Sunday, March 27, 2016

Phase 4, week 3

Hi all

Same assignment as last week... Do keep those questions in mind. If you come across interesting instances of interference or intervention that happened in the past, before this week, you can talk about those too!



    This week, on the International Day for the Right to the Truth, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urges States to adopt measures to promote truth, justice and reparations for victims, which is so crucial to ensuring that gross human rights violations are not repeated. Whilst paying tribute to the memory of human rights activist Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, murdered on 24 March 1980, the UN “supports fact-finding missions, commissions of inquiry, mapping exercises, and truth commissions, which document human rights violations and make recommendations to ensure accountability, reconciliation, and other reforms, he said, noting that from Colombia to Tunisia, from Mali to Sri Lanka, from Nepal to South Sudan.”

    No articles about Sudan this week coming from the African Union.

    What do the United Nations and the African Union have at stake in the current conflict? We can suppose that the African Union has its credibility at stake, since it is an organization striving to bring peace and unity to Africa, therefore it tries to bring peace to the country and to the conflict with its neighbours. The UN, as I had mentioned in the previous phase, likes to see itself as South Sudan’s “saviour”, only insisting on their personal humanitarian achievements and condemning everything else that is going wrong, without necessarily offering any lternative options. So the UN could have at stake its credibility as well, as “saviours” of South Sudan, encouraging them to keep the provided aid consistent.

  2. The Sinai insurgency in Egypt :
    I will focus on the relation with Israel and Egypt today.
    These two countries have been multiple times at war with each other but the Camp David Accords, signed in 1979, established peace between Egypt and Israel but also mandated that the Sinai must remain demilitarized. This accord lead to the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty also signed in 1979 which insured peace and cohesion. Therefore since 1979, these two countries have worked together peacefully. Nevertheless with the growing threats in the Sinai region, the two countries have militarized and organized together forces in the region to fight ISIS and protect the border of Israel with Egypt. The US started aiding and funding Egypt after the Camp David Accords preceded by US president Jimmy Carter. Israel and Egypt created the Operation Eagle in 2012 to mutually fight ISIS in the Sinai ; they allied their forces to confront Sinai which has become a serious threat to both of the country's peace.
    Hence Israel is helping Egypt fight ISIS deploying forces on the ground and by honoring their agreement, the countries are fighting to liberate the Sinai from ISIS to insure security. If Israel fails on fighting ISIS, it could become ISIS territory and subjugated to their attacks which are now nonexistent.

  3. Reasons as to why USA is involved in Syria:

    President Assad is responsible of widespread atrocities: murder + tyran
    → use of chemical attack did not lead to military intervention in 2013 … “moral values of the USA?”/personal interest?

    Transitional Government/ administration without Assad

    Support the National Coalition (Syria’s main opposition alliance) + provides military assistance to “moderate” rebels
    → program to arm + train Syrian rebels

    Fighting against terrorism → ISIS
    → part of Grand Coalition, exemple Saudi Arabia that also supports USA + part of Grand Coalition

    Arab Gas Pipeline
    → USA wants to build (with Saudi + Qatar) a natural gas pipeline from Qatar all the way up to Europe with Turkey being the first landing point (pipeline would go through Syria + Ukraine)
    → competing against Russia: Gazprom, with Europe being 99% dependent on Russia

    Spreading democracy (lol)
    → would actually be helping the Occupy Gezi movement, from the Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan, by condemning his violent suppression of human rights
    → only reason for USA to intervene in Turkey would be if highly-productive Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline would shut down (goes through Iran)
    → by providing democracy, USA is able to ensure that oil pipeline is restored to profitable status
    → Even President Obama’s press secretary said that foreign policy isn’t driven by what the people want, but by what is best for American Interest !

