Monday, December 19, 2016

Phase 2, week 5-6

Hi all

This is the second-to-last post of this phase. It's due on the Monday before we come back, and it can cover the whole time since your last post.
Don't forget to check previous posts for all the rules,
Also, don't hesitate to check last year's posts or even the comments of others doing your conflict for source ideas.

Good luck!

Mr. H

40 comments:

  1. Over the past 2 weeks, the state of affairs when it comes to North Korea has not changed much, however there has been information about the country, its thoughts and its plans. This information comes from Thae Yong Ho who is a defector of North Korea. About 6 months after leaving his post there as a senior diplomat, he talked about the country in a conference in Seoul on December 27th. Foreign reporters were not allowed into the conference room, still reporters from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have still managed to gather information about what was said. According to an article entitled "North Korea's Defector Speaks" from the Wall Street Journal, Mr Thae divulged North Korea's plan to accelerate the nuclear program in order to have functioning nuclear weapons "at all cost by the end of 2017", says Mr Tate (http://www.wsj.com/articles/north-koreas-defector-speaks-1482970623). Choe Sang Un in her article of the New York Times called "North Korea's Nuclear Hopes Have Surged, Defector says" reports that the defector explained that this sudden desire to advance nuclear weapons is due to the belief that it is a great time to do it as both the leader of the United States and the leader of South Korea are changing (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/world/asia/thae-yong-ho-north-korea-defector.html). However an even more alarming message sent by Mr. Tate is that the solution that has been used so far will not work, North Korea cannot be payed into stopping its nuclear program "As long as Kim Jong Un is in power, North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons, even if it's offered $1 trillion or 10$ trillion in rewards". The New York Times article then talks about Mr Tate's reports that the North Korean government knows that China will not put too many sanctions on the country, something that might have stopped them from advancing their nuclear weaponry since they do a majority of their trade with China. Indeed they know that China is scared that putting too many sanctions on North Korea will cause the collapse of the regime. They do not want Korea unified because if it is the South's government that stands the country would be strong allies with America, which is threatening as it is situated right at the border. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/world/asia/thae-yong-ho-north-korea-defector.html)
    Another reason that has circulated for China fearing the collapse of the regime is that they do not want a refugee crisis. If Mr. Tate is saying the truth, the crisis will aggravate this next year and stopping it will be an even bigger challenge than before.

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  2. - Breitbart reports that around 400 migrants stormed the barrier in Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on December 9th. This migrant wave would be “the largest in over a decade”, leading to around 130 injured migrants and 2 police officers (Chris Tomlinson).
    - A French government local representative declared on December 12 the completion of the Calais barrier between France and the UK, which was financed by the UK (EU Observer).
    - Recent developments attract criticism of human rights activists: changes to EU-Turkey deal, up-coming returns to Greece and migration compacts with African countries shows tendency towards “shirking” and “outsourcing” instead of sharing responsibility, according to Humans Rights Watch and Iverna McGowan, Amnesty International EU director. Humans Rights Watch adds that this focus on deterrence is “at the cost of safe and legal options for refugees”, and that encouraging foreign countries to take responsibility for migrants risks also encouraging the implementation of abusive policies.
    - Many news outlets (ABC News, Face 2 Face Africa, Times of Malta, Eyewitness News…) write about a 610 million euro fund to Niger proposed in a “money-for-migration” deal on December 15th, as the Nigerian town of Agadez is a major transit route for migrants seeking passage to Europe. EU Observer and Mark Babatunde in Face 2 Face report that in the past 6 months Niger has reduced migrants travelling to Europe from 70,000 to 1,500.

    Chris Tomlinson: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/12/10/400-migrants-storm-spanish-enclave-north-africa/
    Iverna McGowan:
    https://euobserver.com/opinion/136237
    Humans Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/12/13/eu-restore-rights-values-migration-policy
    EU Observer:
    https://euobserver.com/tickers/136294
    Mark Batabunde: https://face2faceafrica.com/article/eu-offers-niger-republic-money-to-help-block-off-migrant-route

    - The website of the German Federal Foreign Office reported that Germany is providing 48 million euros for an initiative launched recently by the EU and International Organization for Migration. The initiative focuses on making migration routes safer (one of the main dangers being smugglers) and providing help to migrants returning to their country of origin voluntarily.
    - In light of Turkey’s ever closer ties with Russia, the EU has opened negotiations for a trade deal with Russia in hopes of improving EU-Turkey relations (Andrew Rettman). In exchange for respect of democracy from Turkey, the EU would give more liberty to Turkey in trading with Europe, “boosting bilateral trade, which is already worth €140 billion a year, by over €30 billion.” (Andrew Rettman)
    - More anti-immigrant protest arises following the truck attack in Berlin that killed 12 people; EU president Juncker is still determined to promote “openness” and warns against “rhetoric of exclusion” which strengthens terrorists (Virginia Hale).
    - Italy has become the frontline of migration flows; according to an EU statement, reported in SME Times, the EU is providing Italy an emergency funding of 38.2 million euros to help ease the migratory pressure. The money will go to border surveillance and checks, rescuing lives at sea, health and intercultural services, and attending unaccompanied minors (SME Times).

    German government report:
    http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/EN/Aussenpolitik/GlobaleFragen/Fluechtlinge/161216_Initiative_IOM.html?version=4
    Andrew Rettman:
    https://euobserver.com/foreign/136395
    Virginia Hale:
    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/12/24/eu-chief-borders-must-stay-open/
    SME Times:
    http://www.smetimes.in/smetimes/news/global-business/2016/Dec/24/eu-emergency-funding-italy-migratory-pressure32521.html

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  3. - Greece has promised to improve conditions for the approximately 15,000 migrants stranded on the Aegean Islands, moving them from tents to houses or other places (EU Observer). The Hurriyet Daily News further reports that these “detention camps” will aim to restore some independence for migrants, providing them with a kitchen and €400 per family instead of free meals.
    - Islamic State has taken full advantage of Europe’s migration crisis: according to Jacob Bojesson on the Daily Caller, EU’s border agency Frontex warns about IS attempts to manipulate or radicalize migrants and use migratory flows to infiltrate fighters into Europe, and EU police agency Europol has detected more than 300 cases of jihadis trying to recruit refugees.


    EU Observer:
    https://euobserver.com/tickers/136420
    Hurriyet Daily News:
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/greece-plans-migrant-detention-camps-on-islands.aspx?pageID=238&nID=107902&NewsCatID=351
    Jacob Bojesson:
    http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/28/eu-border-agency-warns-isis-is-weaponizing-refugees-in-europe/

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  4. Emilie Shagrin: refugee crisis in the EU

    Greek authorities have made a promise to improve the current conditions for asylum seekers and refugees. 15,000 people are believed to be in Greece’s overcrowded camps. According to migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas Wednesday the 28th, these migrants will soon be moved out of their tents and into new and small venues. (EU Observer)
    This year’s recorded death toll for migrants making their way to Europe has passed 5,000. The previous year, “only” 3,771 deaths were recorded. 2016 reached this toll after two boats capsized off Italy on Thursday, December the 22nd, with at least 100 missing people, feared to be dead. A spokesperson for UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) stated that to reach 5,000, 14 people died on average every day of the year in the Mediterranean. A possible cause for this increase of deaths is the progress of smugglers’ tactics and the aggravated quality of passenger boats. (The Guardian)

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/23/eu-member-states-must-work-together-to-tackle-migration-flows
    https://euobserver.com/tickers/136420
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/23/record-migrant-death-toll-two-boats-capsize-italy-un-refugee

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  5. Ambre Perron - Civil War in South Sudan

    December 19th
    Radio Tamazuj: Approximately 10,000 Nuer civilians populate UN protection sites in Juba. However, as part of the peace process, their relocation becomes essential and South Sudan’s government aims to return everyone to their area of origin. Jungwar, Northern Liesh Minister of Information went as far as claiming the UN camps were places of suffering for their temporary residents.

    December 20th
    Radio Tamazuj: New clashes erupt between government troops and opposition in the counties of Reuk and Mundri on the outskirts of the Wau town. The attack in the Shamedi area, east of the Reuk county provoked the death of five opposition soldiers.
    In Mundri the armed opposition attacked Kadiba area. They exemplify what some see as a rejection of peace.
    Busseri area, previously under government control is captured by opposition yet this statement is revoked by the governor of Wan state. Domij claims the fighting in Kadib occurred between SPLA-IO forces “after some of them decided to defect to the government.”

