Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Phase 1, last week!

Hi all

This is it; your last chance to look at any questions you might still have on the rubric. Take a look back at your previous comments and sources. Take your time on it; you have until Nov 2 at 11 for this.

Like the last post, remember to hyperlink your sources and respect the word count - 200 max!

Have a good break!

Mr. H


  1. Rémi Masia-Depardieu, Destabilization of Mali
    The French military operations in Mali mainly started in 2013, when the “Serval” operation was implemented. Happening around the frontier between the North and the South, the operation resulted in a cease fire. The French president Francois Hollande visited Bamako in September 2013 to assist to the ceremony of Keita’s election. However, in November 2013, two French journalists are abducted and killed. Therefore, in 2014, more than 40 jihadists are killed in Mars. When the “Serval” operation ends in July, the “barkhane” operation is announced. In December 2014, the operation is a success : dizains of jihadists are killed, among them Ahmed al-Tilemsi, a high ranked military officer of the MUJWA during an opposition to the French troops in Kidal. In February 2015, a new peace agreement is signed. Finally, in May 2015, a major peace treaty is signed between the Malian government, the loyalists groups, the African Union, the European Union, France, and the G5 Sahel countries. Since then, the conflict has calm down, though in April 2016, 3500 French soldiers remained in Mali.


  2. Billy McGovern-- Israeli-Palestine Conflict
    Israeli settlements

    Israeli settlements are illegal communities of Israelis on Palestinian land, built by the Israelis after the 1967 Six-Day War. They are located in parts of West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. According to the United Nations, they violate the agreements of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Also, the settlements are at the core of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, representing an illegal annexation. This has caused much violence, for example the Cave of Patriarchs massacre in 1994. Israeli settlements have been therefore seen as an obstruction to peace by Palestine as well on an international level, Russia, the EU, the UK and the United States endorsing the criticism. The relationship between Israel and the US has particularly been affected. After Palestine called for an urgent UN meeting, the US representative spoke of the building of 1000 new settlements the following way: “The United States is deeply concerned by these developments. We urge all parties to refrain from provocative actions including settlement activity by Israeli authorities. Settlement activity will only further escalate tensions at a time that is already tense enough.” This was an unexpectedly critical statement from one of Israel’s most important allies.




  3. Anna Mulbert - War in Yemen

    Peace talks and initiated ceasefires

    A series of peace talks was initiated on April 12, 2016 in Kuwait with the aim of ending the Yemeni conflict and signing a truce. All peace talks failed, but improvement can be noted, as the Houthi and the Saudi-led coalition are now engaging with each other, instead of imposing conditions impossible to meet on both sides. The most recent ceasefire, started on Wednesday 19th of October in response to the Saudi-led funeral strike killing 140 and the renewed fighting fervour it initiated, was sponsored by the UN in order to appease the critical humanitarian crisis and to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The UN wanted to extend it another 72 hours, but this ceasefire has been violated from both sides, as the Houthi are believed to have sent rockets on a school in Jizan and the Arab coalition to have dropped bombs in the Saada province. The lack of respect over the suspension of hostilities can’t entirely be blamed on the fighting sides as the communication systems and equipment between the troops and their executives are terrible.


  4. Leah Sadoff- Al-Shabaab

    The African Union Mission in Somalia, which is also known as AMISOM, was created in 2007 on the 19th of January by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council. This mission operator has replaced the IGASOM, meaning the Inter-Governmental Peace Support Mission to Somalia. IGASOM was originally put into place to help with the peacekeeping of the Somali Civil War in 2005. The Islamic Courts Union were not in control of Mogadishu yet, the capital of Somali. When they started to retaliate the UN imposed an embargo on this group, it was then partially lifted in December 2006. As of October 2014 the UN let the African Union continue their peacekeeping mission until the 30th of November 2015. They are also allowed to make appropriate decisions that will help the movement move forward.


  5. Domitille- Conflict in Ukraine
    In Ukraine, the different forces are the pro-Russians, including the rebels, and the pro-Europeans. The rebels detain the Western area of Ukraine; the border of Ukraine adjacent to Russia’s. The zone extends from Luhansk to Novoazovsk. It has been the victim of armed violence, with shellings and ceasefire violations. Russian force bases are still implanted in this area. Russia itself detains the Ukrainian peninsula, since its annexation in 2014.

