Sunday, September 20, 2015

Phase 1, Week 3

In addition to keeping your posts short this week, make sure to place the specific topic in the context of the conflict in general. Also, focus on covering the following:

- main belligerents and their objectives
- respective bases of operations
- relative strengths

And remember: don't just summarize a whole article!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Syrian belligerents and their apparent objective

    There seems to be three main belligerents in the Syrian conflict. Firstly, the Syrian government with Al-Assad, the Alawite elite units, allied with the Hezbollah (Muslim party), as well as with communist regimes such as Russia and North Korea. Their objective is to eradicate terrorists, by any means necessary. Weapons of choice are shrapnel-packed barrel bombs, unguided and dropped from helicopters, blockades, mass shootings, gunfire, and imprecise rockets-that the UN knows of. Secondly, the Syrian government opposition unite under the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution, which becomes linked with an Al-Qaeda related network, known as the Al-Nusra front. Cooling Western aids, but still allied with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, and others. Mass shootings, gunfire, and “hell cannons” (improvised artillery devices fitted with explosive gas canisters that cause widespread damage) are used to fight government forces. ISIS which is the extreme Islamic movement is also taking an important part in Syrian war, in the Northern area. They fight against the Syrian government as well as its opposition, murdering and torturing civilians with all methods unknown, though ISIS is strengthened by joining members of Syrian population. Finally, the Kurdish self-administration is taking part in Syrian conflict, with its allies being Iraqi Kurdistan, France, as well as USA. The goodness of this belligerent in terms of free woman principles, as well as laws for children’s safety explains France’s and the USA’s involvement. Although, we should keep in mind that these separation of belligerent groups is extremely simplified. In any case, Syrian conflict is one that is mainly jihad against jihad… also involving powerful countries!

  3. The Islamic state jihadists claim to be establishing a new caliphate in the Middle East. The leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is now the "Caliph Ibrahim". The caliphs are seen as political successors to the prophet Muhammad.The militant Islamic group are about 30,000 fighters, all known for their brutality. They also want to enforce their view of conservative Islamic traditions. They control and operate in the areas in northern Syria and north-western Iraq. The Islamic state gains power and territory by spreading fear especially using social medias. Over 130,000 Syrians recently fled to Turkey in recent days according to BBC News.They often threat people in order to force them to join. Finally, the network feeds its power and strength with the approximate 2 million dollars they raise everyday from oil sales, taxes, extortion and smuggling. The IS is growing more and more powerful day by day, expanding across the Middle East and therefore is becoming an substantial threat to our society.

  4. Many belligerents are involved in the Syrian conflict. First of all there is the Syrian republic allied with many other countries who have conflicts of their own where the government has an ambivalent role. Part of those countries are Russia, China, Egypt and North Korea. They are also allied with several military organisations and political parties as the Hezbollah, a Muslim political party. Their range of weapons is varied going from pistols to heavy tanks and heavy artillery who was in a big part donated by the USSR. Their weaponry also includes several missiles and flying aircrafts such as drones, helicopters and MIGS, soviet planes. Opposed to the Syrian Republic we have the Syrian opposition who is linked with Al-Qaeda and several allies such as the US, France, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Allies provide some air strikes while their weapons are pretty similar to the Syrian Republic because they mostly steal their equipment when a battle is won because of the insufficient amount of money. Their main goal is to remove the Assad Family from power and establish a new government. This movement started during the Arab spring in 2011. The third party in this war is the Kurd who do not bow to any of the last 2 forces. They are people who live in northern Syria and who are all around in the arab world but are mistreated in Syria. Since the Arab springs, they want to declare independence because of all the suffering they have endured since 1966. They speak kurd and to have a Syrian ID card they must answer questions in favor of the government which could be considered brainwashing. The Kurds fight bach against IS and THe regime with the help of French weapons and NATO airstrikes. The final belligerent in this 4 party war is IS. IS controls to this day a big part of Syria. They are fighting in many arab countries and in Syria they are fighting on many fronts at the same time. IS wants a new caliphate where the sharia law is applied. They do not have any affiliation with any other muslim group for they do not consider them as muslim. They have no allies and stand alone in this horrible conflict. They mainly have the same weapons as the Syrian government because many of the weapons were bought from the USSR and all the other weaponry has been captured. To conclude, the Syrian civil war is becoming more than that with many countries starting to support different forces and tension rising between countries such as the US and Russia.

