Saturday, November 28, 2015

Phase 2, last week!

Hi all;

Last look at your conflict before next week's essay/croquis,
and also last chance to identify two sources that you will use in Phase 3!

Good luck!


  1. As mentioned in a previous post, Somalian president said that Al-Shabaab has all the symptoms of a group that has lost its way. This seems to be truer every week. Indeed it now seems that both Al-Qaeda and IS are fighting for the loyalty and allegiance of the group.
    Some sources claim that the group has pledged allegiance to IS while others claim that it has remained loyal to Al-Qaeda. To support Al-Shabaab senior heads say that Al-Qaeda has trained them, and has supported them logistically since their creation in 2012. It is also said that Al-Shabaab should stay focused on their goals of reconquering Somalia instead of having the ambition and illusion of joining IS.
    However, this does not stop the fact that there is still a portion of Al-Shabaab members that want to join IS, and, hence, break their pledge to Al-Qaeda. If a group manages to win over the entirety of Al-Shabaab, it would be a major change, in the war between these two clans.

  2. For the conflict in the East China Sea, we are definitely allowed to employ the word ‘militarisation’ both for the Chinese and the Japanese side. On Friday, according to Beijing, 11 Chinese bombers and other kinds of jets executed long-range combat exercices while flying over the Miyako Strait, situated at sea between the japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa. China states that they were just normal and legal exercices, but Japan claimed their actions as ‘unsual’ for such a big number of aircrafts.
    On the Japanese side, after a meeting between the Vice Minister of Defense Kenji Wakamiya and the mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama, they planned to deloy about 500 ground troops on the disputed territory around early 2019. This moves’ goal was mainly to have troops ready for any sorts of emergency purposes.In addition, there is a base being constructed on the island of Yonaguni in the zone. It will allow Japan to deploy troops starting from 2018. However, looking back at the rapid escalation of the tensions, the date seems quite far away if Japan wants to get herself ready for all circonstances.
    Now, there is one word I’d like to insist in the NewEurope article. If I haven’t been mistaken, it’s the first time that I saw China being called ‘the communist state’. With this word being written out, it engages the reader even more to think that China is the major enemy since its government is so different from the one of the other countries involved. In fact, the U.S-Japan alliance is growing even stronger to counterweight China. The Japanese military has already bought american ships to try and boost their army’s power (Japan has 67 ships to 303 Chinese ships). For precautions, U.S Marine bases were also constructed on the japanese islands. However, the population is fearing that the place will be even more targetted by China with the american presence, and therefore bring danger to their families. There is even a professor who suggested that the U.S presence is angering China and making it ‘boost its military spending’.
    Yet China is equally using other methods to defend itself and get what she wants: soft power. Namely by publishing and printing ‘fabricated materials’ like M.A and PhD documents, as well as counting on scholars to write articles supporting Chinese illegal moves. This includes cases in international newspapers too, and it once happened in The Diplomat. China even printed modificated geographical maps for tourists for this same goal.

  3. A bombing aimed at an election commission officer and Taliban, Afghan security forces clash in Northern Afghanistan

    From Al Jazeera,
    The 27th of November a suicide bomber attempted to kill Hawliya Rodwal, a senior Afghan election commission. The target survived the attack unharmed, however, one man died and several others were injured.
    No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing but the Taliban are suspected. They are known to having been opposed to the elections and have already in the past carried out operations against them.

    According to OneIndia,
    Earlier this week 11 Taliban rebels were killed, including a key commander. The offensive was carried out by Afghan security forces and took place in Badghis province, in northern Afghanistan.
    Officials state that the killed commander died, Farid, was a Taliban leader responsible for Badghis and Faryab provinces. Both of the provinces are situated in northern Afghanistan and his death could be a considerable Taliban loss in northern operations.

    From AFP,
    Fifteen soldiers are held hostage by the Taliban after their helicopter crashed in Faryab province. Among them are two foreign soldiers.
    This incident transpired not long after 11 Taliban rebels were killed by security forces. Moreover, it is a reflection of the ongoing bitter fighting in Faryab province, between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

