Saturday, October 15, 2016

Phase 1, week 4

Hi all

(and sorry for posting so late)

Here is the complete rubric for the essay you will have to write:

The origin, length, general evolution, and current status of the conflict;
the names, motivations and relative strengths of each actor or belligerent;
any international or global threat posed by an escalation of the conflict.

You most likely have most of this information already. If you don't, you have two more entries before the essay is due. If you have more, it's allowed in the essay, but keep in mind the length you have to respect.
If you really feel like you could write the essay now, I would advise you to start doing Phase 2 stuff: find a good map and start to mark important places, and keep track of current events.

Please remember to copy the url of your sources into your message (or send it to me if you can't). Also, this week, there is a 200-word limit on the post!

Good luck

Mr. H


  1. Marine Tallon - South China Sea

    After the UNCLOS proceedings, China indeed rejected the ruling, as expected. However, the issue of Chinese island claims is less and less about economics and more about the militarization of the body of water: the South China Sea is becoming a key defensive zone for China. First of all, China released “little blue men”, who are in fact militarized fishermen, who go out in the disputed area and clash with ships from other nations, both commercial and naval. Next, China’s artificial island building project entered a new level: Beijing installed radar stations and artillery pieces on these islands, some of which include 2700 meter runways that can accommodate Chinese fighter jets and air missiles. China’s goal is to now transform the international sea lane into a Chinese controlled area.

  2. Rémi Masia-Depardieu, Destabilization of Mali
    Two Major movements shape the Northern conflicts in the North. The first one is the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). This Tuareg movement aims to convert Northern Mali into an independent state, Azawad, where all the ethnic groups in the North would be equally valorized. It was founded in 2011 during the Libyan civil war, and its leader is Bilal Ag Cherif. The FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Azawad) , an Arab group prioritizing self-determination; Ganda Koy, a Songhai militant group; and Ganda Izo, a Fulani militant group, can be considered as allies to the MNLA. The coalition has lately lost power, and mainly lost the control of the cities of Gao and Kidal to the second main movement in the North, considered as the “religious coalition.” It brings together firstly Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an Algerian and Mauritanian group whose leader is Abdel Malek Droukdel. Secondly, this movement includes Ansar Al-Dine, Iyad Ag Ghali’s Tuareg and Arab group. It controls three main cities : Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal. Ansar Al-Dine and AQIM are the religious police in the region. Finally, the movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA), who plays an active role in the city or region of Gao, in terms of defense of the city against MNLA, drugs business, and recruitment. This religious coalition wants to instore the Sharia law, in other words, the Islamic law.

  3. Anna Mulbert - Yemeni health system perishing
    First off, some statistics: 14 million citizens on Yemeni land have limited if no access to any healthcare, 600 000 pregnant women are left with limited/no medical support, 10 000 children are estimated to die of preventable diseases and 600 healthcare facilities have been destroyed (20% of the total).
    Thousands of people are dying from easily treatable diseases, proof of the health system disintegrating. Drugs disappear from the markets or are sold at an astronomical price, rendering them unaffordable to all. Necessary medical equipment is rooted at ports as medical convoys, ambulances and entire hospitals are raided by never-ending airstrikes.
    This august, 19 people died when a Medicins Sans Frontières (MSF) Hadjjah hospital was destroyed. This strike being the latest of an incalculable list, the charity withdrew all international workers and forbid their local volunteers to work, considering it impossible to carry on treating patients when their own employees are being killed on after the other, in an execution-block manner.
    Practically no OB/GYN treatment is available, only undertrained midwives remain. Women in need of a Caesarean will only leave their house as a compulsory last resort, and will arrive first at a closed hospital, then at one lacking a surgeon capable of performing a C-section; they might make it to a third, but even then, either they will die, or their new-borns, or both.