    1. Thanks Alex. Somehow, I still don't have an email address for you in my address book. Can you send it to me?

    2. Thanks Alex. Somehow, I still don't have an email address for you in my address book. Can you send it to me?

  5. The two main belligerents in the Venezuela conflict are the Venezuelans and Maduro’s Socialist Government. Protests are organized by civilians because of the high level of violence in the country (a person is murdered every 21 minutes), hyperinflation, chronic shortages of basic goods, deteriorating security and low oil prices. Overall, the Venezuelan want a better quality of life. On the other hand, it seems that Maduro does not understand what his people want. He is a mediocre president, not able to run his country to the point that he turns to his Cuban advisers. He blames capitalism and speculation for causing high inflation rates and goods scarcities. His government has thus been embarked on a Sovietization of his country. Landlords cannot evict tenants from any rental property, private companies have been denied access to foreign exchange, food and pharmaceutical companies must obtain permission from the government to sell their products and firing any worker for any reason is prohibited. These Soviet and Cuban style decrees do not satisfy the Venezuelans who want their country’s economy to get better. As of today, the economy is extremely vulnerable because it only relies on the oil production. The Venezuelans want a capitalist government while Maduro want everything to centralized like in a Communist state. As of today, most of the protests are organized in the wealthy parts of the cities. However, if the slums in Caracas take to the streets, the regime will fall. Maduro’s government has set elaborate strategies to prevent this. Civilian militia called “collectivos” roam the “barios” ready to kill any opposition organizer. So, who will win: Capitalism or Communism?

  6. The main belligerents in the Ukrainian conflict are, of course, Ukraine itself, Russia, the EU and NATO. Ukraine has a pro russian , wishing for a Russian integration, and the pro-eu population, longing for an integration in the EU. The EU has divergent views on whether or not to include Ukraine in their union, therefore does not directly interfere in the conflict. Instead they chose to impose economic sanctions on Russia, with the NATO’s help, to dissuade Russia from taking the strife further. Like the EU, the NATO does not intervene on the ground, but cooperates and supports Ukraine in the struggle in Peace support operations, civil emergency plans and more. They believe that “a sovereign, independent and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law, is key to Euro-Atlantic security”. They have condemned Russia’s actions in the annexation of Crimea, violations of international law. Even though Russia denies it, they do not want Ukraine to slip from their grasp. Even after the fall of the USSR, Ukraine has still been a zone of influence for Russia, therefore Moscow does not want to lose it. On the material side, Ukraine, and particularly Crimea, is rich in natural resources like oil and gas, resources which are starting to lack in Siberian energy reserves. Furthermore, after more than 24 years, Putin still holds a very serious grudge against the US, declaring how the winners of the Cold War are trying to impose their will everywhere and qualifying the result of this war as a traumatic experience for the whole of the Russian population. In a broader sense, the question now holds, if Putin is really trying to come back to another form of the Soviet Union ?

  7. Shortly after Khomeini comes to power in Iran a war breaks out with Iraq. The Iran-Iraq war lasts from 1980 to 1988 but in 1984 Khomeini realises that Saddam Hussein is pursuing a nuclear program in Iraq and regains interest for Iran’s old nuclear program. He therefore secretly decides to restart the nuclear program. Khomeini knows he will need help to successfully restart his nuclear program and seeks help from Pakistani scientists in the late 80s. Shortly after this Khomeini dies leaving Ali Khamenei in control of Iran. We know that Khomeini was very motivated by the nuclear program during the end of his life but will Ali Khamenei continue developing the nuclear program with the same motivation?
    See you next week.

    Nicolas Rival

  8. The Iranian conflict has two main belligerents, the Iranians, who consider that the treaty is unfair towards them, and on the other hand, many countries of the United Nations, notably the United States and some of Iran’s border countries, which don’t want Iran to create nuclear weapons, for their own safety. As Nicolas stated, Iran started developing their nuclear program after their war with Iraq. There have since been a lot of suspicions as to if Iran is still developing nuclear weapons, but Iran keeps on denying it. Even though Iran is the subject of frequent and announced inspections by the IAEA, the question still remains; can the world have faith in Iran?

