Saturday, February 28, 2015

Netanyahu’s address to Congress

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, will speak this upcoming Tuesday to President Obama in a joint meeting of Congress.  His topic of discussion is Iran and its nuclear program as he will only agree to deals that include the dismantling of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program and wishes for economic sanctions to be stiffened.  Netanyahu’s supporters believe that the prime minister’s warnings of Iran are coming true while critics say that he has been saying the same thing for the past twenty years.  Critics also believe that Netanyahu will begin to act in ways which will damage Israeli relations with the United States.  Opponents believe the speech is a tactic for reelections on March 17th by instilling fear towards Iran and opposing President Obama who is not popular in Israel.  The speech will be written by Netanyahu himself as he considers himself an authority on the Iran nuclear program and an expert on the people and politics of the United States.  This will be the third joint meeting of Congress that Netanyahu has addressed.  Winston Churchill is the only other foreign leader to call for three meetings and critics believe that Netanyahu doesn’t possess the same authority as Churchill to do so.  It appears as if the prime minister has been working against the U.S. administration instead of with it.

Marissa Holaway

Somalia Will Have An Ambassador From The United States Once Again

President Obama has appointed Katherine Simonds Dhanani to be the new ambassador to Somalia from the United States. Katherine Simonds Dhanani has previously served as an ambassador from the United States to Guyana, India, and Mexico. She also is familiar with affairs in Africa as she has also served as ambassador from the United States in many African countries including Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Katherine Simonds Dhanani will be working from Kenya until Mogadishu, the Somali capital becomes more secure. Somalia has been devastated by the Al-Shabab militant group who continually gives any sort of Somalian government trouble. The United States left Somalia in 1991 due to the collapse of the Somalian government. The United Nations then sent a peacekeeping mission to try and stabilize the nation of Somalia. Due to "Black Hawk Down," a mission in which 18 U.S. soldiers were killed due to their helicopters being targeted by Somalian rebels. The U.S. then ended the peacekeeping mission.

The United States has not yet given up on Somalia. With an ambassador to the United States, there are still hopes that Somalia will be able to maintain a democracy and prosper. It will be hard as long as Al-Shabab is still in the area. African Union forces were able to drive the group out of the capital of Somalia in 2011.  Al-Shabab is affiliated with Al-Qaeda who is anti-democracy. Somalia is slowly coming out of years of war and democracy will be a very good thing for the Somalian people and allow for their economy to grow.

Cara Howell

"Jihadi John" Unmasked

It has just been revealed that “Jihadi John” is a Kuwaiti-born man who lived in London named Mohammed Emwazi.  The fact that he was the one seen many times as a masked man in the execution videos prompted many questions like, how can this happen?  Why did he join ISIS? Is it really even him?  London-based human rights and Muslim advocacy organizations have been saying that they cannot be 100% sure that it is actually him in the video.  Why did he join?  Some people think that his path is one that has led to extremism for many years.  Closer friends relate it back to a time when he hit his head really hard on a post and after that major injury he was never the same.  Some friends said that he took a trip to Tanzania and was supposed to go to the safari, but was detained upon arrival.  They say he was also detained in Britain in 2010 by counterterrorism officials.

This news is frightening to a lot of people because they see that an ordinary citizen of London joined ISIS.  People are seeing for the first time that ISIS is not just a group of barbaric terrorists who are primal and driven by violence.  This man has a degree in computer programming from the University of Westminster.   This is an educated, middle class, normal man that never seemed to have any frightening qualities that indicated he would want to be part of a group like ISIS.  Now that he has been identified of course all of his friends say he had extremist qualities, but nobody would have seen it coming before he was identified.  People are frightened by this and rightfully so, it goes to show that it doesn’t take a barbaric simpleton to join a group like ISIS.


