Monday, September 7, 2015

Phase 1!

Here is where you will add the first batch of updates; they should come from the "Background Information" tab of the CFR site.
Each update should be about a paragraph.

74 comments:

  1. The political system in Libya is unstable to say the least. An ongoing conflict is occurring between 4 rival organisations each with the ultimate aim of taking control of the country. These organisations are : The Islamic state of Iraq, The Islamist Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, The New General National Congress and the Tobruk government. Human rights violations are common in Libya, warring factions kill, loot and burn civilian properties.

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    1. Good start. Why is the political system so unstable? When was it stable?

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  2. Syria is a recent country appearing at the end of World war 1 in 1920. Controlled by the French up till October 1945, it becomes a free country in 1946. Its current "President" is Bashar al-Assad who came to power in the 2000 after his brother, the first heir to the head of the state, died. He is of Alawite background which influences the way he governs the country.
    As you all know, lately, things have gone pretty bad in Syria: after the Arab Springs, many people wanted to claims rights in Syria which resulted in a civil war. The rebels are fighting since 2011 against the Assad regime and since then the conflict has made, estimated by the UN, 220000 deaths and has caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee the country. Things got worse when IS wanted to claim part of northern Syria and causing at first a 3 way war, but then a war that is becoming global as military forces of the East and West are forced to enter this conflict. Overall, this conflict is very controversial and is not ready to end.

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    1. Well done. What's an Alawite? How does it influence government?

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  3. In the East China Sea, control over the Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands remains an urgent issue between China and Japan. The Japanese were able to purchase three islands from private owners, while China, in 2012, established their "air defense identification zone" to try and claim them back. However, one of the biggest concerns is that the East China Sea waters are crowded with navals from both sides, and any miscalculation would undoubtedly end in serious confrontations. On the other side, Chinese and Japanese officials attended to a meeting in Tokyo to ease these security problems by proposing a hotline. Their goal is to allow more communication between the two countries, avoid unintended crashes at sea and eventually ameliorate the relation.

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    2. Interesting. Why would the Chinese claim these Islands?

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  4. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has been torn between the east and the west with eastern regions longing for an integration with Europe and eastern regions where the Russian language is predominant. The crisis began in November 2013, when the pro-Moscow Ukrainian government abandoned a deal with the EU in favor of stronger ties with Russia. As a result, massive protests broke out in the capital, amassing 800,000 people by December. Protests spread and the president Yanukovych flees Kiev in March 2014. As more and more outbreaks occur all over the country, Russian-backed separatist forces appear in the east, battling the Ukrainian police. Moscow denies any involvement in such sort of activity but Ukraine and NATO have reported the buildup of Russian troops and military equipment near Donetsk, escalating the crisis into an international one. Violence breaks out across the country, resulting in thousands of casualties. This crisis brings up the possibility the US intervening at the risk of significantly deteriorating US-Russian relations. This is a very urgent issue that is just getting worse by the moment and needs a decision to be made.

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    1. Good summary. (Don't cut and paste too much) What do you mean by "torn between the east and the west?" Why do they have to chose a side?

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  5. The political tensions and the Taliban attacks increased the instability and violence in Afghanistan. The elections of June 2014 created many political tensions, as both candidates for the presidency accused each other of fraud. The conflict was resolved by a US deal to form a national unity government: Ashraf Ghani is elected president and his opponent Abdullah Abdullah as prime minister. However, the deal is considered fragile and threatens to break. Women and peoples’ rights and civilian protection remain a struggle to be overcome as well. The Afghan government is also facing resurging Taliban attacks, since the coalition withdrawal, especially during the rival governmental elections. In reflection of the situation, a 24% rise of civilian casualties has been recorded between 2013 and 2014.

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    1. Good. Who are the Taliban? Where are they from? What do they want?