    Mark FAGUER, 1A

  9. The two belligerents in the East China Sea are certainly the Chinese Communist Party led by Xi Jing Ping, and the Japanese government led by Shinzo Abe. They both targeted the specific zone of the Senkaku islands for precise reasons. First of all, there is a rich fishing zone, which could provide food easier for the two countries' dense population. Second of all, financially and economically speaking, geologists identified oil and natural gas reserves in the region. Finally, this objective only concerns China, but there has been some harsh competition between the US and China for military authority in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, political and military power can be counted as well. With the Chinese and Japanese operation base concentrated in their capital, these two countries have been tempting time after time to force control over the Senkaku islands. China is undoubtedly politically and economically more powerful compared to Japan, but Japan still resists (refused to follow the rules of the Chinese ADIZ). However, this is when the US starts getting worried about the growing tensions. If for whatever reason conflict erupts between Japan and China, the US will be obliged to stand alongside Japan and defend her from China (the US signed a security pact with Japan in 1960).

  10. Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group currently led by Adubakar Shekau who mainly attacked the northeast of Nigeria, started to get worrisome for the nation when threats were posed in the commercial capital of Lagos and other parts of the country, such as the center in Abuja. Twelve members of Boko Haram have been arrested in July 2015 in Lagos and a teenager has been caught getting information for the group in an airport of Abuja. Furthermore, two explosions near a fuel depot in Lagos in 2014 were found out to have been the product of high explosives, most likely used by Boko Haram. Although Boko Haram is not ceasing its attacks in the northeast, their expansion has been linked to the increased pressure they are under in the northeast. Attacks on Lagos would be disastrous for Nigeria economically, would give significant power to the group and be extremely dangerous for the large population that lives in the city. The potential spreading of attacks inside of Nigeria and even over in other countries is troublesome as well.

  11. The two belligerents in the North Korean conflict are North Korea and the United States, allied with South Korea. North Korea’s objectives have always been quite ambiguous, after the Korean War. However, after U.S. officials found evidence of a secretly developed uranium-enrichment program in 2002 which betrays the Agreed Framework, North Korea says it wants security assurances, U.S. recognition of its sovereignty, and nothing preventing from its economic development. In addition, North Korea is very insecure as it admits publicly, for the first time in 2005, that it has produced nuclear weapons for "self defense". They want to be prepared in case of a war, but also want the US to remove their country from a terrorism blacklist in 2008, in exchange for full access to their Yongbyon nuclear site. As for the US, President Bush referred to them as part of “The Axis of Evil” with Iraq and Iran for continuing to build "weapons of mass destruction”. The US is clearly concerned about the ongoing nuclear threats to strike them and South Korea. Its objective is to diminish North Korea’s growing nuclear program to avoid war. Therefore, 28,500 American troops are deployed in South Korea to defend the country along with 640,000 South Korean soldiers. On the other side, 1.2 million North Korean soldiers are present, making the North-South border one of the most heavily armed areas in the world. Furthermore, North Korea’s military forces are larger than the US and South Korea’s deployed armies. However, North Korea would be quickly overwhelmed by US massive reinforcements if a war would ever take place: United States’ professionally trained army is much larger and it possesses modern technology unlike North Korea’s.

  12. There are two main belligerents in the South Sudanese internal conflict. The first one being those aligned with the president Salva Kiir. These include the SPLA (Sudanese People’s Liberation Army), who perpetrate violence on civilians and peacekeepers, along with soldiers of the Dinka tribe, who identify with Kiir. The second being those aligned with Riek Machar, former vice-president. These include the soldiers of the Nuer tribe who identify with Machar, along with groups of opposed forces who perpetrate violence as well. The real source of the conflict seems to be ethnic related, for the division between the Nuer and Dinka tribes has been ongoing and is still very present, and source of many tensions.

  13. Mali has seen over the past 3 years belligerent forces:
    -The Malian army
    -The UN forces
    -The French
    The first three want to restore peace in Mali and stabilize the government while AQMI wishes to cause terror and create a Caliphate in Mali and the MNLA wishes the independence of Azawad (province of Northern Mali).
    For the time being the rebels and islamists have retreated back to the mountains and are being kept there by the 30.000 strong coalition force. meanwhile both AQMI and MNLA have fewer men numbering around 10.000 for AQMI and between 3000 and 10000 for MNLA.
    If we were to look at this from a manichean vision then we could say that the good guys are clearly winning as they took back most of Mali. Unfortunately this does not mean that they are gone as regular attacks are still being observed in the region. For now at least, the combined French and Malian armies seemed to have calmed the region down and the French army has set up camp in the Sahel region to begin the multinational terrorist hunt.

