Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nigeria Military Gets More Power to Fight Rebels

"Nigeria’s President Gives Military More Power in Struggle Against Militants"
Struggling to contain Islamist insurgency, the president of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has ordered in more troops and granted the military more powers to arrest, more authority to seize, and more leeway in any area of terrorist operation. Almost four years into an uprising that has cost nearly 4,000 lives, a larger version of the anti-Islamist strategy already in place struck many politicians, analysts and residents as a leading up to more of one of this undeclared war’s trademarks. Residents have observed troops arriving for several days at an air base in Borno’s principal city, Maiduguri, and headed north, apparently toward border areas near Chad and Cameroon where Boko Haram is said to have encampments. Mr. Jonathan’s speech appears to have been prompted in part by a Boko Haram raid in Borno State last week that the military said killed 55 people, including 22 police officers. The military said dozens of Islamist fighters swept into the town of Bama during the raid, breaking into a prison, where they freed 105 people, and attacking a police station. The critics of the government said that local officials had indeed fled from a number of villages in the northern part of the state, fearful of assassination by the militants, who have relentlessly targeted symbols of Abuja’s authority.

This article relates to the topic of social cleavages because there is violence and conflict between insurgent groups and the Nigerian military. Groups like Boko Haram and MEND are the groups that the president, Goodluck Jonathan, is trying to contain, and the president is willing to give the military more power than it already has in order to put a stop to the violence and insurgency in Nigeria.

Click here to read article

Nossiter, Adam. "Nigeria Military Gets More Power to Fight Rebels." New York Times. New York Times, 15 May 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <>.

No compromise. No submission. Only Jalili

"Anti-West Hard-Liner Gains in Iranian Race"

Saeed Jalili, at age 47, is known as Iran’s unyielding nuclear negotiator and a protégé of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is emerging as the presumed front-runner in Iran’s presidential election on June 14th, an unsettling prospect for future relations with the West. Mr. Jalili, whom many analysts say has long been groomed for a top position in Iran, is by far the most outspoken hard-liner among the eight candidates approved to participate in the election. Mr. Jalili has gathered the open support of Iran’s governing establishment, a coalition of conservative clerics and Revolutionary Guards commanders known as the "traditionalists." High-ranking Shiite Muslim clerics have begun speaking out in his favor, and a nationwide network of paramilitary volunteers, known as the basij, is now helping to organize his election campaign. Mr. Jalili would technically need at least half of the vote, however Iran’s presidential elections, lacking independent opinion polls and subject to manipulation and corruption, are notoriously unpredictable. In 2005, Mr. Ahmadinejad came out of nowhere to win. In 2009, millions of people took to the streets to protest what they said was widespread fraud in the voting that returned Mr. Ahmadinejad, a conservative, to office over the more popular opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi. Mr. Jalili’s speeches and viewpoints closely resemble the leader’s worldview of an Iran engaged in a multifaceted battle with the West.

This article relates to social cleavages because there is conflict between the conservatives and the reformists when it comes to Iranian politics. Supposedly Saeed Jalili is neutral, like his mentor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but he has shown signs of conservatism in his ideas.

Erdbrink, Thomas. "Anti-West Hard-Liner Gains in Iranian Race." New York Times. New York Times, 28 May 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <>.

Helmand: the Deadliest Province in Afghanistan

"Taliban Attack Kills 7 Georgian Soldiers in Afghanistan"
According to Georgian and Afghan officials in Helmanda suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives attacked an isolated base in Kabul, Afghanistan. The base was staffed by Georgian troops in Helmand Province on Thursday evening, and seven soldiers were killed. It was the second truck bomb attack on a Georgian base in Helmand in less than a month. The first attack was a bombing on May 13 killed three Georgians, according to Georgian defense officials. Helmand has been the deadliest province for troops in the international coalition in Afghanistan, claiming at least 935 lives since 2001. Georgia, with a contingent of 1,570 soldiers, is the largest non-NATO member of the International Security Assistance Force. The Georgians have three bases in Helmand, all in the north of the province, where the Taliban are fighting hard to regain ground: in the districts of Now Zad and Musa Qala, and in an area near Sangin. The recent attack brings to 30 the number of Georgians killed in Afghanistan since the country’s troops arrived in 2004. 

This article relates to social cleavages because there is violence between Georgian troops, along with British and American Marines, and the Taliban that continuously attacks the province of Helmand  in Afghanistan. Not only is the Taliban attacking the bases, but they are also capturing, torturing, and killing troops in the area to get revenge and show their hatred towards the troops on the bases.

Shah, Alissa J. Rubin And Taimoor. "Taliban Attack Base Guarded by Georgians in Afghanistan." The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 June 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <>.

Syrian Opposition Refuses to Attend Conference Unless Compromise is Made

"Syrian Opposition Says It Rejects Talks Unless Rebels Get Arms"

The Syrian opposition will not attend the proposed Geneva conference on the crisis in Syria unless rebel fighters receive new supplies of arms and ammunition, the top rebel military commander said Friday over a telephone interview in northern Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry announced in May that the United States and Russia planned to organize an international meeting that would bring together representatives of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the Syrian opposition. The aim of the meeting is to negotiate a transitional government that would take control if Mr. Assad agreed to vacate his position. The political wing of the Syrian opposition, though still fragmented and struggling to pick new leaders, also dismissed the possibility of peace talks and lashed out at Western and Arab countries for failing to arm the rebels. At a meeting in Istanbul in late April, Mr. Kerry announced that the Supreme Military Council should be the only funnel for providing Western and Arab military support to the opposition. The Assad government’s next target, General Idris said, is Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, drawing on support from thousands of Hezbollah fighters, Iranian military operatives and Iraqi Shiite fighters.