    The crisis in Ukraine has made it clear that Europe’s investment to set up rules and procedures to avoid conflicts or manage one remain “inadequate”. The fact that Russia annexed Crimea without the consent of Ukrainian authorities presented “a major challenge to the European security order”: the basic values of the EU were violated by Russia. There have been efforts made to enable communication between opposing forces and come to ceasefires, however, they keep on being broken. Furthermore, in response to Russia’s increasing military budget, NATO has announced after its 2014 NATO summit in Newport, Wales, that it might also be increasing them in the following years. Some Central and Northern European countries that share borders with Russia have also increased these spendings “as a direct response to the crisis”.

    - https://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ukraine.html
    - http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/03/27/what-are-global-implications-of-ukraine-crisis-pub-55112
    - https://www.sipri.org/yearbook/2015/03
    - http://liveuamap.com/en/2016/17-october-aerial-reconnaissance-spotted-large-russian-forces

  6. Julie Clar - Boko Haram

    Boko Haram’s ability to use ungoverned spaces for strategic retreat and regrouping, its stable financial status obtained through robberies, extortion, kidnapping ransoms, and town lootings, its infiltration of Nigerian security services, and finally its superior and adaptive fighting techniques (as compared to Nigerian forces) make up its strengths and explain why the terrorist group is so hard to eradicate. Boko Haram’s attacks intensified in July 2010 as Shekau took control of the group and freed 700 Boko Haram inmates from the prison in Bauchi and also attacked a mosque in Maiduguri targetting muslism opponents to the terrorists’ ideology. In 2011, they start to target religious leaders, police officers, and students in Maiduguri and attack the UN regional headquarters in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. In 2012, Boko Haram expands its attacks to Kano and Kaduna but especially to Cameroon, a country East of Nigeria. Their tactics change: instead of shootouts and raids, they conduct mass-casuality attacks. In 2013, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declares a state of emergency in the northeast as Boko Haram continues to kill many civilians, Christians and Muslims, especially in Bama. In 2014, they kidnap schoolgirls in Chibok which sparks international outcry and creates a widely popular Twitter campain using the hashtag “#BringBackOurGirls”. In 2015, Nigeria reclaims significant territory and a new offensive is adopted by the Nigerian army.


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  8. David Ripayre - Uighur conflict in China

    China has been investing a lot of capital in the Xinjiang region were the Uighur population is located, the chinese government emphasises on this but according to the Uighur population, Beijing is taking Uighur land and jobs for redevelopment, benfecial to the new Han population in the region. According to Uighur activists, the Chinese government has been limiting their cultural, economic and religious development.

    Rubiya Kadeer, an exiled Uighur businessman and political leader, is now considered as the public face of this ethnic group. Her husband Sidik Rouzi, a Uighur intellectual, fled to the United States where he fought for the Uighur ethnic group. She was arrested in 1999 for having helped her husband and was released in 2005 because of U.S pressure over China, however she was exiled from CHina. She keeps on fighting for the Uighur cause but she is accused by the Chinese government of abetting terrorism, but she rejects any ties to violent extremist groups.


  9. Theodore FEVRE- Taliban in Afghanistan

    On October 18th, Afghan officials state that secret peace talks have been occurring in Qatar and Pakistan involving Taliban and Afghan officials, as well as US representatives. Since 2013, peace talks are becoming more and more demanded by the Taliban group. Although the Taliban still carry out public shootings and hidden bomb attacks on the people of Afghanistan, the Afghan government believes in a political solution to the problem. Even though the extremist group is seeking negotiations with the US and Afghan government, it has recently been divided. Due to the numerous assassinations of Taliban leaders, these talks are stagnating due to the successors not sharing the same interests and beliefs as the previous leaders. Having been against the peace talks, Monsour rejected any negotiations and made it clear the Taliban did not seek peace with the US and government. However after his death, Mullah Haibutullah, the current leader, has been rumored to have sped up peace talks with the two parties. The possibility of peace treaties never happening is possible, due to the binary system creating opposition within the Taliban group on the subject and the continuous replacement of leaders objecting their predecessors.


  10. Marine Tallon - South China Sea

    Many countries have gathered their government ships habitually used for maritime law enforcements to reinforce their territorial claims.
    Here are a few examples of maritime disputes that occurred in the South China Sea in 2016:
    On June 17th, a Chinese coastal vessel prevented the arrest of a Chinese fishing ship by an Indonesian naval vessel. An Indonesian warship spotted 12 Chinese ships in their Economic Exclusive Zone. The warship fired warning shots at the Chinese fishing boats and led to China claiming an injury to a citizen. China defended their cause by saying they were on traditional fishing grounds and that the shots led to an injury as Indonesia claims the shot were harmless.
    On July 8th, Vietnamese fishermen were fishing in the Gulf of Thailand when a Thai naval vessel showed up and fired on the fishermen. 2 Vietnamese ships sank during the confrontation, 2 fishermen were injured, 1 went missing and 18 men were arrested by Thailand. The Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed a regular law enforcement incident on July 7th that led to the loss of a fisherman. They did not mention the shooting or the presence of their naval. The Vietnamese government complained and stated there was a shooting at unarmed fishermen, that it was against international law and human rights.
    On July 9th, 2 Vietnamese fishing boats were operating in the disputed Paracel Islands and got rammed by a Chinese coastal guard ship and sank. Vietnamese claimed the Chinese ship did not assist in rescuing the fishermen and may have prevented other fishing boats to help. The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry demanded China to refund the fishermen while the Chinese Foreign Ministry said they sent a search the next day to rescue the sunken ships.