  14. Although the Taliban operate in Afghanistan, they are based in Quetta, Pakistan. For instance, southeastern areas Afghanistan and northwestern parts of Pakistan are under their influence. However the Taliban did not act alone in the ongoing war and insurgency of Afghanistan. Among the most acknowledged belligerents, Al-Qaeda has consistently given military support. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan provided them with financial, logistical and military help before 9/11. Today they are believed to provide the Taliban with support and refuge. The Haqqani network are allies of the Taliban, both pursue the objective of fighting off US and NATO troops in order to eradicate Western influence and put in place a state with strictly followed sharia laws.

  15. There has been attempts of cease fire during the Ukrainian conflict, but the last one was signed in Minsk on February and supposedly took effect on the 15. This agreement followed another one signed on September 5, 2014, at the same place which collapsed since the day one. The new one stipulated a bilateral cease fire and a removal of heavy weapons supervised by the OSCE. It also required the beginning of diplomatic communication and economic link between Ukraine and the conflicted zone, the withdrawal of all foreigner troops, and the restitution of government border over the conflicted zone. Though the fighting diminished since February, it has still continued most notably around Mariupol where probably the most intense fighting has taken place since the agreement and around Donetsk. However, there has not been any significant border change since the agreement despite the loss of 28 towns and village by the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, each side keep their objectives, as president Poroshenko declared that that the war would end only when Ukraine recaptured Crimea whereas the rebels try to capture Donetsk and Luhansk. This instability coupled with the fiery rhetoric of either side makes people believe that fightings could flare back up at any time.
    Adrien Lopez

  16. The United States and China presidents, both leaders of significant belligerent forces, had decided on signing a peace treaty involving cyber attacks. Each country was to refrain from any such activity towards the other. However, in the end, the agreement was not met. The deputies explain that it was an unreasonable goal anyway, given the past of each country, but some deputies said that it didn't matter anyways, since an agreement along those lines was implied anyways. Additionally, some of them think that there would be no way of knowing if such an agreement was not respected anyways, since it would happen anonymously.
    Quentin Siart

  17. The main belligerent forces in the South China Sea are:
    The first 6 countries all were happy at first, they all had their control over part of the South China Sea, even China wasn't complaining. Until in the late 1900's countries were finding large quantities of oil in the area. Once countries started realising that the South China Sea was rich in natural resources China went and said, "Everything is mine now." They started building artificial islands. The more islands they had, the more control over the sea they had. The sea's space isn't unlimited so China was just taking space from the other countries. Thus the beginning of the the disputes over the South China Sea commenced.
    Now Japan doesn't have any control in the South China Sea. There is a dispute in the East China Sea between Japan and China. Nevertheless, Japan still doesn't want China to get the South China Sea, because then China would be extremely powerful. So, what Japan did was start joint military exercises with Vietnam and the Philippines to show China that taking the South China Sea wouldn't be as easy.
    Little extra information, if China went to war with the countries in the South China Sea, then Japan would join the war. If Japan joins the war against China then the USA has to join (because there is an alliance between Japan and the US).

  18. China and Japan are the two main belligerents in the ongoing conflict over the islands in the East China Sea. The two nations share the same objectives since they both want the islands’ wealth of resources like substantial oil and gas reserves (China has estimated that a total of 250 trillion cubic feet of natural gas can be found underground) as well as their great position militarily. The latter objective is particularly important to China because of its competition against the U.S. for authority in the area. This is mainly due to an agreement signed in 1960 between Japan and the United States in which Japan gives the U.S. military bases in exchange for protection. China, being the stronger nation politically and economically, needs to own those islands in order to to have near complete authority in the area.

