Archive for December, 2017

Israel Carries Out Air Strikes in Syria

Israel bombed a military base near Damascus in Syria. Two of the surface-to-surface missiles were brought down my the Syrian forces, but one managed to cause damage. Israel had officially stated that they were remaining neutral in terms of the outcome of the end of the war in Syria, but back in November, Israel said that Syria had violated a decades old cease-fire agreement and has since escalated the tensions between the two states.

One could argue that Israel is staging a proxy war in Syria against Iran. Israel claims that Hezbollah are fighting alongside Syrian forces and for Israel, that is a no-go. These tensions could have a security impact on the already chaotic region. The US and Israel are allies and neither Israel nor the US want the Assad regime to stay in power. Should things escalate further the US may feel compelled to intervene.

Britain first, far-right anti-muslim group

Founded as a political party in 2011, Britain First is an ultra-nationalist organization that opposes immigration and claims to have “a proven track record of opposing Islamic militants and hate preachers.” Britain First emerged as a splinter group following a collapse in support for the far-right British National Party. Founded as a political party in 2011, Britain First is an ultra-nationalist organization that opposes immigration and claims to have “a proven track record of opposing Islamic militants and hate preachers.” Controversy recently arose on Britain First for linking up and supporting the President of the United States. Who recently retweeted videos, apparently depicting Muslims who were assaulting people and in one instances destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary. On its website, Britain First says it “rejects racial hatred in all its forms” and that members of ethnic minorities regularly attend its events. Similar to what claims President Trump has made in the past during his campaign. Great Britain has taken the right steps to destabilizing the Britain First movement. Especially since the UK electoral commission has barred them from running for elections. Great Britain must make sure that it denounces any behavior or political platforms that are similar to Britain First. So that they can make sure a far-right Nationalist group cannot gain power in Britain, which would denounce all immigration into the country. Taking away its ability to run for government under their political party limits how far they can reach in Great Britain.


A Mindful Message from Millennials


          According to the article, “Millennials’ Push For Corporate Instant Messaging Will Enhance Cybersecurity,” corporate instant messaging is becoming a significant addition to emailing for business-wide communications. This is a trend for two reasons: Millennials, who grew up with advent of instant messaging, have bigger roles in corporations and instant messaging systems substantially enhance productivity. Even better, instant messaging systems could provide more protection from the risks of internal intrusions than emailing, if structured to incorporate the most current electronic security programs.

          Advantages of instant messaging for internal corporate communications include: the “conversation-structuring of thematic-specific exchanges as they occur in real time” and the shorter composition design that requires the writer to get to the point. Extra resources are being used to strengthen the security of instant messaging systems, due to their increased use in the corporate world, so their security protocols have the potential to surpass those of emails and provide increased productivity as well as strong security protections. C-Suites and
Boards of Directors need to embrace the use of corporate instant messaging, because Millennials will continue to use it for the business advantages. If corporations do not embrace the trend, competing internal communications will result, which will weaken the security of entire internal communications networks.

          After reading this article, a concern surfaced as to whether or not U.S. Government personnel use internal instant messaging as a way to communicate. And, if so, are their internal instant messaging systems, particularly those with highly sensitive information being sent back and forth, structured to incorporate the most current electronic security programs? In light of recent events, such as the leak of Hillary Clinton’s emails, it is critical to official business of the U.S. Government to protect both internal and external communications systems. The Trump administration should make every effort to ensure that all communications systems within the government are protected with the most up-to-date electronic security measures.


China Confirms Futher SCS Militarization

Summary: Recently China through their State media confirmed that squadrons of fighter aircraft were now stationed on Woody Island, one of the contested islands in the Paracel island chain. The same announcement also revealed the presence of new hardened and weatherproofed hangers for the aircraft, allowing for much longer deployments. The article further details much of the previous military buildup on the various natural and man-made islands controlled by China in disputed waters, such as radar equipment and anti-air defenses. Experts are quoted as believing that this innovation will be extended to Chinese bases in the contested Spratley island chain.

Analysis: This follows the general trend of military buildup on contested islands by the Chinese, which seem to be policies designed to make them better able to withstand any attack, in addition to limited power projection. The stationing of fighters in an environment that provides better protection from both weather and any attack from the air effectively does so. It is certainly likely the Chinese intend to implement these improvements on their other islands capable of hosting aircraft.


Displaced Families Return Home in Anbar

Over eighty displaced families have returned back to several regions in the Anbar province. On Friday, a member of Anbar provincial council, Fahd al-Rashed, told a source that the rate of destruction exceeds 70% in the liberated regions of Rawa and Qaim along with a high rate of destruction in Annah. In early November, Iraqi forces recaptured Anbar’s western town of Rawa which was the last bastion under control of the Islamic State.