Brad Munson

Four missing Canadian teenagers might have connection with ISIS

               Last week I wrote about the article that says three UK girls headed to Syria, and they are believed to join ISIS. Then this week, I found the article that says four Canadian teenagers headed to Turkey and they might also go there to join ISIS. Two of them are females and at least one them is male. Three of them attended Montreal community college and that college now has suspended to lease classroom for an Islamic group after college found the evidence that the group gave, according to the description of the college, “hate speech” involving one of the leaders in the group. It is not clear that the teenagers had connection with that organization.
                There are a lot of articles that talk about young people head to Syria to join ISIS. I do not understand why it happens. There are some terrorists groups in the world but I have not seen the article that talks terrorist group could recruit so many young people like ISIS before. I think a lot of teenagers have not confirmed their identity and ISIS is trying to take advantage of that point. We should protect young people from terrorists groups and find out why they could recruit so many young people. This problem is a matter of urgency because the group would have more power than before by recruiting many people, so we should solve this problem as soon as possible.

Ryota Taniguchi

"Tear to Pieces the Stars and Stripes"

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been urging his army to prepare for war with the United States and its allies. This came about after the United States and South Korea conducted a joint naval drill on Friday. This drill involved ten South Korean warships and a US Aegis destroyer. In the upcoming week, Foal Eagle, an eight-week exercise involving air, ground, and naval field training will begin. This exercise will include about 200,000 Korean and around 3,700 American troops. Both the US and South Korea say that these exercises are defense-based in nature. Kim Jong-Un has called upon his military to train harder in order to "tear to pieces the Stars and Stripes."
Full article:

~Sarah Irene Rosenberg

Capture of a Drug Lord Is a Small Win in Mexico

Drug lord Servando Gomez, also known as La Tuta or The teacher, was captured in the capital Morelia of his home state Michoacán with no shots fired. Although he was the leader of a dangerous drug cartel named "The Knights of the Templar" experts say that it is no longer enough to capture the kingpins because it leads to smaller gangs breaking out, which leads to fights over territory, kidnapping, and extortion. In addition to these smaller groups, the Mexican government is facing changes as the Attorney General steps down and as the office becomes seperate from the president's cabinet. In order to address these drug gangs in a meaningful way, the Mexican government must first address the issue of corruption that allowed the cartels to flourish in the first place. But as Mr. Benitz points out, the governement had "not decided to fight corruption because that would mean fighting against itself, against the sick part of itself."

Allie Grossmann

Switzerland first to submit climate plan to UN treaty

On February 28, 2015 Switzerland became the first country to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (UNFCCC) Swiss government committed that they will reduce 50% of their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and 30% of the cuts will be achieved within the country. Currently, Switzerland is responsible for only 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emission. The government is aiming to reduce 70-85% of greenhouse gas emission by 2050 as well. It was interesting to hear this news, as we just discussed the dilemma of "tragedy of the commons" in the class. However, since air pollution will spread from one place to another, it is unlikely to personalize it. In order to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas equally in the world, we have to regulate the developed countries to do so. As all of the major economies have been asked to submit their INDC by October 1, I am looking forward to hear other countries' proposal.
Eri Sato

Friday, February 27, 2015

'Progress' in US-Cuba talks but no embassy decision

'Progress' in US-Cuba talks but no embassy decision

Representatives from Cuba and the US delegation is negotiating to solve their problems. However, the main problems seem to be still impossible to resolve. Because Cuba is keeping trying hard to get it rid of a US terror list and normalise the relation with the US. However, for the U.S. part, it is not thinking about it now. The most top task for it is to make the U.S. embassy opened in time for the Summit of the Americas. Although some trade and traveling restrictions have been relaxed with efforts of both countries, more hard work needs to be done for their more friendly relationship in the future.

Ruyi Wang 

Cuba's Spot ON

Cuba’s Spot on U.S. Terror List Gums Up Restoration of Relations

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lollipop-man Ordered to Not High-Five Children

To those who do not know what a lollipop man is, it is a Scottish slang term given to crossing-guards due to the candy-like shape sign they hold. Nkosana Mdikane, 74, has been named "Scotland's happiest lollipop man" due to his cheerful attitude that accompanies his song-and-dance routines while he is on the job. Recently the West Dunbartonshire Council banned Mr. Mdikane from high-fiving children as they cross the road due to safety hazards. The court supports this decision with the rule that all crossing-guards must have one hand holding up their sign to oncoming traffic while using the other hand to point while the children were crossing. Therefore, the friendly gesture has no place in the serious business of street-crossing. Since the ruling, Mr. Mdikane has followed the new rule, even if he thinks its "stupid." There has been a strong local reaction to this ruling, there has already been a petition with a thousand signatures already signed to "Save the High-Fives!" There has also a face-book campaign created for the cause, and it already has three-thousand supports for it. Hopefully this reaction will cause the councilmen and women to revoke their ruling. Viva la High-Fives!