    Race of Syrian Black Gold
    → USA destroyed Kirkuk-Banias pipeline in 2003
    → wants Iraqi portion of the pipeline to be functional again: isn’t happening for now
    → Syria has 2.5 billion barrels of oil in its field = 2nd largest Middle Eastern oil producer (after Iraq)
    → after more than 10 years of no business, people are eager: tensions over Syria oil situation is felt by wealthy investors in markets → USA’s foreign policy
    → USA will help Free Syrian Army win ( have control of fields near Deir Ezzor) + Kurds (control in the Rumelian), if in exchange USA sharing oil profits ( → could be like Panama Canal)

    Winning this new Proxi War

  4. US:
    This week, the United States has continued its bombings and military interventions as usual, without greatly changing any of their attacks (frequency or type). Most of their intervention is through airstrikes that they conduct on strategic points with the intention to either weaken / prevent an ISIS advance, or to cut off their money supply. ISIS gets most of its money from oil, since they control crucial points for oil extraction (donations from outside groups are only a tiny part of the income that they get). In the past, US bombings have greatly decreased ISIS monetary income, but they still seem to be able to acquire everything that they need, such as weapons and supplies. In the past, US bombings have significantly weakened ISIS forces when preparing for an attack. During an airstrike on the 4th of March, Abu Omar al-Shishani, one of ISIS’s commanders (described by the US government as the ISIS ‘minister of war’) was greatly injured and died several days later. These types of attacks aim to destroy the organization of ISSI that makes it a formidable opponent to face.
    Last week, the Netherlands accepted to participate in US-led airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. Previously, the Netherlands only participated in bombings in Iraq. This change is most likely due to pressure from the US-led coalition against ISIS.

    China has still not intervene in the fight against ISIS, despite the constant departure of Uighurs to Syria and Iraq. The rising threat of the Islamic State to China, who has explicitly said that China would be an ISIS target, forces China to pay attention to the Middle-East. This can be seen in Chinese news coverage of events in the area, paying special attention to what countries intervene to help defeat ISIS and to what extents they go to in order to help in the fight. Chinese news also seems to cover a lot about daily life or humanitarian actions put in place to help civils in the region. This shows that China looks at the conflict both on a political level and a humanitarian level, and that both are important in its decision to get involved or to stay passive.


  5. The methods the US are using to fight off terrorism in Afghanistan rely on military operations. They believe that by succesfully pushing the Talibans out of provinces the group will no longer be a threat.
    Likewise, the UN has been using an army to combat the insurgency. That army also trains and advises Afghan officials.
    They also have pursued another path to end the conflict, peace negotiations. However, to this day there has been no peaceful resolution to the conflict.
    Lately, the UN has set an objective for Afghanistan this year: the survival of the country. Plagued by a fragile economy, a growing insurgency, and non existant peace, the country faces a difficult year.

  6. US:
    This past week the US has pursued the air strikes on IS. This Sunday, the US alone conducted 14 strikes against IS in Iraq ans Syria. The results are very promising as 5 basses were hit and dealt important damage to the targeted areas. This past week they have also managed to kill an IS chief, Abdul Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli. He had a 7$million bounty set on his head for several months. They hope that this death will weaken the interior structure of IS and therefore, accelerate downfall and retreat of IS. This would benefit their objective which is to get the middle east rid of extremism and terrorism.

    They have also pursued their bombings in order, this time, to facilitate Assad's return to power by bombing rebels, but also IS. But very good news has just arrived from the Kremlin: the 500$million cost for the interventions in Syria will soon be payed back. Several countries such as Algeria have passed an order of vehicles which, together, could attain 6-7$billion. "In Syria, we achieved two goals. On the one hand, we demonstrated the combat capabilities of our military technology and attracted the attention of customers. On the other hand we tested more than half of our fleet in combat conditions,” the source said.(RT). Russia also will be sending bomb engineers to Syria in order to de mine the newly acquired city of Palmyra.

  7. Iran and the Syrian conflict:

    This week's interest is going to be what both the U.S and Russia hope to achieve in through their involvement in Syria. Russia and Iran as mentioned are allies with Iran and are fighting together in Syria against terrorism. This brings us to the conclusion that they are wanting to keep relations hot with Iran but as we have mentioned quickly their main interest is the control of a maritime base. As of today that box is ticked off giving Russia a big strategic advantage.

    The U.S and Iran's relationship is always growing positively but the U.S doesn't seem to be involved in Syria for that reason. The U.S' involvement in Syria is not about chemical weapons but about the currency it is traded in. Through their involvement they hope to keep this trade.