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  6. “The security situation in Egypt has deteriorated following the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.” declares the Council on Foreign Relations and sadly this is true. Groups have formed against today’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for example the Muslim Brotherhood since July 2013. These groups have formed uprisings and manifestations throughout the years in Egypt but an event was particularly horrifying. It was called the Massacre of Rabaa. It took place August 14th, 2013. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies had occupied a square in Cairo for 47 days, they were all gathered in one place to demonstrate their anger about President Mohammed Morsi being ousted a month before. Security forces finally decided to attack at 6 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2013. They killed up to 1,000 supporters of the previous president, that day. A recent article discovered that these supporters were not all illiterates but actually educated and originated from places all around Cairo who were actually the most prosperous and urbanized parts of the country. The instability in Egypt keeps on increasing and becomes harder to control.

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    1. Nice opening. Who was Morsi? How long had he been in power?

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  7. Since U.S President Barack Obama came into office in 2009, he has been determined to end a seemingly endless war on terrorism. During the past six years, Obama has led a new approach that consists in a combination of targeted killing, security assistance to military and intelligence forces in partner and allied countries, intensive electronic surveillance. These steps lead to an improvement over the Bush years. However, the American people find themselves living in a world filled with more terrorism than before Obama became president, not less. Additionally, the civil war, sectarian tensions, and state failure in the Middle East and Africa ensure that the Islamic terrorism will continue to spread in those regions -and most likely in the rest of the world as well. There has been terror attacks on the U.S soil with casualties since 1980, the most devastating being the 9/11 attack, in 2001, which killed 2,977 people and the bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma, in 1995, killing 168 and injured over 700 people.

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    1. Good work. Cut-and-paste is okay, technically, but don't do it too much.

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  8. China is what we consider a communist country. This being the case, it favors the Han ethnicity. Minorities still exist , notably the Uighur, a Turkic and Muslim ethnicity, numbering around ten million, living essentially in the North-West region of China called XinJiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR, aka East Turkistan). In this area resides thirteen different ethnic groups, predominantly the Uighur. Recently, Han have recently been moving in more and more, and now represent about half of the population of the region.Tensions between the two groups have resulted in demonstrations and acts of violence since the 1990s. Separatist groups exist, such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and have been committing a lot of the violent acts in the region. China’s crackdown on the ethnic Uighur minority intensified after the 2009 riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, which resulted in nearly two hundred dead and more than 1,700 injured.

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    1. Good stuff. Do you know anything about how the Chinese government sees things?

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  9. A Civil War has been taking place in South Sudan since December 2016, due to ethnic division within the country. The two main tribes of the country, the Dinka and the Nuer, are strongly opposed to one another, and this division is reinforced with the President Salva Kiir being a Dinka, and the former vice president Riek Machar being a Nuer. This ethnic division within the government is also felt within the soldiers. As a result of the country’s chaos, armed groups are roaming around, such as the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) targeting civilians and subjecting them to violence and forcefully recruiting them in their ranks, or even attacking humanitarian workers. As a result, 1,6 million locals have been displaced, and tens of thousands killed. The frightened population seeks protection on the UN bases in Bentiu, Juba and Malakal. The violence has prevented famers from harvesting, and South Sudan’s food crisis had become the worst in the world, with a third of its population concerned. On August 26th, Salva Kiir and Rick Mashar signed a peace agreement in fear of international sanctions, but the deal remains fragile and the violence continues.

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    1. Nice. How did the civil war start? What does each side really want?