    December 21st
    Sudan Tribune: Sudan and South Sudan extend their oil agreement for an additional three years with enough “breathing space” as stated by South Sudanese Mining and Petroleum minister. For twenty-four dollars per barrel of crude plus transition fees, the total amounts to three billion dollars for three years. The twenty kilometer border will also be protected by Khartoum and Juba.


    December 23rd
    Radio Tamazuj: Paul Malong discharge from the Nairobi Hospital in the capital of Kenya.
    Aljazeera: UN fails to impose a South Sudanese arms embargo. Seven out of the fifteen members voted in favor. Amongst the opposing countries: Russia, China, Japan, Angola, Egypt and Senegal. As a justification, Japan “warned the resolution would have antagonised Kiir's government and put peacekeepers’ lives at risk.” With 350 troops inland, Japan is granted worry for its own people.
    According to UN South Sudanese ambassador Akuei Bona Malwal, the descriptions of the situation in his country would not be “reflect[ing] the reality on the ground.” Yet, recently, parts of the country that had been unaffected have been pulled into the general suffering. Hopes that Kiir’s peace speech will be efficient remain.

    December 26th
    Radio Tamazuj: Bapiny village suffers Christmas day attack. At the end of a church service, seven civilians are killed and others wounded. Domij, spokesman of SPLA forces blames it on cattle raiders.

    Stars and Stripes: Bidi Bidi Camp in Uganda welcomes 260,000 people, all refugees of the South Sudanese conflict. This year alone, 440,000 people fled South Sudan in direction of Uganda. Rufaaaya Asiyati, eyewitness of the condition of the arriving South Sudanese recounts their “[...]critical condition. Bullets remaining in their legs. Others had come with parts amputated. Others were severely bleeding.” Amongst the majority of women and children, twenty percent of those under five would be suffering from malnutrition, she adds. As many Ugandans previously had been refugees, solidarity is common amongst the two peoples. The influx of migrants even has a positive effect on the economy of that area.

    December 27th
    Radio Tamazuj: New exchange of fire lasting throughout the night on the outskirts of Doro Camp, Maban county.

    December 28th
    Sudan Tribune: Tanzanian pilot is being detained by SPLM-IO for accusations of possible collaboration with the government. In exchange for the release of Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, the opposition would be willing to release the pilot.

    December 29th
    Daily Monitor: Amer Junction hosts an ambush resulting in one dead and three wounded.

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  6. Billy McGovern, Israel-Palestine
    some events of the last two weeks

    12/23/2016: Israel is demanded to remove settlements off Palestinian territory after the US refuses to veto a United Nations Security Coucil resolution. This unexpected condemnation towards Israel was met with great disapproval on the part of the Trump Administration-to-be as well as Israel, as President Obama allowed the resolution to pass and, furthermore, rejected a call from both Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and President elect Donald Trump. Although this is the first resolution that the UN security council has passed concerning Israel and Palestine in over eight years, many speculate that it will not be significant as the upcoming American presidency will without any doubt reinstore the previous collaboration with Israel.(1) As stated by Independent’s Adam Withnall: “Israel's ambassador to the UN criticised the US's failure to veto the vote, and said the country looks forward to a new era of UN-Israel relations under the new US President and new UN Secretary General.”

    12/28/2016: US Secretary of State John Kerry delivered his farewell speech after the US’ refusal to veto the UN resolution. In his speech, Kerry asserted that the only way to obtain peace between Israel and Palestine is a two-state solution. He also stated that the path on which Israel and the US find themselves on is heading towards an “irreversible one-state reality”; “If the choice is one state, Is can either be jewish or democratic, it can not be both and it wont everr really be at peace.”(2) This speech was also frowned upon by many, for example British PM Theresa May who publically rebuked Kerry, hoping to establish, in the words of the New York Times, “inroads with the incoming Trump administration.” (3)

    12/30/2016: A Palestinian woman is shot and wounded by the Israeli army shortly after an attempted stabbing attack at West Bank checkpoint. (4)


    (1)http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/un-security-council-condemns-israeli-settlements-palestinian-territories-us-refuses-use-veto-a7493351.html

    (2)https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2016/dec/28/john-kerry-israel-palestine-speech-video

    (3)https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/814831095191601152

    (4)https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2016/12/30/israeli-forces-shoot-palestinian-woman

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  8. Domitille Bordeaux

    Tensions are still extremely present in Ukraine, even in a sphere such as entertainment. For example, on December 27th, Oleksandr Kharebin, the producer of the Eurovision 2017 in Kyiv, said that Ukraine had a “ban list”. Any Russian artist on that ban list, meaning any Russian artist that is openly for Russian agressions in Ukraine, will not be able to perform at the Eurovision show. This shows how far the tensons have gone.

    There are also still tensions in the diplomatic sphere. According to the Guardian on December 20th, there are unsolved questions in the US concerning Ukraine and Russia. The US has blacklisted “seven Russian businessmen and eight companies and government enterprises” because of their annexing Crimea, which Moscow desrcibes as a “hostile act”. The sanctions -banning any American individual or company to establish any kind of deal with these men and companies- come a month before Donald Trump will take over the presidency. This is conflictual since Trump has expressed his support for Russia and his wish for better relations. Furthermore, the EU is still trying to find a diplomatic arrangement, that would possibly tie Ukraine more with Europe. (The Guardian)

    The violence is still ongoing on Ukrainian territory and is intensifying around Dontesk and Horlivka, with ceasfire violations, militants opening fire, shellings and at least two deaths. (liveuamap)

    Oleksandr Kharebin : http://uatoday.tv/entertainment/no-russian-ban-list-artists-at-eurovision-in-kyiv-854778.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/20/us-russia-sanctions-crimea-obama-trump

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/15/ukraine-will-not-join-eu-dutch-are-promised-in-effort-to-save-treaty

    http://liveuamap.com/en/2016/29-december-col-oleksandr-motuzyanyk-other-enemy-shellings

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  9. Anna - War In Yemen

    While the UN to draft a new, more Hadi-enlightening peace talk on his demand (Gulf News), half of the 28 million Yemeni people are “food insecure” and 7 million are suffering of hunger (SCMP). 80% of the children are undergoing malnutrition, and a preventable disease kills a Yemeni child every ten minutes. Because of the very low familial revenue, the child marriage rate has increased. It is evaluated 18,8 million people are in need of unattainable humanitarian aid. Wednesday 18th of December, an ISIS-claimed suicide bombing killed 52 people and injured 34 in a military base in Aden (CNN). The US forces confessed to sending drones, killing 28 suspected militants linked to the other very impactful terrorist group in Yemen, AQAP (Politico). Concerning troop movements, the Houthi have been consistently approaching the capital of the Saada region, Sa’dah, resulting in violent confrontations (Gulf News). Hadi’s army also launched a massive offensive on December 28, in the southern region of Shabwa, more specifically in the Bayhan and Asikan provinces (Middle East Monitor).

    CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/18/middleeast/yemen-suicide-bombing/index.html

    Gulf News: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/yemen/yemen-urges-un-envoy-to-pitch-new-peace-deal-1.1947739

    Middle East Monitor : https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161229-yemen-launches-major-offensive-in-shabwa-province/

    Politico : http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/drone-war-al-qaeda-in-yemen-deaths-232927

    SCMP: http://www.scmp.com/news/world/middle-east/article/2055225/kids-are-dying-saudi-led-war-pushing-yemen-brink-famine-un

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  10. Ito - Burundi
    In the past few weeks, the situation has continued to evolve in the same way: the government is unwilling to compromise or take responsibility for its offense of human rights. In response, tensions are growing between East African countries, and also between Burundi and its helpers: the EU, the AU, France and Belgium have all partially withdrawn aid to the country. The government refuses to speak to its opposition, that is currently in exile (Le Monde, 30/12), while keeping up the illusion that “peace and security are guaranteed in Burundi” (Kwizera, IWACU)

    -On December 24th, the government lifted its ban on a number of NGO’s that had been installed on October 19th, for investigation of “their share of responsibility in the insurgency movement launched in April 2015” (Reuters)

    -In a December 30th interview, President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would be ready to run for a fourth term in 2020 (apparently ignoring the damage that his 2015 election caused), and in order to do this, he would revise Article 96 of the country’s Constitution that currently limits the presidency to two five-year terms. Nkurunziza said: “If the people ask for (the revision), we will not betray the country’s trust, the people’s trust.” (Le Monde, 30/12)