    Nicolas Rival

  8. Ukraine

    After having established Ukraine’s closing ties with NATO, there recently has been a measure that illustrates this growing affinity: the NATO-Ukraine Regional Airspace Program. This program is in the perspective of a larger NATO initiative, whose goal is to modernise and develop Ukraine’s defences, the NATO C4 Fund Trust. Its goal is to improve Ukraine’s defence infrastructure, as well as its coordination with neighbouring countries’ air forces. They would provide notification and coordination on security incidents and suspicious aircraft. In the meantime, the program is still at a pathfinder level, an experimental plan, but has proved to be successful in the exchange of regional air traffic information. It allowed integrated voice coordination between Ukraine and operators from Poland, Turkey and Norway. The next step would be to test the feasibility of the program.

    Adrien Lopez


    What do the US and Isreal think about the recent agreement between Iran and Russia to cooperate to solve the problem in Syria?

    US: It is said that Russia wants to build good relations with the United States since the Ukraine incident, and that’s why they are trying to solve the situation in Syria peacefully. ( This seems to be the case as Russia temporarily suspended all arms being transferred to Iran ( It would appear that Russia is starting to opt for non-violent solutions for the struggle in Syria.

    Israel: The fact that Russia is trying to find a peaceful solution is also appealing to the Israelis, so for this week I searched for past conflicts between Israel and Russia. During my research, I found that Israeli intelligence led Putin to freeze missile sales to Iran as these said weapons were found in several terrorist groups. This shows how relations with Iran and Russia are very delicate seeing as Isrealis are investigating Iran and Russia. But it seems that these relations are starting to get better. ( )

    Mark FAGUER, 1ES4

  10. Afghanistan- US and India

    The US investment in Afghanistan reconstruction is large: 113 billion dollars spent since 2002. Apparently, 8.4 billion were spent on counter-narcotic efforts. Opium is one of the most successful cash crops in Afghanistan, and is more largely produced than it was under the Taliban. According to the UNODC, 92% of world production came from Afghanistan in 2006!Some of which is being trade in the US as well.
    At the same time, this important narcotic trade could be a strong economic interest for the US: the heroin trade “generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.” Afghanistan also has mineral and gas reserves, which must have some impact on the US decision to stay in Afghanistan and develop partnership between the two countries.
    However, the US’s primary interest remains to prevent the breeding/spreading of terrorist groups (9/11 being the spark).

    India is getting more and more involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. There are mostly two reasons for that:
    - India is also fighting against the terrorist groups(a few causing trouble in India itself), who are raised and supported by Pakistan (like Lashkar-e-Taiba), and trained in Afghanistan, close to the Taliban. It is then in the country's interest to prevent Afghanistan from returning to the breeding-ground of terrorists.
    - India also has an economic interest in the country (like the US, maybe). By establishing an alliance with Afghanistan, India benefits from its natural resources (lithium, chromium, natural gas, petroleum, gemstones like emerald and ruby) by integrating it in the Central Asian trading corridor.
    Basically, there is a proxy war in Afghanistan between India and Pakistan, covered by the fight against the terrorist groups.


    The United States is strongly implicated in this conflict, as Iraq is one of America’s biggest concerns. The United States has risked thousands of lives every time a troop has been deployed on Iraqi ground. This example of a U.S. marine being killed is unfortunately only one of many American deaths that are taking place in Iraq. The New York Times and Reuters, two different online newspapers discuss this Islamic state rocket attack in a similar fashion. Ever since Obama’s election in 2008, the United States have been attempting to retreat from Iraqi territory. However these examples still show how American presence is still existent in Iraq.

    Sadly, Belgium can now be pertinently be associated with ISIS. Last Tuesday’s attacks, similar to the ones of Paris have established a link between Belgium with the Islamic State. At stake are the lives of dozens and dozens of innocent civilians. Unlike the United States, Belgium was unwillingly involved in the world of terrorism. The question would now be of Belgium’s methods on achieving peace and re-establishing order and security.