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  5. Billy McGovern --Israeli Palestine Conflict

    Some of the major characters of the Israeli Palestine conflict:

    Theodor Hertzl: Austro-Hungarian journalist and writer, creator of modern zionism

    Yasser Arafat: Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, founded Fatah political party in 1959.
    Mahmoud Abbas: Palestine PM, co-founder of Fatah, successor of Yasser Arafat

    Yitzhak Rabin: Israeli PM, second Camp David with Arafat and Bill Clinton. Assassinated in 1995.
    Ariel Sharon: Israeli PM, starts peace negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas after death of Yasser Arafat,and responsable of the retreat of Israeli colonies from Gaza strip in 2004, greatly rejected by Israeli right wing.
    Ehud Barak: Former PM, current Minister of Defense.

    United States:
    Bill Clinton: Witness and supervisor to the 2000 Camp David Summit.
    Jimmy Carter: Helped establish the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel in 1978.

    Anwar Sadat: Third Egyptian president, took part in the Camp David accords of 1978. Assassinated in 1981 by Egyptian fundamentalists.

  6. Part of Israeli - Plaestinian History, summed up: (199 words if you don't count the title!)

    1969-1970 Israel-Egypt War: After 6 day war, Israel had taken Egypt’s Sinai peninsula near Suez canal-- Egypt tries to regain their territory. Ended with ceasefire. No change in border.

    1970-1971: PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) thrown out of Jordan - PLO attempt to create their own state within Jordan - Jordan king feels threatened. Throws PLO out. They take refuge in Lebanon.

    09/1972: Murder of Israeli athletes at Olympics by Palestinians - Palestinians wanted the release of their prisoners in Israel.

    1973: Yom Kippur War - Egypt and Syria allied, attack Israel from Suez and Golan height side. US+USSR don’t want this war to get out of hand-- they don’t want to intervene, they don’t want either side to win; they pressure a ceasefire. Israel loses confidence and the image of an invincible country; they rely more on the US. Arabs gain confidence.

    13/09/1993- PLO and Israel (Rabin) sign peace accords in Oslo but…

    Rabin is assassinated in 1995, violence continues on: knife attacks, rockets, human bombs, Israel assassinated the PLO leader, PLO assassinates Israeli minister of tourism, Israel assassinates military leader of Hamas and builds a wall outside the West Bank. The countrie(s) are still at war today.

  7. Leah Sadoff- Al-Shabaab

    Sources do not know how much land al-Shabaab controls precisely, but we do know that they have territory/ camps in all the regions apart from Somaliland. Their way of keeping control over these lands is fairly simple. They impose the shari’a laws, they have also banned certain objects and activities, for example women are not aloud to wear bras and men are forbidden to shave their beards. Other ways to enforce their ruling is by raping women, forcing men and children into being recruits as fighters. If they do not abide by the rules then they have a punishment which could consist of amputating their hands off if they stole something, al-Shabaab fighters even stone women if they are accused of adultery. Their final way of keeping control is by spreading chaos and violence, which is also their pattern of violence. They most often use car bombings, gunfights, and suicide bombers. Their tactic is not only to take over land but it is also aiming at killing people with authority such as the Somali president’s nephew, or peace negotiators… Their attacks are not only in Somalia they are also done in Kenya with the sma intentions.!/conflict/al-shabab-in-somalia

  8. Theodore Fevre - Taliban in Afghanistan
    Throughout the years numerous Taliban leaders have been assassinated by the US military and immediately replaced, however they all share the same reasons for violence. The founder of the Taliban group, Mullah Mohammed Omar died in April 2013, but was only confirmed dead two years later. His successor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour was assassinated by a US drone strike in 2015 and gave place to the current Taliban leader, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada. Before his death, Mansour's spokesman held an interview where he stated that the Taliban groups' goal was to enforce the sharia law, form an Islamic government in Afghanistan as well as remove foreign forces from the country. More precisely they seek renegociations of the Afghan constitution which was promised to them with the US intervention in 2001. Seeking positions in the ministries of justice and religious affairs is their goal as well. Since his speech, the Afghan government has been open to discussions with the Taliban, under one condition: that they cease to carry out destructive attacks. Unfortunately these negociations may never happen due to the irrationality of the terrorist group who endlessly continue to carry out attacks and kill large numbers of people.

