Archive for February, 2015

US Gets Involved with Peace Process in Colombia

The Colombian government and the FARC rebels have requested the involvement of the United States. President Obama has decided that a peace settlement is “absolutely worth pursuing and absolutely worth assisting if we are able to.” Bernard Aronson, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs, has been chosen to this task. Secretary of State John Kerry is convenced it is America’s responsibility to help Colombia because it is an ally of the nation. Though it is unclear what direct interests the US has with the involvement. This article questions whether the relations between the US and Cuba have encouraged Colombia to reach out for outside help. Maybe the US’s strong initiative to end 50 years of hostility with Cuba inspired the requests to end their own 50 year conflict.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/20/us-usa-colombia-envoy-idUSKBN0LO1PF20150220

 

-Rachel

Islamophobia Sparked in Denmark Following Terror Incident

Dane Omar Abel Hamid El-Hussein was sentenced to two years in prison following a stabbing assault November 2013 on a commuter train. The attack injured a 19-year old passenger. Following his recent release two weeks ago, El-Hussein was involved in another stabbing, killing two people and wounding five police officers. He cited an extremist brand of Islam as his motivation and declared loyalty to the Islamic State.

This incident, as well as other recent terrorist acts in France and Belgium, sparks a debate on the link between Muslim faith and extremism. While ostensibly, and as President Barack Obama also expressed, the religion of Islam by itself has no relationship to the perverted, jihadist ideologies perpetuated in these attacks, the correlation has stigmatized Islamic faith throughout Europe. The situation with El-Hussein points to a perhaps larger issue of disenfranchisement, in which young Muslims in Denmark and throughout Europe feel angry and alienated at the country in which they live. This anger and alienation can lead to radicalization and makes young ‘hooligans’ more susceptible to Islamic brainwashing.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/20/world/europe/after-attacks-denmark-hesitates-to-blame-islam.html?ref=topics&_r=0

Bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine

 

kharkiv0215

Recently the the pro-Ukrainian rally has taken place in Kharkiv, a provincial capital in the east of Ukraine, that had remained pro-Ukrainian despite the significant presense of ethnic Russians in the area. As the participants of the rally were marching through one of the city’s streets, the explosion, suspectedly a several hand granades blew up at one, killing two and injuring at least ten more people. The four suspects have been detained by the local police.

What could this mean in a larger context?

It is unclear so far whether the pro-russian insurgents, which are somewhat far from Kharkiv geographically, were directly involved, or whether the detained suspects, if they are indeed guilty, were just a home-grown bombing enthusiasts. If, however, the separatists are involved, this could mean the beginning of a terror campaign against the pro-Ukrainian population in the territories officially claimed but not yet controlled by the Donetsk People’s Republic and their likes. Similar bombings had happened, ocasionally, throughout 2014, but the targets were the headquarters of pro-western political parties or governmental officials, not the civilians as in most recent case.- Dmytro.

Middle Eastern Countries Boosting Defense Spending

The article listed describes the increase of defense spending in oil-rich Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia. These countries are facing increasing threats from forces like ISIS and are moving to develop more of a sustainable armed forces. The interesting part of the article was that ever-moving target of cybersecurity and cyber warfare. Countries like Saudi Arabia are beginning to seek technological advancements to adjust to this new threat playing field. It is very similar to the U.S. DoD’s attempt to increase technology and defense machinery. They also have significant details in common, seen through the inclusion of the F-35 focus in this article by Saudi Arabia. It’s interesting to see the adjustment being made by Middle Eastern countries to defend themselves over the same threats that may affect the U.S. and  to see the differences/similarities in their approaches.

