Sunday, September 13, 2015

Phase 1, week 2

This week, try to make your entries about 100 words.
Also, think about the motivations of each of the groups involved in your conflict.

Also, take a look to see if someone from the other class is doing your conflict.


40 comments:

  1. Superficial Historical Escalation of Syrian Conflict

    In 1963, Syria’s independence with the pan-Arab nationalist Baath (renaissance) took control. Although, gradually, the political power came into the hands of the Alawite elite, a very restricted group, specifically being the Al-Assad family. This establishment of political power came under pressure with the Islamification of Syria, formerly a French Christian colony. 52 years later, the Syrian conflict sparks, following the Arab Spring “trend”: a refusal of the almost “full power” held by the government. Protesters unite under the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution, wanting to rebel, and are first supported by the “Western front”. Although, with the rise of the Al-Nusra front, a radicalized Islamist militia directly related to Al-Qaeda, that became part of the protesters, which inevitably cooles international aid, and relations. Taking advantage of the lessened internationally pressured sanctions, the Syrian government counter charges with the help Hezbollah allies (Iran Muslim party). Starting in 2011, the Syrian conflict escalated from national, regional, to international proportions in only a couple months. Meanwhile, Syria’s state-run economy has also been hit hard… At the present, a never ending raging war, politically unattainable stability diplomatically, and thousands of deaths.

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    1. Good research. Don't forget to be concise!

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  2. As said by Clémence, the Baath party seized power in 1963. Baath was founded in 1947 by Salah al-Din al-Bitar, a Syrian nationalist politician who was the first appointed Prime-Minister of Syria, Zaki al-Arsuzi and Michel Aflaq, both Syrian philosophers who support Arab nationalism. The Baath political party and more importantly ideology is not only present in Syria but all around the Arab World: for them Syria is only a region of the Arab nation. The coup d'état in Febuary 1963 was leaded by the Baath party and more precisely the Iraqi branch. The coup d'état allowed them to seize power. After the coup d'état there was an instability that ranged over three years where several people of the party decided to secede because of several matters which concerned religious, political and military struggles. In 1966 the party reached a level of stability which allowed it to place Salah Jabib in the head of the government, even though his access to power is not considered completely legal. One of the people who was against the current government was Hafez Al-assad, Bashar's father. Hafez was against Jadid's government and started progressively taking control of the Syrian power. He first had more influence on the army and then dismanteled Jadid's support network before imprisoning him in 1970. He then became president and created the first Syrian constitution which gave a majority of the government's power to the president. Hafez was head of state for 30 years before he died in 2000. His second son then became the newest Syrian president( his older brother was heir but he died in a car crash). As for now, Bashar has been Syria's president for 15 years and has known a vast opposition lately due to the civil war even though he was at first elected with the vast majority of votes(84%).

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  3. Tension started rising in the East China Sea starting from 1971, when the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands' ownership changed from American to Japanese. However, it was only during the last decade that this issue attracted international concerns. The motivations concerning the claim of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands can be divided into different reasons. The more plausible and logical reason would be because after a geological survey in the 1960s, scientists found a considerable amount of oil and natural gas deposits in the water. Therefore, both China and Japan wants to take advantage of these energy potentials. No other country imports more fossil fuels than these two countries. On the Chinese side, fossil fuels are essential since the government is planning to build more infrastructures, and it also has to satisfy the population that is owning more and more cars. But the Japanese have other plans for these fossil fuels. The country mostly relied on nuclear energy until now, however after the Fukushima accident in 2011, the government ordered to close down 50 of the nation's nuclear reactors and to return to a fossil fuel regime. However, after China established it's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), people like the Japan expert Shihoko Goto in the Wilson Center believe that it's not just a question of energy sources, but also a question of historical territorial claims. During the post-World War II period, Northeastern asian countries such as China and South Korea thought that Japan has not been punished enough for it's actions. But obviously, Japan disagreed and believed that the conditions were becoming more harsh. As China boomed it's economy during the following decades, it's authority over its historical territories in the zone became stronger. The Chinese army grew in number, strength and modernity which would help enforce its claims over the old territories China lost. Therefore, the Chinese government started with establishing a "nine-dash line" that englobed almost all the territories claimed by other coastal countries, including the famous Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. But with the Japanese purchasing three of the islands so that Chinese control could be avoided, China strengthened its legitimate claims even more. This confrontation is more or less adopting a nationalist cause. The Chinese Communist Party elected Xi Jing Ping as president, and he has restored an anti-Japan mentality by affirming the "Chinese Dream" as his slogan. Meanwhile in Japan, fear of the Chinese government has risen, which resulted the conservative Shinzo Abe being elected as prime minister. Implicitly, it can be seen that the chances of compromise or even meetings between the two countries are decreasing rather rapidly.