  4. Follow up on the plane crash in the Sinai region in Egypt :
    To this day, Egypt does not admit that a terrorist attack downed the Russian plane and “in Egypt the crash remains the non-mystery no one talks about it.” . The Egyptian government is not taking a stand on how the plane was brought down and it seems to think that if they ignore the problem, it will fade away and the Islamic State’s problem will also be forgotten. This unfortunately will not work and the Egyptian’s actions reflect poorly on their way of operating and it sends a negative image to the rest of the world. Russia and the US are considerably certain of the bomb downing the Russian plane.(The Daily Beast)
    While Egypt is trying to forget the plane crash, Russia is coming close to figuring out the mystery. The Independent wrote November 24 th, “According to a report by Russian media outlet LifeNews, investigators found the bomb erupted with the force equivalent to “a kilo of TNT” beneath either seat 30A or 31A”. Russia now knows how / where the bomb exploded and how it spread through the aircraft.
    ISIS is largely present in the Sinai Region of Egypt but an ISIS affiliate Wilayat Sinai, “has been targeting soldiers and police in a bloody insurgency. The group has also claimed responsibility for attacks elsewhere in Egypt” reports the Independent. For example the killing of four officers and the helicopter destruction near Cairo are both a result of ISIS targeting security forces in the country.

  5. Terrorism on American Soil

    The Chief of the Department of Homeland Security continues to believe that there is, in the present, no credible threat of a terrorist attack on the US soil. However, the US state department have issued this Monday a worldwide travel alert. Its goal is not to prevent American citizens from traveling but to incite them to "exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation". After warning the population that groups like ISIS,al-Qaeda and Boko-Haram continue to plan terrorists attacks in multiple regions, they instructed Americans to be "aware of their immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places and exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events". Two days later, on Wednesday 25th of November, the Department of Homeland Security announced the expansion of the "If You See Something, Say Something" public awareness campaign who has been recently partnered with the Westfield Shopping Centers all over the country. The Deputy Secretary of the DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas, thinks that shoppers will thus see the "If You See Something, Say Something" public awareness campaign across shopping centers during the holiday season and it will help support the local law enforcement and help them ensure a secure environment in malls as ISIS members are returning from Iraq and Syria onto the US soil.

    Sources: -"DHS Chief: No Credible Threat of Terrorist Attack in US." TheHill. N.p., 22 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

    -"US State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Due to Terrorist Attack Threats." KTLA. N.p., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015

    -"Homeland Security." DHS Announces "If You See Something, Say Something™" Partnership with Westfield Shopping Centers. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

  6. Wall street Journal

    Bad news in Libya this week. A city named Mistrata has been taken over by the Islamic state despite western powers increasing their fire-power on the group since the attacks on Paris. This newly established base is dangerously close to Europe and can generate oil revenue and plot terror attacks. Libya's neighbouring countries have become increasingly alarmed. Tunisia closed its border with Libya for 15 days on Wednesday and is also building a security wall to stem the flow of extremists between the countries. Libyan officials said they are worried that it is only a matter of time before Islamic State attempts to take over more oil fields. The Islamic State is taking advantage of the chaos in Libya, indeed, a politician from the city of Misrata who participated in UN led negotiations said: “Every day we delay on a political deal, it is a golden opportunity for Islamic State to grow.” The Tobruks and the GNC must unite or at least cease their fire to stop the over looming threat of ISIS in Libya.

  7. ¡Venezuela!:

    For some unknown reason I haven't talked about the border dispute after oil discovery between Guyana and Venezuela. During the 19th century, Venezuela disputed a claim by Britain (Guyana was a British colony at the time) as to exactly where the divisions between the two nations lay. In 1905, officials from the two countries were able to fix the boundary. Years later (1944), one of the lawyers present at the tribunal in 1905 said that the judges acted improperly as a result of a back room deal between Russia and Great Britain. Indeed, about 94% of the disputed territory was given to Britain. As of today, the dispute remains unresolved. Since September, the discovery of oil off the coast of Guyana, has led to Venezuela reiterating its land claims. Since the discovery, political tensions between the two countries has intensified. Venezuela refuses to buy its rice supplies from Guyana. Guyana decided to halt the purchase of oil from its neighbor country. Both countries are preparing their military forces along the border. "We are seriously preparing ourselves", said Venezuela Defense Minister...

    Follow up on meeting between Putin and Maduro: Putin and Maduro said that the West is putting unnecessary obstacles for Russia and Venezuela. The obstacles are preventing Russia and Venezuela from having strong oil and gas markets. Both want to defend these markets. However, I feel like this very short meeting was not Putin's priority right now since no major decision has been taken...
    El Nacional