  11. Delphine Chiffaudel - Israel Palestine

    Netanyahu is the prime minister of Israel. The PLO leader, considered the legitimate representation of the Palestinian people (though the Hamas disagrees), is Mahmoud Abbas. Netanyahu controls a police state where men have to serve the country militarily for 3 years, and women 2 years. Palestine is a state, diplomatically, in the eyes of 134 countries but not de facto. Facts on the ground make Israel a state covering West Bank and Israel: They have annexed East Jerusalem, and West Bank, thanks to their controversial colonies.* West Bank is divided into 3 zones: A- order is managed by the PA police to the benefit of Israel, B- controlled by both PA police and Israeli army, and C - Israeli army controls it, colonists live in it. Zone A, where Palestinians are supposed to live most independently, is surrounded/suffocated by zone C and barbed wire and Israeli checkpoints. This Israeli tactic results in a fragmentation of zone A and isolation of each bit of it. The goal is to make life for Palestinians as hard as possible in order to make them leave. It is also a military occupation.

    *I am fully aware that the standard word in english is “settlement”
    sources: My recent trip to Israel and Palestine (zone A B and C included).

  12. Marin Duroyon - Libyan Civil War

    According to the BBC, the profile of the libyan Civil War can be separated into four major sections: the anti-Gaddafi uprising, Benghazi attack, the second Civil War, and the rise of the Islamic State. The anti-Gaddafi uprising takes place from February 2011 to August 2012, it started with revolts against the dictator and ended with his death and the establishment of the GNC as a government. The Benghazi attack is when the US ambassador and three other Americans were killed by Islamist militants, that stormed the consulate in Benghazi in September 2012. This allowed the GNC to -- supposedly -- disband all illegal militias. However, in August 2013 the Petroleum Facilities Guard militia began to blockade the oil export terminals, this foreshadows the second civil war that started in February 2014. By that time many militias were created and protests started once the GNC refused to disband after their mandate expired. Many different politicians are elected to power in that year of the civil war, fightings occur between the rebels and the government. The last section is the rise of the Islamic State, it started in october 2014 when they seized the port of Derna, and now evolved into many threats against Libya by the Islamic State.

    Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13755445

  13. Boris Hullin - Cartel Wars in Mexico

    Mexico is unfortunately facing a problem it is not likely to solve in a near future, and that that cannot be tackled with ethic measures. The country is staging the unfair opposition of criminals who have their own interests as only motivation and no rules to follow, against federal institutions submitted to law and moral, with the mission of providing safety to 130 million of Mexicans. The government's strong retaliation since 2006 that caused a raise of violence in the conflict without harming criminal activity in the country shows the self-evolving and adapting nature of the cartels. For the past four decades, Latin American criminal organizations have continuously surprised authorities by managing to pursue their illegal activity in spite of their change of form and structure over time due to governmental intervention. Originally large cartels with influence and precise occupations, they were fragmented by the arrest of their notorious leaders and today gravitate between what is more than local gangs, but less than cartels. Their wide scale operations are too diversified for Mexican authorities to harm all of them at the same time, therefore leaving time for more to develop when some are dealt with. In addition, a police whose wages are lower than the average salary of the public sector will always be prone to corruption, and Mexico does not have a budget big enough to remedy to that. And its extorted economies are not helping.


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  15. Ito Choho - Burundi

    A recent report published on September 20th by UN searchers on the case of Burundi, especially the violent post-election period from April 2015 to July 2016, showed that the government had, in many ways “gravely violated human rights” considering some of its repressive actions (such as assassinations, disappearances, incarceration, torture and sexual violence) against various actors opposing the president as “crimes against humanity”. This situation, if not controlled, promises to lead to another civil conflict. For the first time the, the UN is considering removing Burundi from its Human Rights Council. Meanwhile, on the 12th of october, 2016 the Burundian parliament voted to remove the country from the International Criminal Court, to avoid sanctions against the government for its criminal activity.


