Friday, April 28, 2017

Phase 4, Week 2

Hi all

Most of you have found one or more countries to investigate, but as you've figured out, you will have to dig for the answers you need.

Here's one lead to get you started: in terms of the country's interest in the conflict, look for information on government websites, or see what state-owned or government-friendly newspapers say; you may have to read between the lines a bit.

Good luck!

Mr. H

30 comments:

  1. North Korea
    kelcie
    A country involved in the crisis is the United States who wish for protection from the North Korean threat. They want the outcome to be the denuclearization of the US as is said in a joint statement by the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary and the Director of National Intelligence: "The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula". To realize this, they have put a lot sanctions in place: NK government property in America was frozen, US exports to NK banned and US investment in NK banned; as well as blacklisting the people who deal with North Korea. They also have developped Thaad (Terminal High Altitude Defence System), a missile defence system which is being put in place in South Korea and will be activated very soon. It shoots down short and medium range ballistic missiles by destroying the incoming warhead in the terminal phase of the flight which can be up to 200 km away and 150 km high. It was previously installed in Guam and Hawaii. A key strategy for them is also putting pressure on China to do more.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39723747?intlink_from_url=http://www.bbc.com/news/topics/590ec892-07c1-49d5-b7b7-1de0b05d0500/north-korea&link_location=live-reporting-story

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39728536?intlink_from_url=http://www.bbc.com/news/topics/590ec892-07c1-49d5-b7b7-1de0b05d0500/north-korea&link_location=live-reporting-story

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  2. Emma Ghafari – Conflict in Ukraine
    The USA, under new president Donald Trump, is another country that has involved itself in the Ukraine crisis, through a telephone call with Ukrainian President Poroshenko. This “spillover” is demonstrated by an article from The Telegraph, “Donald Trump says US will work with Kiev and Moscow to end Ukraine conflict”. This article describes Trump’s vow to help to resolve the conflict: “‘we will work with Ukraine, Russia and all other parties involved to help them restore peace’” While Trump seems rather neutral in his saying he will work with “BOTH Kiev and Moscow”, he implies his support of Ukraine despite his “open admiration for Vladimir Putin and […] his pledge to mend ties with Moscow”. He indeed claims that “‘[he] respect[s] a lot of people, but that doesn't mean [he is] going to get along with him’”. It can be understood that Trump plans on maintaining Russia’s sanctions, which is confirmed by a statement made by Poroshenko’s office, “[they] discussed strengthening the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the US”. The USA is therefore another country that has promised (even though indirectly) to support Ukraine in the crisis. Trump’s outcome is therefore to reach “settlement of the situation in the Donbass and achieving peace via political and diplomatic means”, by supporting Ukraine and maintaining Russia’s sanctions.
    Article:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/05/donald-trump-says-us-will-work-kiev-moscow-end-ukraine-conflict/

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  3. Sophie Lemmerman – Kashmir conflict

    The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is an American non-partisan, independent, federal institution that provides analysis of and is involved in conflicts around the world (Wikipedia). They have published peace briefs, analysis, and commentary about US involvement in the Kashmir conflict. When former US president Barack Obama took a ten-day trip throughout Asia in 2010 to focus on economic issues, his first stop in India highlighted the long-standing tension between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir (USIP). Because the US has significant security priorities in Pakistan and economic interests in India, their role in Kashmir is a delicate one; Pakistan welcomes third-party involvement in the conflict whereas India remains opposed to any outside role (USIP): “The U.S. finds itself in an awkward position given that it requires and aims for a healthy relationship with both South Asian powers” (USIP). As a result, policymakers in Washington have decided to offer facilitation rather than mediation in the Kashmir conflict. However, this stance is “unlikely to allow the U.S. to play a substantive role in nudging the two sides towards resolution of the dispute” and “long-term stability in South Asia cannot be achieved unless Indo-Pak normalization becomes reality” (USIP). A peace brief published in February, 2017 encourages the US to “regularly underscore the urgency of the Kashmir situation to Chinese counterparts” because Beijing has greater influence over Islamabad’s policies than Washington does (USIP). Furthermore, a South Asian war would directly threaten China.


    Sources

    Wikipedia:
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Institute_of_Peace)
    United States Institute of Peace (USIP):
    - https://www.usip.org/publications/2010/11/issues-us-pakistan-india#economic
    - https://www.usip.org/publications/2017/02/chinas-kashmir-policies-and-crisis-management-south-asia

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  4. Chloé Erny, EU migration crisis

    The US has been involved in the EU migration crisis as part of the much debated matter of burden sharing. An article published in September 2015 and written by Michael D. Shear tells of the pressure the government was receiving from the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to let 100,000 Syrian migrants into the States instead of the ridiculous 1,500 per year, and to increase the overall limit on refugees entering the US from 700,000 to 100,000. At the time White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the US had provided $4 billion to help improve migrant camps in Europe, “making the America the biggest donor.”
    Now after the last elections anti-immigrant sentiment is promoted and an executive order was issued to ban citizens from 7 Muslim states from entering the States for 90 days, as described in an article published on February 4th, 2017 in RT. Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern comments in the article, “The entry bans against seven Muslim countries are... highly problematic. We should win these countries as allies in the fight against [radical] Islamism, not define them as adversaries.” Kern also says about the bombings in Syria, “There is no doubt that America shares responsibility for the refugee flows by the way how it intervened militarily,” and is critical about America avoiding responsibility.