  8. Slippery Slide in the Playground

    As a little Russian warplane was zooming next to the Turkish borders, BOOM BOOM it was shot down. Turkey declared that Russia could not be on her turf, and crashing went the plane. Russia was warned by Turkey earlier this year, reminding her that she had no right to aim the Kurds, as a Syrian rebel group. Seems that somebody got stuck in an air traffic jam…
    Not making the matters any lighter, the grand coalition might be a little harder than expected to put in place. Russia on the hunt for allies, found new regional friends: Iran and Egypt. Agreements and pledges were made: new besties will now “closely cooperate” in fighting ISIS, agreed “to oppose external attempts” to a regime change in Syria, and as a pay off how about the development of the first nuclear power plot? China being a faithful Russian friend bought for 2 billion dollars 24 fight jets. And maybe Jordan might also become part of this new squad, as she has been gossiping with queen bee Russia against terrorism. Turkey’s friends group has the NATO legacy with 28 Western powers, so don’t think about bullying the wrong kid twice. The playground is becoming a little intense… with two cool kids’ groups trying to settle the Syrian little kids catfights. And the Syrian catfights are all extremely complicated. Some want Assad’s government and enjoy Russia's squad international aid, some rebellious children are against the government but support the Goths as death, and blackness will come over them if they don’t follow Allah’s dreamed of caliphate, some seek protection from Western powers… But some Syrians have a hard time choosing, and decide to have the best of both worlds: ISIS and pro-Assad, or ISIS and new rebels.
    As the Goths are brainwashing kids and winning over a bigger part of the playground, Russia’s squad and Western legacy had declared to unite and become “the grand coalition”. But shoving and pushing on the overly slippery slide already started in between those two. Will the famous playground saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” prevail?

    Sources: Institute of War about news in Syria
    Le Monde
    Sunday’s Zaman (Turkish newspaper)

  9. North Korean Conflict

    The meeting between North and South Korea took place on Thursday on the border at North Korea’s truce village as planned: it was a preparatory meeting for high-level discussions.
    (Reuters) The officials decided these “vice-minister-level talks” will be on December 11th in North Korea, near the border. The talks will be a fresh attempt at dialogue between the rivals and they will discuss “issues that will improve relations between the South and the North”.
    On Reuter’s article, there is a photo of this week’s meeting: the South Korean chief delegate is talking and shaking hands with his North Korean counterpart.
    (Channel News Asia) In December, likely topics include South Korea's desire for regular reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, just like the one organized in October. North Korea, meanwhile, will want to discuss the resumption of South Korean tour groups to its attractive Mount Kumgang resort: it is, indeed, a lucrative source of cash for the impoverished state but was suspended in 2008.

    (FOLLOW UP from week 4)
    (Yonhap News) After North Korea declared a “no-navigation” zone in the East Sea on November 15th, yesterday on November 28th North Korea is believed to have fired a missile from a submarine in the East Sea, but the ballistic “failed to soar from the waters”, declared a South Korean official. North Korea, failing to launch a ballistic missile from a submarine, is a sign that Pyongyang has yet to master the technology.
    (Independent) More precisely, “fragments of a safety cover were observed on the ocean surface so it is highly likely that the launch was a misfire.”
    This source provides a bold photo of angry South Korean activists at a rally in August, denouncing North Korea's rocket firing. They are holding Kim Jong-Un’s portrait where his face is crossed out in black and the words “OUT!” and “Down with North Korea!” are written.

  10. Iranian Nuclear Situation:

    (Tehran Times, Follow-up) As I stated last week, Iran might see the IAEA’s sanctions against them lifted, the decision is going to take place this week either the 1st of December or the 2nd. Iran is looking ahead, as they are developing new oil contracts for foreign countries to invest. This is a good sign for the IAEA’s decision, as Iran seems entirely confident that the sanctions will be lifted, and that they will be able to further prosper their economy in the future.

    (The Tribune, International New York Times) The Nuclear Deal should theoretically be finalized this week. Nevertheless, if the deal passes Iran wants the United Nations to stop controlling Iran’s nuclear actions as they feel it would be violating the terms of their agreement that Iran’s nuclear review panel says flawed.