    In the last two entries I almost answered all of the questions, but this week I found more detailed information that can support my arguments more firmly.
    First of all in the first entry, I mentioned how the US is trying to favorize foreign relations with Japan by developing more bilateral military trainings with Japan, and by facilitating communications with China. However, more concretely, the US is also helping its ally material wise. Even though the data is based on 2013, but “Business Insider” laid out the total amount of money spent by Japan for weapon importation from the US. If we look at the entire list of countries who bought US arms, we can see that Japan is part of the top 10 countries. This information can still partially support the current situation in the East China Sea, since the security alliance between Japan and the US has not changed. In addition, “The Diplomat” has an article from late last year that proves this idea. In fact, the US sold three Global Hawk Drones of 1,2 billion dollars’ worth in total to Japan.
    Second of all, the US is actually having more risks than what we could’ve imagined by involving in the East China Sea. An article from “The Diplomat” revealed how a too deep alliance with the US could actually become dangerous for Japan’s security. Therefore, it could be possible that the US might see its alliance with Japan become more of a “one-sided” alliance. This is a significant detail because Japan is definitely more reassured with the US on its side, but since the US is a superpower that has many global security interests, she might get Japan involved in unnecessary conflicts. This article was published in May, last year, but this doesn’t exclude the fact that Japan might be acting more carefully when thinking about helping the US. So there is a possibility that the US’s ally is becoming more aware and less spontaneous than before.
    Finally, the US is risking to see a Russo-Chinese, and maybe even Iranian, alliance form up if the tensions grow to a certain point. If things do get critical, it would not really be surprising to see China allying up with Russia to counterbalance the US-Japanese alliance. In any case, China has always been on good terms with Russia. This idea can also be supported by another list from “Business Insider”, because there is also a list that shows the amount of money that China used to import Russian weapons. Plus, on this list in general, China is the country that is spending the largest amount of money. So, if tensions continues to rise, the East China Sea confrontation could actually reveal a situation similar to the one during the Cold War. This deduction is supported by multiple other journalists and think tank editors, supposing that the conflict can end up having the US and Japan, a capitalist alliance, facing against an extremely powerful communist alliance.

    1. Sorry, Mr. Heckscher, I'll synthesize a lot more for the last entry...

  13. Recently, Saudi Arabia has exchanged prisonners with the Houthis, giving them nine of their rebels while the rest of the Houthis « handed over » 109 Saudi prisonners.
    Meanwhile, the war continues and Saudi Arabia has still not done much good to Yemen. The nation at first only intervened out of fear that the Iranians, their Shiite rivals, were using the Houthis as their « proxies ». The Huffington Post for example, sees Yemen as Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam in a way. So Saudi Arabia bombs the « Houthi-infested » country relentlessly, which worked in the Southern part of the country which is now clear of all Houthis, but a new easy target for ISIS, who has already started taking advantage of the absence of government power. On top of this, the United States back up the Saudi Arabian coalition in its fight in Yemen as it fears that AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) may lead attacks from the country.

    Lucas Tournier

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  15. What does it hope to achieve by its involvement?
    In many recent cases, animosity within Islamic states can be attributed to the different interpretations of Islam, notably between two major denominations of Sunni and Shia Islam. Religiously divided Yemen’s call for Saudi Arabia’s military intervention was designed to drive out Iranian- aligned rebels, better known as Houthi insurgents.
    Saudi Arabia fears that Iran may be using the Houthi as proxies in Yemen, and continues to act against the interests of Yemeni civilians in order to counter Shia advances, whether for the country’s personal gain or as a means to restore Yemen’s government, overthrown by the rebels.

  16. What do the countries involved in the South China Sea conflict hope to gain in their involvement?
    - Off the Malaysian and Vietnamese coast there are oil and gas fields with billions of barrels of oil and the equivalent in gas. The conflict revolves over the possession of the “land” that has these resources. By being involved in this conflict, countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam want the right to the resources. The problem is that many countries lay claim to the same pieces of land.
    - China’s involvement is also about these resources but also about maintaining control and power in the region. China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over the islands and by continuing in this dispute they show their power. Also the possession of these islands gives China a military presence in the sea as well as at least 12 nautical miles of water around each island which gives them access to the resources and lets them control those areas of water.
    - This control of water poses a problem for the United States; they hope to maintain freedom of navigation by involving themselves in this conflict.