    -Ironically, while Nkurunziza gave his New Year’s speech to the people promising “peace, dignity and tranquility in the country” (IWACU), news announced the assassination of Emmanuel Niyonkuru, the minister of environment. The police said he was shot by an unknown aggressor at 00:45 AM, while coming back to his home in Rodero, a district of Bujumbura. Several people have been arrested for interrogation, including a woman who was with the minister during the assassination. (Le Monde, 01/01)

    http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2016/12/30/burundi-le-president-nkurunziza-suggere-qu-il-pourrait-briguer-un-quatrieme-mandat_5055862_3212.html
    http://www.iwacu-burundi.org/la-paix-et-la-securite-sont-garanties-au-burundi/
    http://af.reuters.com/article/burundiNews/idAFL5N1EJ074
    http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2017/01/01/burundi-assassinat-du-ministre-de-l-environnement_5056141_3212.html

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  11. Matteo Valderrama- Violence in DRC
    December 19 has passed and President Kabila has refused to step down from power which has led to a bloody month of december as reported by Lynsey Chutel in Quartz Africa. Chutel reports that at least 34 civilians died in violent protests against the President and as of the 22nd of December more than 50 had died this month in militia violences.(qf) Furthermore, The Guardian reported the death of more than 40 civilians in eastern Congo due to militias over the weekend of the 24th and 25th of December bringing the death toll even higher. Violences are surging with the political instability. (The Guardian) The BBC further reports a flooding that has killed at least 50 and left shelterless thousands in Boma. (BBC)
    To end the growing violence in DRC, Europe, the US, Kabila’s party, and the opposition came together in order to strike a deal in which Kabila promises to give up power by the end of 2017, one year after the official end of his term, instead of in 2018 as he had decreed earlier this year moving the elections up one year from April 2018. (Reuters) Al Jazeera reports that if this deal, finalized on Friday December 30th, were to be respected, would be the first peaceful transition of power since DRC’s independence in 1960. (Aljazeera)

    http://qz.com/874470/dozens-are-killed-in-the-democratic-republic-of-congo-as-anti-kabila-protestors-clash-with-police-and-militias-strike/
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/deal-finalised-peaceful-political-transition-drc-161231182050153.html
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-congo-politics-idUSKBN14J1LC
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/26/scores-die-in-democratic-republic-of-congo-as-violence-spreads-amid-political-instability
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-38458404

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  12. Tim d'Aboville--Syrian Civil War

    These past two weeks have been marked by remarkably important events and decisions concerning Syria. The 20th of December, Russia’s ambassador in Turkey was shot and killed by an off-duty policeman who, after saying “God is great” said “don’t forget Aleppo” (Aljazeera). This event is extremely relevant because Russia and Turkey already had tense relations after a Russian plane had been shot down by Turkey in 2015 (Aljazeera), and people immediately compared this assassination to the one of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo which turned out to the spark that started the fire which was World War I (Express). Hopefully, it seems that both countries shall not openly fight each other, as on the ultimate day of 2016, the UN officially “welcomed Russia-Turkey peace efforts”. Both countries have indeed come together first to evacuate civilians in Aleppo, and now are attempting to slowly put an end to this war (BBC News). Even though the end is still probably quite far, this could be the first of many steps to take to finally put an end to this ongoing civil war.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/russian-ambassador-andrey-karlov-shot-ankara-161219162430858.html
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38475830
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/745301/World-War-1-Russian-ambassador-murder-Turkey-Franz-Ferdinand

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  13. David Ripayre- Uyghur conflict

    According to New York Times, chinese state news Xinhua has reported a violent attack against the chinese communist party in Xinjiang Decmber 29th, authorities claim that attackers were armed with nkives as well as an explosive device. An official and a guard were killed as well as three of those attackers.
    Altough Beijing hasn't accused Uyghurs, 20 Uyghurs were arrested following the attack, according to Dilxat Raxit a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress. “We strongly question the reason given for the incident and the number of casualties reported by the government due to a lack of transparency" he added.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/world/asia/china-xinjiang-attack.html?_r=1
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-12/29/c_135941561.htm

    In response Xinjiang has set up a legal team to prosecute terror case like this one.
    Made of 30 procecutor from six different region were the focus on terrorism is extremely important.
    Wherase China blames islamist militants for the tension, right groups tend to accuse Chinese reppresion, denied by Chinese authority, for the tension.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-china-xinjiang-idUKKBN14J0L8?il=0
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-12/30/c_135944455.htm

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  14. Paul, Iraq
    As of today, the battle for Mosul which began on October 16th is still going on. However, as we speak, Iraqi troops are progressively claiming more and more territory. According to Mohamed Mostafa (reporter for IraqiNews.com), on monday january 2nd, Iraqi forces have completed the recapture of the al-Karama district, located in eastern Mosul. Lieutenant General Abdul-Amir Yarallah (commander of these operations) stated that his men have entirely freed this district from IS occupation and they’ve managed to raise the Iraqi flag over that land. This clutch of land is evidently significant as invading forces claimed that they have now taken over more than 60% of the country’s eastern section. Nevertheless, it is true that ISIS still maintains hideouts in the west side of the city as they keep on insisting by leading terror attacks. They keep on terrorizing the city as today, on Monday January 2nd, their latest deadly bomb attack in Sadr city has resulted in at least 39 deaths and 57 wounded (www.aljazeera.com). An estimated 6000 IS fighters are still present in the city however it now appears that the group has become entirely isolated from Syria and Iraq. Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi has declared that this battle is coming to an end and has entered it’s decisive stage. Furthermore he confidently stated that this battle should be over within 2 months
    Sources:
    http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraqi-forces-consummate-recapture-eastern-mosul-district/
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/car-bomb-hits-busy-square-baghdad-sadr-city-170102083225147.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. FROM SOPHIE
    India, Pakistan, and Kashmir in the past two weeks (December 12 - December 13):

    Indus Water Treaty
    The water-distribution treaty, ratified in 1960 by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan, gave “control and use of water over the three eastern rivers — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej and their tributaries — to India, while Pakistan was allocated three western rivers — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum and their tributaries” (The Nation). Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in November that “India can solve its water scarcity by correcting Indus Waters Treaty” (Dailymail). However, “Pakistan has emphatically stated that Indus Basin Treaty cannot be altered or suspended unilaterally. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at the weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday that no country can abrogate the treaty” (Radio Pakistan). Pakistan wants to amicably solve the water conflict with India, and says that they have done so in the past (ibid). Zakaria also said that Pakistan wants to solve the longstanding issue of Kashmir in the same manner, and that international forces must play a role (ibid).

    Uighurs in Kashmir
    An article published by news source Al Jazeera on December 18 claims that “a second and third generation of Uighurs far removed from their Chinese homeland find home in Jammu and Kashmir.” Uighurs used to travel along the ancient network of trade routes known as the Silk Route. They would cross the perilous Karakoram mountains and wind up in Ladakh, a region located in the Indian administered Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir). The Uighur community in India is essentially made up of second and third generation citizens whose grandparents came to Kashmir (India) as refugees (Al Jazeera). “For most people, even in Kashmir, it is a revelation that people of Uighur origin live in India at all, as they are often mistaken for people from Ladakh or Tibet with similar facial features” (Al Jazeera). According to Abid Ahmed, editor at the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, "Kashmir has a long history of trans-Himalayan migration, because of its connection to the Silk Route” (Al Jazeera).

