Author: ajmobley

Peace Talks Between FARC and Colombian Government

The FARC is an organization that has been fighting against the Colombian government since 1964.They have been involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping, and other terrorist activities, but now members of the FARC have stated that they are ready for peace. At the center of the peace agreements are reparations for the victims on both sides. This is some of the biggest news that has come because part of the deal includes the demilitarization of the FARC group.

While this is a step forward, the agreement is only partially done, and it will not be considered completely done until all parts of the agreement are taken care of. (1) There are still three more steps to finish the accords. “Implementation, Verification and Endorsement,and observers expect the talks to move quickly.”(1)

“The armed conflict, which has multiple causes, has led to suffering and endangerment of the population unequaled in our history.”  The agreement will serve “transitional” (or “restorative“) justice. A “comprehensive system” providing “truth, justice, reparations, and non-repetition” will “make amends to victims and honor their human rights.”  Unlike other attempted Colombian peace settlements, this one offers no general amnesty.The “comprehensive system” includes a “commission for elucidation of truth,” a unit for finding disappeared persons and, crucially, a “Special Jurisdiction for Peace.”  This autonomous court will include a “Chamber of Amnesty and Pardon” and a “Tribunal for Peace.”  The latter will “investigate, clarify, prosecute, and punish serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”(1)

The government has recognized that there are victims are both sides of the conflict. Part of the agreements ensure that there is no complete amnesty for either side. Everyone must acknowledge their actions during the conflict The victims will be taken care of by their offenders by admitting what they’ve done and providing reparations for their actions. Many have expressed concerns saying that The FARC and government would be getting off way too easy by only having to pay money and admit what they did is wrong. Victims and their families have been saying that there should be more punishment for the actions, including jail time. It would be difficult to bring peace talks to the table though, with a lot of jail time being part of the agreement for someone who admits willingly their actions. The combatants will receive amnesty for their actions, but any war crimes or crimes against humanity will not receive amnesty, and there will be trials.If they are convicted though they will not be sent to normal jails, they would probably just be under house arrest for some time, and “Those who confess past a certain deadline or refuse to admit their crimes altogether will go to prison for up to 20 years.(2) They are strongly encouraging those who have done wrong to get it out in the open now so that the country can move on and put the conflict behind them.  Those who have admitted to crimes or been found guilty on both sides will be responsible for helping to rebuild what they have destroyed.

The agreement includes compensation for the victims, organizing a truth commission, creating a search and rescue unit for those that have been lost due to the conflict, and victims to have protection from any further acts of aggression.(2) Part of the concern that is still up in the air is what will happen to the land that has been taking over by opposite groups. Scores of people have been displaced by this conflict and they want to go home.

The news of this agreement is also good for Ecuador. They share a border with Colombia and need to have ten times as much security at the border to ensure safety from the conflict boiling over and keeping that conflict out of Ecuador.(3) There has been a lot of international involvement to facilitate this agreement, the peace talks have been going on for 3 years, and they have taken place in Havana, Cuba with support from other nations as well.

What is next for Colombia?

The last point in the agenda to finalize the peace agreement is to establish a bilateral ceasefire and the details of the FARC’s demobilization, disarmament and reintegration into Colombian society. Both side have agreed to sign a final peace deal by the end of March.”(4)

It has been said that the justice part of the this agreement has been the most complicated and hardest part, but the ceasefire will help there to be a true sign of the fight ending. The five decade long conflict conclusion is being met by both criticism and hope, but things are changing in Colombia.

Sources:

1.http://peoplesworld.org/farc-and-colombian-government-near-successful-conclusion-of-peace-talks/

2.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35103709

3.http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UPDATE-Rafael-Correa-Praises-Colombias-FARC-Deal-20151215-0008.html

4.http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/12/15/Colombia-FARC-reach-agreement-over-victim-reparations/7921450198843/

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Can The Fight Against ISIS Be Won?