  9. Julie Clar - Boko Haram in Nigeria

    Depending on the sources, Boko Haram has from 9000 to 15000 or more fighters. According to “Reuters”, “Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium at the start of 2015, but Nigeria’s army, aided by troops from neighbouring countries, has recaptured most of the territory.”
    On another note, on Thursday, October 13th, twenty-one of the two hundred school girls kidnapped in Chibok two years ago were release by the terrorist group. Thanks to the negotiations in between the Swiss government and the International Red Cross and Boko Haram, the Nigerian girls were found in good health. They have not yet made a statement or told the story of their kidnapping as they are still resting. The government indeed hopes that they will be able to negotiate the release of the hundreds of other girls still missing. Additionally, the Nigerian military has been recently conducting a large-scale offensive in the Sambisa Forest which pledged itself loyal to Boko Haram last year.


  10. Sophie Lemmerman - conflict between India and Pakistan

    In May of 2014, newly elected Indian prime minister Narendra Modi invited Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif to attend his inauguration. There were high hopes that the relationship between India and Pakistan would improve; it was the first time since the partition of the British Indian Empire in 1947 that a prime minister from either country would attend the inauguration of the other. However, the short-lived optimism turned to dust when India cancelled talks with Pakistan’s foreign minister in August of 2014 after the Pakistani high-commissioner in India met with Kashmiri separatist leaders. And so the never-ending hostility between the two countries – which has been ongoing ever since 1947 – resumed. After having fought three wars over Kashmir and fired multiple shots across the de facto Line of Control, it is likely that further conflict will soon erupt between the two nuclear-armed states. Therefore, it is in the United States’ interest to help placate Indo-Pakistani tension and reduce the possibility of a nuclear war.


  11. Paul, ISIS Iraq,
    Individual anti-ISIS (militias, governments acting on their own, personal groups,...) groups have different goals and objectives in Iraq; as a matter of fact Russia’s involvement in Iraq remains unclear. On one hand people/experts believe that they’re simply fighting a terrorist organization, but on the other hand they seem to be saying that the Russian’s are just fighting to protect the Assad regime (supporting Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad). Some people even accuses Russian forces are targeting more moderate groups that oppose Assad’s regime.
    Some militia’s are also present in iraq: most of them of funded by foreign countries such as Iran ( Shiite ) and saudi arabia ( sunni ),the Badr Organization,Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. After ISIS seized a huge chunk of Iraq the Shiite militia (backed up and financially supported by Iran) rose and tried to counter ISIS. Even though these armed forces are fighting for the right cause, they are very brutal and violent as they’ve abducted more than 200 Sunni residents and destroyed their homes.

  12. Marc de Laportalière - Tensions in East China Sea
    Even though the territorial conflict in the East China Sea has lasted since the 1970’s, tensions have arisen in the past few years due to the addition of tension in the South China Sea, over China’s aggressive behavior over these territorial matter. Moreover, approximately two hundred and thirty different Chinese fishing boats have been sighted near the disputed isles and, more globally, in the disputed waters. Among these ships were multiple patrol vessels, which were, in part, armed. Also, the Japanese warship Yudachi claims that a Chinese frigate locked its firing radar on them, even though they did not fire. This, along with multiple other incidents of the same type have led Japan to argue that China wants to shift the balance of power in the conflict through intimidation. American State Department Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau claimed that the U.S: “oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands.” This shows unification against China’s increasingly menacing actions in its maritime territory.