  11. :
    The United States is definitely unprepared for a massive cyberattack, according to the journalist Ted Koppel. He argues how likely it is for an attack on the power grid to have place soon, and his hypothesis is supported by the Secretary of Homeland Security. A nuclear war could happen in the future, and a simple individual laptop could be controlling it. The worst part is that if you can’t determine where a cyber attack came from, you can’t accuse anyone nor fight back. Knowing that There are only three electric power grids in the US (the Eastern Interconnect, which takes most of country from the East Coast beyond Chicago; Texas; and the West Coast), and a cyberattack could deprive americans from electricity for months or more. In fact, it could result in a blackout much worse than hurricane Sandy’s in 2012. The country the most likely to attack the U.S. is North Korea, who has been the country's rival since the Korean War. China and Russia, as their common interests with America are diminishing, may be the most capable of doing it too. Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping of China have recently made an agreement of not to commit cybercrime against each other, however this did not affect the fact that cybercrimes are committed in rates of hundred every day. :
    America is becoming paranoid when it comes to hackers. Some lawyers now represent a lot of hackers who have been accused of cybercrime. For example, for having downloaded 114,000 email addresses from AT&T’s publicly facing, non-password protected iPad servers, and giving them to Gawker to expose AT&T’s shoddy InfoSec, a man was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison and fined for $73,000 . He was deprived in prison from any reading material, isolated from his own lawyer "The prison continually ignored my phone calls and letters asking about (the prisoner’s) treatment”. The hacker had been subjected to brutal treatment by the U.S. penal system as if he was a murderer or rapist. The government is very harsh and brutal to hackers, even if they haven’t done any damage.

  12. Recent News in Yemen / (Follow up on ISIS’s “awakening” in the Yemeni Conflict):
    This week the coalition seems to keep on striking the rebels with a few sporadic air attacks. The coalition’s air strikes actually managed to hit two boats carrying weaponry to the Houthi rebels. On the other side, the Houthis have been blocking off the aid deliveries supposed to enter the city of Taiz.On top of this, as general news, the amount of victims of the war has now rised to 5,700 since its beginning.
    Secondly, Britain has started to change its position on the war. On Friday, an article from The Independent expressed Britain’s doubt of Saudi-Arabia’s use of the missiles they sell them, so the british government has now started to think about changing their “no-questions-asked policy”. The British government has started to question their transactions as they have observed that Saudi-Arabia’s intervention in Yemen is actually only helping ISIS, transforming the country into a more and more vulnerable territory, therefore making it an easy target for the terrirorist group. (Notice the title, click bait)
    Lucas Tournier 1ereES4

  13. Thailand:

    South China Sea:
    Thailand is in charge of the Asean-China relations since 2012. This concept was created in 2002 when there were tensions between China and the Asean countries, such as Philippines. They are all aiming for the same goal: getting along together. Unfortunately, it is becoming difficult as the Asean countries are against China’s control over the South China Sea. Thailand is not claiming any territory from the South China Sea. Furthermore, Thailand and China decided to have an “air force joint exercise” from November 12th to 30th in order to understand each other and cooperate. Additionally, Thailand is the USA’s ally. It is therefore a good country to be in charge of the Asean-China relations, being neutral.

    Climate Change Conference:
    More than 150 global leaders are attending to the 2015 UN Paris Climate Conference. Thailand’s Prime Minister Chan-o-cha is attending to the meeting and will be bringing in discussion the problem of the Mekong River where Thais are struggling to deal with the climate change.

    Bombings in Bangkok:
    Two suspects of the bombing in Bangkok on August 17th, 2015 have been charged on Tuesday. It is believed that Bilal Mohammad and Mieraili Yusufu are the ones who have killed 20 people and injured more than 120.

  14. Boko Haram

    Follow up: Boko Haram officially claimed responsibility for the attacks in Kano last week.
    Attacks by suicide bombers (generally young girls) have killed people nearly every day this week in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger.
    Nov 21: 10 people killed over the border in a far north region of Cameroon
    Nov 22: 7 people killed in a transit camp in Maiduguri by two female suicide bombers who hid in a group of displaced people from Dikwa local council.
    Nov 23: 11 people killed in Maiduguri in a vegetable market and a motor park along the Customs area of the metropolis by a 15 year old female suicide bomber.
    Nov 26: 18 killed in Southeast Niger and 100 homes torched by suicide bombers coming from Nigeria (according to a humanitarian worker).
    Nov 27: 21 people killed in the village of Dakasoye near Kano during a Shia Muslim procession.
    Nov 28: At least 5 killed in North Cameroon by two suicide bombers, who were teenage girls coming as refugees from Nigeria. One attacked a local shop and the other targeted a family in the town of Dabanga. It has not been yet affirmed, but this attack is suspected to have been by Boko Haram.