  17. Thailand:

    Thailand has been having many issues with water these years. Not only has the level of the water gone up, this water is not safe. Because of all the pollution and garbage that fill the rivers and Gulf of Thailand, melioidosis, a sickness due to the water condition, is the fifth most caught disease in Thailand. However, the citizens of this country rely on this water to drink, to cook, to play, do laundry, to wash and for agriculture. This problem was brought to the COP21 in Paris. It raised awareness to the most powerful counties, such as the UK who issued a whole article about it.

  18. I have decided to follow your recommendation and search the UK government's website. He's what I found:

    -The UK claims to be in favor of a "comprehensive" settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is unclear what this means.
    -The UK is particularly concerned about the violation of international human rights by the Israeli government and Hamas
    -The UK has sought to improve conditions of Palestinians in detention, particularly children, yet claims that "no UK aid is used for payments to Palestinian prisoners, or their families" (this is a direct quote off of their website). It is unclear how they have aimed to help them, despite claiming their condition to be one of their main concerns.

    The United Nations also play a special role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as they recognised Palestine as a state in 2012. Palestine is not recognised as a state world-wide, so this grants them legitimacy. However, they were denied full member status, and currently occupy non-member state status, which means that they are not granted a vote in UN referendums.

  19. Libya conflict- EU and US relations.

    Gabriel Naginski (Blog post last week unanimously posted was mine)

    Not much has been said about the Libya conflict in the European Union. The events in Belgium have sparked debates across Europe about ISIS and the fight of terrorism as a whole. However, 600 Libyan migrants have been rescued by Italian coastguards last week. The migrants were looking to cross Europe to escape the instability within their country. Around 330,000 migrants have landed in Italy from Libya since the start of 2014. The chaos that followed the death of Gaddafi in 2011 has only escalated. ISIS is losing in Syria, they have been ejected out of Palmyra by Syrian forces and Russia. In libya however their influence is a growing concern for the European union as it is forcing Libyans to flee their country and seek refuge into Europe.

    the US embassy stated on Friday that The United States had agreed to fund a multi-million-dollar project to install an electronic security surveillance system on Tunisia's border with Libya. The US will make the first installment of the $24.9 million project to strengthen security along the frontier. According to the US embassy, the project involves the installation of an integrated surveillance system using sensors and regular security equipment. The project also includes training Tunisian forces to use the system. Tunisia has already built a 200-kilometre barrier that stretches about half the length of its border but is now looking to install electrical security.

  20. In order to help Ukraine and its dislocated population that ended up in the Western part of the country, the EU are going to grant the great amount of almost six hundred and fifty million euros to Ukraine’s internally displaced persons. According to the United Nations an estimated 9.3 million have been displaced in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion. The sum will be divided among 400 of the latter and will give a chance for small business entrepreneurs to get the opportunity they needed to get back up and running. The grant will be distributed by the purchase of equipment for the newly-established businesses.
    The United States have reaffirmed their will of Ukraine keeping its territorial integrity, including Crimea, and sovereignty after a meeting between Putin and the US secretary of state on March 24th.

    This week, the us people are still very concerned about the possibility of a Boko Haram attack, and the fact that the donations that the donations given by the us to Nigeria are costing the us time and money. The soldiers also discovered mines all over the NorthEast part of the country, planted there by Boko Haram. The surrounding African countries have been actively arresting boko haram members and, a few weeks ago it was announced that 89 members had been arrested and sentenced to death. But, unfortunately the sect is still composed of 850 members.
    The surrounding countries are helping Nigeria defeat the sect because they had started spreading in their own countries, and most of all they want peace ; in other words economic stability and less death.

  22. South China Sea Conflict:
    This week was pretty boring as nothing interesting really happened. The only thing that did was the following. A 100 or so fishing boats entered into Malaysia claimed water territory. Malaysia got mad once news of this had reached the government so they sent the navy to see what was going on. On the navy's arrival, they were treated to a peaceful image of chinese fishermen doing their thing which is catch fish. Malaysia was mad about this but they didn't want the navy to do anything but instead just watch. However, they did tell China that they weren't pleased about the situation. China's responded with a kind, "this is our territory and we can do what we want.' Malaysia was all like "no it ain't." China was like "yeah." So they just argued about it. Other than that nothing interesting is going on as everyone is focused on the whole North Korea situation.