In this article I will just be comparing two opposite articles. One that was written by John McCain and Lindsey Graham by the Wall Street Journal titled “How to Defeat ISIS Now- Not ‘Ultimately'”(1). The other article is “Why ISIL won’t be defeated”(2) written by Al-Jazeera Staff along with comments made my John Mearshiemer, who is a specialist of international politics and he has also written a few other books.

Fighting ISIS as of right now is a 3 pronged approach. There is the Syrian front where the oppressive Syrian government led by Bashar Al-Assad is fighting against ISIS and an anti-Assad opposition. The Syrian front is home to the self proclaimed Islamic State. Their fight has expanded into Iraq, the second front,  where the Iraqi military has been struggling to fight off ISIS fighters and other terrorist organizations. The third front of this war is one of the hardest parts to fight.The world is their battleground. There have been attacks in Africa, Europe,the Middle East and the United States with links to ISIS. ISIS has one of the biggest marketing campaigns with numerous recruiters online, creating websites, twitter accounts and several others that are spreading Islamist propaganda.

How to Defeat ISIS according to John McCain and Lindsey Graham:

The first article with it being written by John McCain and Lindsey Graham is obviously going to be biased of the republican way of thinking from the United States. It is critical of President Obama’s plan to defeat ISIS and suggests a more invasive approach to defeating ISIS. In this article it is suggested that the United States send in special operations soldiers to be in Iraq permanently. Senators Graham and McCain have pointed out that while Iraq is in a weakened state they are going to rely on  on stringing nations like Iran for support. The point is that after this main conflict is over they are going to want to have a country that can be stable on its own. Having Iran be such a strong influence in Iraq could cause more problems for the country in the opinions of the senators. The same concept could be applied to Syria. These nations should be stable after the conflict is over but once ISIS is removed in Iraq who will take over the power in the sections that were left by ISIS? In a perfect situation Iraq would take over the territory that was lost, but others will try to take that land. whether they be another country or not. Iranian militias are on the ground and the United States is worried. In the article it was stated that “America must not only win the war, but also prepare to win the peace” there must be a secure way to ensure that after the major conflicts are over that the right people are going to be in charge of the whole nation. The Iraqi Prime Minister is trying to keep foreign soldiers out of his country he wants to be in charge  of the nation and feels like foreign involvement will only complicate who is in charge of the nation.

In Syria the conflict is a little bit more complicated. The Senators believe that negotiations to end the civil war and getting rid of the ISIS influence of the country is the only way to resolve the conflict. They believe that as long as the Assad regime is in power there will always be ISIS or groups like it out there. The senators believe that with an increased amount of intelligence gatherers that they will be able to find ISIS and take them out quicker.They would also need to make safe zones for the refugees to avoid government intervention and the war.

In conclusion the senators believe that they should have an increased military presence in both countries and keep the fighting over there instead of stateside or against any other civilian population, and that once the fight is won, the right people should be in charge of the nation completely.

Why ISIL won’t be defeated according to Al-Jazeera:

John Mearsheimer has suggested that ISIS cannot be defeated because “you do not defeat an ideology” Mearsheimer begins by analyzing the United States and western method to fighting ISIS in Syria. They want to take down the Assad regime, they believe that with him in power there will always be trouble with ISIS. That approach looks like it will not work though because there are so many other nations that are interested in maintaining the current leadership in the country. Another problem with ISIS fighters that is shared among many terrorist groups is they do not fight the military head on most of the time. They blend in with the population and there are civilians that support them. The United States has a military with billions of dollars, air support, advanced weaponry, members with years of experience in counterterrorism but as of right now there is not much of an effective way for all of that power to fight an ideology like ISIS. It is a theology that has evolved from just a religion, but they are trying to become their own state with their own sect of radical beliefs.

The current belief is that there needs to be boots on the ground to take down ISIS militarily. It’s been acknowledged that with western involvement it would only felt the fight for ISIS, it’s actually what they wanted. Now, Saudi Arabia has been talking about forming a coalition to fight ISIS with several other nations talking about joining in. It would be Middle Easterns fighting to support their own region. It would be more effective than western nations coming in and fighting them. The western nations would be able to coordinate in the skies and defeat the ground targets but even if there are only a few members left of ISIS they will still find a way to attack. The Taliban, which cannot even afford to pay it’s own fighters, and operate off of very limited funding have been able to stage substantial attacks against the government and civilians even after over a decade of being at war with the West.