    Furthermore, President Buhari made a commitment in June to wipe out Boko Haram by December. Although the Nigerian air force and military proved to be very effective since then by destroying Boko Haram camps and arresting militants, many officials say this commitment is not feasible such as Air Commodore Yusuf Anas of Center Crisis Communication.
    The government of Yobe State declared to put into place a program of resettlement for the 135,000 “Internal Displaced Persons” in Nigeria. Several camps of resettlement were put into place this month all over Nigeria.
    The UN wants to end this menace as well and a collaboration of countries assesses the “Internal Displaced Persons” situation in Nigeria.
    The schools in Nigeria reopened after a year of being closed down, sometimes used as camps for those displaced. However, not many are showing up due to fear or because they already moved out of state to continue their studies.
    (“Today”; “”)
    Furthermore, Chad extended its state of emergency near the Chad Lake following a suicide attack that killed 12 people. (Af.Reuters)

  15. Ukraine

    As winter approaches, the situation becomes more and more critical for the civilians living in Ukraine. Out of the 1,4 million people have been displaced from their homes since the beginning of the armed conflict, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society is trying to assist 100,000 people, but is still underfunded. Indeed, despite the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) appeal for 20 million of Swiss Francs to pursue its goal, their project remains still underfunded. Meanwhile, the population is left to endure harsh living conditions, as they start experiencing low temperatures (down to -20°C already) and Gazprom cut its gas supply to Ukraine because she had failed to pay in advance for the energy, leaving the population with no heating. This is why the need for humanitarian aid is getting more drastic, and the IFRC has already implemented 26 mobile medical care teams and 15 additional emergency response teams in the regions next to the fighting, even in the previously mentioned “frozen zones” when humanitarian access is granted.

    Adrien Lopez

  16. Overhaul of the Chinese Army by Xi Jinping - East China Sea Conflict

    Sources: Bloomberg Business & New York Times

    Both of these articles are very factual and unbiased so there aren't any major differences other than the presentation, the writer's style etc...

    The Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced that the Chinese Army will be greatly revamped in order to make it "more combat ready and better equipped to project force beyond the country’s borders.". A major part of this overhaul is the reorganization of the army into one military command called the People’s Liberation Army (hereby referred to as the PLA) where the land, sea and air forces will be rebalanced (300 000 troops will be removed). The PLA composed of 2.3 million members will be under the direct and absolute control of the Communist Party of China. Xi Jinping claims that “Under the leadership of the party, the army has gone from small to large, from weak to strong and from victory to victory,". All of this is to some extent part of the President's desire for a more assertive China over territorial claims, notably in the East and South China Seas.

  17. A bombing aimed at an election commission officer and Taliban, Afghan security forces clash in Northern Afghanistan

    From Al Jazeera,
    The 27th of November a suicide bomber attempted to kill Hawliya Rodwal, a senior Afghan election commission. The target survived the attack unharmed, however, one man died and several others were injured.
    No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing but the Taliban are suspected. They are known to having been opposed to the elections and have already in the past carried out operations against them.

    According to OneIndia,
    Earlier this week 11 Taliban rebels were killed, including a key commander. The offensive was carried out by Afghan security forces and took place in Badghis province, in northern Afghanistan.
    Officials state that the killed commander died, Farid, was a Taliban leader responsible for Badghis and Faryab provinces. Both of the provinces are situated in northern Afghanistan and his death could be a considerable Taliban loss in northern operations.

    From AFP,
    Fifteen soldiers are held hostage by the Taliban after their helicopter crashed in Faryab province. Among them are two foreign soldiers.
    This incident transpired not long after 11 Taliban rebels were killed by security forces. Moreover, it is a reflection of the ongoing bitter fighting in Faryab province, between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

  18. Internal Crisis in South Sudan-

    The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated in a press release on Friday November 27th, that “the number of children directly involved in the violence in South Sudan is on the rise as more youth continue to be recruited by and join armed militias”.

    The situation for children in South Sudan has worsened since the beginning of 2015, with now more than 16,000 involved in army groups and forces. In June, the UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake announced that violence against children in South Sudan has attained a point of unimaginable violence, with happenings that I find too blandly horrid to mention in this post.

    The happenings in South Sudan are terrifying. However, why had I not heard of it before studying the case? Why is it only rated as the lowest Preventive Priority Level by the Council of Foreign Relations? Why is the South Sudan conflict, most certainly one of the most worrying in today’s world, not making the first page of every news source?

    Sources: UN News Center, Manila Bulletin

  19. South China Sea

    Herald Voice: The hearing on the South China Sea issue begins in The Hague. The Philippines brought the case in January 2013 after China seized Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground off Zambales province well within Manila's 360-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in June 2012. The court hearing will run behind closed doors through next Monday, with representatives of Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam being allowed to observe.

    The Guardian: The UK has formally requested the status of “neutral observer” in the dispute over South China Sea islands. The Foreign Office says the diplomatic move, in an area where Britain has no direct territorial interests, is a routine intervention in international maritime affairs. But the timing of the request has prompted suggestions that Beijing has asked London to get involved as a potential go-between in the military standoff between China, the Philippines, other Asian nations and even the US. China is boycotting the hearing, alleging that the permanent court of arbitration in The Hague does not have jurisdiction to hear the issue.