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  10. The Israeli-Palestinian confilt is one that has been going on for over a century, before the nation of Israel was even founded. During the late 19th century, what is now known as Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The population was approximately 87 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian and 3 percent Jewish. Most importantly, it was a place where different religions lived in peace. In 1917, the British goverment promised "The establishement in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." However, they had also promised Palestine to the Meccas and to themselves. Britain set up colonies in Palestine, seperating Muslims, Christians and Jews into seperate institutions. Between 1920 and 1930, the Jewish population of Palestine increased by over 320 000 people, Jews now making up just under 30 percent of Palestine's population. In 1936 the "Palestinian Revolution" took place, which was suppressed with the help of Jewish malitia. In 1947, Palestinian and Isreali states were established. In 1948, war broke out again, and Isreal won, occupying over 1/3 more land than under the original US proposal. To Israelis, this was the beginning of their country, but to Palestine this was a catastrophe. Israel again won the six day war of 1967, and gained control over the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Penninsula and Golan Heights. Israeli settlement started to occur in these aquired territories. During the late 1980s, Palestinians launched anti-Isreali movements, such as boycotts and refusal to pay Isreali taxes. The Israelis cracked down on these movements and violence ensued. This led to the founding of Hamas, which resulted in a first suicide bombing against Israel in 1993. These acts became known as interferadas. In September 2000, Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel at the time, lead 1000 armed gards to Temple Mount in the old city of Jerusalem, an extremely holy site for both Musilms and Jews. This lead to an extremely violent second interfada, with over 3000 Palestinian deaths and over 1000 Israeli deaths. Palestine, largely goverened by Hamas at the time, launched rockets into Israel, who responded with violent invasions of Palestine, resulting in thousands of Palestinian deaths, both of militants and of civilians. Both Israel and Palestine claim to be responding to acts of aggression. To Palestinians, they have been declined a state since decades before the creation of Israel, and are unhappy about living under such strong milirary 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.

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  11. Very thorough! Try to summarize more: what does each side basically claim? Why hasn't there be a resolution?

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  12. Just like the Germans during the hyperinflation in 1923 who used marks to start a fire, Venezuelans are using their currency as a napkin when eating empanadas. At least, this is what one Venezuelan posted on internet last month. Venezuela is currently facing one of the most destructive economic chaos in its history. Today, one bolivar is considered to be worth less than a penny. This economic disaster alarmed bordering countries who decided to send in napkins to Venezuela. Inflation deeply impacted citizens on an everyday level. Since 70% of Venezuela's consumer goods are imported, Venezuelans have a hard time finding basic products such as sugar or milk. Along with that, Venezuela is also facing a deep political crisis and a massive drop in oil prices. Nicolas Maduro, the president, is following former president Hugo Chavez's steps. The majority of Venezuelans strongly affirm that his plans will not help the country out of the crisis. While Maduro is constantly blaming the U.S. government for the nation's economic woes, he should not forget that he will be the one paying a $5 billion debt payment by October. Victoire T.

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    1. Nicely done. How did this massive inflation start?

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  13. Computer viruses, hackers, network outages, and other such problems can become life-changing issues, and as the number of people who use electronic devices increases, so does the amount of people one of those such problems can affect. Cyber Security prevents private information found online to fall into the wrong hands or be used to hinder these peoples lives. A large number of important associations such as hospitals, the government, the military, financial institutions such as banks, store and transmit important information online. With the incessant amount of cyber attacks of bigger and bigger scale, non-stop attention is being dedicated to solving these problems. The nations top intelligence mentioned that cyber attacks were, at the present moment, the biggest threat to the nations well-being, above terrorrism.
    Quentin Siart, 1C

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    1. Solid background. What are some high profile hacking cases?

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  14. Tensions have been rising in the East China Sea between China and Japan over the 8 small and uninhabited islands of Senkaku (Japan) and Diaoyu (China). These islands have a total area of 7 sq. km, are located between China, Japan and Taiwan and are currently controlled by Japan. They are particularly important since they are near important shipping lanes and potential oil and gas reserves. The islands are also in a strategic spot military-wise thus creating additional competition between the US and China. Japan claims that since it has owned the islands since 1895 they remain its property while China claims they belong to them since ancient times.
    Ever since Japan has tried to purchase three islands, Chinese government ships have been regularly seen sailing in and out of Japan's territorial waters around the islands. China has also created an "air-defense identification zone" that requires compliance with Beijing set rules. Japan and the US have ignored it. The US is primarily involved due to an alliance with Japan that gives it military bases in return for military protection. If a war/fight/conflict were to happen between China and Japan the US would help Japan creating potential world-scale conflicts.

    Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-11341139

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    1. Solid background. When did the conflict become a major issue between the two countries?

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  16. Ever since the Soviet war in the 1980's, Afghanistan has been through an ongoing political conflict. In the last decade, the most imposing menace to the country's stability was the Taliban movement. This movement was created by Mullah Omar in 1994. Political instability to this day is due to continuous Taliban threats.
    Afghanistan, after ambiguous presidential elections, successfully inaugurated Ashraf Ghani as president and Abdullah Abdullah as chief executive. During this uncertain period of political transition, there has been in increase in pressure from Taliban insurgents. Both of these incidents led to a decrease of the respect of essential human rights such as civilian murder, threats to women's rights and to freedom of expression and association.