In the end it comes down to the fact that the fight against ISIS is a fight against an ideology a way of thinking that is going to inspire people to follow them.

Conclusion:

In the end no matter how you look at it the fight is complex, and there will need to be a combined joint world effort to win over the ideology that has become ISIS.

Sources:

1.http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-defeat-isis-nownot-ultimately-1449533196

2.http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/isil-won-defeated-151208064707882.html

Should The U.S. And Russia Be Allies Against ISIS?

The United States, and Russia are both engaged in Syria fighting ISIS. They are at odds however in the conflict. Russia supports the Syrian government and their leadership, while the United States supports the opposition. All sides of the conflict claim to be fighting the good fight against ISIS.

The question now though is should the United States and Russia be allies in this fight? While they are not exactly on the same side, they are both fighting a common enemy with a common goal. Since the Cold War, the United States and Russia have been at odds, or what seems like a competition to see which one is better. Many doubt that they should be allies in the fight against ISIS, but lets look a little deeper.

The Tactics: 

In Syria the US has a few advisors on the ground, but most of their fight is in the air. The Russians, as well fight mostly in the skies. The difference in their techniques is that the United States has used the concept of winning over “hearts and minds”. They drop pamphlets letting civilians know when they are going to strike, so that they may vacate the area and reduce civilian casualties. The Russians on the other hand are not as careful with their targets. If any civilians are killed in their strikes they say it is to put pressure on them to not support ISIS. Human rights groups have expressed concern over the Russian’s method, they do not support the death of civilians, but the Russians believe that anyone that supports ISIS, is no longer a civilian. The targets hit are also a cause for conflict between Russia and the United States. Each country has a different opinion on what they believe terrorism is. Russia is attacking those that oppose Assad’s government and are claiming that they are hitting ISIS targets. Syrian troops have been hit, and they have claimed that Americans did it. Getting on the same page as far as who the targets are is also a big point to be made if the US and Russia were to become allies. “American diplomats insist the key to turning back the Islamic State is a political settlement on the future of Syria, which will require Moscow’s participation. Antagonizing Moscow or pushing it away from the coalition, said a senior U.S. official, could be counterproductive to the diplomatic effort, which must have priority.Diplomatic reality doesn’t mean battlefield cooperation will be any easier, officials said. Although Russian forces have increased their strikes around Raqqa, an Islamic State stronghold, and other areas controlled by the group in recent weeks, they have not changed their tactics.”(1) In regards to the tactics of the Russians one US military commander had this to say, “It is not how we would fight there…It is now how we are fighting.”(1)

Possible Solutions: 

The governments of the US and Russia are striving to get to the point where they can work together, by developing air traffic control operations between the two to avoid any mid air mishaps between their planes. Secretary of State, John Kerry has also been to Russia for the second time in seven months, a sign of mutual interest in wanting to be on the same page. In Kerry’s visit to Moscow, the Russians have been seeking clarification on what they think the difference between a good and bad terrorist is. (2) The good and bad terrorist reference is probably concerning the difference in targets being hit by Russian and Coalition bombers. Russia is not just attacking ISIS, but have also been reported to attack the opposition against Syria’s government. I am sure that is what they are referring to when it comes to “good terrorists”

Russia’s Criticisms of the United States:

“Moscow states with regret that even after a terrorist attack against a Russian passenger plane on October 31, the US is not demonstrating readiness for establishing full-value coordination with us in fight against Islamic State”(3) Russia has believed that the United States is trying to start another Cold War with Russia for some time. They have complained of the sanctions imposed against them. “US Acting Treasury Undersecretary Adam Szubin said on Thursday the United States expected the EU to vote on extending its sanctions against Russia. According to Szubin, the US worked closely with the European Union to keep economic pressure on Russia until the Minsk accords on the ceasefire in east Ukraine were implemented in full. The US continues to firmly adhere to this position, he added.”(4) These sanctions imposed on Russia make it harder for the Russians to fight against the Ukrainians.(5) The Russians continue to deny that they have sent their military to fight against the Ukrainians and claim that Russian separatists are responsible for attacking Ukraine. Other criticisms made concern the lack of agreement in international law. Russia does not believe it needs to follow the international law that has been created by western states, Russia reaffirms that since they did not help create the laws they do not have to abide by them. It should be noted that China does not support many international laws as well for the same reason.