  20. South China Sea Conflict
    New York Times and Telegraph
    The 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit concluded in Kuala Lumpur this weekend. The hope that a step forward would be made in this conflict has not happened. During this meeting, other matters were discussed but reporters noted that there was a tension between representatives of each country. We can assume that the reason for this is because everyones minds were focused on the South China Sea.
    This week there hasn't been much information on the South China Sea even though ASEAN took place. Manny suspected that this would be the case and they were right.
    In other news related things, there isn't much except for two:
    Philippines has acquired 2 new fighter jets since tensions are growing in the sea.
    China is displeased with the fact that Japan and the U.S. are having more and more training operation in the area.
    There is actually something I missed a few weeks ago and I'd wish to cover. It happened during the last week of October. The Hague has decided that they would listen to Philippines complaints on China in the South China Sea. This is big news because since 2013, the Philippines has demanded this and they finally got it. All countries are happy for this because this is a step forward in resolving the dispute.The court's decision will be presented in mid 2016. China has stated that they will not take into account the court's decision because they believe that they should not be involved.


  21. Follow up:

    Russia has suspended all flights towards and from Egypt even though there are 40000 Russian tourists in Egypt right now.

    Is there a pilot in the cockpit?:

    Recently a big problem has struck the Russian coalition concerning the Syrian war. A Russian plane was shot down over Turkey a member of the NATO organisation. As Reuters said: "the first known incident of its kind since the Cold War". This incident has stopped any diplomatic relationships between Russia and Turkey since then.
    Israeli diplomats said that it had flow in their controlled territory after returning to Syria. The bomber was then shot down by a Turkish plane and the 45 year old pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov, was gunned down while oppening hiw parachute, according to RT.
    Moscow contacted Ankara "calling the episode a pre-planned provocation"(Reuters). Saturday, Poutine has installed taxes on Turkish goods so that privates would not buy any Turkish products.
    This is a grave incident because Russia and NATO were mobilising forces around borders and the fact that Poutine calls this a preplanned attack is a direct offence to NATO forces.
    In Syria its self, Kurd forces has supposedly razed Arab villages in northern Syria and massacred Turkish people. This information comes from Turkish papers and is bias because of the tense relationship between Turkey and the Kurd people.

  22. Cyber security

    US News: European nations are looking for ways to enhance their security since the Paris terrorist attacks. Earlier this month, a resolution offered the European nations to combat the terrorist organization online. This would also include punishing tech companies that do not compromise the terrorist propaganda online. Additionally, the resolution would decrease the amount of recruitments for the terrorist organization in prisons. This resolution was being considered even before the Paris attacks, in result of the Charlie Hebdo attack. However, the Paris attacks multiplied the attention this resolution was getting.

    Huffington Post: The failure to detect the premeditated Paris attacks has risen the fear that the terrorists used encrypted data to transmit messages to each other. This fear is backed up by the fact that french officials found a phone after the attacks that was believed to be one of the terrorists' and would not say if they had found any encrypted data. “The fact that we didn’t pick up any communications is probably a pretty good indication that it was used,” Senator Richard Burr said when asked if there was any evidence that the Paris attackers used encrypted channels to plan the deadly attacks.

    Quentin Siart

  23. Ukraine conflict
    The New York Times:
    Last sunday (Nov22), unknown saboteurs, presumed to be Ukrainian nationalists blew up the main electricity power lines of the Crimean Region. The Russian government took measures in order to provide electricity to the inhabitants. Ukrainian officials declared that unidentified demonstrators were preventing repair crews from getting access to the site. Moscow may replace the Ukrainian electricity lines with Russian ones.
    It was found out on monday that Crimean Tatar activists and Ukrainian nationalists are preventing the reparations. These activists said they would continue to impede such repairs until Russia would agree to release political prisoners and allow international organizations to monitor human rights in Crimea. This Turkic ethnic group have declared to having been facing systematic repression since the annexation of Crimea. The Ukrainian government supports the demands of the minority. Putin is unlikely to take these matters kindly as Russian government officials state that nobody will be allowed to blackmail them.

    An EU-Ukraine association agreement has finally been ratified by all 28 state members with Poroshenko praising this ratification as a symbol of Ukraine’s closer integration to Europe. The agreement will take effect on January 1st, 2016 (probably in response to Russia’s ban on Ukrainian imports), installing a free trade regimen between the EU and Ukraine and will also obligate Ukraine to push through internal reforms. However, with the maintenance of a free trade regimen with Moscow as well, Russian officials worry that Ukraine could act as a “back door” for European Goods.