    Sources:
    Al Jazeera
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/uighur-exiles-kashmir-heaven-161117133848689.html
    The Nation
    http://nation.com.pk/columns/29-Dec-2016/the-water-conflict
    Dailymail
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-4074296/India-solve-water-scarcity-correcting-Indus-Waters-Treaty.html
    Radio Pakistan
    http://www.radio.gov.pk/29-Dec-2016/pakistan-categorically-states-that-no-country-can-unilaterally-alter-or-suspend-iwt

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  16. New sattelite imagery has revealed China is building significant military structures on a series of seven islands they built in the recent years. The structures seem to be large anti-aircraft guns and "probably" close-in guns. They are placed strategically on the islands so they are oriented towards the sea indicating China is ready in the event of any confrontation. This comes after Fox News reports of SAM (mobile surface to air missiles) system components being held at China's most south port. (https://amti.csis.org/chinas-new-spratly-island-defenses/

    On the 17th of December China fished an American unmanned underwater drone launched by an oceanographic vessel. The drone is an unclassified ocean glider used to measure water temperature, salination and sound speed. China's actions are deemed a serious violation of International Law. (http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2055315/china-seizes-us-underwater-drone-south-china-sea)
    In a Trump like fashion, the president elect responded with provocation through Twitter saying the Chinese could "keep the drone". Beijing has shown restraint at Trump's provocation even mocking his demeanor as "lagging far behind the White House spokesperson". However this shows the president elect's lack of experience with diplomacy and comes just a week after his blunder where he did infuriated Beijing by accepting a call from Taiwan. While he has not entered the White House yet his lack of clear plan and fiery temper could make tensions worse in the South China Sea.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-12-18/as-trump-tweets-china-quietly-considers-options-to-retaliate

    China has announced they will return the drone in an appropriate fashion after the now finished inspection. Beijing deems the US was "making a fuss" over the incident and that the seizure was important for the vessel's security in the region. They also expressed suspicion at first to what the US's activity was in the region. They questioned whether the drone was solely in the South China waters for scientific purposes or rather for surveillance. After inspection revealed that nothing was wrong they agreed to hand it back. The military was expected to give the drone back between the 20th and 21st of December and the drone was to be handed over to a US destroyer in the Scarborough Shoal.
    http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2055889/china-hand-back-us-probe-within-24-hours-us-official
    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2055434/drone-snatch-heralds-new-era-south-china-sea-say
    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2055547/let-them-keep-it-trump-tweets-new-twist-china-drone

    As a result of Beijing's credit pledge to the Philippine worth US$24 billion, CCCC Dredging Group Co Ltd, which is responsible for the creation of islands in the South China Sea by China, will build a new Port for Duerte's hometown, Davao City. CCCC Dredging would put US$200 million into the land reclamatio project and an added US$300 million would come after the added 200 hecatres to Davao to constitute the port is finished. The new port is to combine a new hi-tech port facility with a new central business district. Duerte is also planning to to implement US$161 billion in infrastructure programs to build infrastructure for the three new islands.
    http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2056308/how-dutertes-hometown-benefiting-chinas-island-building

    As a result of the drone drama earlier in December, China is expected to build underwater defence systems as they are still suspicious of US activity in the region. The data collected by the drone could be used to identity a type of submarine in the event of an armed confrontation. Beijing argues the US is preparing for war in the South China Sea and Cina must react appropriately.
    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2058156/china-looks-build-underwater-defences-following-seizure

    ReplyDelete
  17. Taliban in Afghanistan- Theodore FEVRE

    According to AlJazeera, the conflict in Afghanistan is worsening for many reasons. In an article posted on the 26th of December, they state that the claims on Russia supposedly financing and providing information to the Taliban is still unclear. A Taliban official has stated that the group does not "need anyone's support to fight and eliminate the presence of ISIL". However, in reaction to this statement, Russian foreign ministry official, stated that the "Taliban interest objectively coincides" with theirs and that they have "channels for exchanging information". The Afghan government, supported by the US since fifteen years, responded to the matter by saying, "If Russia is in any way helping the Taliban, or has any relationship with the Taliban, it means they are supporting their fight against the Afghan government". To an already fragile situation, tensions between the US and Russia could be disastrous.
    Furthermore, the article also touches upon the presence of ISIS in the east province of Afghanistan. Indeed, after the supposedly torn Taliban group after their leader Mansour was assassinated, ISIS have seen this as an opportunity to recruit new fighters.
    Lastly, on December 27th, AlJazeera stated that a meeting held in Moscow between Russia, China and Pakistan could create serious tensions. The meeting was put in place in order to discuss the future of Afghanistan. However, they failed to include Afghan officials as well as US officials in the meeting. As stated Afghan foreign affairs spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghni, these talks "cannot yield any substantial results because no one from the Afghan side is there to brief the participants about the latest ground realities". As a conclusion to the meeting, Russian official, Maria Zakharova, has proposed a "flexible approach to remove certain figures from sanctions lists as a part of efforts to foster a peaceful dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban". The article ends by stating that Russia has decided to include Afghanistan in the future meetings, however, never mentioned the US. With tensions rising between the US and Russia, because of Russia's supposed financial and informational assistance to the Taliban, these meetings could and possibly will add more fuel to the fire.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/afghanistan-angry-exclusion-security-talks-161227142344221.html
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/taliban-denies-sharing-isil-intelligence-russia-151226052016881.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. Marine Tallon - South China Sea

    Last August, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea invalidated China’s claims of the 9 dash line, and gave the favor to the Philippines. On the 17th of December, the Philippine president said he would “set aside” the ruling because he didn’t want to impose on China. According to The Guardian, the president threatened to remove American forces out of the Philippines after Obama criticized his government (The Guardian). The president’s secretary Delfi Lorenzana admits nevertheless that China is still militarizing the South China Sea, regardless of the president’s remarks.
    On the 15th of December, China discovered and retrieved by the Chinese Navy an American drone about 93 kilometers northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines. China’s Defense Ministry said the drone was returned on the 19th after a “friendly negotiation” (China Daily 1). Trump accused China of stealing the drone, and China’s Foreign Ministry replied they took the drone to “prevent danger to the safe navigation of passing ships and personnel” (China Daily 2). This of course created tensions between the two countries and built oppositions, including from a researcher of US foreign affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who said the Chinese Navy has “the right to retrieve unidentified objects that could potentially threaten safe navigation, even in international waters” (China Daily 2).
    According to Forbes, China sent a new message to the United States on the 26 of December. The message came in the form of a naval force demonstration: China sent warships and the country’s aircraft carrier in the South China Sea as a “routine” exercise. Beijing warned that they are ready to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone if the US continues its military presence in the South China Sea. (Forbes)

    The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/17/philippines-to-set-aside-south-china-sea-tribunal-ruling-to-avoid-imposing-on-beijing
    China Daily 1: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/us/2016-12/20/content_27723287.htm
    China Daily 2: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-12/20/content_27716835.htm
    Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2016/12/26/south-china-sea-beijing-sends-a-strong-message-to-america-and-taiwan/#6de61b95b5ba

    ReplyDelete
  19. Juliette Debray - Boko Haram
    Finally! The best Christmas present possible, President Buhari announced on December 24th that Boko Haram’s last stronghold “Camp Zero” has been captured by the Nigerian army on the 22nd (1). A small event marks that week with sadness however, as a suspected Boko Haram IED killed a lieutenant colonel and some of his soldiers on the road from Maiduguri to Baga (2). Nevertheless, these two weeks of vacation have brought uplifting news for the Nigerian people; in Adamawa for example, 25 schools and the same number of police stations have finished being restored or rebuilt (following Boko Haram’s passage) and 4 federal roads are expected to be built, according to Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government (3). A day later, on the 19th, the minister of Defense announced that Germany had donated a large amount of security and medical equipment to Nigeria to help in its efforts against the fleeing and now disguised BH (Boko Haram) insurgents. This occurred within the 2012-2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries, the minister Mansur Dan-Ali added that a new MoU had been signed involving 3 million euros worth of “equipment and clinics” (4). A couple days later, President Barack Obama signed a law that ensured help to Nigeria under the condition that President Buhari recognizes the gravity of its ongoing humanitarian crisis (5).
    Now the most important news of all, already stated earlier, on Christmas Day, President Buhari congratulated the troops of Operation Lafiya-Dole for “ finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at 'Camp Zero' ”. He however urges them to maintain their efforts in “pursuing the terrorists and bringing them to justice”. He also asks all Nigerians to help in the endeavour to exfiltrate all BH insurgents that have now attempted “de se fondre dans la foule”(6). Many Nigerian news sites also ask the population to be wary of these disguised terrorists (7).
    However, the Nigerian population has been returning to their hometowns and villages, now safe from Boko Haram threat. The Guardian evokes numbers for this new year: in 2016, over 660 000 people returned from camps and in the town of Dabna more than 70% of the original population has returned. An association called Tearfund has worked to grant 11 000 naira (= 32€) to families in need, amounting to approximately 27 000 people. The association has also offered land, farming tools, and training to enable new productivity and most importantly a new and better life for torn families (8). The Guardian also announced a fall of 95% in number of deaths by Boko Haram since January 2015 (9) although I believe deaths by malnutrition, dehydration, and illness following Boko Haram’s destruction of villages might not have been accounted for.
    (1)http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/boko-haram-finally-crushed-buhari/177557.html
    (2)http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/b-haram-ied-kills-another-lt-colonel/175869.html
    (3)http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/boko-haram-fg-re-builds-25-police-stations-25-schools-in-adamawa/176556.html
    (4)http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/boko-haram-germany-donates-equipment-to-nigeria/176636.html
    (5)http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/218623-obama-assents-new-u-s-law-help-tackle-boko-haram.html
    (6)http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/boko-haram-finally-crushed-buhari/177557.html
    (7)http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/fleeing-boko-haram-terrorists-now-disguise-as-menial-workers-dhq/175852.html (amongst many others)
    (8)https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/dec/21/nigeria-farmers-return-home-rebuild-lives-shattered-boko-haram
    (9)https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/30/eight-charts-that-show-2016-wasnt-as-bad-as-you-think