Eye towards the Future:

While there are disagreements between Russia and the United States and there will continue to be disagreements, it should be noted that both sides have expressed interest in working together. It may not happen as quickly as some would hope, and it may take lots of negotiations for both countries to see eye to eye, but each have acknowledged the importance and part each one plays in their own self interest. Whether it be Russia’s acknowledgement of the United State’s close ties to the Ukraine, and asking the United States to intervene with the Ukrainian government by asking them to work with Russia to bring about a ceasefire, or how American officials have acknowledged the contributions that Russia has made in Syria to help get rid of ISIS.

I will end with what Secretary Kerry said on the matter recently. “We’re at a strong beginning opening up possibilities… Together the United States and Russia have an ability to make a significant difference.”(6) What concessions will be made in order for the two strong nations to work together are still up in the air, but if each nation wants it enough it will happen.

Sources:

1.http://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-west-diverge-on-tactics-in-syria-1450130474

2. http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Russia-criticizes-US-for-dividing-terrorists-into-good-and-bad-ones-437287

3.http://tass.ru/en/politics/843918

4. http://tass.ru/en/opinions/843531

5.http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/ukrainerussia/

6.http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/john-kerry-says-us-and-russia-can-work-together-on-syria-1255364

 

 

Recent Taliban Attacks in Afghanistan

The Taliban has recently increased fights in Afghanistan attempting to hit at the heart of the country. This week alone, they blew up a car bomb and engaged in a firefight against special operations soldiers in the streets near the Spanish embassy, and attacked the Kandahar airport where they killed dozens of civilians and wounded dozens more.

After the attack on the guesthouse near the Spanish embassy, the Taliban had this to say, “The presence of our Mujahideen with weapons and a car loaded with explosives in such a high security area shows God’s support and the cooperation of the poor and Muslim people,” (1) The Taliban have the goal to break down the western back government. There are those that doubt they can do that after foreign powers have put so many resources into Afghanistan,  and with Afghanistan’s own security forces now countering most of the Taliban attacks instead of depending on US or other foreign troops to handle all of the Taliban for them.

Peace talks between the Taliban and four other countries including The United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China  were going to happen in the Summer, but just when the talks were about to commence it was revealed that the Taliban did not have a strong leadership at the time and that there was a lot of internal struggles. Their leader had been dead for years.

The four governments were considering another attempt at the peace talks after a few months of relative calm in the capital, Kabul, but there    are doubts of it happening with the Taliban being reinvigorated after these attacks and being to launch at strategic points. There are other who say that the Taliban is realizing they cannot win militarily and will want to start negotiations.

“There is an affirmation of the need now to engage in this process or maybe, more accurately, reengage in it,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, who attended the conference in Islamabad.

Although most analysts think substantive talks could still be months away, Blinken said officials are hopeful that the Taliban is receiving the message that “it can’t achieve its goals militarily.”(2)

China has business interests in the country and has been encouraging stability in order for the businesses to progress, they have also been doing some training for the security forces. Pakistan has commented saying they would be willing to work with the forces in Afghanistan as long as there is mutual respect (2)

 

Sources:

1.http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/12/Afghan-forces-end-siege-near-Spanish-embassy-in-Kabul.html

2.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afghan-airport-remains-shut-after-taliban-launches-brazen-attack/2015/12/09/bfe4fcaa-9e79-11e5-a3c5-c77f2cc5a43c_story.html-Sayed Salahuddin

3.http://afghanistantimes.af/46-killed-35-injured-in-attack-on-residential-blocks-at-kandahar-airport-premises-2/

Climate Change Debates Rage On

The climate change debate has been going on for some time. About 200 nations have come together in Paris for COP21, an event that will bring about international rules and set up a financial path for the world to combat climate change. The event started in France, shortly after the Paris attacks. It sent a tone for the whole conference to begin on for the international community to unite together for a common goal. What started on November 30, 2015 is set to hopefully have a signed agreement on Friday December 11, 2015.