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  4. Increased instability in Egypt : Who is Mohamed Morsi ? :
    He was born in Northern Egypt, on August 20, 1951, he later on became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1977 however he had to resign directly after his presidential win. Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president in June 2012, succeeding Hosni Mubarak. He served in that position until July 2013, when he was ousted by Egypt's armed forces. During his only year as president, he grasped more power than possible and brought down his country’s stock market as a consequence strikes and outrages were led by Egypt’s cityzens. Throughout the year, however, Morsi had grown more dogmatic and Egypt's political environment had worsened. In July 2013, millions of protesters gathered outside of Morsi's presidential palace calling for his removal from office. Morsi refused to adhere to an army ultimatum requiring the president to share power or step down. In the end, he stepped down but his removal from power led to unrest across Egypt with clashes taking place between his supporters and detractors. Tensions are still high today in that region.

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  5. To understand the Iranian Nuclear conflict it is necessary to understand how their nuclear experience started in the first place. Iran's nuclear program started 5 years after the Second World War in 1950. Ironically enough it is the United States that agree to provide a nuclear research reactor in Tehran and power plants for Iran. In 1968 ,through Johnson's presidency, the United States understand that a nuclear weapon can not fall in the hands of people who want to use it for mass killings and make Iran Sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty making Iran agree to never become a nuclear weapon state. We would think that the United States would be reassured after this signing but their worries continue to grow not trusting Iran and fearing their possible desire for a nuclear weapon. In 1979 the Islamic Revolution takes place resulting in the Shah (the emperors/kings and lords of Iran) being overthrown and the U.S retracting their deal they had made with Iran a year earlier. They therefore stop supplying enriched uranium for the Tehran research reactor. Later on that same year Khomeini comes to power. He is not interested by the nuclear program and stops it. Conversations between the United States and Iran are non existent at this point. The question is, is Iran really done, will they continue their nuclear program?
    Stay tuned next week to know.

    Nicolas Rival

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  6. Boko Haram, meaning « Western education is forbidden », was founded in 2002 to make Nigerian government an Islamic government that opposes Western political and social activities such as voting in elections or giving secular education. Boko Haram is responsible for many war crimes such as using young girls for suicide bombings. This terrorist group attacks religious and political groups not only in northeastern Nigeria but also in Cameroon. Since 2014, 380 civilians of Cameroon were killed indiscriminately, civilian property was destroyed, people were abducted, and more girls were used for suicide bombing. In response, security detain more than 1000 people of all ages in prisons, especially Maroua prison which has terrible conditions such as lack of sanitation and inadequate healthcare causing many to die in the cells. A mass arrest of 200 men and boys on December 27, 2014 and the burning of 70 buildings in itself caused more than 30 deaths. Meanwhile Boko Haram seems to resist and spread their campaigns in Nigeria and the neighboring states.

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  7. Background information on ethnic division between the Dinka and Nuer tribes:

    The ethnic division between the Dinka and Nuer tribes in South Sudan has been a major conflict for years. At first the tribes managed to co-exist peacefully, helping each other in the cattle reproduction process, in exchange for milk and harvested goods. But quickly, georgraphic issues were a source of tension between them. Cattle plays a central cultural role in both the Dinka and Nuer communities, and the practice of cattle raids performed by the two tribes have caused some violence on both sides. Furthermore, drought and ecological degradation have caused the tribes to fight for the scarce water present on their territory. Season migration is also a source of conflict, for the land belonging to each tribe is not very clearly defined.
    In the last few decades, these ethnic division has become even more
    deadly due to the people's easy access to weapons and ammunition, brought in to the country from Sudan.