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  24. Terrorism on the US soil

    In this paragraph I will describe in more depth the arguments I evoked last week, on how the EU and the US collaborate in order to fight terrorism.

    First of all, it is inevitable that in order to counter Islamic terrorism, the US needs to ally itself with other world powers, such as the EU. In fact, since 9/11, many counter terrorism agreements concerning information-sharing and terrorist-financing have been reached between these two powers and two Declarations on Combating Terrorism and two treaties have been concluded, with the ultimate goal of abolishing terrorism. However, the transatlantic solidarity following the 9/11 terrorist attacks between the US and the EU has been marked as much by confrontation than by cooperation. Indeed, the Lisbon Treaty of 2009 created tensions between them as it abolished the EU's "pillar structure" which had previously reserved justice and home affairs as an "intergovernmental competence".
    One of the most important initiatives taken by the US and the EU is the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) which holds a common definition of terrorism. Its major role is to constantly maintain and update a list of terrorist organizations and these two powers cooperate closely to update the list and ensure that terrorist organizations are denied access to the world's biggest financial markets.
    Another initiative started between the US and the EU is the organization SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). Although the name sounds very sophisticated and complex, this program's role is very straightforward: share large amounts of international banks processed data with the US. The powers thus shared all of their information among each other in order to be stronger and wiser to defeat the enemy. However, this program wasn’t appreciated by everyone as it didn’t respect the EU data protection laws.
    Finally, the US and EU also agreed on the Passenger Name Records Agreement. The US Air Transportation Safety Act requires that all PNR data of travelers to the US be provided to the US authorities before the arrival of the plane on the American soil in order to regulate and keep an eye on the identity of the constant flow of passengers entering and exiting the country.

  25. anonymous:
    The Anonymous hacktivist collective has announced plans to disrupt Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by launching cyberattacks on websites associated with the controversial candidate, starting April 1. They launched a campaign to expose and disrupt websites spreading jihadist propaganda and, more recently, it has committed to doing the same to ISIS-affiliated websites. By their actions, they hope to have a world with more justice and freedom of speech and change the current way the governments of the world and the people view true Freedom of Speech and The Internet.

    ISIL recognizes that it might be easier to strike at the U.S. from afar using digital weapons than to infiltrate terrorists across the border. Their hackers have tried to penetrate computers that regulate the nation’s electricity grid, U.S. officials say. “Destructive malware is a bomb. Terrorists want bombs,” FBI Director James Comey said. They haven’t done any successful attack so far, and clearly believe in greater chaos through physical attack. Their intentions of recruiting and influencing people on the Interent is to create a caliphate.

  26. I have noticed that I haven’t been analyzing Russia’s presence in Latin America. Russia wants to threaten U.S. defenses by deploying nuclear submarines in the Southern Hemisphere. They are also placing offensive weapons in countries such as Venezuela and Nicaragua. Russia is using Venezuelan ports in order to refuel Russian bombers. Their goal is to initiate missions in Latin America in order to show once again their military superiority to America. Russia feels that America is interfering in its border territories and is therefore taking revenge by establishing military deals with countries in Latin America. Venezuela has been ranked fifth largest recipient of arms deliveries from Russia. Venezuela has bought Russian weapons for its army (tanks, vehicles and artillery systems). Venezuela has made military agreements with Russia which amount to 13,1$ billion. America, even if aware of Russia’s presence in Latin America, has remained passive. It lacks a “total lack of awareness and the readiness to respond”. Since last year, Russia has sent bombers from Venezuela to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to control maritime communicates and activities.

  27. China has recently inaugurated its first national cyber security association, called The CyberSecurity Association of China. This association is said to be put into place in order to safeguard the country's internet security and build up China as an internet power, and to attract more cyber security associations to add to the industry's authority. This may be true, but when this event is following China's disrespect of their previous cyber agreement with the United States, one can only imagine that they are preparing for a cyber war on the United States, or at least something along those lines.