  13. Romane Centis War against ISIS in Iraq

    Timeline 2014-2015

    The war started in 2014 when the Islamic group took control of 70% of the Anbar Province. They took control of Mosul, the second most populous city in Iraq. the group was believed to have around 2000 to 3000 fighters, but it was soon understood that this number was well underestimated. On the 29th of June, ISIS announced the establishment of a new leader. On the 24th, they blew up the Mosque and tomb of the Prophet Yunus in Mosul. On the 13th of August, U.S. airstrikes and kurdish forces broke the ISIS siege of Mount Sinjar. On the 31st, the US, France, Australia and UK sent humanitarian aid drops to the regions that had suffered. In september of the same year, the US sent 250 ne troops to protect the American personnel while British military forces dropped a bomb on a heavy weapon position used by the islamic group. Australia also proposed 200 special forces to the Kurds 600 more troops were sent in. On the 21st of October, ISIS took land north of the Sinjar Mountains, cutting the area’s escape route to kurdish land. On the 2nd of March 2015, the Second Battle of Tikrit began and the ISIS group was overcome by the government troop and pro-Iranian Shiite militias after hard months of fighting. A suicide bomber detonated in a crowded marketplace in Khan Bani Saad during a celebration, killing 130 people and wounding another 130 more on July 17th. ISIS forces lost Sinjar on November 13 to Kurdish Forces. On the 28th of December Iraq declared that Ramadi had been liberated from ISIS forces and was now under the control of the Iraqi government.

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

    This week, conflicts in Congo continued leading to the death of eight civilians in the crossfire in eastern Beni town between the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the DRC army.
    Mak Hazukay, the DRC army's spokesman, said that the civilians were shot during the confrontation of the army and the rebels. The ADF was founded in Uganda in 1995 to overthrow a president but then moved to the DR Congo and is now among the numerous armed groups seeking for land and territory to use the the minerals and resources present in abundance on the congolese soil. This event has opened the debate on human rights violation, and many organizations criticized their government for not helping the Congolese civilians.
    In addition, this week, political actors have reached an agreement on the best way to manage the country after Kabila’s terms. They decided to have an election in April 2018. Joseph Kabila will remain in office with a prime minister of the opposition until the new president is elected.
    Unfortunately, most of Congo’s rebel and opposition groups boycotted the negotiations; it announces that the conflicts and violences will not yet cease.


  15. Being a highly authoritarian country, North Korea uses numerous forms of propaganda.
    First, leaders such as Kim Il-sung or even Kim Jong-un have created a personality cult for themselves. In other words the “People of North Korea” have to worship these leaders. For instance, in Pyongyang there is a 22 meters high statue of Kim Il-Sung in bronze. In fact the entire Mansu Hill is filled with monuments and consequently propaganda. People in North Korea are forced to bow down in front of these statues in order to show respect.
    Another interesting use of propaganda is during celebrations or important speeches by Kim Jong-un : everyone is forced to clap and cheer regardless of what he says. If they don’t, they “disappear”.
    So, North Korea desperately tries to impress within its country as well as internationally, however, this utopian society just doesn’t seem that perfect . All the “disappeared” people and the artificial joy and pride portrayed in the media shows fear and bizarreness

    1. "Le Culte Des Kim, "religion" D'Etat De La Corée Du Nord." - Actualité. Le Monde, 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

  16. Cassiopeia, Libya
    In recent days Tunisia has expressed its desire in involvement in his neighbor’s conflict on the US’s side. October15th at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli the GNC briefly regained authority thanks to a short-lived coup; all those involved have been arrested. Today most of the fighting is located in or near Benghazi, the Sirte basin, and the capital Tripoli. The UN is currently investigating on human rights violations in the country. IS has been gaining support whereas the UN backed government is losing support. The people in Libya are struggling to get by due to power cuts, inflation, the Libyan Dinar loosing value, and insecurity which causes a certain indifference towards politics. They are ready to support anybody who can provide security and services, which none seem to be doing. A demonstration was held a few weeks ago in support of the government and against foreign nations intervening in Libya. Some claim this civil war started in 2014. However after Kaddafi’s death in 2011, armed disputes and instability never did subside. This helps argues that the current conflict started in 2011, or that it is but a mere continuation of the previous one, a continual struggle for control over the country.