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    1. Good work. When did Afghanistan get its shape; what are its ethnic and linguistic groups?

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  18. There has been a lot of tension in Iran in 2003 since former President Mohammad Khatami has acknowledged the fact that there are several nuclear fuel facilities in Iran. These facilities can be used on one hand to make nuclear energy, and that is not a problem for anyone, but on the other hand it can also be used to create nuclear weapons which is what the United States, and the United Nations fear. In 2006, the United Nations gave Iran economic sanctions which lasted until current Iranian president Hassan Rohani agreed to negotiate for the terms of Iran's Nuclear production in 2013. After 20 weeks of negotiation, the United Nations lifted the sanctions placed on Iran, but Iran agreed to "reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent for fifteen years and cut its number of centrifuges by two-thirds for the next decade." To verify that these rules are well followed, there is an international agency specialized in Nuclear Energy called International Atomic Energy Agency, also known as IAEA, and they have been given the green light to inspect the Iranian facilities to verify if Iran have respected their part of the compromise. And if they find that Iran have not been respecting the terms of their agreement, Barack Obama said that the sanctions would immediately be reinstated.
    Mark FAGUER, 1A

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    1. Good work. Which countries in the world have nuclear weapons? Does Iran threaten anyone in particular?

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  19. Al Qaeda, once a relatively defined and hierarchical group, has spread into a multinational movement with operations in at least 16 countries, from Mali to Syria, Yemen to Nigeria. These factions have largely replaced the Pakistan-based organization as the driving force of global jihad. The militant Islamist group was formed in January 2009 through a union of the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al-Qaeda, although Jihadist predecessors in the region date back to the early 1990s, when thousands of Mujahideen (a group that struggle for the sake of Allah and Islam) returned to Yemen after fighting the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. Ongoing political instability in Yemen has created an environment in which AQAP and other terrorist and insurgent groups can freely operate. AQAP has used this opportunity to expand its territory and seize critical infrastructure. For this reason, and The U.S government believes it to be the most dangerous al-Qaeda branch.

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    1. Nic work. What are the basic aims and methods of Al Qaeda?

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  20. The Iranian nuclear conflict consists in the United States of America not letting Iran have the possibility to get a nuclear bomb because this could be a huge threat if not used in an ethical way. Conflict is the last recall but stays a possibility. To avoid this the two sides have been trying to find an agreement knowing that Obama said in November of 2014 that it could take Iran only one year to build a nuclear bomb which forces a quick agreement. Talks really started in 2002 but since the election of Hassan Rohani the two sides have found an agreement on April the 2nd of 2015 even though finishing touches must be arranged. This deal would mainly consist in Iran reducing and converting their nuclear facilities. Obama says to Congress that if this deal does not pass, war could break out making this conflict one of America's top priorities.

    Nicolas Rival

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    1. Good start. What countries in the world have nukes? Does Iran threaten anyone in particular?

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  21. The South China Sea holds about 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 cubic feet of natural gas, and the best way to access these natural resources would be to occupy the Spratly or Paracel Islands, causing much conflict between China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. In 1947, the Chinese drew an eleven-dash line (changed to 9 dashes in 1953) on a map claiming these islands, and are using this map as historical basis for their current day claim. However, because of a rise in nationalism and military capability in Vietnam and the Philippines, they are no longer willing to let the Chinese lay claim to these islands.

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    1. Good. What are the rules governing territorial waters? When did they start?

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  22. According to Human Rights watch, “More than 60,000 people have been killed from 2006 to 2012 due to drug-related violence during former Mexican President Felipe Calderon's six-year administration”. Thankfully, since Enrique Peña Nieto became president on December 1st, 2012, intentional homicide numbers have weakened slightly, yet kidnapping numbers have started to climb, showing that sadly, the state of Mexico is still very much at war with drug cartels, as they tear apart the country with violence and fight each other for control of territory. These cartels are very powerful; they take in between $19 and $29 billion annually from U.S. drug sales. In fact, 90% of the cocaine that enters U.S transits from Mexico, and the country is also an important supplier of methamphetamines and marijuana for the U.S.