    Not three days after their previous announcement aiming to show their opposition to Trump, Anonymous has released a video on Youtube aiming to "apologize" for what others had said under the banner of Anonymous. In that video, they announce that Anonymous fights for the freedom of speech, and that Trump as well as his followers have a right to that. It seems that the video did not have as objective to praise Trump, but rather to clarify the principles under which Anonymous was established. Not only that, but it seems there may be a certain division in-between the group. However, given the lack of effect of the procedures that Anonymous has taken against Trump, they may have released this video in order to "catch themselves", in order to maintain a good image.

    Quentin Siart

  28. North Korean conflict

    In 2013, China had agreed for sanctions against North Korea after its underground nuclear test. This week, China made it clear that the country is dedicated to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. However, after the US toughened unilateral sanctions on North Korea this month, China, worried, stated last week that this issue “should be resolved via dialogue and consultation” to not increase the tension on the North Korean peninsula, as well as between North Korea and China. In fact, China is worried about its own security environment as North Korea’s nuclear weapons could harm China or Northeast Asia in general. Therefore, China supports the resumption of six-party talks, rather than sanctions. President Xi Jinping decided to push President Obama this week to resume talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. China also expressed its opposition once more against the US defense system, THAAD. The US, however, seems determined to not give up the development of THAAD. The US attempted to reassure China by stating that THAAD is “only capable of defending a territory” and not the kind of reach China seems to be worried about.

    China’s involvement in this conflict derives from its historical alliance with NK during the Korean War, as China defended NK against the South and US. Since then, China remained North Korea’s most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food, arms, and energy. Ultimately, China has its entire country at stake and doesn’t want to put its security any more at risk. By its involvement, China wants to maintain peace, stability, and normal “state-to-state relations” with North Korea because it fears that extreme actions could trigger a larger crisis on the peninsula that would quickly involve China, and possibly escalate into a war. Unable to fully control NK’s behavior, China prefers avoiding anything that might alienate Pyongyang. China’s methods are to continue sustaining Kim Jong-un’s regime and oppose harsh international sanctions on NK. This will also avoid a North Korean regime collapse, which China wants to prevent: the collapse of the DPRK would send millions of refugees over the 880-mile border into China, bringing with them social and economic issues. Although China’s relation with NK started deteriorating once Kim Jong Un took power in 2011, it doesn’t bring any changes to the consistent relation between the two countries, even though China strongly disapproves of NK’s nuclear development.

  29. East China Sea

    I'm going to keep focusing on the US as long as I don't find any substantial information on South Korean implication (or any other country by that matter). So this week, I'll be answering last week's questions since I didn't really do that last week:
    1) What does the country have at stake in the current conflict?
    The United States has its ties between the two belligerents at stake since it has deep links with both China and Japan and the loss of these ties would greatly harm them. If it were to choose sides in the future it would greatly impact the national economy because of high import/export rates between the two countries and the US. Even though they most likely depend more on China than Japan when it comes to trade. However, the US also has a multitude of political ties with Japan with for example, the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security" which as the name indicates promises mutual protection and cooperation between the two nations.
    2) What does it hope to achieve by it's involvement?
    Well they haven't explicitly done anything to stop or modify the conflict (although Obama must've said something to Abe and Jintao) but if they did they would do something in order to protect what I stated above.
    3) By what methods it is trying to achieve these goals?

  30. UN officials are currently reviewing the MINUSMA forces and determining if the UN peacekeeping mandate should be expanded or not. They United nations peacekeeping force in Mali (codenamed MINUSMA) is here to protect the stability of the government but if the country is deemed stable enough the soldiers will be sent home.

    France is to station special forces in Burkina Faso in order to have a rapid response unit in the case of a terrorist attack. The goal of this unit is to be able to intervene quickly anywhere in the Sahel in just a few hours and hopefully discourage or stop an attack. This is one of the first time the GIGN is positioned outside of France which shows that France is very aware of the risk for its citizens living there as well as for the local people.

  31. Both the UK and the US have been reporting about the Boko Haram attacks that occurred this week. Nothing has really been done specifically this week, but I have come across mentions of the UK proposing “compensations for terrorist attacks abroad” on a global level. This shows that the UK is clearly against terrorism and has interest in providing aid to Nigeria. Furthermore, the US involvement proved itself to be useful through the donation of MRAP (Mine resistant ambush protected vehicles) which turned out to be successful. In this case the US involvement is practical and military.