  18. Boris Hullin - Cartel Wars in Mexico

    The drug wars in Mexico have as a main consequence one the country daily violence on the streets, and constant insecurity. Mexican press agency Grupo Reforma state that drug wars related murders have been multiplied by six in the past decade, going from 2,119 in 2006 to 12,358 in 2011. Cartels, further than leading wars for territory in between them, employ hitmen to kill anyone who gets in their way. Mexican cities have among the world’s murder rates, such as Acapulco with 104,73 murders per 100,000 habitants. The gang’s hitmen do not fear the corrupt institutions, and often act in broad daylight. In cities, a new style of spectacular assassination has spread in which fearless and well trained cartel members execute targets in highly frequented places and escape rapidly. For example, in Acapulco, murder on the beach with jet-ski escapes have become a common thing. In rural areas of the country, the people of Mexico have started well-organized armed militias to fight the cartels, to substitute the corrupt police forces.
    The violence threatens the tourism industry. Employees of tourism-related businesses in the main touristic destinations have shown their fear, for the activity is usually the only source of employment in these cities. Although they are not targets, tourists are frequently victims of extortion, kidnapping, carjacking, or exposed to shoot-outs.

  19. Domitille- Conflict in Ukraine

    The conflict in Ukraine does not seem like it will be coming to an end anytime soon. As recent as yesterday night, on October 15th, Russian forces shelled a hospital in Popasna. Yesterday as well, there were forty-three violations of the ceasefire at Donbas. To this day, Russian army trucks are still positioned in Donetsk; in the last few hours there has been heavy shelling near Talakivka. Furthermore, many Russian fighters have been reported dead and wounded in Novoazovs'k hospital. All of this goes to show that the tensions in Ukraine are still extremely far from being over, and violence continues to go on, with repetitive shelling that damage entire cities and require massive recovery work. This conflict also has international consequences. Russia’s annexation of Ukraine could alter the relations between Russia and the West, that might see Russia as a threat since it has been trying to reshape countries and change borders by force.

  20. Ambre Perron - Civil War in South Sudan

    According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the conflict in South Sudan is worsening. Yet, it does not come as much of a surprise. Outside countries and organizations have attempted to put an end to the conflict with little results. Of course, the presence of UN Peacekeepers cannot be discarded. They have insured the safety of thousands of South Sudanese and the endeavor to reach peace agreements has been constant. On the other hand, other attempts have been less effective. The East African Inter-Governmental Authority which includes South Sudan’s neighboring countries, has not kept its promises. Previously, IDAG had threatened to freeze South Sudan’s assets as well as put in place other “punitive measures.” Yet these threats did not proceed. The escalation in the overall status of the conflict has not help reform the initial disagreements that were present between Kiir and Machar at the beginning of their presidency. Rumours went around that “Machar and other leading political figures from a variety [of] ethnic groups began to challenge Kiir’s leadership of the ruling party” mentions the Enough Project. Whether a coup d’etat on Machar’s side was planned is unsure but the dissatisfaction regarding infrastructure and education still present today is a major factor reflecting on the president’s image.!/conflict/civil-war-in-south-sudan

  21. Elise du Crest- War in Yemen
    At his request that the UN authorize military intervention to “protect Yemen and to deter the Houthi aggression”, Hadi, a US ally in America’s War on Terrorism has cooperated in their numerous drone attacks in the country against AQAP. In order to prevent Al Qaeda from gaining too much power and territory in Yemen, the US has joined forces with the Hadi and Saudi Arabia to help restore a stable Yemeni government. A stable situation would help expel AQAP from the region, because they continue to take advantage of the chaos.
    Today, the Houthi forces control the north-western part of the country, including Sanaa, and all the way down to Al-Baida. The government controls a very small south western portion of the Yemeni territory, and part of the eastern side of the country. Al-Qaeda has increased its operations over the last few years and now controls the southern half of the country, from Aden on the west side to Al Mukalla on the east side. These three groups are now fighting to stay in control of their territories and attempting to gain more, because the rest of the country does not officially belong to any one group anymore.