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    1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/boko-haram

    2. The names : Goodluck Jonathan (former Nigerian president)
      Muhammadu Buhari (Nigerian president)
      Abubakar Shekau (Boko Haram leader since 2009)
      Abu Musad Al-Barnawi (supposed 22 year old son of Mohammad Yusuf, founder of the group, declared leader by ISIS)
      Lai Mohammed (information minister)

      Relative strengths of each actor or belligerent : Shekau has seen to the death of over 20 000, the delocalisation of over 2,2 million, and the rape, abduction, and enslavement of thousands. Targets : state and federal buildings → civilians. Most notorious crime : kidnap in Chebok.
      African Union in 2015 : Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria. Pushed back Boko Haram into a stronghold in the Sambisa Forest

      The origin, length, general evolution, and current status of the conflict : The African Union has pushed Boko Haram into the Sambisa Forest in northeastern Nigeria in 2015. Recently, ISIS has declared Al-Barnawi as the new/true leader of the group. Some analysts believe ISIS has done so due to the attacks lead by Shekau in a mosque and a muslim restaurant in Jos last year. 21 of the girls kidnapped in Chebok have been released this month. How exactly the terrorist group was persuaded, there are different opinions : according to the Nigerian government, they have done so as proof of good faith. A fair amount however consider this unlikely and believe a large amount of money or liberated fighters were what convinced Boko Haram.

      Any international or global threat posed by an escalation of the conflict : Ther was an attack on a UN convoy in the last two years. Power struggles within the group prevents progress in negotiations to release the detained girls. Extreme poverty and malnourishment in the state of Borno facilitates recruitment for Boko Haram.

  17. Elise du Crest- War in Yemen
    In early October, the Houthis issued a statement that included the conditions under which they would consider peace talks. They demanded that president Hadi leave, and that the UN write a peace plan with which both factions could agree. On Saturday, Yemen president rejected the UN’s offer, details of which have not been fully disclosed. We do know, however, that this roadmap for peace states the necessity of appointing a new vice president, and the rebels’ cooperation by leaving Sanaa (and other cities they control). The new vice president and prime minister would then form a government that would suit both  the south and the north of Yemen.
    Essentially, Hadi rejected the roadmap because he believed that it would not only fuel the war, but would also "reward the putschists while punishing the Yemeni people and legitimacy".
    Meanwhile, AQAP continues to target Houthi forces, gaining the opposing forces’ support. The US has lead multiple airstrikes against them.
    Since March 2015, nearly 7000 people have been killed, and 35000 injured. Millions of Yemenis remain displaced and in need of food aid.


  18. Romane Centis- War against the Islamic State

    Why does ISIS fight and what do they want?

    ISIS is a terrorist group that wants to build a caliphate that would rule the world. They believe that the war that is being held against them is fulfilling an apocalyptic prophecy of a battle between jihadist and “infidel” armies. They also want territory, legitimacy as a state, and loyalty from other muslims. With the help of the internet, the group has no trouble recruiting fighters from abroad as well as strike horrific attacks all over the world; such as the terror attack on November 5th in Paris in 2015, or the suicide bombings in Brussels in March 2016. They believe that they are a legitimate state rather than a rebel group. They want to “purify” the world by killing a vast number of people, and believe that their version of Islam is the one to follow. They core motivation behind the group’s actions is a belief that they represent a pure version of Islam. ISIS believes in a prophecy that the prophet Muhammad saying that the end of the world is coming; the 1 300 year old prophecy says that the end of the world will come after an epic battle against Christians and Muslims.


  19. Matteo Valderrama_ Violences in DRC
    On top of the unrest involving the postponement of the presidential elections in DRC, more than seventy armed groups are still present on the eastern front of Congo exploiting minerals and other natural resources present abundantly in the Kivutian highlands. The DRC government had hoped that after defeating the M23 rebellion in 2013, these armed groups would stop terrorizing the Congolese countryside. However this was not the case with groups such as the Allied Muslim Forces, a Ugandan muslim rebel force; The Mai Mai militias, a grouped collection of Congolese militias; The Coalition of Congolese Patriotic Resistance, who fight for a free and sovereign Congo; and the Lord’s Resistance Army, who seem to have no political objective but go around massacring civilians. These groups keep violating human rights by kidnapping children, enslaving them, putting them in the sex trade, or even make them child soldiers. Furthermore these groups massacre civilian populations present in the conflict areas causing the displacement of more than 1.6 million people still today. The efforts provided by the Congolese government to stop these crimes show to be futile with them contributing as well to these violations, making this conflict the deadliest since WWII and giving DRC the 176 worst human development index in the world out of 188.