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    1. Good. How long has this problem been going on? How much of Mexico is in the hands of the cartels?

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  23. Nuclear weapons. Long-range missiles. These deathly artillery pieces are what North Korea is continuing to develop, despite violating United Nations Security Council resolutions. Needless to say, the risk of renewed conflict on the Korean peninsula remains high. To comprehend what led to these tensions between North and South Korea, the peninsula’s history goes all the way back to 1945. After World War II, Korea’s Japanese occupation ends with Soviet troops allying with the communist north, and US troops with its Western allies supporting the capitalist south: Korea becomes a divided nation. North Korea is proclaimed as the “Democratic People's Republic of Korea” in 1948 with founder Kim Il-sung installed as leader. Therefore, the Soviet troops withdraw. In 1950, the South declares independence, sparking North Korean invasion. They attempt to unify the country under the north’s government, but failed as Korea is still divided in two. It is known as the Korean War which lasted from 1950 to 1953. It was also implicated in the Cold War tensions. After devastating the peninsula’s economy and taking the lives of as many as two million people, the fighting ends with an armistice, but no peace treaty. This signifies that both sides are still technically at war to this day, having not signed a peace agreement. Now, both sides maintain armies along the border where there is an uneasy peace sometimes interrupted by exchanges of artillery fire.

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    1. Nicely done. How advanced is North Korea right now? How much tension is there with its neighbors?

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  24. Superficial Resume of War in Syria
    Starting in March 2011, following the the Arab Spring occurring in the region, protests against the Syrian government started, which were repressed by the military immediately. The president, Bashar al-Assad, promises to destroy what he calls “terrorists”, the protesters, and hundreds of people are killed. As Syria’s leaders are condemned to human rights abuse, European Union, the US, and the Arab League pressure Syria with sanctions to stop the crackdown on civilians. In 2012, international diplomacy fails as escalating violence becomes out of hands, engendering massacres. Indeed, rebel forces unite creating the Syrian National Coalition, supported by Western world, fighting al-Assad’s regime, while the Syrian military continues the crackdown onto the population, killing thousands. The UN Security attempts fail, vetoed every time, while al-Assad feels threatened, he declares that if pressured sanctions do not cease, he shall unleash chemical or biological weapons. US sees this as a red line, and will be militarily involved if use of chemical or biological weapons. In 2013, a branch of terrorism groups from Al-Qaeda emerge under a new leader, fighting al-Assad’s government. Therefore, European Union stops sending arms to protesters. Use of chemical weapons is proved on small scale onto civilians, and US threatens to be militarily involved. Threatened, Syria offers to move all chemical or biological weapons under international control. As UN takes part, it dismantles all weapons. In 2014, diplomacy agreements between Syrian National Coalition and al-Assad fail twice under UN supervision. Although a presidential election occurs, with more than one candidate (first time over last four decades), and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi named as “caliph”, the fighting does not cease. Also, noting that the group changes its name to "Islamic State". UN agrees on aiding rebel-held areas without government approval.

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    1. Good work! try to summarize: how quickly did this particular conflict escalate? What groups are implicated in the war and why?

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  25. Violence in Eastern Ukraine
    Despite the cease fires and the peace plan, Minsk 2, fightings had increased in intensity. Russia, with its estimated 9,000 troops, built new military camps possibly in the goal to support a major offensive and take Mariupol, a government held city. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s economy is failing with its outputs diminishing by 15% in the last two quarters, and government has imposed austerity measures (cut in the subsidy for gas, reduction in pensions). However, Europe and the United States, having other other problems (Greek crisis, nuclear compromise with Iran), did not provide Ukraine with sufficient funding, despite giving other countries bigger financial help, and did not actively help in preventing a Russian attack except in renewing its economic sanctions.This might result in Ukraine making default soon if no exterior help come.
    Adrien Lopez

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    1. Good summary. How did this conflict start? Who are the main players?