    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/us/as-european-migrant-crisis-grows-us-considers-taking-in-more-syrians.html?_r=0

    https://www.rt.com/news/376321-us-interventions-migrants-austria/

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  5. War in Yemen - Anna

    Iran plays a consequent role in the Yemeni conflict as this country has sided with the Houthis, opposing the Saudi-Arabian coalition. According to Reuters, they have been garmenting Houthi ranks with military advisers and advanced weapons. Yemen is part of the Arabian Peninsula, where the power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran is taking place, fuelling the war in Syria. Iran aims to strengthen its hold on the region by providing the Houthis weapons while confronting their enemy, Saudi Arabia (Reuters). Iran also seems to disrespect totally the US, and this gives them yet another opportunity to defy them, trying to show superiority (Voa News). Without Iran’s political, sanctuary r financial support, the Houthis cause would probably be crippled (Telegraph). Iran has been seen to provoke unrest and religious tension in the country’s of the Arabian Peninsula, notably Mahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, only to challenge the Middle East and get closer to dominating it. It seems only natural that it would fuel the Yemeni conflict, to insure it controls some of the southern section of the Middle Eastern world.

    Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-iran-houthis-idUSKBN16S22R
    Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/02/the-bloody-battle-in-yemen-shows-iran-is-intent-on-dominion/
    Voa news: http://www.voanews.com/a/proxy-war-in-yemen-adds-to-tensions-among-us-iran-saudi-arabia/3707893.html

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  6. David Ripayre – Uyghur conflict in China

    There are other countries apart from Turkey involved in the Uyghur case. The United States involvement for example is less frontal than Turkeys as there are no direct conflict between Americans and Chinese over Uyghur problems.
    However there is a high tension in terms of media coverage and public opinion. Various American news sources like The New York Times or the UAA (Uyghur American Association) multiply posts concerning the Xinjiang region, all those posts are extremely pro-Uyghur and pro-Human-rights, they thus become indirectly critics of the Chinese government.
    In a post concerning the ban of Muslim names in certain regions of Asia, the New York Times, speaks of Beijing tightening it’s “grip” over those regions and insist on the extreme control measures of China and puts forward the Muslim populations reactions.
    As the US doesn’t have much reasons to protect this Uyghur population (unlike Turkey for example), considering the high rivalry between the US and China we can consider this high tension and criticism as a method to criticize and taint the Chinese image on an international plan

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  7. Emilie Shagrin: refugee crisis in the EU

    The refugee crisis is impacting countries around the world. It’s a bigger threat to world order than North Korea, and the largest migrant conflict since WW2.
    Recent attacks that were carried out or inspired by the Islamic State, (centered in the countries refugees flee from) are one of the reasons refugees aren’t accepted and treated badly; with riots in between refugees and the police and dilapidated camps adding to the chaos and reinforcing xenophobia. The Trump administration even attempted in January to create a law banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries for ninety days, as a believed counter to terrorism. The US does not seem ready to accept any migrant right now, more busy building a wall at the Mexican border.
    In France, Marine le Pen from the Front National holds a high spot in the presidential elections a week from today. She could determine the fate of the refugees residing in France, which is a scary thought for all (not just legal or illegal immigrants). In conclusion, this crisis is still very much present and shall continue to be unless help is given to the continuous flow of refugees.

    https://www.cfr.org/global/global-conflict-tracker/p32137#!/conflict/refugee-crisis-in-the-european-union
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/new-un-report-says-worlds-refugee-crisis-is-worse-than-anyone-expected/2015/06/17/a49c3fc0-14ff-11e5-8457-4b431bf7ed4c_story.html?utm_term=.bad90f80e24d
    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35383-will-the-us-own-up-to-its-role-in-europe-s-refugee-crisis
    http://www.cnewsmatin.fr/france/2017-04-23/marine-le-pen-presidente-de-la-republique-quelles-consequences-740787

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  8. Julie Clar - Boko Haram in Nigeria