The meetings started with a lot of issues and disagreements between the countries. There were over 900 disputes at the end of last week’s negotiations. Those involved had decided to make this conference less specific than before. When confronting climate change they have acknowledged the realism with optimism. While there is no doubt there will be an agreement, exactly what the agreement will be is still up in the air.

The secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon had this to say about the talks in Paris.

“I’m hopeful and I’m reasonably optimistic that we’ll be able to have for the first time in the history of the United Nations a universal and very ambitious climate change agreement which will make our lives healthier and more prosperous.”We would not be where we are today here in Paris, with 196 Parties poised to adopt a global climate change agreement, without the leadership and vision of civil society…after Paris is over, their voices will be needed more than ever.”(1)

One of the biggest issues that has been present at the meetings are the disagreements between the poor and rich countries. Matt McGrath of BBC stated in reference to the opinion of wealthier nations: “more emerging economies should take on more of the burden of cutting emissions and providing finance to the very poor nations hit by the impacts of rising temperatures.”(2)

The poor countries have called upon more developed nations to help them deal with the consequences of the richer nation’s actions. They feel that while they do not have high emissions in their own country, they have to deal with what more developed countries have done to their land. The richer nations are asking for a specific financial plan to be placed in order to know where all the money is coming from and what it it going to. They have reasonable doubts of just giving their money to other nations and not knowing what is being done with it.

The main goal is to have a plan that will keep warming in different regions around the globe from increasing two degrees celsius.

Some other goals have been taken out in order to make an agreement easier to attain but this has upset other groups.

The Irish Times reported:

“Environmental groups and aid agencies expressed dismay at what they saw was a considerable softening of the text, as well as the removal of some key goals from the main text.”(3)

In order to make this process happen faster, they have taken out a lot of the goals and just focused on what most countries can agree to in order to get some work done on climate change. While the agreement is sure to be far from what most countries wish to accomplish, it will be a step toward more agreements and meetings.

Sources:

1.http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52781#.VmpVn7y3fzI

2.http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35067473- Matt McGrath

3. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/cop21-french-increase-pressure-for-consensus-1.2462319- Harry McGee

Opposition Win In Venezuela

Not only did Venezuelans decide to vote in favor of the opposition to rule the national assembly, but they have the vast majority, which gives them the opportunity to make drastic changes in the country. For the past two years since Hugo Chavez’s death the country has been struggling economically. They are living in the country with some of the highest oil reserves in the world, and the economy is shrinking. While many people supported the leadership methods of Hugo Chavez and his modern day socialism, they have decided that it is a time for change. This change comes at a time when inflation is very high, the price of oil is lower than it has been in a very long time, which has been detrimental to Venezuela, because it’s considered to be the “lifeblood” of the nation. (1)

While this has been a big victory for the opposition they are far from being able to do whatever they want. Chavez’s protege, Nicolas Maduro is still going to be in office as President until 2019. Much credit should be given to Maduro’s government though because they have given the people an opportunity to choose for themselves who should lead the country. While he conceded and admitted defeat, he thinks that the only reason his party lost is because of the economic struggles against the United States.

The question remains, what will happen now that the opposition has won for the first time in 16 years. (2)The opposition wishes to free some political prisoners, but that could prove to be challenging. The leader of the opposition was imprisoned earlier this year after allegedly starting violent protests that resulted in the deaths of 43 citizens. There are two conflicting sides to the story though, and in the coming months we will see just how much power the opposition has.