  20. Ambre Perron- Civil War in South Sudan

    The same violence that had Riek Machar scared for his life has led peacekeepers to abandon post in South Sudan. In December 2015, Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was put at his wit’s end at the thought of peacekeepers being killed in the torn country. “I don’t know how representatives of South Sudan can show up at these types of meeting without being totally embarrassed by the actions of their government.” Although both the president and his ex-vice president claim to want peace for their country, they have been walking farther and farther away from their goal. Separately they are optimistic but it is precisely the separate aspect of their government that fails to exemplify for the rest of the population. This past month, Machar directly accused Kiir of restarting the war because he refuses to have “democratic and fair elections.” Both leaders blame each other for the lack of balance in their country. However Machar did call out to outside nations to restore South Sudan’s “peace process.” As clashes between the rebel groups and the government forces continue, military spokesman Gatluak justifies the attacks: “We have realized that there is no political settlement in Juba [...] so we have to organize ourselves because the government has failed.” With a vice president appointed by Kiir, surely, the Nuer tribe no longer feels represented in what they believe to be a non-existent government that imposes control over all tribes.


  21. Tim d'Aboville--The War in Syria

    The situation in Syria is worsening every day, and there seems to be no visible ending to the ongoing war, especially since September 2015 when Russia decided to support Assad’s regime. Among all the countries and movements involved are: the USA, Iran, Turkey, France, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Kurds, the rebels, and the Syrian government. The fact that they all fight for different reasons and that there isn’t a clear ‘us vs. them’ conflict engaged, makes the end of this war very unlikely for the moment. Russia and the USA are the two “stars” of the war at the moment as there seems to be some sort of cold war ongoing between the two superpowers, and they both blame each other for it. Russia sees Assad as an important leader for Syria and therefore deploys what they believe is necessary to ensure that he stays in that position; even though it might mean going against the USA and causing a new world war. On the other hand, the US believe that Putin’s ways of acting there are inhumane. The bottom line is, if we are to imagine the end of the war in Syria, a compromise must be found between the Kremlin and the Pentagon.


    1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/02/russia-intervention-syria-stopped-20-years-ago-chechnya-war



  22. Sophie Lemmerman - Kashmir Conflict

    US relations with India and Pakistan:

    The United States have a history of ambivalent relations with India. The nation’s prominent role in the Bandung Conference of 1955 as well as its involvement in the Non-Aligned Movement brought about concern from the US. The goal of this conference was to discuss peace and the role of developing countries in the Cold War. However, the US feared that this meeting was “a sign of a leftward shift in the newly independent nations of Africa and Asia.” US leaders worried that countries such as India would thereafter become “anti-American” or “anti-Western.” Furthermore, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was born out of the Bandung Conference; it was formed by a group of states which are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. The NAM was initially viewed by the US with apprehension.
    Pakistan, on the other hand, has maintained consistently positive relations with the United States over the course of the Kashmir conflict. The US Government viewed Pakistan as an “example of a moderate Muslim state” and valued its effort in resisting communist expansion; Pakistan joined the South-East Asian Treaty organization (SEATO), of which the purpose was to prevent communism from gaining ground in the region, as well as the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), which was modeled after NATO. Both the US and the UK supplied arms to Pakistan during this time. After the Chinese won a border conflict with India in 1962, the US decided to provide India with considerable assistance as well. However, when the United Nations called for an end to the fighting over Kashmir, the US supported this decision by cutting off arms supply to both India and Pakistan.

    https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/india-pakistan-war (+hyperlinks)

  23. Marc de Laportalière - Tensions in East China Sea
    Through the most recent events, we can see that China is extremely aggressive in its claims over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, with more and more armed warships being seen near the islands. Along with this, China demands more and more talks with Japan for an agreement. If this conflict wasn’t already troublesome, the fact that both Japan and China are the leading economic states in Asia worsens the situation. Also, since this conflict is happening at the same time as one in the South China Sea, Japan feels that China is trying to undermine its economy by controlling the fastest and cheapest trade route into Japan from the Persian Gulf. This has forced Japan to make more alliances in case of conflict. Incidentally, Japan’s defense ministry has asked for its largest budget jet with a demand of $51 Billion. Along with the governments, the populations of both countries have a growing distaste of each other. Ten years ago, 71% of the Chinese population held unfavorable views of the Japanese and 70 % of the latter held similar views for their neighbours. Now these have risen to respectively 81 and 86%. Nearly all of the countries have an aversion for the opposing country, hinting to escalation in the near future.