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  26. This article describes the basic information of AQAP (Al-Qa’ida Arabian Peninsula), its creation, the few attacks the group already commited, and the fear they spread across the peninsula. AQAP originates from AQY (Al-Qa’ida in Yemen), a group formed back in February 2006 by 23 escapees of the Sanaa prison, in Yemen. Now AQAP is directed by its leader (or Amir in this case) Nasir al-Wahishi. The group is most famous for having sent one of its affiliates, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to set off an explosive device in a Northwest Airlines Airbus on Christmas day of December 2009, but the operation failed. It was the first attack to be attempted in the United States since September 11th, 2001, and left its mark. AQAP also went bigger and now have their own news agency and magazine, all in english. The group also spends most of its time trying to push back westerners from the Peninsula, by threatening embassies and leaving the countries concerned with no choice but to close these buildings for the workers’ and country’s safety. The group also attack the Yemeni government, which in 2013 led to 52 dead people, as a result of an attack on Yemen’s Ministry of Defence. Today AQAP remains one of the most important Al-Qa'ida groups spreading fear across the peninsula, and worldwide. The group overrules the Yemeni government, and does as it wishes, whether the government approves it or not.

    Lucas Tournier

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    1. Good start. What does AQAP want? How do they operate?

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  27. Many schools, religious buildings, police and army have been attacked by the Nigerian Islamist militant group, Boko Haram. Some say that they attack because of their disapproval of the new security forces, regional economic inequality and government corruption. Nevertheless, their main purpose is to propagate the Prophet's teachings and jihad. Experts say that the Boko haram are linked to northwest Africa based al-Qaeda, Somalia's al-Shabab and al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula. The sect was formed in 2009 and throughout the years killed more than ten thousand people and 1.5 million people left their homes because of their persecution in Nigeria. Therefore, in 2013, the US designated Boko Haram as a 'foreign terrorist organization'.
    Priscilla Benyahia 1A

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    1. Good work. When did Boko Haram get its start? Where do they operate?

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  28. Since July 2009 the Boko Haram, the largest Islamist militant group in Africa, has been trying to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, spread Sharia law and terminate westernized education. An important disruption of Nigerian life and education has taken place due to the violence inside the nation. 85 schools in Borno and 205 schools in Yobe were burnt, leading to the closing down of school in both of those states and in the Northeast. Although the Boko Haram rebellion is responsible for killing, displacing and violence especially in the Northeastern regions, Human Rights groups have affirmed that sectarian clashes and abuse of the security forces are responsible for the violence as well. This conflict has resulted in an estimate of 3,3 million internal displacements (the third highest amount after Syria and Columbia) because their homes have been burned not only by the Boko Haram, but also by the security forces such as in 2012 during a Boko Haram crackdown. In total, 4000 houses have been burnt and 200 killed during the raids by both sides. Nigerian security was reported to have executed Nigerians without sufficient evidence in that same year. In 2014, soldiers raided 4 newspaper offices for censorship under the excuse of "security concerns". Recently, the police held people without charge who could be connected to Boko Haram. These soldier abuses are worrisome and could possibly favor a recruiting of members in the Boko Haram.

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    1. Good work. Don't cut and paste too much and try to summarize: when and why did Boko Haram get their start? Who are they fighting?

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  29. Pakistan faces significant threats to its internal security from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant groups. After Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to negotiate a peace agreement with the TTP unraveled, the government launched an offensive against militant strongholds in North Waziristan in June 2014. Before the operation began, U.S. drone strikes against militants in North Waziristan resumed after a nearly six-month-long hiatus. While Pakistan claims to have killed more than 1,400 militants, the operations have spurred an internal refugee crisis from North Waziristan and Khyber, and peripheral TTP elements have reportedly formed violent splinter organizations.

    Historically dominant over the civilian government, the Pakistani military provides support to the Haqqani network and other proxy groups, even though state-sponsored militants often collaborate with the anti-state TTP. However, after the TTP attacked a Peshawar school in December 2014, killing more than 130 schoolchildren, Pakistani political parties agreed on a comprehensive National Action Plan to combat terrorism and extremist ideology across the country.