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  20. Olivine --- Kashmir Conflict
    According to the Human Rights Division of Hurriyat, a total number of 389 casualties have been the result of the Kashmir conflict in 2016. This number is under debate however as the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) declared that there have been 383 deaths. The number of military casualties in both reports differ by 20 people as does the number of militants killed. (kashmirmonitor)
    India increasingly loses popularity in Kashmir as indian military and police have been accused of hindering medical aid by harassing patients, terrorising doctors and slowing ambulances. Indian military’s use of said ‘non-lethal weapons’ is increasingly controversial as a dozen of deaths and thousands of people have been wounded by metal pellet guns, supposedly non-lethal weapons. (aljazeera)
    Discussions are still ongoing around the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor). India is opposed to the project as the trade route passes through Pakistan administered Kashmir, a territory India claims should rightfully belong to them. India also fears that this extension of China’s One Belt, One Road project would strengthen Islamabad as the highways, railways and pipelines China projects to build would introduce Pakistan to the international trading ground. The 60 billion dollars investments, India fears, will also challenge their supremacy in the region as it will give China access to the Arabian sea and western Indian Ocean. (sputnik news)
    According to the Stockholm International Peace Institute, The largest arms importer in the world is India followed by China and then Pakistan, the three actors in the Kashmir conflict.
    India is increasing pressure on Kashmir by building huge water storage facilities along three rivers that flow from the Indus basin that flow through India occupied Kashmir. This water has been attributed to Pakistan in the World Bank’s Indus Water Treaty. (aaj.tv)
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/indian-forces-accused-blocking-care-kashmiris-161206140720970.html
    http://www.kashmirmonitor.in/Details/115230/hurriyat-m-jkccs-reports-show-varied-figures
    https://sputniknews.com/asia/201612231048942147-corridor-pakistan-china-economic/
    https://www.sipri.org/yearbook/2015/10
    http://aaj.tv/2016/12/india-increases-efforts-to-stop-pakistans-water/

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  22. Julie Clar - Boko Haram in Nigeria

    On December 14th, the U.N. Children’s Agency estimated that nearly half a million children will face starvation in northeastern Nigeria in 2017 and 80 000 will die if they do not get help. However, much of Borno state is inaccessible to humanitarian assistance and the city of Maiduguri is in a state of emergency as most of the children there have already died of starvation (1). On December 20th, the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged all countries to investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking which has proved to be a problem for women, children, and refugees in conflict areas in the world, mainly the uprising of Boko Haram in Nigeria (2). The Guardian estimated that 660 000 displaced North-eastern Nigerians have returned home within the past year, encouraged by the recent advances of the Nigerian military against Boko Haram (3). On December 22nd, the Nigerian military estimated having rescued nealry 2000 civilians and arrested hundreds of terrorists in the past week (4). On December 24th, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declared that Boko Haram had finally been eradicated as the Nigerian army had driven them away from their most important hideout, the Sambisa Forest. Ironically, Boko Haram attacked army barracks in Yobe state killing and wounding many on the same day the President made his statement that the group had been defeated. Although the Nigerian President has assured his people repeatedly that the group has been defeated, this indeed indicates that the nightmare of Boko Haram’s numerous attacks and assaults is far from ending in Nigeria (5). On the 26th of December, following Boko Haram’s defeat in the Sambisa Forest, the Nigerian government reopened two major roads in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State which had been closed in order to avoid danger caused by the extremists. These roads “are of strategic importance to the economy of the Lake Chad Region (6).” On the 28th of December, Niger’s Interior Minister claimed that dozens of Boko Haram fighters surrendered in southern Niger (7). The next day, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau published a video refuting the Nigerian government’s claim that the group had been eradicated which was later described as mere propaganda by the Nigerian military (8). On the 1rst of January, Nigerian Troops in the Northeast arrested a member of the governement, Shettima Lawan Maina, for hiding a Boko Haram top Commander in his home in Maiduguri (9).

    Sources:
    (1)http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/80000-children-will-starve-to-death-in-nigeria-unicef_1958203.html
    (2)http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/chief-human-trafficking-problem-conflict-zones-44308540 (3)https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/dec/21/nigeria-farmers-return-home-rebuild-lives-shattered-boko-haram
    (4)http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/nigerian-troops-rescued-1880-civilians-from-boko-haram-in-one-week-army_1960626.html
    (5)http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/nigeria-boko-haram-crushed-forced-enclave-44383528
    (6)http://guardian.ng/news/boko-haram-fall-fg-reopens-two-major-roads-in-borno/
    (7)http://guardian.ng/news/boko-haram-fighters-surrender-in-niger/
    (8)http://guardian.ng/news/shekau-surfaces-in-new-video-says-boko-haram-not-crushed/
    (9)http://guardian.ng/news/army-nabs-boko-haram-top-commander-in-borno-council-bosss-home/

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  23. Romane Centis- Islmaic State in Iraq

    According to the Independent, the french president, Francois Holland is in Baghdad today, in order to meet the French troops that are fighting against the Islamic terrorist group, and will press , during his stay, on the importance of “the importance of continuing efforts to ensure sustainable security in the country after Isis has been defeated”. France has a total of 500 fighters in Iraq, training local forces since 2014. According to the same source, Mr al-Abadi has claimed that it would take a matter of three months to take ISIS out of Iraq. With the help of the US military, the Iraqi army has been fighting against the Islamist group, in order to dislodge the militant group in Mosul. However, it has been seen that two months into the operation, the plan has been moving at a slower pace than expected, and some blame it on the need to protect the civilians that are still in the country while they were expected to have feed.

    The Iraqi news states that after a ferocious battle with security forces, Islamic fighter bodies have been dumped with garbage. Abdel-Sattar al-Habbou has claimed that deaths amongst the extremist group have been counted to more than 160 per day during the last couple of days. Human Rights Watch said in a report in November that “ Militiamen, Iraqi Security Forces, and civilians mutilated and dragged the bodies of at least five dead fighters of the Islamic State in the Iraqi town of Qayyarah on October 3, 2016” .“The Iraqi government should control its own forces and hold them accountable if it hopes to claim the moral upper hand in its fight against ISIS,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The failure to hold commanders and abusers to account does not bode well for the looming battle inside Mosul. Mutilation of corpses is a war crime, as is killing captured combatants or civilians.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/francois-hollande-iraq-visit-france-troops-battle-isis-prevents-attacks-latest-a7505136.html
    http://isis.liveuamap.com/en/2017/2-january-fsa-liwa-shuhuda-alqaryatayn--banner-seen-on-technical

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rémi Masia-Depardieu, Destabilization of Mali
    On December 20th, the president Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) Ag Intalla, representing all the separatist groups Mali withholds, announced its withdrawal of its participation to a peace program implemented in 2015. The separatists claim little has been done to solve poverty, famine, war, due to a lack of investment. Therefore, the president of the CMA also claims that he looks forward “to save the accord and preserve the credibility of the process.”
    Despite Gao being considered as the safest city in Northern Mali, a French rooted aid worker aiming to eradicate malnutrition and who had lived in the city Gao for fifteen years, Sophie petronin, has been kidnapped. Authorities claim she was attacked by men, who then drove off in a pickup truck. The Malian state prosecutor Samake said he suspects the terrorist group al-Mourabitoun to be in charge for the kidnapping. This militant group has already committed numerous terrorist attacks in the past year, and two Malians et a Mauritanian would appear before a judge claims Sabate, for the planification of the kidnapping. The numerous terrorists attacks in the past year led to the planification of an important international meeting in March by the president of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Alain de Souza. The goal of this meeting according to de Souza will be to gain military efficiency of the French troops and the Minusma troops operating in Northern mali. The president also stated that he fears the arrival of ISIS militants, due to their recent defeat in Syria.