  24. Maximilien Tirard - Destabilization of Mali

    -Double post-
    Mali is one of Africa’s poorest nations. Yet, Timbuktu and northern Mali in general is one of the richest reservoirs of music on the continent. Music is deeply infused in its history and culture. But after the coup and subsequent uprising of 2012, northern Mali has gone under control of strict Islamist extremists, making it an artistic wasteland. MP3 and cassette player were seized and destroyed; Women were obliged to wear head-to-toe garments; smoking, alcohol, videos and any suggestions of Western culture were banned. Harsh punishments including public humiliation, whipping, and beating were imposed. These extremist groups, namely MUJAO, Ansar Dine, AQIM, and the NMLA, were pushed back by the Malian government forces with the aid of French airstrikes in January 2013. American forces were present months before, but their operations were described as “a disaster” by a senior Malian officers after soldiers defected. The french were the first to conduct successful efforts in pushing back the line which gave the extremists the cities of Nampala, Diabaly, Douentza, and Konna. Over the next few months, Malian, French, and American, forces continued to push back Islamist extremists, regaining the key cities of Timbuktu and Gao, and pushing the rebels into hiding in the northern regions of Mali. However, these swift interventions were the “easy” part of retaking Mali. The rugged, rocky expanse in the northeast where the extremists were hiding are extremely difficult for foreign armies navigate.
    Subsequently, armed conflicts have died down and a new form of war is developing: the war on terror. Recent attacks target foreigners have lead to concerns that Terrorist groups are brewing. There was a kidnapping and mass shooting at a luxury hotel in Bamako on November of 2015, killing twenty. Attacks have extended to neighboring countries, with a shooting on March 13 at a beach resort on the Coast of Ivory killing nineteen civilians. Jihadist groups such as al-Mourabitoun, a branch of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may try to derail the peace agreement that was signed in June 2015 by the Coordination of Azawad Movements.
    In September 2016, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita warned the United Nations that terrorism and crime was spreading from the northern part of the country to the center, and due to slow implementation of the peace deal and continuing insecurity, groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State were at risk of expanding.


  25. Lucca Stagno- Al Shabaab in Somalia

    Having declared war on terrorism following the 9/11 terror attacks, it is clearly against US interests to allow Al Shabaab to regain its former influence in Somalia. It is strategically located on the Horn of Africa and dominates the Gulf of Aden along with Djibouti and Yemen (both of which are in dire political and economic situations) which is the southern gateway to enter the Red Sea (and therefore the Suez Canal), one of the most important maritime pathways in the globe as far as international trading is concerned (according to Wikipedia, 11% of the world's oil passes through the Gulf of Aden. Additionally, Somalia neighbors long-time US-ally Kenya, a primarily Christian country that is targeted by Al Shabaab. Should Al Shabaab retake Somalia, Kenya would most probably be greatly affected and attacks would increase, loosening the US footholds in Eastern Africa.

  26. Pierre-Malo Vienney -- Violence in DR Congo

    The violent conflicts in DR Congo are intensely growing, involving other countries. In fact, the conflict is now international because it involves Uganda and Rwanda, but also Burundi, and lately the Great Lakes region in Kenya. William Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president, said that the international community needed to take the DR Congo conflict seriously and help deal with the negative forces because the peace and stability of the DR Congo was hinged to that of the Great Lakes Region. The conflict needs to be treated with urgency; therefore, a United Nations Great Lakes Peace Security and Cooperation Summit took place in Luanda to discuss the way of bringing lasting peace. The United Nations called the summit to discuss the peace programs in DR Congo. This shows that the conflict is expanding and affecting more communities than before.
    The main armed groups that are involved in the conflict are the Allied Democratic Forces, the oldest but least known group counting more that 1200 soldiers, the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda. The LRA counts more than 1000 combatants that use extreme brutality to violate human rights. The FDLR is one of the most powerful rebel group made of thousands of soldiers and illicitly exploiting natural resources over the eastern DR Congo.


  27. Juliette Scholler - Taliban in Afghanistan

    American troops have been present in Afghanistan since 2001. After the terrorist attacks on the twin towers on the 11th of september, 2001, former president George Bush demanded the Taliban government in Afghanistan to hand in the presumed attacker, Osama Bin Laden. Despite the multiple attempts by the Talibans to negotiate, asking the US several times to provide them proof of his guilt, and eventually suggesting a third neutral party to get involved in order to hand him in, the president interpreted them as a stubborn refusal and ordered to invade Afghanistan in order to hunt him down and prevent any attacks to happen in the future, saying that "there's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty".
    Ten years later, on the 2nd of May, 2011, a team of US special forces, led by president Barack Obama, successfully killed Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
    As of today, there are 8 400 American troops left in Afghanistan, following the president’s announcement in July. America also is helping finance the Afghan National Décence and Security Force in order to keep order and avoid any resurgence of Taliban Insurgency.