Displacement has been a problem in Iraq for several years so the return of families to their homes is good news for Iraq. The only problem is that these families are coming home to nothing, so the United States and organizations such as the United Nations need to provide the correct amount of aid to these families, so they can survive on their own. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said that his country has defeated the Islamic State at the military level but will declare final victory after desert areas are purged of militants. The United States has backed the Iraqi forces through this time so they are able to retake territories ISIS has occupied.


Balancing on the Brink

After the North Korean ICBM test on Friday, the United States and South Korean have launched a military drill named Vigilante Ace. This drill comprises 24 stealth fighters alongside hundreds of other aircraft. This is in concert with 12,000 U.S. military personnel. The North has threatened nuclear war against the United States and South Korea for the “grave provocation” of the military drill. It is also one of the largest displays of the new American F-35 in a wargame scenario. Senator Lindsey Graham has suggested evacuating the families of military personnel in the event of a military conflict, which seems to be growing by the day according to rhetoric from the Trump Administration.

The reasoning for this drill is critical to understanding the heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans have just launched an ICBM that many experts believe can hit most of, if not all of the United States. This was a threshold that the Trump Administration was keen on preventing the North Koreans from reaching. This in tandem with increasingly hostile rhetoric from the Trump administration over potential conflict with North Korea has all sides itching not to be caught with their proverbial pants down.



Virginia’s General Assembly delegated a report for Dominion Energy finding that it is easier and cheaper to close the largest coal ash ponds in the state simply by leaving them unmaintained with a cover put over top instead of properly treating the byproducts through containing material in synthetic lined landfills. Closing all the state ponds by removing and then properly recycling the material has been estimated would take about 40 years while costing around $3.5 billion. The ‘protective cap’ solution on the other hand is attractive to officials because it would take about 4 years and cost around $700 million. However, this state trend is nationwide. The report also mentions locations like Tennessee streams and the Duke Energy plant on North Carolina’s Dan River; both impacted by inadequately treated coal ash and waterways impacted by chemicals like arsenic. Dominion Power representatives have actually stated how many of their facilities are not required to meet the coal ash regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency which President Trump has decided to have directed by disingenuous appointee, Scott Pruitt. The question the article raised was cancer over costs and the necessity to maintain a stable groundwater monitoring network. These ash ponds must be taken care of properly despite the costs so that future generations aren’t gifted a more expensive, complex problem. To do that will require increased funding and true leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Daniel


Death of Yemen’s ex-President

Iran-allied Houthi forces claimed that they have killed Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh today. The people of Sanaa stated that Houthi fighters blew up Saleh’s house in the city. The killing is significant because it comes at a high point in the fighting that broke out las week between the Iranian-allied Shiite rebels and the forces that are loyal to Saleh. In result, the alliance broke down and led to the Saudi-led coalition to increase its bombing of Houthi in support of Saleh’s forces. The recent event will lead to increased rivalry and conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran and more intense fighting in the region is to come, along with more air strikes and explosions throughout the cities. The violent fighting will lead to more civilian deaths as well.


Violence on the Rise in Mexico


This weeks article detailed how the extreme surge of violence throughout 2017 in Mexico has gone without appropriate coverage and interference by  Mexican government officials. The news has been greatly dominated by U.S. Mexico relations and NAFTA talks, allowing for the unraveling of internal security  to go under the radar. Just in the beginning half of 2017 there were nearly 20,878 murders done alone in Mexico. President Enrique Pena Nieto has been scrutinized over his lack in interference and his inability to construct a clear national security plan for the entire country and police force. More staggering is that in October, on average there were 90 people killed every day and somehow there was no call to immediate action or national emergency. Even though Mexico’s federal government has succeeded in killing or capturing many high profiled cartel leaders, crime is still rampant and a downward trend does not seem likely in the near future. The world must not allow for Trumps behavior and NAFTA negotiations to distract from dangerous amounts of violence that Mexican communities are facing right now. President Trump should address this unprecedented violent spree, because if it continues there is a likelihood it could spill over the border into the U.S.


Maduro Announces a New Crypto-Currency

In a bid to help counter Venezuela’s economic crisis, President Maduro has announced the creation of a new virtual currency called Petro. The necessity of this type of currency has come from nation’s low oil revenue and outrageously high inflation rate. Maduro stated in a televised speech that this new currency would allow for Venezuela “to advance in issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.” The president seems to finally be taking some kind of action in regards to his country’s failing economy, which has been very publicized in recent weeks as they continue to rack up debt. If this new currency does not have the desired goal of improving the economy, Venezuela will seriously risk officially becoming a failed state. Maduro did not announce when or how this new currency will be launched, however some opposition leaders believe this plan will never come to fruition. Economists also see this as an attempt at addressing the debt crisis that will allow him to continue to restructure his debts to their advantage. There is not much else known about the new virtual currency, however it is apparent that Maduro is becoming concerned about the economic security of the nation to resort to this.


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