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  8. In order to understand the ongoing conflict on terrorism in America, it is to crucial to first figure out what triggered either sides to start such a horrifying war. The militant Islamic organization "Al Qaeda" violently oppose the United States for several reasons. First of all, the US was not governed in accordance with the group's extremist interpretation of Islam. They also believe the United States were enemies because they provided essential support for other "infidel" governments. Particularly the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the nation of Israel, and the United Nations organization, which were considered enemies of the group. Thirdly, al Qaeda opposed the involvement of the United States armed forces in the Gulf War in 1991 and in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1992 and 1993. Al Qaeda was against the continued presence of American military forces in Saudi Arabia following the Gulf War. Additionally, the group opposed the United States Government because of the arrest and imprisonment of persons belonging to the organization. For these reasons, Bin Laden, one of the founders of the network, declared war against the United States, which he has carried out through al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations.

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  10. Since Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union and now could eventually integrate the EU, tensions among the population of the country are at their highest. The country is also, geographically, right in the “middle” between Russia and Europe, not making it a very homogeneous nation, in terms of the different views regarding the future of the country. One part of the population wants to go back to Russia while the other wishes to integrate the EU. Before the situation got explosive in 2013, many debates occurred on whether or not to approve Ukraine in the EU. The EU, being made up of several nations had various opinions concerning Ukraine. Ukraine has a significant potential for greater economic and trade links with the EU, motivating some in the EU to advocate for Ukraine’s integration. Some, like Poland or Finland felt like they had to lend a hand to Ukraine because they have had a common history and their communities include a large number of Ukrainian migrants. In the same stance were those led by a fear of Russia and that, if it does not integrate the EU, it will be more easily drawn into the Russia-led Eurasian Customs Union. This is a Union which has been criticized and claimed as an attempt to "reestablish a Russian-dominated USSR-type union among the Post-Soviet states". Exactly to the opposite of these factions (of states) are those having no historical ties to Ukraine therefore no wish to lend a hand. However, the political and ground situations in Ukraine are preventing agreements from being reached - everything being too unstable and unclear. In the current state of things, the EU has turned their attentions to other matters, hoping for things to cool down. This negligence might have undesired repercussions: the flow of immigrants coming from Ukraine is likely to increase and the democratic decline also has a negative impact on Eastern Europe and sends negative signals to the other countries part of the European Union eastern Partnership. While not taking direct action, the NATO and the EU have imposed broad economic sanctions on Russia in the hope that it will make Moscow reconsider its actions. After imposing round after round of significant sanctions, Russia still has not backed off despite its economy having taken a serious blow.

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  11. FROM ANTOINE

    The idea of creating a Jewish country in Palestine officially arrived in 1917, more precisely on November 2nd, with the Balfour Declaration. It was a letter from the UK's Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Walter Rothschild, the head of the Jewish British community. It was publically published one week later. In 1946, some Jewish communities bought some territories from Palestine. Palestine then controlled 90% of what it did in 1917. On November 29, 1947, the UN decided to separate Palestine into two independent states, Palestine and Israel. On May 15, 1948, Palestine rejects the plan to be divided into two and declares war; it’s the first Arab-Israeli war, which ends in 1949 with the treaty of Rhodes. Palestine then controlled 23% of what it did in 1917. After several conflicts including the Six Day War, Palestine and Israel had the same borders they did in 1949. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), an armed organization representing the Palestinians, was created on May 28, 1964. Israel considered it a terrorist organization until the UN said it was a partner of Palestine to take care of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. On October 1rst, 1885, an Israeli air raid on PLO’s HQ killed 70 of them. On August 6, 1986, the Israeli parliament passed a law prohibiting all contact with any of the PLO’s leaders. In December 1988 the PLO officially recognizes Israel’s right to live in peace and renounces to all forms of terrorism. On September 24, 1996, the Israelis opened a tunnel under the esplanade of the mosques, which caused conflict in between protesting civilians and Israeli soldiers, causing 70 deaths. On December 4, 2001, after many failed attempts to sign peace treaties and the election of Ariel Sharon, Israel executed on Palestine an air raid of a magnitude never seen there. In spite of pacts of non aggression towards Israel in between Palestine and some islamist organizations in 2003, there were suicide attacks on Israel two months later, which resulted with Palestine’s separation with these organizations. In 2006, the Israelis did many offences on Gaza, temporarily stopped and started again in 2008, in order to stop the rockets shot from Gaza. In less than a month, over 130 Palestinians were killed, without ending the rocket attacks. On July 19, 2008, Israel and Palestine signed a six month peace treaty. On November 4, the Israeli army raids a part of Gaza, killing four Palestinians. In retaliation, Gaza sent over fifty rockets on Israel. Israel launched a large air attack on Gaza on December 27, and a land attack on January 3rd. On January 6, Israel blew up a UN school, killing 40 men hiding there. In three weeks, Israel killed over 1300 Palestinians, including over 400 children, whereas less than twenty Israeli (soldier and civilians) died. A cease fire was signed on January 17. After an Israeli embargo on Palestine, and a rather constant rocket launching on Israel, Israel attacked Gaza for eight days, from November 14 to November 21, killing 174 Palestinian and losing six soldiers. The Gaza missiles are becoming less and less effective because of the defense system Israel put into place, the Iron Dome. It has radars that detects the short range rockets shot from Gaza and shoots them down with computer controlled Tamir rockets. The latest statistics showed that the Iron Dome shot down 100% of the Qassam and Katioucha missiles threatening people starting April 8, 2011. Since each defense missile costs from 35 to 50,000 dollars, the US gave 205 million dollars to finance the project.