This article relates to the topic of social cleavages because there is conflict between two different states, them being Syria and the United States with Russia, with trying to hold the Geneva Conference to make a negotiation. There is also a conflict between the Syria government and the Syrian opposition party that also includes groups of rebels that want ammunition and weapons.

Gordon, Michael R. "Syria Opposition Won’t Attend Talks Unless Rebels Get Arms, Commander Says." The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 June 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <>.

Gaza Farmers VS. Israeli Military

"Gaza Farmers Near Fence With Israel Remain Wary"
In Wadi Gaza, Gaza Strip, there are 300 rows of green chili pepper plants that were planted by Ziad Abu Ettewi, 42, 185 yards from the fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Farmers in the area are worried and concerned that Israeli military might ruin the crops they grow and cultivate. The farmers are also scared of getting shot at any time just for even getting too close to the fence. There was also a cease-fire that ended eight days of fighting between Israel and Hamas, ever since the Nov. 21 cease-fire to the end of May, four Palestinian civilians have been killed and 123 injured in the buffer zone by Israeli forces, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In February, Israel said that farmers could access land up to 110 yards from the fence, but a few weeks later drew the line at 328 yards and clarified that those wanting to work closer needed to coordinate with the authorities. Israeli officials say the shootings have not targeted farmers but people who approached the fence and tried to touch or cut it. 

This relates to social cleavages because not only is there violence within the farmers and the Israeli military/authorities, there is also a conflict within social class because the farmers are obviously not wealthy like the Israeli military. The farmers don't have much of a say because there is nothing they can do about the restrictions in the buffer zone. The Israeli military says that they are only shooting from the fence because there are usually protesters that try to cut the fence or damage it in some other way. If there weren't any attacks, the military says that they wouldn't harm the farmers because they have every right to grow crops in the area.

Click here to read article

Rudoren, Fares Akram And Jodi. "Palestinian Farmers in Gaza Buffer Zone Remain Wary."The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 June 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <>.

Government Tries to Put a Stop to Activism in United Arab Emirates

"Emirates Balk at Activism in Region Hit by Uprisings"

In Ras Al Khaymah, United Arab Emirates, Islah, the Islamist group that once ran the city, is all but gone. In 1994, its headquarters in Dubai were shut down, so the group’s leaders moved to Ras al Khaymah. In mid-2011, Islah (which had operated legally in the country since 1974) began organizing protests and signed petitions that eventually led to many arrests. Activists were arrested because the government believed they opposed the basic principles of the U.A.E. system of governance and they wanted to seize power. Seven of its members were stripped of citizenship and scores were arrested, They say they are not looking to overthrow the leadership, but asking for democratic reform  and a more Islamic government and their goal is to preserve the Emirates as a Muslim country with an Arab character. The government took the group apart, by changing its name and appointing a new board. The government of the United Arab Emirates has moved aggressively to shut it down, charging 94 of its members with working with another Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, to overthrow the government. 

This relates to my topic of social cleavages because many Emiratis agree, and fear that groups like Islah threaten a stability that has made their country of 5.5 million wealthy, safe and peaceful. The groups involved are the activists that want democratic reform, while the Conservatives are on the other hand that believe groups like Islah will create turmoil and bring disorder. In Dubai, the nation’s largest city, democratic signs are already showing the Emirates government that times are changing. In Dubai, locals are rare, alcohol is accessible and everywhere, and women in miniskirts flirt with men in public. Political analysts worry that a democratic transition in this period for a state like the United Arab Emirates, would put the people in the chaos of reactionary conservatism, probably for the next 30 or 40 years.

Hubbard, Ben. "Emirates Balk at Activism in Region Hit by Uprisings." The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 June 2013. Web. 09 June 2013. <>.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

British In Prevention Mode

"British Premier Says Nuclear Risks Highlight Need for Deterrent"
In London, Britain, the Prime Minister David Cameron had a strong defense of Britain's nuclear prevention on Thursday. Mr. Cameron welcomed home the crew of a nuclear-armed submarine based in western Scotland. Britain maintains a force of four nuclear submarines that carry missiles and patrol all year round. But lawmakers are trapped in a debate about the cost of replacing them at a time. Cameron said that he knows there are some people who disagree with our nuclear restriction and don’t want us to renew it. “There are those who say that we don’t need it anymore, because the cold war has ended. There are those who say we can’t afford Trident anymore, so we either need to find a viable cheaper option, or rely on the United States to protect us.” With Iran pursuing nuclear ambitions and North Korea testing nuclear devices and missiles, Mr. Cameron said, “does anyone seriously argue that it would be wise for Britain, faced with this evolving threat today, to surrender our deterrent?”

This article relates to my topic of social cleavages because there is a division between countries that are threatening to launch nuclear missiles, like Iran and North Korea,  and the United States being the country under threat. The Prime Minister of Britain is concerned and he believes that nuclear restrictions and prevention is important to try to stop the growing concerns of nuclear threats.

Cowell, Alan. "Cameron Urges Support for Nuclear Deterrent." The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Apr. 2013. Web. 05 Apr. 2013. <>.