    The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan could increase instability by allowing antistate militants from Pakistan to establish a safe haven in a fragile Afghanistan.

    Acute instability in Pakistan has security implications for both Afghanistan and India. The TTP is closely allied with the Afghan Taliban in its battle against Afghan troops, while India fears terrorist attacks carried out by both anti-state and state-sponsored Pakistani militants. Moreover, the vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to attack or theft by nonstate actors remains a major concern for U.S. and Indian policymakers.

    Source: cfr

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    1. Good stuff. Try to summarize more: What do these militant groups want? How long have these issues been going on?

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  30. The South China Sea is rich in untapped oil and natural gases, but also rich in conflicts. The sea is divided up by multiple Southeast Asian countries. However, recently China has been "bullying" its smaller neighbours into letting China take over the sea. China now controls 90% of the sea by using "unfair" techniques such as building artificial islands throughout the sea for that their grasp over the sea grows. By doing so, the rest of the southern Asian countries, including Japan, are growing restless and impatient with China. Military activity has grown in the region from all countries (especially from China and Japan), while diplomatic negotiations are failing. The U.S. has expressed its opinion on the matter, in which it being that it wants only peace in the region, but also has noted that if Japan were to go to war with China, the U.S. (being an ally of Japan) would have to aid Japan.
    The South China Sea is a very sensitive are at the moment. One small error from any country in this area could result in straight out warfare.

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    1. Good start. (Careful; Japan is not in the South China Sea) Why are there competing claims to the same area? What's the strategic value of that body of water?

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  31. North Korea is on the verge of an internal crisis nowadays. This is a direct consequence of Kim Jong Un’s 2013-2014 purge of North Korea’s decision counselors, a political measure that Un has put to practice to strengthen his power. This purge has led to political instability and division of the elites. During this political instability, it is unlikely that North Korea will start provocations; however the Pyongyang-watching community speculates that military demonstrations and provocations will still be part of North Korea’s strategy in the foreseeable future. In any case, provocations remain possible, and they may have a great impact if they escalate into a large conflict. That is why South Korea and the United States agree on deterrence, which is dissuasion by the presence of armed forces. In this case, South Korean and US soldiers are by the North/South Korean border. The mmain issue is that ever since Kim Jong Un has come to power, North Korea has become unpredictable. To prevent the escalation of a conflict, there needs to be international coordination and cooperation, because the problem with North Korea is a complex one.

    Vincent M.

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    1. Good work. How did Kim Jong-Un come to power? What kind of social system do hey have in North Korea?

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  32. Mali like many African countries is a relatively (not to say completely) unstable democracy. With the constant threat of extremist groups and rebel activists to the North, Mali has not had the occasion to grow economically, militarily, and its HDI is among the lowest on the planet. The northern part of the country is mainly desert which renders all policing and surveillance extremely difficult for the under trained and underfunded Malian army. The conflict broke out soon after the year 2012 began when after the fall of Gaddafi, Libyan arsenals were raided and many weapons were dispatched throughout Africa. A lot of these weapons and men poured into Mali and when the Touareg got their hands on the guns they thought of it as the perfect casus Belli for their sovereignty. Mid January the Tuareg uprising began to grow in size as it was joined by AQMI (in French: Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique). Day after day, city after city, the rebels and islamists conquered their way through the deserts of Mali. The differences between the Tuareg and the AQMI are fundamental and do not take long to cause tension. This tension reaches its apex when both sides split and the Tuareg are chased from from Gao. The Tuareg cease the fight only after being beaten by yesterday's allies at Asongo. AQMI having settled for the Northern half of the country set its eyes on the South. When the first cities fall, the president of Mali asks François Hollande for military help. The French Operation codenamed “Serval” ,after the small Saharan fox, is a fast moving, global (in Africa), and extremely effective operation. The world is amazed at France’s capacity to defeat a force so swiftly and without causing the damage that was caused in Iraq by the USA. Unfortunately the Northern part of Mali is mountains and the radicals set up their camps there where they became once more like in Afghanistan, the invisible nightmare for the UN forces. Currently the UN led army has taken back most of Mali and the French led UN force have rebaptised their operation to “Barkhane” which spans From Chad to Mauritania.