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  12. Venezuela currently holds the world’s largest oil reserves which makes the country a petro-state. Oil exports are the foundations of their economy. Yet, president Maduro has failed to put in place coherent economic policies leading to a sudden and catastrophic drop in oil prices. As the economist Francisco Rodríguez said: “If oil were to one day become worthless, Venezuela would go back to the stone age.” As of today, the current oil income is insufficient to allow the country to pay its debts, adding to a total amount of $128bn, with $6,3bn which will have to be paid by the end of the year according to the Bank of America. Forecasts have predicted that Venezuela’s economy will shrink by 7 percent in 2015. Inflation in the nation is the highest in the world, running at more than 100%. Therefore the government has decided to reduce imports by half, producing a massive shortage of basic goods in this import-dependent country. As the economic crisis sweeps the country, political tension is growing. Parliamentary elections are to be held this coming December in which polls suggest that the ruling-Socialist party will be largely surpassed by opposition. More than 80% of Venezuelans strongly believe that the nations is going in the wrong direction. Half are convinced that they will vote for the opposition and only 30% for the Socialist party. Thus, Maduro has chosen to prevent opposing candidates from running definitely earning criticism from Washington. The president’s defeat during these elections could possibly lead to his removal via next year’s referendum...Stay tuned for next week’s post on the ongoing social crisis in Venezuela.

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  13. The main actors in this conflict are the Malian/French army and the AQMI forces. AQMI is your traditional terrorist force created by the perfect mix of guns and zeal and ready to take on the world. They currently operate using a guerrilla warfare style which can be cut down to three words: break, kidnap and kill. They destroy what the can to stop the advancing forces, They take hostages to be able to ransom them (it is said that 90% of AQMI’s funding is from ransoms). Then there is kill… These are the men that don’t care if they die so long as someone else dies with them. That’s why it is hard for rational people to fight against them. If you are a man capable of reflexion than you are not eligible for religious extremism. Their strategy is simple. Scare people. If you know that you will fight someone who will purposefully blow himself up just to kill you then you know that you should be scared. If you know that this same man is willing to massacre a whole village it’s not necessarily to be the bad guy but to send you a message:
    “We will stop at nothing to get what we want”
    That’s where the rational men that most of us are say: Wait a minute! You can’t fight that! and so the rational man send in their regards with confetti. In conclusion: The badly trained Malian army in 2012 faced a more numerous and experienced troop of kamikaze fanatics.
    Which is why France entered...rest next week
    but for now That's all folks!