The elections were free, the president admitted defeat for his party, almost 75 percent of people eligible to vote did so. It seems it was a victory for democracy, but the president did have this to say in his concession speech. “It’s not a time to cry, it’s a time to fight. The struggle for socialism is just beginning- we are experts in starting over, came from the streets, we are the people of difficulties,”(3)

Sources:

  1. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/07/venezuela-parliamentary-election-opposition-win-political-prisoners-amnesty- Siylla Brodzinsky
  2. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35019111
  3. http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11753-Rachael Boothroyd Rojas

ISIS, Turkey, Russia, The U.S. And Oil

One of the things that makes ISIS such a credible threat is how much money they are bringing into their organization. To start, they have been illegally trading oil for years. Then there is the matter of extortion, kidnapping, and taxation over areas under ISIS control.

Over the last two months, coalition and Russian forces have been targeting oil supply lines. Because of this move, they have successfully brought down the amount of oil being sold. Meanwhile, the United States has been reluctant to strike. The problem lies with who is driving the oil trucks and where they are going. While it is true that ISIS profits from the sale of this oil, a large portion of this oil is used by rebels to fight back against ISIS and the Assad regime. This makes it easy for Russia to attack the oil, because it hurts ISIS, hurts the rebels, and helps the Assad government (which they support). The coalition, led by the United States, finds it hard to attack because they don’t want to hurt the rebels efforts.

This article from oilprice.com gave a few more perspectives on what the mindset of the US leadership could be right now:

“So, a possible reason for not decisively interrupting oil operations could include preservation of infrastructure for rebuilding after the conflict. This certainly has precedent, since coalition forces have tried this in Iraq and Afghanistan most recently, and territorial shifts occur rapidly in this current conflict. Consider this a lesson learned from Kuwait in 1991. Another possibility is the US does not want to cause any  environmental damage in the surrounding region, having learned another hard lesson from the First Gulf War. This is possible, but highly unlikely. In the face of open war and killing enemies, it is extremely difficult to imagine any government placing environmental concerns over decisive strikes against an enemy. This approach does not have precedent.”(1)

It seems like the United States is thinking more on a long term big picture perspective, while Russia is trying to fix the problem head on now and deal with the consequences later.

Russia and Turkey are exchanging blows, each saying the other is responsible for funding ISIS by purchasing their oil. However, at this point, it is hard to see exactly where all of the oil is going and especially see who is buying. Yes, Russia has satellite imagery proving that some of the oil made it’s way into Turkey, but many other accusations have been made as well (2). This opinion article from Al-Jazeera explains it very well:

“While such high level accusations may amuse some and certainly sadden many, the grim reality is that black markets have a highly organised and extensive web of shadow partners and clients, who are attracted by the money, irrespective of their nationalities, religious beliefs or principles, if they have any, and are active in Iraq, Syria and Turkey.Investigators may be lucky to identify a couple of individuals or organisations, but it would be naive to believe that such a complex system can be easily exposed. To complicate matters further, it is important to note that not all those involved in the trade fall into that corrupt category. There are the unconventional clients who rely on ISIL’s oil for survival: think of the millions of people living in ISIL-controlled areas who need access to diesel to meet their basic needs for electricity, heating and mobility. Some rebels, ISIL’s own enemies, also ironically fall in that category as they have no other choice. And there are the truck drivers, mostly civilians, who transport ISIL’s oil to smugglers, traders and middlemen and are in desperate need for any source of income. And once the oil and its refined products go beyond ISIL-controlled areas, they become very difficult to trace – someone, somewhere, and completely unknowingly, may well end up burning ISIL oil.”(3)

ISIS has a firm grasp on the area by making their own enemies fund them. The rebels buy oil from ISIS, and so may the Assad regime to keep their own battles going. And while world powers bicker on how to fight them, they continue to become the most well funded terrorist organization in recent history.