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    1. Nice work. Who are the Tuareg and why would they declare war on Mali? Why would France get involved?

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  33. Growing Instability in Thailand
    King Bhumibol is the longest governing monarch in the world. He is ruling since 1946 and is now 87 years old. During his long lasting reign, between the army’s seizing of power and the many demonstrations happening since 1945, the prime ministers changed many times. After months of violence, on May 22nd 2014, the Thailand army seized power in a bloodless coup and set the coup leader, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, as the new Prime Minister.
    A lèse-majesté law strictly forbids Thailand to discuss of a new ruler until the previous one is not in power anymore. However, with the coup, the revocation of royally assigned Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, and King Bhumibol’s deteriorating health, the government is required to review the situation. Many more demonstrations happened which delayed the national elections from end of 2015 to 2016.
    Athina Gunnarsson 1C

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    1. Good. Why were there so many demonstrations during the king's reign? What power does the king really have today?

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  34. From Antoine:

    The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on for several decades and has been seriously escalating in the last few years.
    A few weeks ago, a video was posted on the internet. It shows an Israeli soldier who chases and tries to arrest a child who was throwing rocks at him. As soon as he grabs him, the child's mother, sisters, and aunts start fighting him to get him off the child. When one of the women pull off the soldier's mask, we see that he too is very young. This video shows us how all young people are involved in the conflict, forced to attack soldiers to be talked about on the internet, putting their own life at risk. How could the story have ended if the soldier where an agressive Syrian or IS soldier, instead of an annoyed Israeli soldier?

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  35. President Obama allowed the U.S military to conduct air strikes against islamic states.
    About a year ago thousands and thousands of Yazidi refugees assembled at the top of a mountain in northern Iraq. Towards the beginning of the month of august 2014, the United States' armed forces dropped food for the refugees. August 2014 was the moment when ISIL got involved in the american government. Since its massive enlargment ISIL has lost about 9% of its territory. It is said that the estimate of the ISIL manpower is very difficult to determine. In september of last year, the CIA thought ISIL had between 20000 and 31000 fighters. The same numbers were determined last month. This shows that if these numbers are correct, ISIL would have no problem replacing the eventual casulties.

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    1. Good start. Who is this, btw? Think more big picture... who are the groups involved in this conflict? How long has it been going on?

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  36. The Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahidin commonly known as al-Shabaab is the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts that took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Despite the group’s defeat by Somali and Ethiopian forces in 2007, al-Shabaab—a clan-based insurgent and terrorist group—has continued its violent insurgency in southern and central Somalia. The group has exerted temporary and, at times, sustained control over strategic locations in those areas by recruiting, sometimes forcibly, regional sub-clans and their militias, using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the Somali Federal Government (SFG), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers, and nongovernmental aid organizations. As of 2013, however, pressure from AMISOM and Ethiopian forces had largely degraded al-Shabaab’s control, especially in Mogadishu but also in other key regions of the country, and conflict among senior leaders has exacerbated fractures within the group. In 2013 al-Shabaab rivalries culminated in a major purge of opponents of deceased group leader Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed.

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  37. Good start. What do Al Shabaab want? How did the Somali government let them get so powerful?

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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. Kelcie Bons 1ère
    My modern global conflict: crisis in North Korea. North Korea is a communist country that has a isolated culture and is very poor. Its supreme leader is King Jong-un, reputed for being impulsive and irrational. This is a real worry as they detain nuclear bombs and continue to work on developing better ones. They are testing their weapons even though it is opposed by the UN Security Council Resolutions.
    South Korea is North Korea’s enemy. The tensions between the two neighbouring countries are strong, at the border there are more than a million soldiers which proves this. The US is also involved as first of all, they are allies of South Korea and therefore have troops stationed there to help defend them from the North and secondly King Jong-un has issued threats against the United States and shown great eagerness to bomb them.
    This already critical conflict is worsening as North Korea continues to advance in their research surrounding missiles and nuclear bombs.

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