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  14. Ukraine has had much to do with Russia throughout history as it was incorporated in the Russian empire in the18th century and in the USSR form 1920. It finally became independent at the fall of the USSR. These close ties with Russia were still visible in 2004, when a pro-Russian candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, was became president a rigged election. In reaction to this, the opposing party, lead by Viktor Yushchenko provoked protests known as the Orange Revolution which finally led to an internationally monitored vote where Yushchenko was elected president. However, later due to economic instability (caused in part by Russia’s cut in gas in reaction to Yushchenko’s siding with the EU) and internal turmoil in Yushchenko’s political party, Yanukovich was legitimately elected as president in 2010. The newly elected president backtracked the trade and cooperation agreement with the EU in favour of closer economic ties with Russia and forced opposing civil society activists into submission. This led to another protest in Kiev’s central square which resulted in violent clashes against the government in 2014 and eventually to the departure of Yanukovich and the election of a pro-West president, Petro Poroshenko. Shortly after, Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Crimea supposedly to protect the local ethnic Russian inhabitants and held a referendum regarding the integration of Crimea in Russia, thus making Crimea’s annexation “legitimate.” The Ukrainians, the EU, the US and the UN General Assembly, did not share Russia’s views which resulted in an armed conflict between the Pro-Russian rebels (supported by Russia) and the Ukrainian government.
    Adrien Lopez

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  15. The Taliban, source of most of Afghanistan’s insecurity today, is an Islamic fundamentalist movement that began during the Soviet war. The group was essentially founded by Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) during the war. It was initiated as a militia to protect the people, but quickly escalated in a political group of its own. Eventually it gained power and recognition, formed a government, and ruled as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001. The majority of the Taliban are Afghan Pashtun tribesmen, and enforced a strict interpretation of the Sharia, Islamic law, while in power. It is known for its violent treatment of women, massacre campaigns, terrorism and human trafficking. The group is condemned by a number of foreign countries for its use of terrorism in order to further its political and ideological ideas. According to the United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 75% of Afghan civilian casualties in 2010, 80% in 2011 and in 2012.
    Chloe Bentze

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  17. A Growing and Threatening Nuclear Program
    North Korea’s nuclear program has rapidly evolved after the Korean War, and is gradually becoming a threat. Between the late 1970s and early 1980s, North Korea begins uranium mining operations, a first step in the creation of nuclear weapons. However, in 1985, North Korea joins the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), prohibiting the country from producing nuclear weapons. In 1992, for the first time, North Korea allows a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect their nuclear waste sites. The Agency inspection finds contradictions with North Korea’s declarations. In addition, the North Koreans repeatedly block inspectors from visiting two of Yongbyon’s suspected sites and IAEA inspectors find evidence that the country is not revealing the full extent of its plutonium production. Naturally, the IAEA accuses North Korea of violating the NPT and demands inspectors be given access to all nuclear waste storage sites. North Korea threatens to quit the NPT, but ultimately doesn’t. In 1994, North Korea finally allows IAEA to inspect all seven of its declared nuclear facilities. With Kim Jong-il as the new leader in 1994, North Korea and the U.S. sign an “Agreed Framework”: North Korea pledges to shut down and “freeze” its nuclear program, as well as to allow international inspectors to examine their nuclear capabilities. In return, the US would provide it with fuel oil and two modern light-water nuclear reactors. Flash-forward to 2002, when North Korea admits it had violated this agreement: it was secretly developing nuclear bombs. The country therefore used its nuclear program to obtain international aid dishonestly. In December of 2002, North Korea announces it is reactivating nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and expels IAEA inspectors. The country is, therefore, slowly becoming a threat to neighboring countries with its growing nuclear program.

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  18. Director of National Intelligence J. Clapper identified cyberattacks as the greatest threat to U.S. national security in 2013. As the electronic grid continues to be more interconnected, the threat of a potential cybersecurity breach by foreign governments (such as Chinese and Iranian military), criminal entities, and lone actors significantly increases. Experts claim that energy is the most vulnerable industry; an attack could halt the supply of water, electricity, and gas, hinder transportation and communication, and cripple financial institutions. The United States has strengthened its offensive strategies by developing rules of engagement for cyber warfare and cyber weapons capabilities: the Cyber Threat Initiative Integration Center (CTIIC) now provides analysis and support to U.S. government agencies in response to cyber threats. However, cyberspace policymaking remains decentralized with authority shared among the White House and five executive departments, resulting in gaps in U.S. cyber policy that leave vulnerabilities unaddressed.

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  19. Many countries have nuclear weapons, so it appears that Iran has been singled out, but this favoritism was not unjustified. The main reason Iran has been getting this much attention is that Iran hid the fact that they hid a clandestine uranium enrichment program for 18 years, which goes against the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As a result, as discussed last week, the UN passed restrictions against Iran, which if respected, basically made it impossible for Iran to create nuclear weapons. Even though a temporary treaty was signed in 2003, this crisis is still not finished, as countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia are still threatened by Iran. And the United States is ready to sanction Iran if the treaty is not respected fully.