    Sources:
    http://af.reuters.com/article/maliNews/idAFL5N1EF5J5
    http://af.reuters.com/article/maliNews/idAFL5N1EJ0FG
    http://af.reuters.com/article/maliNews/idAFL5N1EN27S
    http://maliactu.net/mali-lutte-contre-les-groupes-terroristes-renforcement-des-moyens-de-la-minusma-la-cedeao-prevoit-une-reunion-internationale-sur-le-mali-au-mois-de-mars/

    ReplyDelete
  25. Elise- War in Yemen
    Over the past few weeks, the Yemeni territory and people have been perpetual attack. Because the UN estimates that “60 per cent of the 4,000 or more civilian deaths” are results of Saudi-led airstrikes, the US has ceased to sell weapons and ammunition to Saudi Arabia and “will limit military support” (1) The Saudi coalition, however, refuses to let this get in the way, leading an airstrike in Saana only three days later (2)
    Meanwhile, The British defence secretary Michael Fallon has claimed that the UK government has been providing cluster munition to the Saudi coalition. (3) A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence has claimed that the allegation will be taken “very seriously”, but there is no proof at this time. (3)
    Two weeks ago, after the Revolution Guards’ victory in Aleppo, Iranian military commander Hossein Salami has claimed that the “Islamic conquest” would not end here, and that Yemen and Bahrain are next in line. (4)
    ISIS and AQAP have claimed responsibility for several recent suicide bombings, including, one in an Aden military camp that resulted in 30 Yemeni soldiers’ deaths. (2) 40 Yemeni citizens were killed in the Bayhan district while the government forces attempted to capture a Houthi rebel. (5)
    Equipped with “two helicopters and staffed by dozens of special operation soldiers and more than 800 officers and soldiers” (6) Chinese navy escort  Jinan, Yiyang and Qiandaohu leave for the Gulf of Aden to escort civil ships, as a result of the conflict’s escalation. (6)
        On the other hand, according to CENTCOM, US airstrikes have killed 28 AQAP operatives in the last 3 months (7)

    Sayyid Badr bin Saud Al-Busaidi, Minister Responsible for Defense Affairs, has also recently announced that Oman is to “join the Islamic military alliance to combat terrorism”, according to Arab News (8)
    (1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/13/us-halts-arms-transfer-saudi-arabia-civilian-casualties-yemen/
    (2) http://yemen.liveuamap.com/en/2016/16-december-saudiled-coalition-airstrikes-p
    Ound-yemen-capital

    (3) https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/18/uk-cluster-bombs-used-in-yemen-by-saudi-arabia-finds-research
    (4) https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161217-iran-threatens-bahrain-yemen-with-islamic-conquest-like-aleppo/
    (5) https://nationalyemen.com/2016/12/27/40-killed-in-yemen-anti-rebel-offensive-army/

    (6) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-04/03/content_19996640.htm
    (7) http://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/PRESS-RELEASES/Press-Release-View/Article/1037080/9-us-airstrikes-in-yemen-kill-28-terrorists/

    (8) http://www.arabnews.com/node/1030921/saudi-arabia



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  26. Boris Hullin - Cartel Violence in Mexico

    At the turn of 2017, encouraging figures were released rewarding Mexican authorities efforts in the War Against Drugs in the past year of 2016. According to Mexican newspaper El Universal’s source, the Secretariat of the Navy, 12.7 tonnes of cocaine were seized through police and military interventions in the country that year, as opposed to less than two tonnes in 2014 and 2015. The state of Colima on the Pacific coast is the main setting of this traffic, with 9.9 tonnes seized. The container ports and offshore zones of Colima is the main meeting point of the South-American drug traffickers (reportedly from Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Panama), and their Mexican counterparts. The small state is hosting violent competition between the currently most notorious cartels in Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, for the control of the city of Manzanillo, where a majority of the cocaine transitions occur. The unexpected figures underline a boost in the government’s anti-criminality operations commended by president Nieto since his appointment in 2012, that finally seem to pay off.
    Other recent news include a shootout on the Southern Arizona border. Breitbart report that unidentified cartel members opened fire on a U.S Border Patrol agent in the evening of the 31st December in a zone known as a drug trafficking corridor. There were no casualties and the gunmen were not caught, but the incident, far from being the one of its kind with over 7.500 Border Patrol agents attacked since 2009, reminds the United States that the mexican cartel flaw is knocking at its door.

    -http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/nacion/seguridad/2016/12/30/mar-abierto-ruta-fertil-para-envio-de-cocaina (http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/more-cocaine-seized-on-pacific-coast/)

    -http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/12/31/breaking-cartel-gunmen-fire-border-patrol-agent-arizona/

    ReplyDelete
  27. Israel and Palestine - Delphine Chiffaudel

    Militarily:
    (14/12/16) A new stabbing attack by a Palestinian against Israeli soldiers has occurred in Jerusalem. The soldier was lightly injured, the Palestinian was shot dead. (1)
    (02/01/17) Israel destroyed 87 Palestinian bedouin’s homes in Khan Al-Mhar near Jerusalem. Israeli army besieged the area during demolition; the homes had already been destroyed in August. Now homeless, Palestinians weren’t allowed to take out their personal belongings before demolition. (2)

    Politically:
    (15/12/16) Trump has appointed Friedman as the new US ambassador in Israel. Friedman is pro-annexion and pro-settlement. This is significant because the most influential country in the world is sending a message to the world about its visions on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. (3)
    (01/01/17) The US has abstained from vetoing a UN resolution “critical to West Bank settlement building”. Netanyahu has named this “anti-israel UN activity” and warned his weekly cabinet of more. In addition to this threat Israel feels, the country believes “only bilateral negotiations will lead to a peace arrangement.” Therefore, Israel has refused to attend Paris Peace Conference on January 15. (4)

    (1)http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.758980
    (2)http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774708
    (3)http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/15/us/politics/donald-trump-david-friedman-israel-ambassador.html
    (4)http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-said-to-warn-of-more-anti-israel-un-activity/

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sophie Lemmerman -- India, Pakistan, and Kashmir in the past two weeks (December 12 - December 13):

    Indus Water Treaty
    The water-distribution treaty, ratified in 1960 by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan, gave “control and use of water over the three eastern rivers — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej and their tributaries — to India, while Pakistan was allocated three western rivers — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum and their tributaries” (The Nation). Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in November that “India can solve its water scarcity by correcting Indus Waters Treaty” (Dailymail). However, “Pakistan has emphatically stated that Indus Basin Treaty cannot be altered or suspended unilaterally. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at the weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday that no country can abrogate the treaty” (Radio Pakistan). Pakistan wants to amicably solve the water conflict with India, and says that they have done so in the past (ibid). Zakaria also said that Pakistan wants to solve the longstanding issue of Kashmir in the same manner, and that international forces must play a role (ibid).

    Uighurs in Kashmir
    An article published by news source Al Jazeera on December 18 claims that “a second and third generation of Uighurs far removed from their Chinese homeland find home in Jammu and Kashmir.” Uighurs used to travel along the ancient network of trade routes known as the Silk Route. They would cross the perilous Karakoram mountains and wind up in Ladakh, a region located in the Indian administered Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir). The Uighur community in India is essentially made up of second and third generation citizens whose grandparents came to Kashmir (India) as refugees (Al Jazeera). “For most people, even in Kashmir, it is a revelation that people of Uighur origin live in India at all, as they are often mistaken for people from Ladakh or Tibet with similar facial features” (Al Jazeera). According to Abid Ahmed, editor at the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, "Kashmir has a long history of trans-Himalayan migration, because of its connection to the Silk Route” (Al Jazeera).

    Sources:
    Al Jazeera
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/uighur-exiles-kashmir-heaven-161117133848689.html
    The Nation
    http://nation.com.pk/columns/29-Dec-2016/the-water-conflict
    Dailymail
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-4074296/India-solve-water-scarcity-correcting-Indus-Waters-Treaty.html
    Radio Pakistan
    http://www.radio.gov.pk/29-Dec-2016/pakistan-categorically-states-that-no-country-can-unilaterally-alter-or-suspend-iwt

    (I wasn't sure whether I could post both. I sent you an email a few days ago.)