  19. Increased instability in Egypt : Where is the conflict mainly based ? By whom ?
    Egypt’s main conflict takes place in the the Sinai Peninsula which has undergone a surge of militancy over the last year. The main group, named Wilayat Sinai also known as Ansar Jerusalem ("Supporters of Jerusalem"), was the name of a jihadist group based in Egypt. The majority of the Sinai-based members swore allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and after the 2011 Egyptian revolution, they emerged as an extremist militant group. The U.S. define them as a foreign terrorist organization based in the Sinai Peninsula. They are not afraid to kill and recruit people for their doings and they have claimed responsibility for more than 21 attacks starting from 2012 up to now. Another group that creates tensions and instability in Egypt is called the Muslim Brotherhood. They want to dominate and marginalize others, they also exploit religion to repress people. Although at first it was not known as a terrorist group but just as a Sunni Islamist religious, political, and social movement; following the bombing of security directorate building in Mansoura, it became a terrorist group. These two groups are principally based in the Sinai Peninsula and are to blame for a large portion of the conflicts and unrests taking place in Egypt today.

  20. Civil War and and Sectarian Violence in Iraq

    Since the fall of Hussein in 2003, numerous religious groups have expanded and overtaken others. For example the Shia represent more than sixty percent of the Iraqi population. They have succeeded in impacting and influencing Iraq’s political atmosphere. The Shia are a denomination of Islam. This means that the Shia are part of their own sect. They believe that the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s successor was his cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib. In august of 2014, Iraq’s president decided to name Haider al-abadi to become the new prime minister. This was to calm the sectarian tension within Iraq. The country is in risk of diving even deeper in chaos and eventually in a civil war, this if the sectarian violence continues. This is why the United States need to stabilize Iraq and prevent it from becoming a haven for terrorist organizations that could potentially be a dangerous threat the the States.

  21. The main belligerents of the South China Sea conflict are first and foremost China, as well as the countries along the South China Sea: Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei who all claim overlapping parts of the sea. Also the United States are involved. China has been building islands by pumping sand onto reefs, and it’s main objective is to create military bases in the sea as well as to obtain more territorial sea. The other countries are more interested in the fishing zones as well as the natural resources in the sea. The Chinese navy has many modern military vessels to protect its claim while the other countries aren’t as strong. The United States is using its aircraft and naval vessels to assert freedom of navigation in the region.

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  23. Since the Saudi-coalition bombing in Yemen, the situation has only been deteriorating. The U.S. was also faced with a dilemna, back up the Saudi attacks or go against them? The choice was quick. The U.S. government backed up the Saudi attacks (which are technically Al-Qaeda attacks, unofficially), as they do not want Saudi Arabia against them (swore to protect the GCC “Gulf Cooperation Council”, and that their commitment to protecting it is being doubted). The result is repeated air strikes in Yemen primarily in Sana’a (a part of the capital the Houthis have taken over and use as a base of operations), killing thousands of civilians, about a total of 8,000 troops from the coalition sent to find and fight Houthis, and not much radical change. Yet how come a simple group of “rebels” resist the attacks of an organized official teamed army? This is explained by the Houthis relationships with Iran: the country has been training, equiping and financially helping the rebels since 2004 (the government of course denies any of these facts). Although the Saudi-led coalition is still technically “more powerful” by numbers, quality of their equipment, air strikes that give the impression that they dominate the combat against the rebels, the Houthis still lead the fight, inflicting great damage and causing heavy losses to the coalition (even destroyed a dozen of vehicles destined to invade their city, Ma’rib, a week ago on the 14th of September and captured on of the Saudi-led coaltion’s soldiers).

    Lucas Tournier

  24. The two main belligerents of this conflict are obviously Israel and Palestine, but more specifically their military forces. The most powerful Palestinian military force is Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union, Canada, Israel, Egypt, Japan, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and is banned in Jordan. Hamas' original 1988 goal was to "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine", to have Palestine be a land entirely ruled by Islam. They have since discussed the possibility of a two-state territory, and said they would potentially a ten-year truce with Israel if they agreed to return to the borders set in 1967 and to grant the "right of return" to every Palestinian refugee. That being said they remain an extremely strong and violent military force, and have launched attacks against Israeli soldiers, as well as civilians. These attacks include suicide bombings, and as of recently, rocket attacks.

    1. 04/10 EDIT/ ADD-ON:
      However, Hamas is not the original organization of this sort. In terms of its military, political, and media operations, an organization called Hezbollah serves as a role model to Hamas. Both groups are closely linked because of their common goals as well as support to each other: Hezbollah assists Hamas with bomb production. They are both also active in the capture of Israeli soldiers. Hezbollah is officially a political party based in Lebanon, their name literally translating to “Party of Allah”. It was created by Muslim religious leaders and funded by Iran following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. They have maintained close ties to Iran. Hezbollah was primarily formed to offer resistance to the Israeli occupation.