    Mark FAGUER, 1A

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  20. In truth, Libya has never really seen a period of political stability or social order. Conflicts were already present in this region of the world thousands of years ago. Tracing back to when Carthage colonised Tripolitania in 6 century BC or when the Greeks colonised Cyrenaica in 4 century BC . However if we shift our attention to more recent events to find out why Libya is such a disorder today, we must look no further than the death of general Muammar Gaddafi. In 1951, Libya became independent under King Idris al-Sanusi but this rule was deposed in military coup led by Gaddafi. The Gaddafi era began and lasted over 40 years. Because of his tyrannical and unjust regime he was killed by a rebel group in October 2011. Since his death, Libya’s government has struggled to maintain order over the country.

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    1. Gabriel, I need your email to write your comment!

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  21. Yemen's War - A Downward Spiral:
    Thousands of troops are being sent into Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition during this month of September to fight the Houthi rebels who are taking over the country. Why? The Houthis are an extremist group that started off as the “Believing Youth”, a group that portrays itself as against Salafism, a manner of sounding persecuted, yet the Yemeni government accuses them of wanting to create an anti-American feel in the nation, setup Zaidi religious laws, and take over the government. In reponse to this “infiltration” Saudi Arabia has united a few other countries (Qatar, Egypt, Sudan) and sent in about 4,800 men this month, after the Houthis (backed up by Iran) managed to kill 60 of the coalition’s soldiers in a single attack on September fourth. Since then, the coalition has been launching air rades constantly, creating chaos and panic for the Yemeni people, who expected a more reassuring defense from the united countries.

    Lucas Tournier

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  22. Civil War and and Sectarian Violence in Iraq
    The first Iraq war took place between 2003 and 2011. It is the United States that lead that war. However a second war erupted during 2014 and is still ongoing.
    Only 2 days ago, the extremists ISIL have been the cause of suicide bombings in central Baghdad, Iraq. More than 50 people were injured and there were 10 fatalities. ISIL has been successful in expanding its global presence; this to show that is also succeeding in its strategic objectives. The United States needs to show itself more aggressive in order to defeat the extremist group. The fact that ISIL has been gaining more and more territory is causing the intensification of the conflict in Iraq. There have been four suicide bombings counting the one that happened on September 17, 2015. These have taken space within only a couple months, resulting in the death of more than three hundred men and women.

    Etienne FRADY

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  23. Amidst tensions between China and Japan over islands in the East China Sea, Japan has disapproved of China’s implementation of a gas facility in the area since it intrudes on their territory. Japan also states that China is potentially stealing gas from their claimed sea beds. The possible abundance of resources like gas or oil (China estimates that there are about 250 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves under the East China Sea) is a major reason for conflict over the territory. At this time China has ignored Japan’s protests and is drilling away.

    Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/east-china-sea-territorial-dispute-japan-resurfaces-protests-over-china-gas-facility-1996862

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  24. There is no exact date for this violent war but intervention with the Mexican Military began in 2006. The cartels have been around for many decades yet their peak in power started in the 1990’s, after the fall of the Medellin and Columbian Cali cartels; recently the government has determined their main goal is to dismantle the dominant and influential cartels rather than stop drug trafficking. Given that the immensely powerful drug lord ‘El Chapo’ escaped from Mexico’s most well-guarded prison thanks to an elaborate set of tunnels without being discovered or compromised shows the power of his cartel and money; he has managed to silence and bribe what was deemed the safest prison of the country.

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  25. Disputes over overlapping exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea have intensified in the last few decades. Starting in 1937, when Japan invaded the South China Sea and the Japanese Imperial Navy landed on the Spratly Islands in December 1938, following a battle between the Chinese and the Japanese in July 1937, marking the Japanese invasion of China (and the beginning of World War II in Asia). During this period of time France’s Indochina forces were also surveying these islands as well as occupying the Paracel islands in 1938. However, the Japanese occupation didn’t last long since the Treaty of San Francisco forced Japan to renounce all claims to Korea, Taiwan, and the Spratly Islands. Rendering the Islands “public territory” and subject to disputes once again.