-Nicole

http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-middle-east-threats-drive-regional-defense-spending-1424442694

F-22s being used against ISIS

Recently the F-22 Raptor has been added to the arsenal to be used against ISIS.  The Raptor is also so stealthy that “we will be able to shoot the enemy before they even see us”. This will also make reconnaissance missions in Syria easier. It seems the Raptor will be mostly used for its striking abilities because of its speed and stealth. Major General Harrigan said that given the “threat environment”, the F-22 needed to be added in order to achieve the “desired affects”. Hopefully, with the addition of such a powerful aircraft more progress will be made towards the eradication of ISIS, as well as increase the ability for the U.S. to gather information in the region.

http://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2015/02/18/orig-f-22-raptor-refueling-isis.cnn/video/playlists/isis-power-an-terror/

-Lauren

Wind Farms

An acoustic engineer sued ABC news because during a recent program they grossly misrepresented his wind farm. The news reporter from ABC said that the low-noise caused by the turbines is affecting peoples’ health. The acoustic engineer has come out saying that nowhere in his research notes was there a direct statement from a resident saying that the low-noise caused his suffering. The two simply aren’t linked. But what is worse is that ABC isn’t taking steps to change it. For those people who only watch one news station to get their information are being very much brainwashed into believing that the negative cost is too high for clean energy. Who is to think that others will also be in the dark in time? And another question, why is ABC news news getting away with it after it pays out?

 

Noah Bey

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/23/windfarm-study-author-threatens-to-sue-media-watch-for-misrepresentation

Finally a Shield Against Ebola?

Christian H.

 

As the craze surrounding ebola is dying  down, there is a shred of light in the darkness which encompasses the topic. New testing in West-Africa has shown treatment effects that allows for recently diagnosed patients to receive help which they otherwise wouldn’t have been given. Granted only a few patients have received this treatment, it seems promising. As it stands, this would be the first treatment for this disease during the outbreak. More research on the matter still needs to be done on the drug, but it treated both natives to Africa and those who were foreign to the area.

 

NATO Tries to Scare a Bear with a Wet Napkin

Prior to announcing that Russia should stop aiding Ukrainian separatists and that the separatist should just stop fighting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the advancement of NATO’s Readiness Action Force into Latvia.  Latvian President, Andris Berzins, has promised to allow the construction of a NATO command center on Latvian territory and to increase his country’s defense spending.  While positive news, the slow process of rolling out this spearhead force and it ambivalent meaning outside of placing pressure on Russia makes one question if its big enough to do the job of stopping Russian aggression.  The answer is an obvious no.  As a spear-head force it is necessarily small and surgical, and will have no chance against the Russian army if it should come to that (which it won’t).  It seems that it is being built to show Russia and the world that it is doing something when in reality it isn’t.  NATO’s purpose would be better served relying on its traditional sources of power and ramping-up training exercises across Europe to make a statement towards Russia.

Huge Jury Award Against Palestinian Groups in Terrorism Case

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/nyregion/damages-awarded-in-terror-case-against-palestinian-groups.html?action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article

The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) were found liable for their role in supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004.  These attacks killed and injured Americans.  The verdict was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs.  In addition, it could also serve to strengthen the Israeli claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces are directly linked to terrorism.  The Palestinian Authority and the P.L.O. intend to appeal the case.

Even though the actual attacks occurred over a decade ago, this verdict has implications for the future of the conflict.  It could be argued that Palestinians are not becoming more moderate and in fact will still engage in terrorist acts.  This would further set back Palestinans efforts to establish its own state.

Jenna

Turkish Troops Rescue Troops and Reclaim Ottoman Tomb

Turkish forces entered Northern Syria in order to rescue 38 Turkish soldiers that have been put on guard of the shrine dedicated to Suleyman Shah the grandfather of Ottoman I, the founder of the Ottoman empire. The forces which consisted of 572 soldiers successfully reclaimed the remains of Shah and the relics that surrounded him. According to a treaty that was struck with Syria in 1921, it apparently entitled Turkey to this remaining mausoleum. The Syrian government was not happy with this “flagrant aggression” and Syrian President Asaad stated that “Turkey would be responsible for the results.” The reason for the mission was to protect Turkish and Ottoman history. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated:  “Countries which do not look after their historic symbols cannot build their future.” Turkey relocated the shrine to a site closer to Turkish borders. Turkeys move was to prevent ISIS from destroying a piece of their history in ISIS attempt at forming a caliphate. It seems the ISIS wants to destroy old idols and shrines in order to create their new state and eliminate the history of the countries and people who have ruled the region prior.

-Douglas

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/22/turkish-military-completes-operation-to-evacuate-troops-from-tomb-in-syria

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-31572257

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