    In August 2014, Operation Barkhane was adopted by France. According to Newsweek, this mission had for “stated aim of supporting the armed forces of various states in recovering territory and resisting attacks from the militant groups.” However, Nigeria was not part of the five countries which benefitted from France’s military aid. Nonetheless, Chad and Niger were, helping the two countries in their fight against Boko Haram. This year, on April 1st, Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve met in Paris. The relationship in between the two countries seems superficial and not concrete, as they mostly talked about how the fight against Boko Haram has progressed over the years. Osinbajo discussed the process of de-radicalisation considering the fact that the conflict has been delt with on the surface, but not ideologically, which is a challenge both countries share. Cazeneuve assured Osinbajo that “French investors will take advantage of the opportunity the Nigerian economy offers” in order to help boost and rebuild the countries economy, destroyed by Boko Haram. Furthermore, in between 2010 and 2015, Nigeria received a 3 billion dollar grant from the United States government. This year, they only gave the country 300 thousand dollars as the conflict is less of an issue. Other countries that have helped Nigeria financially as well as by creating projects for education, electricity, agriculture (etc) are Japan, China, Spain, Great Britain, and France. China is also participating in military operations against Boko Haram because 65 000 Chinese citizens live in Nigeria and in addition, Nigeria is China’s second major exportation destination in Africa, making the survival of Nigeria important in terms of the Chinese economy.

    Sources:
    http://www.newsweek.com/how-france-fighting-militant-islamism-africa-512083
    http://www.defense.gouv.fr/operations/operations/sahel/dossier-de-presentation-de-l-operation-barkhane/operation-barkhane
    http://ris.org.in/pdf/IV_A_Mr.%20Saidu%20Nasiru%20Sulaiman.pdf
    http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/04/nigeria-france-explore-co-operation-terror/
    http://www.ecfr.eu/publications/summary/terror_overseas_understanding_chinas_evolving_counter_terror_strategy7160
    https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/02/19/chinese-companies-and-the-development-of-telecommunications-and-agriculture-in-nigeria/
    http://africanworldpolitics.site.wesleyan.edu/2016/10/20/foreign-aid-in-nigeria/

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  9. Libya, Cassiopeia

    http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/chinese-consort7ium-inv7est-36bn-liby7an/
    http://thediplomat.com/2012/03/chinas-libya-problem/
    http://www.chinaafricarealstory.com/2011/03/china-and-libya-whats-real-story.html
    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-the-gulf-arab-rivalry-tore-libya-apart-14580
    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1043653.shtml
    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1043778.shtml
    https://www.dailysabah.com/americas/2017/04/10/white-house-foreign-policy-official-drew-libya-partition-plan-on-napkin
    http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article57762
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11110931/How-Qatar-is-funding-the-rise-of-Islamist-extremists.html
    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatar-denies-involvement-in-libya-s-internal-conflict-1.1990279
    http://www.libyanexpress.com/qatar-declines-hor-accusations-of-sponsoring-attack-on-oil-terminals/
    http://www.libyanexpress.com/libyas-gna-prime-minister-arrives-in-turkey/
    http://journal-neo.org/2016/06/23/libya-between-the-usa-qatar-and-saudi-arabia/
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11110931/How-Qatar-is-funding-the-rise-of-Islamist-extremists.html
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/01/13/italys-last-ditch-effort-to-stabilize-libya-russia-haftar/

    An analyst at the Heritage Foundation, highlighted that foreign involvement is unlikely to bring positive results due to the intense chaos. However, Italy brought a navy ship and reopened their embassy this year after all diplomats had left in 2015, but the LNA considered it occupation and “a form of repeated aggression” which demonstrates the mixed reactions the return received. Italy states that it wants to help Libya return to stability. The US has taken a step back and other than their airstrikes in Sirte, they have left the issue in the hands of Europeans. Supposedly a member of the Whitehouse claimed that the solution to the probable was a three-state solution. However, Libya expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, Mattia Tolando, claims that a three state solution is not a solution. In 2011 China participated, reluctantly, in the UN action in Libya but it was mostly because of the millions they stood to lose not really in petrol but in construction. China did in fact loose a substantial amount on investments which they demand to be compensated for. However a plan to invest $32bn dollars in Libya and the construction program in Benghazi in 2014, shows an improvement in Sino-Libyan relations. In a 20115 policy intended to protect China’s overseas investments China has been more involved in Libya notably by organizing important evacuations. French intelligence agencies leaked the fact that ISIS presence in Libya is dangerous to Europe and that Sudan a passage for many fighters seeking to join ISIS in Libya and claimed that Sudan was disregarding this pressing issue. Turkey recognizes the GNA, having official meetings together. Sudan, Turkey and Qatar are pro GNA. The UAE, Russia and Egypt are pro LNA. Although it is believe that Qatar sponsors Islamic groups in Middle East and it is proved that they have provided the Libya Dawn with arms, both Qatar claims that it supports political agreement between parties. Both Turkey and Qatar have strongly denied allegations about their involvement in Libya’s internal struggles.

