah’s kingdom we are equals.

    Both men assemble their armies and march together from city to city razing and pillaging

    Scene 2

    Amadou: (terrified) No...This cannot be! No…. My country is falling apart! It is hopeless...I cannot fight. My men are dying and are being shot up like dogs, sharia was put in place in most of the North….
    *A soldier storms in*
    Soldier: You are no longer in charge here Amadou! take you stuff and leave far from here! you have a few days to resign before I kill you myself.

    Amadou: I will not and shall not!

    Soldier: It has already been done for you missier Amadou

    Amadou: The military has taken over...I have to leave
    *Amadou leaves as Dioncounda appears*

    Dioncounda: I am the new leader here and I am a good man who shall beat the bad guys with ultimate power!!! I am very useless and all that I do in my political carreer worth noting is that I will call the French for help

    Scene 3

    Bilal: My brother! look at what we have gained! We own all of the North and now we can make the North prospere again! We must not go further

    Abdelmalek: What are you saying?? Not go further! You fool do you want to die or would you rather see you king of Mali??

    Bilal: This is madness?!

    Abdelmalek: No...*turns head back slowly then faces camera* THIS IS AQMI!
    *Kicks Bilal out of the alliance and into the pit of dispair un which the MNLRA will rot away into nothing*

    Abdelmalek: Now I shall rule myself and conquer Mali in Allah’s name!!! MEN! MAAAAAAARCH!!
    “The men march to the sound of Soviet music because Soviet music make any marching sound 10x better”

    Scene 4
    Enter Dioncounda

    Dioncounda: What??? The south is being invaded?? THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN! *he wips out a flag and yells on top of his lungs as he charges AQMI like an idiot and loses a large part of territory*
    *on the phone*
    Heyyyyy….Yes, is this Mister Hollande? Yes I will wait…..[waits long time] can’t believe I pay 5 cents a minute for this shitty service….Ahh mister Hollande!....yes I’m good you?....Glad to hear that...But can I put this… You follow the news don’t you? PER-FECT! Can they be here tomorrow? Oh that’s lovely! Thank you now!

    Scene 5 (finale)

    French paratroopers, infantry, legionnaires and Malian soldiers enter the North of Mali

    All: WE did it! Rapidly and efficiently! This is how all wars should be fought.

    Or so they thought
    The end
    For now!

    Over the past 35 years, terrorism has gone from a little issue to a major problem. In the 1970’s, terrorism was widely spread, with a number close to 468 terrorist attacks. Today, attacks are less frequent, around 14 in 2014, however, it is the awareness for it that grew. Ever since 9/11, awareness has grown for the issue of terrorism. Although the numbers of attacks lower themselves, the U.S is still at great risk. The main terrorist groups such as al Quaeda, are targeting the U.S land and they are employing new and effective tactics. Since 2001, their attacks have multiples themselves and these groups stay a constant threat.

  33. The name of my conflict being “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”, it refers to an area rather than a specific conflict. The Arabian Peninsula consists of the countries of Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as parts of southern Iraq and Jordan. Al Qaeda however, is primarily active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The term AQAP refers to a merger of the group’s Yemeni and Saudi branches in 2009.
    AQAP’s recent rise (as well as other insurgent groups, such as the extremely problematic Houthi rebels) can be attributed to Yemen’s national instability- rather than being a single conflict, the unrest in Yemen is an accumulation of regional, local and international power struggles, from both recent and long-past events.

  34. -The internal conflict in South Sudan has been an on-going one for decades since it is mainly ethnic related, however the turning point in this conflict occurred in December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his ex Vice-President Riek Machar of plotting a coup against him in hope of overthrowing him. Machar and Kiir being of opposite Sudanese traditional tribes (as I had had talked about two weeks ago), this supposed coup was seen as an ethnic threat, and partly lead to the start of the civil war.
    -On another note, the country’s internal conflict is made even more difficult due to the tricky relationship with Sudan, after seceding in 2011. Tensions remain, reinforced by the unresolved issues regarding borders an oil.

  35. The conflict going on in Nigeria has been getting worse since 2009; year when the attacks started. This particular conflict has brought many countries to fight the Boko Haram with Nigeria. For example, the United States feels involved, and in 2013, declared that the Boko Haram was a terrorist organization. The Boko Haram tend to attack the north east of Nigeria, for example the number of deaths in the region of Borno is 23 186. The Nigerian government beleives that the islamic group is linked with Al-Quaeda, therefore have decided to deal with the Boko Haram by force.

  36. From 2006 to 2012, cyberthreats have increased by 900% in America. Some incidents such as U.S. infrastructure’s cyberattack cannot be ignored by the country’s government. The virus have collected information from their embassies, research firms, military installations, energy providers, as well as nuclear infrastructures. “Offense is moving a lot faster than defense,” president Obama told troops on Friday at Fort Meade, Md., home of the National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command. The main actors of this conflict are Russia, China and Iran. The only problem is that despite the government’s improvements in tracking down the sources of their attacks, they can’t trace it directly to that state, making it hard to strike back. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed on october 2015 that neither the United States nor the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property. The two nations plan to work together with other countries to establish appropriate standards of conduct in cyberspace.