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  29. Marc de Laportalière - Tensions in East China Sea
    Japan plans to make it harder for foreigners to buy lands close to sensitive areas
    Since Trump became President-elect of the United States of America, relations of both the USA and Taiwan with China have worsened. This is due to the phone call between Mr. Trump and the president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Tsai Ing-Wen, which implicates that the future president of the United States recognizes Taiwan as a country. This complicates matters in the East China Sea tensions, as both Taiwan and China claim the islands, further endangering the already-hot debate (Japan Times). Also, Japan has been alarmed by investments from Chinese think-tanks in Okinawa Island, which is very close to the disputed Islands. This investment is alarming due to the Okinawan desire for independence, as 85% of the island’s inhabitants claim to want to separate from Japan. This could help the Chinese claim on the Islands, which would in turn be extremely detrimental to Japanese image. (China Post)

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  30. Marin Duroyon - Libyan Civil War

    On the 23th of December, two Libyan men hijacked a plane originating from Sabha and redirected the destination from Tripoli to Malta, an island north from Libya. They managed to hijack the plane using fake weapons, the men explained that all they wanted was the creation and the publicity of their political party Al-Fateh Al-Jadeed, a party supporting the old dictator Muammar Gaddafi. All the passengers were released and the their wish does not seem to have been accomplished.

    On the wake of the New Year, some intense fighting is happening on the border between the Tripoli based government and the Tobruk based government. The Third Force, from the Tobruk government, attacked the 12th brigade, UN backed government. The attacks, that has been going on for a couple of days, are modifying the border and places the Tripoli based government in a bad position. Moreover, as the map is analysed it can be seen that the anti-UN government has been conquering land in the north of the country, furthermore, they are now attacking the south (the attacks talked about).

    Plane Hijack: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2016/12/23/Hijacked-Libyan-plane-lands-in-Malta-.html
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/23/libyan-afriqiyah-airways-passenger-plane-hijacked-diverted-to-malta

    The attacks on the LNA:
    https://twitter.com/Chief_MarshallR
    http://almarsad.co/2017/01/01/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%AF%D9%81-%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%A1-12-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA/
    https://twitter.com/MENASTREAM/status/815529945770459136

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  31. Pierre-Malo Vienney -- Violence in DRC

    On December 1, 2017, Joseph Kabila and his historic opponent Étienne Tshisekedi along with the opposition party adopted a political peace agreement on the consensual management of the country until the next elections. Denouncing a “conspiracy for the nation”, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo refused to sign the compromise. Kabila remains the head of the country until the next elections in December 2017. However, he made the commitment not to represent himself and not to touch to the Constitution. This compromise between the different parties can appease the tensions but will certainly not end the conflict because of the numerous militias who do not recognize the agreement. (Dibie Ike Michael)
    On December 25, 2016, 22 civilians were killed in Eringeti, North Kivu province creating the greatest massacre in two years in that region. This city is hit by repetitive attacks killing more than 700 people. A group of rebels lead by Ugandan Muslims destroyed the town. (Daily Nation)
    This week more than 34 civilians were killed because of the great political instability in DRC. On December 25, 2016, 13 Hutu civilians were killed with guns and machetes in Nyanzale. This attack is an apparent revenge for the deaths of 17 civilians murdered by a Hutu militia last week.
    On December 24, 21 civilians were killed in attacks near the town of Beni.
    On December 20, 40 civilians died in a protest against Kabila’s political regime and refusal to step down. (France 24)
    Michael, Dibie Ike. "DR Congo: Inclusive Political Agreement Finally Adopted and Signed in Kinshasa." Africanews. Africanews, 01 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Jan. 2017. .
    AFP. "Twenty-two Civilians Killed in DR Congo Bloodbath." Daily Nation. AFP, 26 Dec. 2016. Web. 2 Jan. 2017. .
    Wires, News. "Dozens Killed in Attacks amid Political Unrest in DR Congo." France 24. France 24, 26 Dec. 2016. Web. 02 Jan. 2017. .

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  32. December 20, according to ARA news, Turkish media outlets accused a Belgian MP of supporting the PKK. Zuhal Demir, the MP in question, has a kurdish background, and she has also repeatedly denied any support for or association with the PKK. In a statement to a Belgian newspaper, the Standaard, “Of course, I support basic rights for the Kurds, like education in their mother-tongue [...] those rights should be fought for in a democratic way, without violence. I am a pacifist.”
    December 31, ARA news reported that the People's Protection Units (YPG) claimed an attack on their positions by Turkish military forces and Islamist rebels, across northern Aleppo. “The Turkish Army and allied jihadist groups launched a renewed offensive in the Kurdish areas of Rojava, targeting YPG headquarters with heavy weapons and airstrikes”, stated the leadership of the YPG.
    December 20, according to ARA news, Turkish media outlets accused a Belgian MP of supporting the PKK. Zuhal Demir, the MP in question, has a kurdish background, and she has also repeatedly denied any support for or association with the PKK. In a statement to a Belgian newspaper, the Standaard, “Of course, I support basic rights for the Kurds, like education in their mother-tongue [...] those rights should be fought for in a democratic way, without violence. I am a pacifist.”
    December 31, ARA news reported that the People's Protection Units (YPG) claimed an attack on their positions by Turkish military forces and Islamist rebels, across northern Aleppo. “The Turkish Army and allied jihadist groups launched a renewed offensive in the Kurdish areas of Rojava, targeting YPG headquarters with heavy weapons and airstrikes”, stated the leadership of the YPG.
    In the first few hours of 2017 on Sunday, people celebrating the New Year in the Reina nightclub were brutally gunned down by a man whom, according to several Turkish news outlets, ISIS claims to be one of their own. While there is no correlation between this tragic incident and the Kurds, it adds to the tension brewing in the area and marks a grim end to a grim year for Turkey.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38484029
    http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/istanbuldaki-saldiridan-ilk-goruntu-40323461
    http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/653641/Reina_da_katliam..._istanbul_da_eglence_merkezine_silahli_saldiri__1_i_polis_39_olu__65_yarali.html
    http://aranews.net/2016/12/turkey-islamist-groups-attack-kurdish-ypg-positions-despite-truce-in-syria/
    http://aranews.net/2016/12/turkish-media-accuses-belgian-mp-of-supporting-pkk/

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  34. North Korea - Jack Singer

    Over the past couple weeks, North Korea has once again declared to the world that it is capable of defending itself. Haaretz news reported that “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Sunday that the isolated nuclear-capable country was in the last stage of preparing an ICBM rocket test”. Reuters news also quotes Kim Jong Un during a televised New Year's Day speech : "Research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing and ICBM rocket test launch preparation is in its last stage,". This isn’t the first threat and most certainly not the last one. As threats get increasingly frequent, Western countries start giving more and more time and attention to North-Korea. An ICBM rocket has the potential of carrying a nuclear weapon and reach distant territories. Nevertheless, Washington is not too worried about North Korea reaching US territory yet : according to Haaretz news, the ICBM rockets do not have a range long enough to reach any US States. However, in the years to come the rockets could reach up to 10,000 miles and therefore reach California.

    Reuters. "North Korea Claims Close to Testing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile." Haaretz.com. Haaretz, 01 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.

    Munroe, Tony, and Jack Kim. "North Korea's Kim Says Close to Test Launch of ICBM." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 01 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.