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  10. Ito - Burundi
    Rwanda seems to see itself as the “older sibling” in this conflict, as it has already gone through similar ethnic and political tensions before, that resulted in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi population. An article from The New Times, a Rwandan newspaper, says that “big powers are vetoing any UN Security Council resolution that seeks to prevent the slaughter of the Tutsi in Burundi as was the case for Rwanda” (Bela, The New Times). It also cites an article that states that during the Rwandan genocide, the UN Security Council abandoned the country and withdrew its peacekeeping forces, leaving Rwanda to fend for itself. It even allegedly denied that there was a genocide, and claimed “more Hutu were murdered than Tutsi” (Melvern, The New Times). Rwanda is observing a similar passiveness from the international community towards the impending genocide in Burundi as was shown in 1994, and urges the AU and the UN to take action before it is too late. Allegedly, the government are already training a criminal militia that frighteningly resembles the one used in Rwanda before, and could potentially instigate genocide.

    http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-04-24/211195/
    http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2017-04-21/211051/

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  11. Elise - War in Yemen
    Saudi Arabia showed its economic interest in Yemen in the early 1920s, by attempting to secure control Sanaa’s access to the Bab el-Mandeb strait, which “connects the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean and is Saudi Arabia's main gateway for exporting oil” (1) Controlling this access is key in Saudi success, and it is therefore paramount for them to keep strong ties with the leaders of the country. Today, Saudi Arabia's priority is to keep a stable relationship with Yemen to ensure protection of their southern countries such as Najran, Jizan, and Khamis Mushayt.
    Another reason for which some say Saudi Arabia supports Hadi is that they believe the Houthi uprising to have been an “unconstitutional coup d’état” (2) and that they have an obligation, as one of the most economically and politically developed countries in the Middle East, to help the legitimate leader of the country and restore order. They think that by making the government stable again, Yemen will have less chances of becoming a “failed” country because of constant conflict, economic failure, and AQAP and ISIS interventions.
    Others say that Saudi’s true intentions are closely related to the Saudi-Iran rivalry, because of the fact that these two regional powers “back opposing factions in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Bahrain”. So, they’re claiming that the Yemeni conflict is persisting because both countries are more or less fighting against each other via Yemenis. Houthis being in control would mean Iran “wins” Yemen, and proves to the Saudis what they are capable of.
    So in 2015, when Saudi Arabia realized that financial aid wouldn’t suffice, they decided to intervene militarily.

    (1)http://www.dw.com/en/why-is-saudi-arabia-interested-in-yemen/a-36000785
    (2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabian-led_intervention_in_Yemen
    (3)http://www.ibtimes.com/middle-east-conflict-why-saudi-arabia-attacking-yemen-important-questions-surround-2447121
    (4)http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/06/yemen-saudi-arabia-iran-houthis-support-military.html#ixzz4flYpBYqK
    (5)http://time.com/4174837/yemen-analysis/

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  12. 4/1 China’s role in the Kashmir Conflict --- Olivine

    China’s economic interest in the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic corridor) explains the country’s eagerness at ensuring peace in the region and promote a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict. The chinese premiere declared that "We are ready to play constructive role in improvement of relations between Pakistan and India” last year. The economic incentive also explains China’s partial position favoring Pakistan. The Chinese premiere also declared that "We support Pakistan and will speak for Pakistan at every forum" and qualified the two countries as “Iron brothers”.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/09/21/china-stands-with-pakistan-on-kashmir-issue-li-keqiang-tells-na/

    The official information site of the CPEC reaffirms the strong ties between Pakistan and China again and again. The CPEC is of great importance to both countries as it will drastically increase connectivity by giving China access to the Arabian sea through Gwadar port. This project is a crucial part of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative

    http://www.cpecinfo.com/president-xi

    The CPEC is a crucial part of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. One report on China’s official One Belt, One Road page pointed out the economic advantages for China of increasing connectivity in the region as “a larger proportion of the most-frequently used domestic currency will effectively prevent financial risks, lower transaction cost, enhance overall economic competitiveness and accelerate the integration of trade and economy in the region involved.”

    http://english.gov.cn/news/top_news/2015/10/09/content_281475207613875.htm

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  13. Syrian Civil War-- Tim d'Aboville

    As the conflict in Syria continues to grow, and the tensions between the US and Russia do as well, one might ask himself why Russia is involved in Syria in the first place. As in every war, money is one of the reasons.
    Syria and Russia have been allied ever since the Second World War (Wikipedia) and their diplomatic relations have been excellent ever since. Russia has since then engaged in arms contracts with the country, amounting to about $4bn (The Guardian) and has invested over $19.4bn in Syrian infrastructure, energy, and tourism in 2009. Furthermore, a Russian company, Stroytranzgaz, built in that same year a gas processing plant which amounted to over $12.8m (stroytransgaz.ru). We now understand that before the war broke out in Syria, Russia and Syria had always kept extremely prolific business and economic exchanges and evidently, Putin wasn’t very keen to lose them all because rebels decided to take arms against his ally.

    http://www.stroytransgaz.ru/en/projects/geography/
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/dec/02/russia-syria-civil-war-dagestan
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_involvement_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War