  32. Today I will talk about the suicide bombings in Pakistan, committed by the TTP (Pakistani Taliban), and the measures India and the US took in response to this atrocity.
    At around 6:45 PM on Easter Sunday (March 27th), Pakistan’s Christian population celebrated Easter. Some gathered in a park in Lahore, to enjoy the day, along with the Muslim population. Then tragedy struck, as a suicide bomber detonated a blast in the parking lot of Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, killing around 69 people indiscriminately. The TTP took responsibility for this act.

    The US’s reaction→ Concerning the presidential elections, the first person to react was John Kasich, followed by Bernie Sanders. They both condemned the act as a show of cowardice. Ned Price and the White House also sent their deepest condolences, and agreed on intensifying efforts to “root out the scourge of terrorism”. They will also review Pakistan’s anti-terrorism plan, the NAP.

    India’s reaction→ Politically, there is condemnation of this act, and there was a social movement with the hash tag “#PrayForLahore” which became one of the most used in India on Monday. Furthermore, multiple social figures have reacted to this bombing and called it inhumane. India’s Prime Minister, Modi, condemned the attack through twitter, but hasn’t taken any humanitarian or military action.


    The two countries I chose are France and the U.S. These two countries both contribute to prevent and bring terrorism acts and expansion to and end. An article published by the 26th of March 2016, discussed the issue of radicalization and the actions put in order to prevent this. The center for action and prevention against radicalization of individuals, also known as CAPRI was recently intsalled in Bordeaux and it is the first and only center for now. These center monitor people susceptible of becoming prays for jihadist recuiter with the help of social workers, Imams, and psychiatric educators. This is an example of how France is innovating in order to prevent futur terrorist acts by protecting people who could become victims of these jihadist recruiters. Meanwhile in the U.S, the same day, Obama gave a speech following the terrible acts that ocurred in Brussel recently leading to many deaths, two of them american. In his speech, Obama claims the U.S military supports will take action agaist terrorist groups. He also says airforces will be deployed and that he believed they will handle the situation. Obama is confident that the U.S military will be successful in their projects just the same as when they killed Abdel al-Qadouli. This is an example of how the U.S is invested in putting and end to terrorism.


    In 2015, France donated over 40M€ to Palestine, which is one of the largest aids received from a single country, but it doesn’t put France on Palestine’s side. Even if France is for Palestine’s independence (pro-Palestinians won by a large majority during the vote in Congress), the French opinion still seems vague. During Israel’s assaults on Gaza, Francois Holland said on a phone call to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he supported their right to defend themselves, and expressed his “love for Israel” during his trip there in November 2013. This shows that France stands by Palestine in the conflict, because Palestine’s independence seems to be the only viable solution, and does not want to do that against Israel.
    However, the US’s interest in the conflict does not seem powered by a desire of peace but a will to keep a strong ally, but their foreign aid statistics are confusing. On average, about 400M dollars per year were given to Palestine in different forms. It is little compared to the 4B given every year to Israel, but shows that not all Americans are in favor of Israel. Many American humanitarian associations are trying to help Palestine out of its misery. With the upcoming presidential elections, Palestine’s American support is very unsure because there is, on one hand, the leading Republican candidate Donald Trump, who is the most extremist anti-Arab candidate by far, to the point where even Israel said it was too much. On the other hand, the leading Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton is much more invested in the peace process, which might help Palestine in the years to come.

  35. Over the past week, the reasons for the involvement of foreign powers in the fight against Al-Shabaab has been made clearer.
    Countries like Kenya, or at least countries belonging to the African Union have joined the fight to prevent any future attacks in their countries (they successfully eliminated heads of the cell).
    Countries like the US and the UK have a less directs, but still important part in this conflict. Over the past month, the US has bombed several training grounds for the cell. Great Britain has monitored their citizens going to Syria more carefully, and discovered that one of their residents was a member of Al-Shabaab. Their involvement can be qualified as less direct because they do not send physical troops to the country only drones.