  22. Olivine Silier --- Kashmir conflict

    17/10 Despite the cease-fire that India and Pakistan agreed on in 2003, new violence has occurred this last year beginning in January 2016 in Pathankot when pro pakistani militias attacked the Indian military airbase. From 2008 to 2010, widespread protests demanding an independent Jammu and Kashmir have been repressed by the Indian army killing protesters which lead to this inevitable show of violence.

    The death of Burhan Wani commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, the main militant group in Kashmir, last July infuriated all of the Kashmir and Jammu population. Burhan was famous in Kashmir,. The young, well educated man was the symbol of resistance and seen as the head of this just cause in Kashmir and the head of a terrorist organisation who corrupted the Kashmir youth by convincing them to turn to terror. The militants retaliated in mid September during their raid against an Indian military base in Uri (a city in Indian held Kashmir). The latest events of october with the ‘surgical attacks’ are probably in retaliation to the last raid lead by the militants.

    The situation will unfortunately only become worse as the UN refuses to interfere and India refuses to come to a peace agreement.

  23. Tim d'Aboville--The Syrian Civil War

    The recent updates concerning the ongoing war in Syria indicate that the military situation there is very unstable. This is because it’s not just a civil war, but a cold war now, opposing Russia and the United States. Putin’s army regularly bombs terrorist groups, which, concerns anyone opposed to Assad’s regime, and the US currently supports the rebels. Although there are no official troops from either Russia or the US fighting on Syrian ground, the Turkish army has sent tanks and soldiers in the northern part of Aleppo. Obviously, the Syrian army, the rebels, and terrorist groups such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda, also have men fighting each other, mostly in, but not limited to, Aleppo. Assad has recently admitted in an interview that Russian help has helped him take the upper-hand over the rebels, and that it would be a very “strategic and political victory” to regain the eastern part of Aleppo. The US and the Kremlin are currently trying to find a solution to their conflict, however Putin doesn’t appear to be ready to stop his military interventions in Syria which he deems important, and the US doesn’t seem to be willing to change its mind either.

  24. Ito Choho - Burundi
    To understand the motives of the Burundian conflict and the politics of East Africa in general, it is important to know the root of the Hutu/Tutsi tensions. Both groups have been living in the same region for hundreds of years and consequently have the same language and traditions, so a cultural or racial difference is virtually nonexistent and insignificant. This conflict is more about economic differences: Four hundred years back, the Tutsis were cattle-herders, while the Hutus were soil-tillers. This made the Tutsi people superior economically, and has not changed since: according to the Congolese historian Georges Izangola, “People used to be Tutsi or Hutu, depending on the proximity to the king. If you were close to the king, you owned wealth, you owned a lot of cattle, you are a Tutsi. If you are far away from the king, you are a cultivator, you don’t own much cattle, you are a Hutu.”
    Colonialism worsened this phenomenon as the Belgian occupation gave privileges to the Tutsis and made Rwandans and Burundians carry cards to indicate their ethnicity. It is therefore no wonder that after both countries became independent, Burundi suffered a civil war (1993-2006) and Rwanda saw a genocide of the Tutsi by the Hutu government destroy its country in 1994.

  25. Matteo Valderrama- Violences in DRC
    On Sunday the parliamentary and presidential elections where delayed by 18 months and postponed until April 2018 causing unrest within the country. While the situation with the rebel armed groups has calmed down within the country, and the illegal mining being their main issue, opposition groups have taken place in protest against the current president Joseph Kabila who they claim is doing everything in his power to stay at the head of the country. US government. The elections were supposed to take place in the next month however the government says they were unable to update the voter register in time. Diplomats and analysts say that this may be because of the government deliberately cutting off the funds for the electoral commission. The parliament ruled that Kabila may stay in presidency until the election of a new president. While Kabila states that he, in no way, wishes to change the constitution like the neighboring countries Rwanda and Uganda, in order to stay president, his point of view is dubiously funded. On September 19th, in one of these protest, dozens of protestors were killed and the headquarters of six opposing groups were burnt down leading to the sanctioning of the US.