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  14. Taliban in Afghanistan - Theodore FEVRE

    During the 80's, in the receding years of the Soviet/US conflict, the US funded and supplied the mujahedin; who were an extremist group fighting the Russians. However today, US and Taliban officials have stated that the Russian government is financing the extremist group. The Taliban officials have stated that they were receiving weaponry as well as information from Russia to help them with their fight against the US. On the other hand, Russia refutes this statement by saying that they are financing the Taliban for their fight against ISIS.
    Although Russia claims their motif for financing the Taliban a way to fight ISIS, because of their shared history with the US, one can speculate that they're carrying this out in order to push the US out of the country. In fact, they would have access to rich gas and oil terrains; because their relationship is founded by competition, Russia could very well turn against America.
    Therefore, by indirectly financing the Taliban to fight the US, Russia is making this conflict even more sensible.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/officials-afghanistan-suggest-russia-arms-taliban-170424204006251.html

    http://www.businessinsider.fr/us/russia-supporting-taliban-2017-1/

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  15. Rémi Masia-Depardieu, Destabilization of Mali
    Since the end of 2012, France have been operating militarily in Mali. In December 2012, the Malian government called for French assistance, and therefore France started the Serval operation. The goal was to put a term to terrorism, especially in Northern Mali, where the 2012 Malian crisis had allowed many new terrorist and islamist groups to enter and gain power in the region. The operation was fairly successful as three terrorist leaders were killed, and others had to flee to Libya and Algeria. This operation ended in november 2014 and was replaced by the Barkhane operation. The main difference is that this operation is more global, as it covers the Sahel region, so not only Northern Mali. The objective, again, is to put an end to terrorism. France fears of the gain of power of terrorist groups over North Africa, and wants to prevent terrorist groups from operating abroad from north Africa, in Europe. Plus, as the G5 Sahel countries the Barkhane operation covers (Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso) are have an intimate history with France, as they used to be French colonies. Therefore, the French population and government feel responsible for the crisis, social and economic, in this region, and are willing to intervene and help the population.

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  16. Juliette Debray - Boko Haram
    The United States’ support to Nigeria has not wavered between the presidencies. Right before Trump’s inauguration, the United States donated “24 up-armored transport vehicles, known as MRAPs, to the Nigerian military through the Excess Defense Articles program.”(1) Just a few months later, in February, President Trump talked with President Buhari, assuring “the Nigerian president of U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism,” according to Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina (2). It is also still the country who contributes the most in the Consolidated Humanitarian Funding for Nigeria’s crisis in the northeast—over three times as much as the second biggest contributor, the Central Emergency Response Fund (3). Interestingly, The head of Atlantic Council’s Africa Center in Washington, J Peter Pham points out "It's hard to argue that any country in Africa is more important than Nigeria for the geopolitical and other strategic interests of the US,'' (4). Although vague, it is pretty obvious that Nigeria is most interesting for its abundance in oil and most recently, for its interest in buying American military aircraft (5) for, apparently, approximately 600 million USD [according to an usual source called “stuff”(4)].
    (1)https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/04/10/u-s-looks-to-sell-ground-attack-aircraft-to-nigeria-report-says/ (2)https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/world/africa/muhammadu-buhari-trump-nigeria.html?_r=0
    (3)http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/21042017_ocha_nga_humanitarian_dashboard_march_2017_0.pdf
    (4)https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/04/10/u-s-looks-to-sell-ground-attack-aircraft-to-nigeria-report-says/
    (5)http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/donald-trumps-america/91428938/trump-to-sell-attack-planes-to-nigeria-for-boko-haram-fight

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  17. South China Sea - Marine Tallon

    This past week, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has, instead of accusing China for maritime disputes in the South China Sea as they usually do, focused on a regional trade pact and decided to help the economies of the less developed countries in the grouping. All of the leaders have reported, “improving cooperation between ASEAN and China”.
    The grouping decided to complete a framework of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) by mid-2017. The COC is a “non-binding document that urges self-restraint and resolution of disputes through direct negotiations”.
    The leaders also focused on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, an agreement that will boost global trade by making a giant free trade pact in the South China Sea.
    The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who chaired the meeting, stated he had “developed friendship” with China earlier in October, and resulted to have “opened many doors to the country”. This comment made by Duterte shows how the relations in the South China Sea region has changed compared to earlier this year.
    Putting aside the conflict and the dispute, the leaders of the region have focused on what they considered more useful and beneficial for the individual countries and the region as a whole.

    Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/asean-sidetracks-south-china-sea-dispute-advocates-stronger-economic-ties-with-china/article18346590.ece

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  18. Pierre-Malo Vienney -- Violence in DRC

    The International Criminal Court has claimed that the discovery of more than 20 mass graves in the Kasai region and the murder of two United Nations researchers could be war crimes. Therefore the DRC conflict has an international influence because of the very influential UN organization taking care of the conflict. The UN announced they were ready to prosecute the Congolese chiefs that are organizing these government sponsored atrocities. Recently, videos of uniformed soldiers slaughtering civilians enhanced the growing accusations of the UN. In this conflict, the UN wants to stop the war crimes that retrieve human rights of thousands of civilians and refugee fleeing DRC. The UN’s purpose to stop the incessant war crimes would be to help the civilians but also to stop the everlasting refugee crisis that stems from the conflicts in Central Africa and Middle East. Therefore, the International Criminal Court’s interest would be to help the civilians suffering from the war crimes but also to reduce the international refugee crisis.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/01/world/africa/international-criminal-court-congo-war-crimes.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FCongo&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=collection&_r=0
    http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/crises/crisis-in-drc

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  19. Leah Sadoff- Al-Shabaab

    Kenya is an important actor in the fight against al-Shabaab. She has been involved with this fight for many years already and she is not planning on stopping until al-Shabaab is annihilated. It is in the Kenyans’ interest to get rid of the terrorists as well because they are also attacking their country. Kenya has sent Regional Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) which are in direct combat with al-Shabaab. For example just a few days ago the KDF attacked an al-Shabaab camp in Southern Somalia and during that process they killed 52 terrorists and injured many more. The Kenyan President wants/ needs al-Shabaab to be wiped out completely not only for the good of his people and the Somalis but also to get more tourists. Since the terrorist attack in 2015 on the university, the number of tourists have dropped drastically and they are desperately needed to be able to sustain their economy.

    https://sofrep.com/80041/kenyan-air-force-claim-decimated-al-shabaab-base-southern-somalia/
    http://eastafricamonitor.com/somalia-kenyan-army-kills-52-al-shabaab-fighters/
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/06/al-shabaab-and-kenya-the-somali-factor/

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  20. Domitille- Conflict in Ukraine

    As said in the previous blog post, China insists on maintaining friendly relationships with Ukraine in this conflict, a linke exsiting since 1992, when the Ukrainian-Chinese diplomatic relationship was recognized. However, there are a few reasons for China to insist on it. The two have a rather strong economic link: in 2016, “Chinese exports to Ukraine amounted to 3126,3 million USD” (1). Ukraine exports to China are less important, therefore China relies more on Ukraine than the opposite. Furthermore, China is also interested in Ukraine geographical location. First of all, it is situated near the Silk Route: China could want to include Ukraine in this route, and therefore make Ukraine dependant on China for part of its economy. Second of all, Ukraine is a strategic location between China and the EU: China could hope, by creating stronger links with Ukraine, to create, by extension, stronger economic links with the EU. They could for example move cargo train from The EU to China. China is also now turning away from US agriculatural products and relying more and more on Ukrainian ones: “In 2015 China became the largest importer of Ukrainian agricultural products” (2). Therefore, it is in China’s interest to maintain a friendly relationship with Ukraine.

    (1) http://china.mfa.gov.ua/en/ukraine-cn/trade
    (2) http://thediplomat.com/2016/03/why-china-is-interested-in-ukraine/
    http://china.mfa.gov.ua/en/ukraine-cn/diplomacy

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  21. Deniz

    Turkey recently bombarded several targets belonging to the Kurdish People’s Protection units (YPG) in Syria, in the town of Al-Darbasiyah. Like most kurdish groups, the YPG are considered to be terrorists by the Turkish government; however, unlike with the PKK, other countries do not condemn the YPG as terrorists. In fact, the US considers them a valuable ally in the coalition against the Islamic State. 25 YPG fighters were killed in the bombardment by the Turkish Armed Forces. This weekend, US armored vehicles were seen in a convoy along with several vehicles carrying the YPG flag, close to the Turkish border. US-led joint command stated that "The patrols' purpose is to discourage escalation and violence between two of our most trusted (counter-Isil) partners and reinforce the US commitment to both Turkey and the SDF in their fight against ISIS,", according The Telegraph. Turkish president Erdogan has responded by calling US and YPG coordination to come to an end, and has threatened repeating similar actions. Erdogan also said that the matter would be brought up in his upcoming visit to the White House to talk to US president Donald Trump.

    http://www.haberturk.com/dunya/haber/1477833-abd-zirhlilari-turkiye-sinirinda/3

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/01/us-troops-seen-patrolling-syria-turkey-border-washington-tries/

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  22. Israel & Palestine - Delphine Chiffaudel