Sources:

  1. http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Why-Is-The-US-Reluctant-To-Bomb-ISIS-Oil-Fields.html- Ryan Opsal
  2. https://www.rt.com/usa/324377-usa-russia-turkey-isis/
  3. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/12/isil-sells-oil-buying-151206055403374.html- Carole Nakhye

 

 

Attacks in Mali

Following the attacks in Paris, Mali seemed to be the next target. Mali has been been in a difficult position since 2012 when it went through a military coup. They have also been trying to deal with Tuareg separatists and Islamic extremists. In 2011 after The President of Libya, Mummer Gaddafi died, lawlessness spread throughout the region with a lot of weapons, which made it easier for these groups to  come across better arms to fight their wars.(1) The French military decided to go in and get most of the conflict out of the big cities in 2013. Though the french military was diligent, they were not able to drive the extremists away. Attacks, which were mostly limited to the northern part of the country have been coming down to the southern half.(2) The attack that took place at the Radisson is a sign of failing security in the country. The Radisson was a 5-star resort that attracted many foreigners. There is also something very noteworthy about these attacks. Terrorist groups were working together to carry them out. Terrorist groups love when these events are reported and when they get the attention. There are those that think that the groups that committed the attack in Mali (Al-Mourabitoun, Al-Qaeda) are trying to compete with the amount of press that Daesh(ISIS) has been getting.

The situation in Mali will not be solved anytime soon. After French involvement in the country for two years it will take some more military intervention and strong local government support in order for the country to be well off. The military that has been involved has been limited to just being a small group of soldiers in a town that do not really go on very many raids. (3) The extremist groups are growing because the men they recruit do not have much national interest. Their country has not done much for them so they don’t feel like they need to defend it. Also, they are very poor, and terrorist organizations pay more than any job that they can usually get.(4)

A report from Al Jazeera found that there could be multiple motivations behind the attacks and that they are not necessarily tied to the attacks in Paris.

“it is more likely that the carnage in the Radisson Blu was tied to local factors. The hotel, always popular with diplomats and other foreign personnel, was preparing for the sixth meeting of the Coordinating Committee (Comité de Suivi) of the Algiers Accords, signed in June between rebel groups and the Malian government. The attack also takes place soon after a series of local truces around the town of Anéfis brought a halt — for the moment — to inter-communal conflict between different Tuareg and Arab armed groups that had raged since the signing of the Algiers Accords. The attacks also came just days after Ansar Al-Din leader Ag Ghali released an audio tape railing against the accords, praising the attacks in central and southern Mali, and threatening France.”(5)

While it may be easy to identify these threats, and how they get to become a danger to the region, It is not clear what steps must be taken in order to bring stability and patriotism back to Mali instead of leaving them in despair.

 

Bibliography: 

  1. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34882931, Tomi Oladipo
  2. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/mali-hotel-terror-attack-more-three-suspects-sought-n467531,Alastair Jamieson, Keir Simmons
  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/21/world/africa/groups-claiming-responsibility-in-mali-attack-have-history-of-resilience.html?_r=0, Eric Schmitt
  4. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/20/bamako-attack-mali-fight-continues-french-intervention, Charlie English
  5.  http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/11/20/deadly-hotel-attack-underscores-mali-worsening-security-situation.html  ,Andrew Lebovich

 

 

The World’s Divide After The Paris Attacks

ISIS, or Daesh, as France has begun calling them, has proven that they are more organized than we originally thought. In the past two weeks, they have attacked France with gunmen and bombs, set off two bombs killing dozens of people in Beirut, and downed a Russian commercial airplane full of over 200 civilians.

I’ll be focusing on the Paris attacks today. While every terrorist attack is tragic and deserves further insight, the world reaction to Paris is what gives us the insight that should be focused on.

While the world has agreed that the attacks committed in Paris by Daesh are horrific and senseless, there is not one thing unifying the world against Daesh. In order to confront the Daesh effectively, each country needs to essentially be on the same page. There are conflicting views because the United States and other nations do not want anymore boots on the ground. The Middle East has a lack of alliances between the countries that keep them from organizing a formidable coalition, Russia does not believe in Regime change, and other countries don’t want to be a part of the conflict at all. They are more than willing to handle terrorism in their own country and sympathize when other country’s are attacked, but are not able to send troops or resources to help.