  28. Emma Ghafari - Conflict in Ukraine

    Recently, conflict in Ukraine has been on-going. Indeed, just on October 31 2016, an explosion occurred at military headquarters in the city of Kropyvnytsky where a grenade exploded leaving one person dead and three others wounded. Also, on October 29 2016, a fight in Donbas led to the death of one Ukrainian soldier as well as serious injuries for seven others.
    Russia’s main goal in dominating Ukraine is evidently to restrain the latter from drifting towards the West. The West’s getting closer to Ukraine would eventually endanger Russia internally due to the immediate military threat it would cause it.
    On a wider scale, the conflict has also created more tensions between the West and Russia; Russia, in changing Ukraine’s borders by force, is “bringing what has been considered a thing of the past back to Europe” and going against democratic values.



  29. Deniz Erdogan

    The PKK are recognized as a terrorist group internationally by the allies of Turkey. A prominent example is the United States of America (the PKK are present in the U.S Department of State list of international terrorist organisations), and the European Union. The United States especially has aided Turkey in several operations against the PKK, notably providing the necessary intelligence that allowed for the capture and incarceration of the founder and leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999. The United States also participated in joint air strikes against the PKK. Other allies of Turkey, such as Germany, also condemn the terrorist group and have imprisoned several PKK members that were found on their territory.
    While the PKK is officially considered as a terrorist group in many countries, several media sources show more sympathy towards the group in light of their efforts towards eliminating the Islamic State.

  30. Emilie Shagrin --Refugee Crisis in the EU

    Tensions on the continent have been rising because of European countries’ uncontrollable migrant flow. Notable countries are Greece or Italy, and relocation schemes are in the process of being applicated. The problem is that some of Europe’s member states, particularly those in the East, have been refusing to co-operate. Xenophobia is present as the countries attempt to welcome refugees. Hungary and Austria have notably fearful populations, as well as France. The result is that only a few thousand people have been relocated out of the 16,000 promised recently.
    Brexit’s political impact on migration is still quite unclear. Britain has been accepting minors, but a significantly small amount of people compared to the other countries. The issue of the moment is that though the UK will leave the EU, the Channel will remain 350 miles long and difficult to monitor. Refugees have indeed attempted to use it to get to the country.
    Though the Jungle in France has burned, unaccompanied minors remain at the location, and the French government has not yet made this a priority to fix.
    Overall, it can be stated that this refugee crisis is the largest Europe has seen since World War Two.



  31. On the 12th of July, the UN ruled many Chinese claims to be invalid. The UN claimed the famous "Nine Dash Line" was not valid and that none of the islands in the Spratlys were capable of generate an Exclusive Economic Zone. This ruling tragically reduces China's legitimacy in the region and dismisses any potential future oil claim as China will not hold economic sovereignty over the region. In response, China has rejected the court ruling and announced it refuses to give up any claim over the contested reef.
    On the 28th of October a Filipino fishing vessel attempted to enter the Scarborough Shoal as they saw Chinese harassment had stopped. The vessel was let in and came back with a huge load of species from the shoal. It comes as a surprise as Chinese vessels have been blockading the area for the past for years, preventing Filipino fishing vessels entrance. Despite these reports however, satellite images indicate Chinese ships are still blocking the entrance of the lagoon while Filipino ships fish just on the Scarborough Shoal's outskirts. This comes after an agreement between Duerte, president of the Philippines, and Beijing to let fishing vessels fish right outside the lagoon. Since the Chinese blockade which prevents Filipino and Chinese fishing ships from accessing the extremely rich waters in the lagoon in an attempt to preserve the environment, Chinese poachers have reportedly devastated the ecosystem by chopping off too much reef in order to extract giant clams.


  32. eliott - Kurdish Conflicts

    The Kurds have been waiting for independence for "too long" and "the time has long been ripe for it" (- Nechevran Barzani). Once Mosul is retaken from ISIS (may take up to three months), Barzani claims Kurdistan's authorities are set to renew their push for independence, organizing a referendum for a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq. However Turkey is amassing forces (tanks and troops) in Ankara, near the border with the Mosul area. They have a strong historical connnection with the city and consider they still have rights there. Turkish president Erdogan claimed to try to reestablish the territories of the Ottoman Empire, containing Mosul. Turkish Defense Minister said they will not allow the Kurdish threat to Turkey to increase, and this week he warned he will send ground troops to Iraq if Turkey feels threatened. Baghdad evidently protest repeatedly against this massive military presence on its soil, which is a violation of sovereignty. With those Kurdish-Iraqi-Turkish tensions, whatever happens now might lead to worse complication.