  24. As said these past few weeks the Iranian nuclear conflict has been advancing positively with the signing of the nuclear deal. Event though Iran is respecting the deal by slowing its nuclear program down, the IAEA is confirming that Iran is respecting the deal globally, some U.S diplomats still don't trust Iran and adjust the problem that if Iran decided to cheat of the nuclear deal they could start their nuclear program over leaving the possibility of a nuclear weapon being conceived once again opened.
    Even though this question persists it is clear the conflict is slowing down with the nuclear deal being the cause of this.

    Nicolas Rival


  25. The Guardian’s article is entitled: “Kurdish forces claim to have cut off Isis supply line near Sinjar in Iraq”
    Like said in a previous blog post, the Yazidi community was forced to evacuate their homes. A little more than a year ago, ISIS seized Sinjar in northern Iraq. ISIS destroyed, massacred, and enslaved the local Yazidi community. According to the Kurdish regional security council, its troops have obtained an extra 150 square miles from ISIS. This is a quote from the Guardian article:
    Kurdish commanders said they had never seen Isis – also known as Daesh – so vulnerable. “For the last 15 months that I have been fighting Daesh, I have never seen them so weak, they were literally running away,” said Col Kamran Hawrami. “Our objective is to free Sinjar and the surrounding areas. The fighting is continuing on all fronts but we have passed by bodies of Daesh [fighters].”

    The United States are also helping out by covering the airspace as well as deploying their soldiers. They have succeeded in controlling a highway which was used by ISIS to transport their weapons and all other supplies. ISIS is now uncapable of using that highway which endangers their transport. Al-Hashimi basically said that Sinjar is not the main attraction of ISIS. It’s the highway that is so interesting to them. (there is an interesting map on the Sinjar operation about a third way down from the beginning of the article.)

  26. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
    (After writing my own update I read Lucas Tournier’s post for this week and he seems to have chosen to focus on ISIS’ new role in the Yemeni conflict, whereas I am following AQAP’s now routine attacks in neighbouring areas. This might explain our very different posts.)

    International Christian Response, Morning Star News, Journal Chrétien.
    Two Christians in Yemen, both converts from Islam, have been ambushed and killed because of their faith on November 25th. According to sources close to the victims, the two had received numerous threats both from members of their own family and from AQAP.
    The shootings both took place in Taiz, in southwest Yemen, but were about a month apart: the first was in early september and the second in october. At least one AQAP member was responsible.
    Yemen being a 99,9% Muslim country ruled by sharia (Islamic law) and in the midst of a civil war, the names of the victims and the sources cannot be released.
    Although the two men are the most recent to be killed because of their faith, they are not the first: in august, a teenager was shot following his conversion.
    Yemeni newspapers say nothing about the shootings.

    Boko Haram
    Le Figaro: This past week, many things have happened in Nigeria because of Boko Haram. To start with, Nigeria has become the third most terrorised country because of the rising of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram. Earlier this week, in Diffa, a small village in south Nigeria 18 people were killed, including villagers, women and children. It is also said that the Town imam was decapitated by his own nephew. More than 70 houses were burned and two vehicles were destroyed during the attack.
    Yahoo News: The government has recently declared that Boko Haram could not be defeated by December, they said the deadline was “unrealistic” and warned Nigerians not to view December as a "sacrosanct date when all suicide bombings will end."
    In addition, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings in Kano; an event that occurred a few weeks ago. This bombing had occurred in a procession of Shi'ite Muslims, killing at least 21 people.

    Doctor in Gaza 3D prints a stethoscope
    Gaza being blockaded, getting medical equipment is very difficult. When there are mass attacks, tens of Palestinians can be pouring into the ER, but only two stethoscopes at hand. A doctor, Dr. Tarek Loubani, assembled a 3D printer and printed a stethoscope. It is as good as the traditional tools used in hospitals, and costs $2.50 to make, whereas the classic ones cost around $150. He hopes to be able to make more equipment at very cheap prices, ranging from small inspection tools to an electrocardiogram.
    This could be a revolutionary achievement for Gaza doctors. The 3D printer was hand-assembled (see picture) and should soon be able to print more of the 340 medical items in need in Gaza. The printer itself can be built for under $500, the price of three good stethoscopes.