  26. Kelcie
    North Korea Crisis
    (I was on a class trip last week and unable to upload anything, which is why I've done more here.)
    This past year, there have been provocative actions from North Korea. They have conducted 2 nuclear tests and they have launched a Musudan missile and submarine launched ballistic missiles. The UN office has also reported North Korea as being responsible for crimes against humanity. Despite this, no military action has been taken against the country by the United States because although it is anticipated that they will continue tofurther their nuclear capability, and they have threatened the United States, they have not yet done anything bad enough for military action to be taken. Instead, in response, a lot of countries have put sanctions on North Korea.
    The South Korean president, in a speech she made on Armed Forces day, October 1st, talks about their position when it comes to North Korea: "Our nation will do all it can to address the provocations and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the North Korean Regime". South Korea places itself as the good guys, as saviors. She associates the words freedom and hope to their country: "the land of freedom-the Republic of Korea". Alongside South Korea is the United States who has the goal to stop communism, promote democracy(which is why they interfered in the Korea in the first place during the Korean War), and be safe from any nuclear threat posed by North Korea. On the other side, China has an alliance with North Korea that it is reluctant to abandon, they try to maintain the stability of the Kim Jong Un's regime. However, North Korea's unstable behavior has caused worry in China and debate arises when it comes to whether maintaining ties is strategic or a liability when it comes to economic ties, refugee issues and nuclear safety.

  27. Emilie Shagrin-- refugee crisis in EU

    Countries differ in their responses to refugees’ arrival and attempted integration. Refugee distribution in itself is problematic, as many countries lack motivation. Europe’s 2015 budget to manage refugees was about 10 billion euros and yet it’s unclear as to where most of it has been going.
    Countries like Hungary and Austria have in fact used their population's’ fear of refugees to gain electoral votes.
    In France, the Jungle is to be shut down, for the migrants to be divided all over the country. The date of closure is unclear because the French government does not know what to do to care for the 1,022 unaccompanied minors living inside the camp.
    Greece is struggling to manage its share of Europe’s migrant funds as more people come into the country.
    Brexit’s impact on the refugee situation is still unclear, though the British government has attempted to discourage the welcoming of migrants.
    Border stress test have been taking place over the last month as unease grows in all the countries.
    Meanwhile, some people such as British socialist C. Moraes believe that the EU states must resettle more asylum seekers as humanitarian aid is insufficient.
    Immigration remains a leading concern for Europe.


  28. Lucca Stagno- Al Shabaab in Somalia
    A few names,

    Ahmad Umar: current Emir of Al-Shabaab following the death of Ahmed Godane in a US air strike in 2014. He served as Godane's superior advisor before the latter's death. Prior to this he held positions of high prestige within the organization such as Deputy Governor of the Lower Juba region (2008) and governor of the Bay and Bakool regions (2009) before rising up to being the head of the interior department in 2013. (Bounty for his head $6,000,000)

    Ahmed Godane: Godane was the Secretary General of the Executive Council of the Islamic Courts Union of Somalia before becoming al Shabaab's first Emir in 2007 following the dissolution of the organization. He pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2010 making it part of the list of terrorist groups the United States has declared war upon. His ideology was one of global Jihad (hence his allegiance to Al Qaeda) unlike Umar's more national fighting to "reclaim" Somalia. (Bounty of $7,000,000 before death in a US air strike in 2014.

    Hassan Sheikh Mohamud: current President of Somalia, the first since the Somali Civil War (1991), and the founder and chairman of the Peace and Development Party (PDP). His rise to presidency was met with great disappointment and violence from the part of Al Shabaab who declared they would continue to fight the democratically government to put in place the Shariah law. His efforts to reunite the fragmented Somalia of today and ensure a maximum security in government controlled areas have won him international acclamation. Al Shabaab have been trying to assassinate him in multiple occasions since his election.
    Source: Wikipedia


    The PKK has many ties with several other ethnically kurdish groups in the middle east, as a growing sense of international pan-Kurdish identity begins to emerge in the region. One of the groups affiliated with the PKK are the YPG, the People's Protection Units, main military force of the Federation of Northern Syria. The two groups frequently trade together and give each other support in the form of troops. A large number of the YPG is also composed of Turkish citizens, joining the group via a connection through the Turkish based PKK. To add to this fact, Turkey does not officially distinguish the YPG from the PKK, accentuating the tight relationship between the two groups.