    According to John Kerry, the Obama administration would like to assure Israel’s security. They also support the state as democratic and jewish. However, they also believe that the two state solution is the only possibility for peace.
    The United States achieves the security preservation goal in Israel through “unprecedented military intelligence cooperation,” stated Netanyahu. More specifically, they assist Israel for the ‘Iron Dome’, an anti missile defense system that has “saved countless of Israeli lives,” according to Kerry. They have strongly opposed boycotts against Israel, and economic sanctions.
    This conflict affects the United States because one of their values is at stake: freedom. Kerry believes Israel is going towards a one state situation with pure Israeli sovereignty, through the advance and continuous support of settlements. This would mean that Palestinians will have to keep living as second class citizens without freedom of movement or expression. This goes against American values, and therefore Kerry is concerned. This would also assure an impossibility of peace in the middle east; Kerry “can say that with certainty.” That is also alarming for the United States’ interests because if they resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they can concentrates their efforts on Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. Moreover, the anti-American sentiment would diminish.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fUZRoeGBkM&t=2184s
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/weekinreview/21bronner.html

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  23. Billy McGovern -- Israel Palestine


    https://www.vox.com/cards/israel-palestine/egypt-jordan-lebanon-syria

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Palestine_relations

    http://www.leader.ir/fr/content/6869/Le-message-du-Guide-suprême-condamnant-l'attaque-du-régime-sioniste-contre-la-flottille-de-la-liberté


    The Islamic Republic of Iran endorses Palestine as a free state, as well as considers Israel to be illegitimate, and both financially and militarily supports anti-Israel factions such as Hamas , Hezbollah, and Syria, also known as the “Axis of Resistance.” Iran and Israel are also in nuclear tension because they both consider the other as a threat, with Iran’s nuclear program and Israel’s undeclared weapons of mass destruction. Iran hopes to see a solution in which Palestine is completely independent of any Israeli occupation, and some state officials have even mentionned a refenrendum for the Palestinans and the Israeli Arabs to decide of their future government.
    The official website of the Supreme leader of Iran Ali Khamenei explicitly calls out the injustices suffered by the Palestinians : “The Honorable Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, denounced in a message issued Wednesday (June 1st) the criminal and barbaric attack of the Zionist regime against the Freedom Flotilla, delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.” In the summary of his speech, the Supreme leader described this as not only a discrimination of Muslims but as a disregard to human rights. (This cargo is, most of the time, weapons to arm Palestinian resistants in Gaza.)

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  24. Matteo Valderrama- DRC conflict
    Regional stability and security is dependent on durable peace in the DRC, due to the country's size, resources and its borders with nine nations. Furthermore, DRC’s unstable nature is apparently an issue for the U.S. who, in their foreign relations fact sheet with DRC, state that their relations with DRC are strong. US foreign policy in DRC wants to help the country become a nation that is stable and democratic, at peace with its neighbors, extends state authority across its territory, and provides for the basic needs of its citizens. The U.S. is also in contact with the GDRC, the Global Development Research Center, to ensure national elections that respect the constitution. The US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and DRC leads US engagement in DRC to help resolve the conflict and the instability in the region. The United States is the largest donor to the United Nations stabilization mission in DRC. This may account for the fact that the US is a big contributor to the import-export flow in DRC, with the minerals in DRC, especially oil. (state.gov)
    https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2823.htm

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  25. Paul ISIS in Iraq,

        As evoked in the previous phase, the ongoing conflict in Iraq is currently opposing two major forces which are the following: ISIS militants and anti-ISIS troops.
       
    The anti-ISIS group is actually composed of multiple countries (including the local one) such as: France, Russia, the United States. Within the country, Iraqi forces are leading persistent offensives versus ISIS.

        Russia, has had a rather important role in Iraq for the past few years. Nevertheless, the initial reasons of why they’re currently involved seems to be obfuscated by the government. The government claims to be taking this “Islamist threat” extremely seriously and basically wants to end terrorism.Their anti-ISIS campaign has been approved by Iraq’s Prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, and basically consists in selling weapons to the Iraqi government (in order to counter ISIS’s attacks), sending in military support and leading airstrikes on the enemy (with the coalition’s help). Moreover, they also seem to be giving out political advice to the Iraqi Government.

    Concerning their presence, it has been reported that, approximately 80 Russian jets have been delivered in Iraq, followed by a dozen SU-25 and numerous war helicopters  in order to “increase and support the strength and capability of the Iraqi air forces to eliminate terrorism”. Their number of russian ground soldiers in Iraq hasn’t been unveiled, however they aren’t very numerous according to a couple of news articles.

    Sources:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/world/middleeast/iraq.html?_r=0
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-ramani/putin-isis-iraq_b_8343
    https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/06/30/russias-military-bid-in-iraq

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  26. Ambre Perron - Civil War in South Sudan

    The U. S. Department of State website reports on a multitude of countries’ foreign policy. Regarding the ongoing civil war in South Sudan, the United States reports its vision as aiming to end the conflict in the states of Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile state. Additionally, the mission envisions for “the Government of Sudan to cease indiscriminate bombing, the denial of unfettered humanitarian access and disregard of human rights and fundamental freedoms and to address the legitimate political concerns of all of the country’s diverse population.” In order to fulfill these statements. The website suggests enforcing the Argument on the Resolution of the Conflict. Both opposing parties must be true to their word regarding the cease-fire agreement that has so far failed multiple times. Once both sides have agreed to work together towards rebuilding, the US government would insure support for South Sudan “development, justice and reconciliation.”