  29. Title: This is definitely worse than we thought

    Source: Daily Mail UK super helpful map!
    As of twelve hours ago, worrisome news regarding El Chapo’s cartel have made the light of day: his Sinaloa cartel has huge amounts of power and control on US soil, with Ohio suffering the most from heroin overdoses. This is very worrisome indeed as even while he was incarcerated and on the run, his cartel has remained at the top of its game and continued to thrive, and now continues to supply Americans with drugs (methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin...). What’s more infuriating is although El Chapo is claimed to be the U.S and Mexico’s most wanted man, he is still on the run and continues to profit from destruction.

    Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
    Speaking of the Sinaloa drug cartel, a burnt van with two horribly burnt bodies has been found in their territory. It is thought to belong to two missing Australian surfers, Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman, who would have been travelling through this region. They disappeared the night of November 20th, and were never heard of again until November 30th. The corpses were so badly burnt they are unrecognizable and further investigation is needed to identify them, although sadly the van has been recognized as that of the surfers. Unfortunately this serves as a grim reminder that the cartels still have absolute power over these regions and show no sign of stopping anytime soon.

  30. Pakistan is also on high alert after the Paris attacks. In Punjab, a high alert has been issued due to ISIS. Despite multiple denials of ISIS presence in Pakistan, there have been disturbing graffiti and signs seen in multiple places which already have terrorist issues. The main worry is that these groups may become affiliated with or learn from ISIS, and pose a bigger threat than they currently are. Below is an example of ISIS support in local areas.

    Meanwhile, the TTP (Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan) has allied itself with the Pakistani Al-Quaida branch to fight ISIS and the military, which is trying its best to eradicate the small groups before they merge into something much bigger.
    This week, so many things have happened, such as bombings near Quetta's airport. Luckily, no one was killed, but such attacks are becoming more and more frequent in this area of Pakistan. ISIS and other terrorist groups are slowly taking over bits and pieces of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. If there isn't a serious involvement on the military's side, some part of Pakistan could fall to terrorist regimes.
    The mobile company BlackBerry is exiting Pakistan due to the government's claims on access to the user's personal information such as mails, and instant messages.
    On one of my sources,, there was a questionnaire that we could fill out. The question asked was : Do you think IS poses a threat to security in the South Asian region? The results were that 72.52% of the people who answered said yes, and 27.48% said no. This shows to what extent ISIS is perturbing the country.

    My two sources are: Pakistan Today and Dawn

  31. CHINA Uighur conflict_Political unrest in China news
    this article is at least partially taken from reuters, nut seems to put its own personal opinion. The main point of the article is to explain the internal conflict that chinese officials have with regards to intervention in ISIS controlled regions. One of China's main foreign policies is to not intervene in problems such as the global problems caused by the Islamic State. China has many problems with IS, and a lot are linked the the Uighur conflict within the country. Furthermore, the recent attack in Bamako left 3 Chinese dead and more as hostages. The recent increase of influence that ISIS has on Uighur militants and the increase of Uighur departure rates to join ISIS in the last few months pushes the Chinese government to intervene alongside the other international powers. The final element that seems to encourage China to intervene is purely political. China is required to intervene in order to ensure their role as a world power. The article states that Chinese intervention is highly unlikely, but that the question still has to be asked within the Chinese government.
    UPI (very reliable source)
    Two men, Bilal Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili, were charged for premeditated murder and illegal possession of weapons during the August 17th bombing of the Erwan Shrine in Bangkok. These men were Chinese nationals and from the Uighur ethnicity. This article brings information, or at least brings certain facts to the reader’s attention, that the Bangkok Post did not on its report on Tuesday. First of all, as the BBC also said, the two men were not charged with terrorism. The second and most significant element is that the trial took place in a military court: “‘The use of a military barracks as a detention facility is prone to human rights violations, including torture,’ said Matilda Bogner of the U.N Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia.” This makes the trial questionable.
    I have found no reaction from the Chinese government through their online news, whereas many news outlets from other countries have covered the story (the guardian, bbc, japantimes, taipei times, newsweek, malaysikini…)

    1. Forgot to put my info about this article as well:
      This short article shows clearly the Chinese government's recent general attitude. It reminds the reader of the main discriminations against Uighurs such as restrictions on fasting during Ramadan, women wearing veils and young men growing beards. The most important element of the article can be summarized with these few lines:
      "In the past week, Chinese state-owned media released a string of aggressive editorials blasting Western nations for a lack of support towards attacks on mainland soil as officials crack down heavily on radicals in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. Last Friday, police there killed 28 suspected terrorists responsible for a September attack on a coal mine, according to Xinhua."