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  35. Juliette Scholler -- Taliban in Afghanistan

    Violence led by the Taliban still persists despite the peace talk held in the previous months. Recently, an attack occurred at the house of Mir Wali, the Afghan MP, leaving 8 deaths and 6 wounded, because according to the Taliban, they were holding a meeting with the security officials. (BBC) The Taliban held hostage for 10 hours, ending only after the three gunmen were shot by the Afghan security forces. (BBC) Another violent event took place on the 27th of December. (One India) A 30 year old woman was executed under the pretext that she was visiting alone in a village of the Sar-e-Pul province. (One India) Her death happened in a Taliban controlled village, however the Taliban does not claim the execution. (One India)
    The Afghan government has also recently made advances. Mullah Firoz Jahadi, a  Taliban commander, as well as 5 other armed men were killed in an anti-terrorism ambush in Ghazni. (Euro News) Jahadi was the one responsible in regaining control of the city of Kunduz (Euro News), which the Afghan government took over on December 17th. (The Jerusalem Post).
    The government’s recapture of the city of Kunduz is a big advancement, for it is a strategically important place, mainly because it is linked with Kabul, Tajikistan, and Mazar-e-Sharif. (Euro News)

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38399751
    http://www.euronews.com/2016/12/26/top-taliban-commander-killed-in-afghanistan-interior-ministry
    http://www.atlantico.fr/pepites/afghanistan-russie-et-iran-soutiennent-taliban-2922700.html
    http://www.oneindia.com/international/taliban-militants-behead-young-afghan-woman-2301606.html
    http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Afghan-forces-battle-Taliban-in-Kunduz-464682

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  36. Emma Ghafari – Conflict in Ukraine
    The past two weeks have not presented any hope to Ukraine as the country is still left with a stalemate situation where "ceasefire violations have become a daily routine" (Sheiko, 2016). In fact, according to the OSCE Special Monitoring mission, there have been 300,000 incidents in 2016 (Sheiko, 2016).
    Many diplomatic peace agreements have been attempted and have failed. An attempt was made at a meeting on December 21 (Sheiko, 2016): both sides in the conflict accepted to have a Christmas truce as of December 24 (Stewart, 2016). The German Foreign Minister stated that this truce should be followed, "for the sake of the civilian population" (Stewart, 2016).
    Heavy fighting exploded on December 18 in Svitlodarsk, resulting in the death of five Ukrainian soldiers (Sheiko, 2016). However, both sides accuse each other of having begun the fighting and Ukraine still has not officially stated that its troops “carry out military offensives” (Sheiko, 2016). Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s spokesperson has stated that December 18 marked “the army’s heaviest losses in the last five months” (Sheiko, 2016). 2,900 explosions were recorded by the OSCE on that day, explosions occurring mainly in Svitlodarsk and Debaltsevo (Sheiko, 2016).
    Furthermore, there were 44 ceasefire violations at Donbas (liveuamap [2]) on December 31 and fighting also broke out West of Horlivka on January 1 2017 (liveuamap [1]).

    [1] Liveuamap. "West of Horlivka: Mortars, Artillery and Small Arms Clashes." Live UA Map - Ukraine. N.p., 01 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Jan. 2017. .
    [2] Liveuamap. "44 Ceasefire Violations at Donbas in the Last Day of 2016." Live UA Map - Ukraine. N.p., 01 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Jan. 2017. .
    Iurii Sheiko. "No Peace in Sight in Eastern Ukraine | Europe | DW.COM | 27.12.2016."DW.COM. Deutsche Welle, 27 Dec. 2016. Web. 02 Jan. 2017. .
    Rachel Stewart. "Hopes for a Christmas Ceasefire in Ukraine | News | DW.COM | 23.12.2016." DW.COM. Deutsche Welle, 23 Dec. 2016. Web. 02 Jan. 2017. .

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  37. Cassiopeia, Libya
    In recent days according to Middle East Monitor, ISL is rearranging its fighters in the west due to its defeat in Sirte. They claim to have camps in the area of Al-Haram and parts of the valleys around Bani Walid and Awlad Bousayf(1). A Libyan plane was hijacked by Al-Fatah Al-Jadid members and forced to land in Malta all for a publicity stunt. (2) The US ended their operations in Sirte the 21 of December having carried out 495 strikes with drones, warplanes and gunships.(3). The 19th a minimum of 7 people were killed in Ganfouda, Benghazi thanks to a suicide bomber attack claimed to be from ISL against the LNA having made great advances in Benghazi who had encircles Ganfouda from by taking control of the buildings at the coast in the southwest militarily costing several lives. (4)
    https://www.libyaherald.com/category/libya/:
    Libya Herald reports: Misratan militia leader declaring Misrata Municipal Council “out of business” and is to be run by the city’s military council from now on. The local population in AL-Buwanis near Sebha called for the fighting between the LNA and the Misrata’s Third Force to stop as well as the Third Forces departure.The Third Force is fighting to keep the LNA from encroaching on Sebha. BM militants search for ISL fighters near Bani Walid. Several appointments and dismissals were made so as to favor the LNA’s control in Kurfra, Tazebu, and at the Brack airbase previously under regular army troops control. The LNA carries out airstrikes in Jurfra against BDB. PC member wrns of possible attacks on easternoil fields. Bombs explode in Bengahzi’s medical center aswell.
    1) (https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161229-after-its-defeat-in-libyas-sirte-daesh-rearranges-fighters-in-western-libya/
    2) https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161223-breaking-libyan-aircraft-hijacked-landed-in-malta/
    3) https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161221-us-announces-end-to-operation-against-daesh-in-sirte/
    4) https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161219-suicide-bomber-kills-seven-in-libyan-city-of-benghazi-officials/

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  38. The Kurdish Conflict - Eliott

    On the 18th of December near the city of Kobane in Northern Syria, according to ARA news, Turkey's forces bombed YPG's positions, targetting a YPG security center. No casualties were reported, the bombing only caused material damage. This was not the first time turkish military attack the YPG, for no apparent reasons. The attack, according to the YPG leadership wasan attempt to "undermine the Kurdish progress against ISIS".
    At the early hours of the first of january 2017, according to Rojbas news 39 people celebrating the new year (including four Kurds) were killed in a terrorist attack in a nightclub in Istanbul. The attack was claimed by ISIS to be their doing.The man responsible for this atrocious attack has not been captured yet.

    aranews.net/2016/12/turkey-launches-renewed-attack-against-syrian-kurds-bombs-ypg-positions-near-kobane/
    www.rojbas.org/2017/01/02/attentat-turquie-discotheque-daesh-revendique-lattaque/

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  39. Leah Sadoff- Al-Shabaab

    In the past two weeks many attacks have happened and they are not calming down. They are usually small attacks like suicide car bombings and others. According to Standard Digital al-Shabaab militants have attacked a third communication mast in the space of three weeks in the Tarbaj area which is in Wajir County. During this process two people were killed and the mast destroyed. What the article fails to say is why they are destroying these communication masts. Just last week “Jubbaland state forces backed by Kenyan military have launched a joint offensive on Al Shabaab base near Kismayo city”, and according to sources in Kismayo Jubbaland troops accompanied by the Kenyan Defense Forces have also attacked and al-Shabaab camp in the Abdalla Birole area (All Africa). Throughout these battles there have been casualties.

    https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000227860/two-people-killed-as-suspected-al-shabaab-vandalise-communication-mast-in-tarbaj-wajir-county
    http://allafrica.com/stories/201612270357.html

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  40. Lucca Stagno- Al Shabaab in Somalia

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161228-al-shabaab-confiscate-somali-farmers-livestock/

    Al Shabaab militants engaged in a deadly gunfight with livestock owners in the Dumaye district (Mudug region in central Somalia) after they refused to give the Islamic extremists part of their herds in what they called "Zakat" (Alms-giving). The terrorist organization took over the Dumaye district on the 24th.

    http://www.nation.co.ke/news/Two-killed-in-Al-Shabaab-attack/1056-3497040-kp6cbg/

    Two suspected Al Shabaab sympathizers reportedly leave two dead in an attack on a road construction site and used improvised explosive devices on multiple masts in Wajir County, leaving two dead.

    http://www.voanews.com/a/shabaab-militants-kill-prosecutor/3650964.html

    Military prosecutor of the semi autonomous region of Puntland in Northern Somalia was shot dead by Al Shabaab gunmen in yet another targeted killing because of his involvement in the sentencing of people who had ties with Al Shabaab. A few days before, a regional official's aide was shot and before that, the deputy police commander were also shot in targeted killings.

    http://thebricspost.com/al-shabaab-claim-new-somalia-attacks/#.WGvivbSkqf0

    Al Shabaab claimed a terror attack that killed three members of the security forces in a checkpoint near the Mogadishu Airport. The suicide car bomb exploded near the United Nations office and the African Union base, both of these establishments have been Al Shabaab targets in the past.

    http://aa.com.tr/en/africa/somalia-4-al-shabaab-killed-in-clash-with-govt-forces/716692

    Al Shabaab militants attack NISA (National Intelligence and Security Agency) Army base in the Lower Shabelle region town of Afgoye. The gunfight left seven dead: three NISA forces, and four Al Shabaab militants. NISA officers claim that they captured three militants alive. Being just 30 km southwest of Mogadishu, Afgoye is a strategic position for both belligerents that want to control the Somali capital. It was already taken over in a terrorist attack in late October of last year before the government forces retook control of the agricultural town

    I am very sorry for the tardiness of my entries, I completely forgot to check my mail during the break with the TPE on my mind. I hope it does not turn out to be too problematic.

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