  30. David Ripayre - The Uighur conflict in China

    (I forgot to detail the overall historical background so I'll do it in this post)
    Islam being a very important part of Uighur culture, and having a different language related to Turkish has favored their thirst for independence towards Chinese government.
    An increasing number of Han ethnicity in the newly majorly developed Xinjiang region (40% of the population) because of the increase in qualified Han Chinese from eastern provinces and military troops in the Xinjiang region has created socioeconomic tensions between the rich and favored young Chinese Han.
    Xinjiang has only been under Chinese control since the 18th century, a brief East Turkestan state sa declared in 1949 but in the same year it soon became part of communist China.
    Han culture has been gradually taking over Uighur culture creating resentment in the Uighur community. This tension has caused firstly street manifestations and protests before violent terrorist actions took over.

  31. Looking back at the US’s military history, Americans have learned --the hard way-- that fighting a war genuinely does not lead to peace. Barack Obama was consequently elected under that pretext. However, regardless of Obama’s efforts, it is exactly what happened after the US’s military involvement in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. Following Obama’s interview by Fox News, he openly claimed that his “worst mistake” was intervening in the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi. The reason being, they managed to win the war, nonetheless, they did not maintain stability and peace within Libya. As a result, this allowed multiple militias and terrorist groups to start gaining control of this unstable and divided country and hence induced a 5 year old civil war still raging on.

  32. The North Korean conflict has two different facets, on one part there is a frozen conflict between the communist North and the capitalist South ongoing since the Korean War that ended in 1953. On the other hand, the more pressing issue is North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. There are 6 countries involved in the conflict: North, South Korea, China, Russia, The United States of America and Japan. These countries have taken part in discussions on how to handle the crisis since 2003 called the six party talks. North Korea rejoined these discussions in 2006 convinced by China, and has since denuclearized a bit.
    North Korea, at the center of the conflict, has been going through famine and poverty under Kim Jong-Il’s absolute power and excluding itself from the rest of the world. The United States, who helped South Korea in the Korean War and has had troops in South Korea since then, and Japan, who used to occupy Korea and were harsh in their control, are both resented by North Korea and therefore particularly threatened of the nuclear weapon and long range missile development. South Korea and China are worried that the regime will collapse. South Korea, because of its close proximity is scared of the chaos that a regime collapse would bring and with economic and humanitarian help has tried to prevent it. China, a traditional ally of North Korea and its biggest trading partner, wants to avoid a refugee crisis and has been opposing any harsh sanctions that could lead to that. The Soviet Union was an ally of North Korea in the Korean War and today as Russia simply is reluctant to be responsible for sanctions imposed on North Korea as it wants a route through the country for natural gas trading with South Korea to be easier.

  33. Juliette Debray - Boko Haram

    There recently has been a power struggle in the high ranks of the Boko Haram group. Abubakar Shekau has been the group’s leader since 2009; since his appointment, he has shifted the main targets from federal and state buildings to civilians, made their new goal an islamic state that would replace the Nigerian government, and is responsible for the delocalisation of 2.2 million, the death of over 20 000, and the rape, abduction, and enslavement of thousands. He considers himself part of one of the most violent branches of Islam (I am not able to find the source, or another, that permit me to know the branch of Islam he belongs to), and therefore did not mind orchestrating the attacks on a mosque and a Muslim restaurant in Jos last year. An audio message circulated around Boko Haram’s home state of Borno rumored to be Shekau’s third in command speaking. In it, he complains to ISIS belligerents that Shekau was ruthless, going as far as killing, with those of the group who refuted his plans against muslims, especially his commanders. This is thought to have pushed ISIS leaders to declare Abu Musad Al-Barnawi, supposed son of founder Mohammad Yusuf, as the new Boko Haram leader.

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