    Violence in nigeria is present because of the poverty, the lack of efficiency of the defense forces. It is stated that most of the deaths in Nigeria are caused by Boko Haram, Sectarian actors, state actors. The strengths of the Boko Haram are that their techniques are constantly evolving and are steadily expanding their area which is northern Nigeria. Boko Haram have started Kidnapping, and recently succeeded to kidnap the finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was released after five days of captivity. Boko haram often kills innocent civilians. Terrorist attacks are often attributed to the Boko Haram without proof yet the number of deaths to not correspond to their usual terrorist attacks.

    On August 31rst, some Israeli soldiers raided the Ramallah refugee camp, most likely to arrest some Palestinian extremists. Usually conducted late at night, this raid happened shorly after the muslims’ evening prayer. When the soldiers arrived, young Palestinians started throwing rocks at the soldiers, who first tried to defend themselves with tear gas, but when that failed, they had to shoot in the crowd for them to leave. Some men then fired back with some guns they had kept from an earlier war. During the conflict, they surrounded a house of two brothers considered the leaders of the local extremist movement. The Israelis say only one of their soldiers was wounded, and we do not know how many Palestinians were wounded or killed because the Israeli soldiers blocked off all access to the conflict zone from all civilians nd paramedics.

  27. South Korea's stance to North Korean military provocations since 2010 has been to react in self defence whenever it deems necessary, in what is called proactive deterrence. This is because in 2010, North Korea attacked a South Korean island and sunk their warship called "Cheonan", and until then, South Korea was responding to provocations with diplomacy. SInce 2010, South Korea has the power to dissuade North Korea from conflicts, as its policy grew more defensive and because its frontier with North Korea is further reenforced by the United States.

  28. There are 3 main belligerents in the Libyan civil war. The first is the Tobruk government. In addition to controlling more than half the country's land, the Libyan national army are loyal to them and they have had support from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The second belligerent is the new General National Congress based in the capital Tripoli, they control the north west part of the country and are aided by Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey. These two Islamist groups are rivals and while they want national unity, both will refuse to back down militarization until the other is decimated. ( email is

  29. Nowadays Mexico’s most wanted drug trafficker is Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the biggest Mexican drug trafficker, leader of the Sinaloa Cartel; he’s considered as the “biggest drug lord of all time”. His cartel was described as ‘the most powerful and wealthiest Mexican drug cartel of all time’ prior to his capture in 2014. His business has made him the 10th wealthiest man in Mexico; he has the habit of moving from place to place and thus operates in 17 of the 31 Mexican states, keeps contacts throughout the country and has ties to China, India and Thailand, which provide him with precursor chemicals to produce his methamphetamine drugs.

  30. In the governmentally unstable area of the Arabian Peninsula, several belligerents have contributed to a rise of violence and fractionalization. However, there are two main groups responsible for these incidents- Houthi insurgents and a significant branch of Al Qaeda. Contrary to the belief of some, the two groups are in fact conflicting- both the President of Yemen and the Houthis are opposed by al-Qaeda, which has staged numerous deadly attacks from its strongholds in the south and south-east. The Houthi rebels justify their uprising against the Yemeni government as defending their community against discrimination and government aggression. Similarly, Al Qaeda seeks to topple the Saudi and Yemeni governments, although with the specific aim of establishing an Islamic caliphate.

    Lone wolf attacks have been a problem since the late 1980’s when the first lone wolf attack was struck. Even though the U.S is trying to reduce the number of these attacks they keep growing. The Al Quaeda chief is encouraging all young muslim men to attack the countries of the crusader. A few days ago a video of him was released, it is believed to be two months old and in this video he calls forth men to commit terrorist attacks especially targeting the U.S. He mentions the past successful attacks like Charlie Hebdo, executed by the Kouachi brothers and wants young men to inspire themselves from those men, he also mentions the Tsnarnaev brothers, who were responsible for the Boston bomings.