    https://www.state.gov/s/sudan/index.htm

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  28. Russia
    Russia’s stance in the South China Sea has been subject to different interpretations.
    On one hand it could be seen that Russia seeks to strengthen its ties with China who, like Russia, is fighting an ideological battle against the United States. Russia is currently in need of an ally seeing the hike in tensions between themselves and the United States. Furthermore, it supports a China’s right to claim land which, according to Beijing, historically belongs to the nation. Russia has expressed its disagreement with bringing in the international communities to settle a case which only concerns a few countries, according to Russia. The country is also in a similar position with the military annexation of Crimea, formerly part of Ukraine, which has been condemned by the United States, its European allies and the UN. By becoming allies with China, Russia stands stronger in front of the “Western Block” which, in a period where Cold War sentiments are being revitalized, seems to have become relevant again. To consolidate this alliance, they have performed joint naval exercises and offered to perform exercises with the Philippines, China’s new ally. Furthermore, Russia has offered advanced weaponry to the Philippines’ ageing navy and weaponry to fight off jihadi insurgencies which the Philippines has had trouble fighting off.
    https://sputniknews.com/world/201609051044988523-russia-china-putin/
    http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/russia-offers-to-conduct-joint-military-exercises-with-the-philippines-in-the-south-china-sea/news-story/a13dedc86d701082b57814cc49c2a39c

    However, AMTI (Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative) offers another interpretation. According to the think-tank, Russia has very little interest in the conflict and is trying to remain a strong, neutral independent power. The exercises with China were performed off the coast of China in their EEZ and far from the area of tension in the South China Sea which indicate Russia does not wish to take part in the conflict. Furthermore, it is not in Russia’s interest to engage in a conflict which could cause severe diplomatic turmoil, something Russia is already having plenty of. Russia has close ties with Vietnam and China. Picking one side would render a relationship stale which could in turn affect trade. Seeing as Russia is in economic turmoil, angering an important trade partner could be fatal. Finally, the UNCLOS were written in part for powers like Russia which means that the country leans more towards the US’ interpretation of the law and not China’s. Which could be the reason why Russia has not openly stated the South China Sea should become Chinese but has rather simply defended China’s statements about involving only the affected parties.

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  29. Lucca Stagno- Al Shabaab in Somalia

    Due to the fact that they share a border, it is most definitely in Kenya's interest to prevent the victory of Al Shabaab militants in Somalia. For this reason, Kenya has been one of the primary military actors in Somalia, mostly through the leadership of AMISOM armed interventions on Somali soil. Their role in the fight against Al Shabaab (along with the fact that Kenya serves as a window with the rest of the world for the terrorist group due to a variety of factors, such as the corruption levels in policemen and the amount of poverty-stricken refugees that reside in the country) has won them the attention of the Islamic radicalist organization's leaders, and increasingly violent attacks on Kenyan soil have been registered in recent years. This only further implicates Kenyan interventionism against Al Shabaab in Somalia. To eradicate Al Shabaab would mean protecting the Kenyan populace, preventing the rise to power of Islamic terrorists in a neighboring nation, and solving a major corruption, smuggling, and contraband problem that currently affects Kenya.

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  30. Juliette Scholler - Taliban in Afghanistan

    In 2014, ISIS had expanded into Afghanistan (the diplomat, 2017). Despite their extremist interpretation of the quran, the two groups disagrees on certain aspects which led them to be in conflict since then. Firstly, the ISIS seeks to establish a caliphate under Al Baghdadi, encompassing the entire muslim world (the diplomat, 2016). The Taliban, on the contrary, are more nationalistic and rooted to the tribal culture, as they aim to create an Islamic Afghan state (The Diplomat, 2016). Secondly, ISIS does not approve the Taliban treatment of the Shia muslims. The Taliban, despite oppressing them during their rule, does not want to eradicate them like ISIS, who had committed attacks towards them (National Interest). Taliban also has ties with other groups that ISIS opposes with, which leads to more disagreement between them (The Diplomat, 2016).
    The Islamic extremist groups being in conflict, however, has helped stop the strengthening and expansion of their ideology in Pakistan and Afghanistan (The Diplomat, 2016). It had also led some foreign countries such as Russia and Iran to align themselves with the Taliban, as they seek to fight off ISIS in order to eliminate terrorism (The Diplomat, 2017).

    http://thediplomat.com/2016/01/revealed-why-isis-hates-the-taliban/
    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/taliban-vs-isis-the-islamic-state-doomed-afghanistan-13153
    https://thewire.in/107171/choosing-between-taliban-and-isis-a-dangerous-false-dilemma/
    http://thediplomat.com/2017/02/4-reasons-russia-increasingly-favors-the-taliban-in-afghanistan/

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