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  26. To this day, the Taliban are the cause of persistent political instability in Afghanistan. Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the deceased Mullah Omar who was the founder and leader of the Taliban movement, explains their motivations: "We ask from the beginning and we say once again: to enforce the sharia law and Islamic government in Afghanistan, to remove foreign forces from our country.". In other words, the Taliban want to rule the country without the presence of foreign forces, who they are fighting for their departure. And they want to install an Islamic government with Islamic laws influencing daily aspects of life such as politics, economics, sexuality and social issues.

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  27. As the days go buy China is controlling little by little but surely more of the South China Sea. As this continues, Japan's worries of China's ever growing power escalates. Japan doesn't particularly care about the South China Sea because it has no large amount of territory there (but its trade routes pass through). Then why does Japan worry so much? Before I can answer that, we have to understand that there is peace between these two great Asian Nations but there isn't trust. Japan fears for its safety, because the more China gains control over the sea, the more China becomes militarily active. So like there isn't much trust between these two powers, Japan is fearing the worse...war.
    The South China Sea isn't just rich in resources but also in power. The South China Sea is important because of it being a very very VERY (can't emphasize how important it is) important trading and shipping route. 30% of the annual international maritime commercial transport and more than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet travel via the South China Sea. This would mean that China would have a tremendous amount of power in todays world. They could "ruin" economically countries by shutting the access to the sea down.
    If China gains full control over the sea, no one better piss them off or then we are screwed.
    :)

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  28. What is al-Shabab?
    Al-Shabab (The Youth in Arabic) is a jihadist group which emerged as the radical-youth wing of Somalia's now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts. They controlled large swathes of Somalia throughout the years but they were eventually forced out of most of them by the government’s troops. Al-Shabab is banned, as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK. It is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.
    The group has staged numerous attacks in Kenya targeting civilians and in particular Christians. The 2015 massacre at Garissa University is the bloodiest as 147 Christian students were killed. Gun and grenade attacks are regularly attributed to al-Shabab which seems intent on punishing people who cannot recite Coran verses.
    Although the group has lost control of most towns and cities, they still dominate rural areas. Kenya has sent its military into Somali territory, where they have joined forces the African Union force battling the militant group. When they were forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 and left the vital port of Kismayo in 2012, it hit their finances as they were using the charcoal trade to fund themselves.
    What are al-Shabab's foreign links?
    The jihadist group has ties throughout the Middle East and Africa. In a joint video released in February 2012, former al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane said he "pledged obedience" to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri. The two groups have long worked together and foreigners fight alongside Somali militants. There have also been reports according to which al-Shabab may have formed some links with other jihadist groups in Africa and in the Islamic Maghreb. There are also accounts of foreign jihadists going to Somalia to help al-Shabab, from neighboring countries, as well as the US and Europe.

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    1. Thank you Sebastien; but I need your email to send you comments!

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  29. Growing Instability in Thailand
    The king is a semi-god, to the point where the Catholics, for example, place the Christ next to the cross and the king on the other side. Insulting the king would have the worst consequences. King Bhumibol, therefore, is not disliked. However, when the Thai show their disapproval, they accuse the prime minister. There are two very distinct sides: the Red and the Yellow Shirts. Before, the groups were not as marked. The Red Shirts are the National United Front Democracy. Their idea is to fight against Dictatorship with as a leader a former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Contrarily, the Yellow Shirts fight against Thaksin Shinawatra. They can also be called as People's Alliance for Democracy and are supported by the Army and the present prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha. Many demonstrations happen changing from one color to the other depending on the situation.
    Athina Gunnarsson 1C

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  30. FROM MAELYS

    Terrorists tend to target places with low security and many people. This recently happened in France when a 26-year-old Moroccan male armed with an AK-47 rifle, a box cutter and a handgun was aboard a train going from Amsterdam to Paris. He was luckily stopped by three American men. The U.S government is worried terrorist might target train stations for its vulnerability. The security in stations is really low and it is one of the most frequented places. However, security did increase in large stations. The U.S has recently been setting up more security by increasing the number of police officers and also by conducting random searches on passengers.
    Unlike a few years ago, rail security is now a priority, especially since the Madrid train bombing which left 191 victims. An organisation called the T.S.A has been creating new security teams such as Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response to prevent terrorist attacks. However, even though progress has been made to keep us safer, security experts concluded that in any case, trains will remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