  32. Growing Instability in Thailand
    The two colors have distinct ideas since Thaksin Shinawatra's exile. The biggest dilemma in 2010 being the ruling of Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, therefore his possible return. In 2010, the Red Shirts' demonstration to bring back Thaksin terrified the country as it resulted to about 90 deaths. This is considered as the "worst civil violence in Thailand's history." However, this did not stop the Yellow Shirts from protesting in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, to prevent Thaksin's return. They are convinced that he should be in prison because while his ruling, he illegally got access to $1,4 billion. In 2012 and 2013, they tempted to overthrow Yingluck's government. Consequentially, in December 2013, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra accepts the early elections in February 2014.
    Athina Gunnarsson 1C
    (Sorry it's late... My internet didn't work so I had to wait until my dad came back from a trip to be able to post it)

  33. Pakistan is a country with a weak political system overall, and rising tensions between multiple groups.
    There are multiple groups concerning terrorism :
    -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
    -these aren’t terrorist groups per say, but there is a lot of tension between the different provinces in Pakistan. Whereas the Sindh and Punjab regions are more developped and most of the political power is concentrated there, the other regions are neglected in the sense that they are not accorded the same governmental help and thus form multiple groups and tribes of their own. There is even a « Federally Administered Tribal Area » this proves that the government is not present everywhere in the country which leads to a cultural splintering.

    (i'm sorry for it being late again... is it late if I give it in before class, or does it not count?)

  34. How have Somalis been affected?
    In 2011, the U.N. declared a famine in the southern Somalia regions of Bakool and Lower Shabelle, and Al-Shabaab reversed an earlier pledge to allow aid agencies to provide food in famine-stricken areas.

    That year, the U.N. Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation said Somalia had the highest mortality rate in the world for children ages 4 and younger.

    About 258,000 Somalis died in the famine between October 2010 and April 2012, and half the victims were younger than 5 years old, according to a report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
    How does Al-Shabaab recruit?
    The group has a sophisticated public relations arm that includes a Twitter account and video production abilities.

    Al-Shabaab has even made a video that's as slickly produced as a reality TV show, complete with a hip-hop jihad voice and a startling message:

    "Mortar by mortar, shell by shell, only going to stop when I send them to hell," an unidentified voice raps in English.

    But Al-Shabaab's enemies -- and alliances -- can shift.

    Abu Mansour al-Amriki, a former Al-Shabaab fighter and prolific English-language propagandist for the group, said in a video posted online last year that he had had a fallout with Al-Shabaab "regarding matters of the Sharia and matters of strategy" and feared for his life.

    Al-Amriki, whose real name is Omar Hammami, was reportedly killed in Somalia by Al-Shabaab. CNN was not able to confirm the report.

    Finding replacements might not be difficult.

    Sheikh Ahmed Matan, a member of Britain's Somali community, said he knows of hundreds of young Somali men living in the West who returned to Somalia for terrorist training.

    Al-Shabaab has also "succeeded in recruiting a number of Americans to fight in Somalia, most of whom are from Minnesota," CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen wrote in a column.

    (sorry for it being so late)

  35. The Taliban, key enemies of the Afghan state and threat to the population’s security, are mostly located on the southern area of the country. They have a strong reach on the rest of the world, through the Al-Qaeda group they operate with. The terrorist attacks have set an endless shadow on the Afghan's peace, but also threatens other countries. For instance the attack on Charlie Hebdo was initiated by Al-Qaeda. Their goal is to impose their interpretation of the Sharia to the muslims, and impose the religion to the non-muslim people. The violence of their attacks have set the Afghanistan in a perpetual state of war, causing the wearied government soldiers to desert in larger numbers.

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  37. (some modifications:) Cyberattacks continue to threaten America’s infrastructure. “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. As he stated, “The Russians are good. The Chinese are good. The Iranians are good.” The problem, he said, is that despite the government’s improvements in tracking down the sources of attacks, “we can’t necessarily trace it directly to that state,” making it hard to strike back. “The Chinese have discovered they can launch cyberattacks against us and that our officials seek to downplay them or offer up limp, ineffective responses,” Mr. Rothkopf said. “This has added to the perception that we are weak, which in turn is an incentive to more opportunistic bad actors.” And now Iran is also part of the worry - Admiral Rogers told a House panel that while cyberattacks directed at the United States abated during talks over the nuclear deal, the country was now “fully committed” to using them as part of a revamped military strategy.