  33. Paul, ISIS Iraq:( reminder: I had an extension ),
    Ongoing situation in Iraq: Recently in Iraq, militias and Iraqi forces have started a massive counterattack in order to regain the strategic city of Mosul (city in northern Iraq). Apparently, this offensive seems to be a very dangerous task as, at least 6000 fighters are still defending this checkpoint and the IS still has full control over the city. However, the Iraqi forces and militias are progressively advancing in enemy territory and approaching the city of Mosul (freeing every village in which they go past). This operation is a very big deal for ISIS as Mosul is the second biggest city in Iraq and losing this city would only make it easier for ISIS’s opponents to reconquer the group’s Syrian capital of Raqqa (because many of the routes in charge of rallying supplies would be cut). Nevertheless, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seems excessively confident as he states “this total war for Iraq’s second city increases our firm belief all this is a prelude to victory” over this concern.This offensive can be decisive in the battle against the Islamic State


  34. One can claim to see the Libyan civil war(s) as a first anti-Khadafy fight which one can claim started with the 1988 Lockerbie bombings which set western countries against Khadafy and the in 2011 the people rose against Ghaddafi and thanks to NATO and the UN they were able to get finish him off ending this portion of the conflict in 2012 when the power was handed to the GNC. Then one can claim it was followed by a Benghazi centered conflict from 2012-2013 followed by a civil war as of 2014 and a war against IS since 2015. This vision of several different conflicts can be supported by the fact that each war had new players. If one sees the Libyan conflict as one never ceasing struggle for power then one can consider it a civil war from 2011 to today.
    The important people in the conflict today are: Nouri Abusahmain, president of the GNC; Fayez al-Sarraj, president of the current official government, Abu Khalid al Madani, head of Ansar-al-Sharia, Abu Nabil former senior ISL leader (died December 4th), and Salah Badi, commander of Libyan dawn.

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    1. Olivine Kashmir Conflict

      11/9 The list of groups involved in the Kashmir conflict is long and complex. It is important to note that the army largely rules Pakistan despite the democratic façade and that an ongoing conflict with India is in fact in the army’s interest.


      The Indian army faces a number of opposing factions that do not all share common goals: Seven militant groups in Kashmir and Pakistan, the Pakistani army and the Pakistani government all try to thwart India’s plans but have different goals and methods.

      Lashkar-e- Jhangvi virulently anti-shiite aims to found a Sunni Pakistan. (1995)


      Sipah-e-Sahaba is the terrorist group at the origin of LeJ, They want to eliminate other religions especially shiites (1985)


      Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan pro-taliban group who aims to put islamist law in place everywhere in the world (more recent 2007)


      Lashkar-e-Taiba, militant group whose interests align with the Pakistani government unlike the others above. They wish to reconcile Kashmir with Pakistan at all cost but do not believe in attacking Muslims but otherwise do use violent methods to achieve their goals. They would accept a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict.


      Jaish-e-Mohammad wishes to put in place the sharia in Pakistan and unite Kashmir to Pakistan at all cost


      These five militant organisations are all Sunni Pakistani terrorist groups who seek to spread their extremist views of Sunni islam using force and violence and all side with Al Qaeda.

      Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is a taliban Kashmiri group that aims to join Indian controlled Kashmir and Jammu to Pakistan


      Jammu and Kashmir liberation front is a Kashmir based organization comprised of two factions: both want self determination for Kashmir but one has non violent methods and try to convince Indians and Pakistanis this way to achieve their goals. The aforementioned group was in part created to counter this organisation.


  36. On top of all the propaganda North-Koreans are forced to absorb, the population is highly surveilled. This consequently confronts countless rights and “freedoms” the western world would define as Human rights. In the US, citizens are born with undeniable and basic rights which aim to make them equal regardless of their social, economic and political status. These rights are as well intended to maximize one's freedom as long as they don’t compromise someone else’s rights. These rights include the freedom of speech, of movement, of opinion, of private property and many more. However, the DPRK has an entirely different definition of what freedom and rights are. First, a North-Korean doesn’t have the right to leave the country or his area of residence without asking for a hard to obtain permission by their work-unit. So all rights concerning traveling or moving are denied. Then, the rights of speech and information as well as religion and opinion do not exist. The fact is, the internet is highly censored and expressing your ideas against the system will only get you publicly killed.
    This lack of freedom and this omnipresent feeling of oppression has led hundreds of families to flee the country. Even though leaving it is extremely dangerous some people decide to risk their lives.

    "The People's Challenges - Liberty in North Korea." Liberty in North Korea The Peoples Challenges Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.