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  31. To understand North Korea better, let us understand the country’s basic history. Kim Jong-un is the 3rd leader of North Korea since Kim II-Sung, his grandfather, founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il on 28 december 2011, the day of his father’s funeral. He is the youngest of his siblings, and it is unclear why he was chosen above others as his father’s heir. Ever since he was declared heir, around 2009, the North Korean news agencies have shown him as a god-like person, and soon after he was in power, he started to be seen in propaganda. North Korea declares that the countrie’s power is shared by three people in what is called a triumvirate, but actually, Kim Jong-un has total power. The country officially is run on communist principles because it was founded in the Cold War as a soviet nation.

    Vincent M.

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  32. Although it is not widely appreciated, governments are beginning to use cyber attacks to cause very specific events to occur and gain strategic advantages, like for example giving one company leverage over another in a competitive bid. In 2014, the first cyber espionnage happened. The US discovered five chinese hackers had hacked their systyems and stolen valuable trade secrets. Thisn was a never before seen incident. US defences are very clear and function very well when it comes to land, sea, and air security, but cyber attacks, however, are not as easy to defend against and the US have yet to develop a working means of defence.
    Cyber attacks are the safest and most devastating way of attackiing the government nowadays, since the defences are still in development and it is harder to track cyber attackers than robbers or terrorists. The US Government has realized and is starting to build a functionning defense, as the cyber attacks keep rising.
    Quentin Siart

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  33. There have been many crises in Pakistan, but all of these crises are founded on its weak government. What were the beginnings of Pakistan?
    The government has always been shifted between strong military rulers and weak civilian governments. Furthermore, the internal grapple for power has become more and more unruly and unfair. More precisely, military forces are used unjustly for political purposes. Thus, Pakistan's governmental system is weak, and has failed to develop healthy political institutions, a lasting democracy, an impartial judiciary nor a thriving economy. Their failure to keep Bangladesh as part of Pakistan is an example of the poor governing skills applied. The government also has to deal with massive corruption.
    There is constant political polarisation in three domains between: the civilians and the military, the ethnic and provincial groups, and between the Islamists and the secularists. Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistan analyst, in the 2008 book Descent into Chaos. "Pakistan's inability to forge a national identity has led to an intensification of ethnic, linguistic, and regional nationalism, which has splintered and fragmented the country," he argues. The civil military relations are tense due to constant military coups which weaken political institutions, these coups are usually controlled by an opposing political party that wants power.
    pakistan is divided into 4 main provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and North West Frontier province. Punjab is the most culturally and historically favoured one, thus leading to resentment from the other provinces. Rashid writes: "Punjab [Province] never accepted Pakistan as a multi-ethnic state necessitating equal political rights, greater autonomy for the smaller provinces, and a more equitable distribution of funds."

    sources: cfr web cites, I forgot to keep track...

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  34. Strengthening of al-Quaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
    As previously stated, Yemen is politically unstable and divided by war. The country faces an insurgency led by the Houthis, a Shia rebel group with links to Iran, that have been fighting the Yemeni central government since 2004. Understanding Houthi motives is complicated by the fact they have been supported by Iran, largely as a way of annoying Tehran’s regional rivals and Yemen’s larger neighbour, Saudi Arabia. But some argue the conflict is fundamentally a political and tribal one rather than sectarian – in a country which has no tradition of Sunni-Shia animosity.

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  35. A resolution to this conflict has not yet arisen because of each party’s legitimate claim to the territory. The Ottoman Empire, which ruled over what is today known as Palestine was a place where different religions lived together peacefully. After the British Empire set up colonies in Palestine, complications arose. Muslims, Christians, and Jews were separated into different institutions. Britain also promised that the Jewish people would be able to have a national home in Palestine, but also promised Palestine to the Meccas and to themselves, in addition to the Zionists. In addition to the walls between each group put up by the British, tensions also arose because of the alliance of Jewish Malitia with the British army to help suppress the Palestinian Revolution. The founding of Isreali and Palestinian states did not calm the growing tensions, but rather flamed them. Starting the founding of them in 1947 conflicts such as wars, boycotts and attacks arose, that are still ongoing today.

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