The attacks in France were orchestrated by European nationals that are believed to be in Syria now, and were carried out by at least a few French nationals mixed with men from other nations, and possibly a Syrian refugee.

Right now, the world is still deciding on how to react to Daesh. In the meantime, France has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East. Russia and the US have pledged their support to France.

One director of a political science center in Russia was quoted saying,

“Yet, it is quite possible that the US-led NATO countries will devise an algorithm of coordination between the Western anti-terrorist coalition and Russia. A historical parallel is quite appropriate. During World War II the Soviet Union’s western allies in the anti-Hitler coalition — the United States and Britain — opened a second front. And they won together. These days the hope remains that politicians will pool efforts to provide a resolute response to the terrorist challenge to the security of humanity,” Markov told TASS.”

Are the days returning when the world will unite against an evil such as this? While it’s true there are historical parallels between now and WWII, this war is completely different. Daesh has fewer numbers than the Nazis and are using that to their advantage by slipping into large populations under the radar to inflict the most damage against the civilian population. The tactics are different because the world is different.

Waleed Aly, a muslim tv host from Australia, Stated this:

“They want you to fear them. They want you to get angry. They want all of us to become hostile and here is why: ISIL’s strategy is to split the world into two camps. It is that black and white. Again we know this because they told us.” Aly said ISIL wanted to create World War III, and for societies around the world to turn on each other, and for countries like Australia to vilify Muslims. He said this “evil organisation” believes if they can make Muslims the enemy of the West, then Muslims in France and England and America and here in Australia will have nowhere to turn but to ISIL.”

If his statement proves to be true, then Daesh might be getting what it wants. After these attacks, many nations have closed their borders. Multiple governor’s from the United States have refused to accept Syrian refugees, because they fear their states would be subject to further terrorist acts.

Bashar Al-Assad, the President of Syria, is at the center of conflict fighting Daesh and rebels. He had this to say about the attacks:

“Act in the interest of your people,“ Mr. Assad said, referring to the foreign policy of French President François Hollande. ”The first question asked by every French citizen today is, ‘Have the French policies over the past five years brought any good to the French people?’ The answer is no, so what I ask him to do is to act in the interest of the French people—which means changing his policies. We can’t speak about intelligence sharing to fight terrorism when French government policies all feed into supporting terrorism,”

Al-Assad may have a strong opinion but he’s not alone. There are certainly other nations, like Russia, that believe that the west created ISIS and is responsible for much of the turmoil in the region. The truth is that there are no clean hands in this conflict. Whatever happens now depends on the choices our world leaders make. ISIS is utilizing smart tactics, and they are not just savages fighting without a plan. It’s time for the world to have our own plan that counters this ideology.

Myanmar’s Historical Elections

History has been made in Myanmar. For the past five decades they have been under military rule. The last free elections were held in 1990 but the results were overturned when the military leadership decided against it.

The winner of the most recent elections is the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, The National League for Democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for almost 15 years after her party’s last win in 1990, and the constitution states that she specifically cannot be president, but since her party has won she has more power than she use to.

While the military has given up a significant amount of power, it stills retains quite a bit. The military will still hold 25 percent of the seats in parliament.  Democracy has made significant strides, the restrictions imposed but the military will bar them from making any changes to the constitution. (They need more than 75 percent of parliament to make any changes to the constitution)

There are also some restrictions that make it difficult to decide who will be the president. both houses of the parliament and the military will suggest candidates. While this election did open the door for democracy, Myanmar still has a long way to go. They are struggling economically and many positions in the government will need to be negotiated. Suu Kyi’s leadership and negotiation skills with the military will definitely come into play in the coming months and years.

While the elections were mostly fair, there where still some people who were not allowed to run, most of them Muslims. Myanmar has been under the rule of very firm Buddhists. Only four percent of the nation are considered to be muslims but the representation they once had in parliament was lost.There were also many muslims that weren’t allowed to vote. The government has been trying to keep Buddhism front and center in front of any other religion.