Article can be found here:

By Anne Sortino

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tomb Raiders of Kobane

The War Nerd: Tomb Raiders of Kobane

John Dolan, writing under alias Gary Brecher, the War Nerd, analyzes Turkey's recent cross-border mission into Syria to extract the body of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, from its tomb. Officially, the Turks went in on the premise that the tomb was under threat from Islamic State (ISIS has gone on a tomb-destroying spree across its conquered territories, enforcing a Qu'ranic edict against showing devotion to the dead).

The real story, as Dolan exposes, is a little more sordid: Turkey and Islamic State have been double-dealing for some time now, Turkey making little efforts to stop any of the flows of jihadists and weaponry over the border and hampering the Kurds in their efforts to reinforce the Kobani front.

And Islamic State has held the region surrounding the tomb for months now - yet has never once made a move against it. What changed the game is that Kurdish forces, fanning out into the countryside and villages to start reclaiming ground after their hard-fought victory in Kobani, had been approaching the area which held the tomb.

The Turks appear to be trying to get the body of Osman away from the reach of the Kurds, not ISIS. Turkey still sees the Kurdish PKK (and its PYD compatriots in northeastern Syria) as the number one threat to its security.

Turkey's approach to the Islamic State crisis is bending the American-Turkish alliance uncomfortably close to the breaking point. This alliance was a creation of the Cold War to prevent the Soviet Union from seeking to extend its reach to the Mediterranean.  There have been other issues before. Turkey and Greece, both members of NATO, have skirmished and politicked against one another for decades now over Cyprus and shares of control over the Aegean islands and sea. The strains have really begun to show more recently, after Turkey elected the Islamist government fronted by Recep Tayyip Erdogan; before Erdogan, Turkey had long been dominated by secular Kemalist parties and by periods of military dictatorship.

Under Erdogan, Turkey opposed the US war in Iraq, fearing the takedown of Saddam's state would enable the Iraqi Kurds to seize power in northern Iraq, strengthening the Kurdish uprising in Turkey as well and providing a base outside of Turkey's borders for Kurdish independence fighters. This in effect did happen - although the Kurdish faction that took control of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq was divided by ideology and clan from the PKK, the hardline socialist group that leads the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.

Erdogan has also broken with past Turkish practice in being an outspoken critic of Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip, something Turkey under Kemalist rule could hardly have cared less about. Israel's special relationship with the United States has put America in an uncomfortable position as the two have become more and more hostile.

The Syrian Civil War and the rise of the Islamic State have put the latest and largest cracks into this long-standing alliance. Sponsoring jihad in Syria and the overthrow of the Assad government has been a pet project of Erdogan's since the very start of the war. This was never really about democracy, the Free Syrian Army that got so much press in the first years of the war being little more than a coalition of Muslim Brotherhood-aligned militias. This was about installing a sectarian Sunni government in Syria, one that would be beholden to Turkey.

This project hasn't worked out for Erdogan - and he blames the United States for not doing enough to support his scheme. Turkey has a massive, well-equipped and NATO-trained army, one whose only rivals in the region in terms of strength are Israel's and Iran's. Turkey would be capable of conquering Syria if it tried to. But Erdogan has never sent the Turkish Army into Syria - he is either unwilling to accept the losses it would cost him in Turkish lives, or the international backlash that would result from this.

But he was perfectly happy to demand that the U.S. involve itself in the war, to let America face the risks and the losses, and the furious backlash that would result. Thankfully, the United States has shied away from taking such a wrongheaded move - although it has and does continue to flirt with the idea of intervention, and to provide support for the opposition - support that has kept the rebellion going on for years now.

Had Assad been allowed to win, had the US not allowed there to be any international support for the rebellion, it all would have been over in months. Hundreds of thousands who are dead would still be alive. Millions of others who are in refugee camps now would be living in their homes. And Islamic State wouldn't be half as srong as it is today.

Islamic State is the point at which it's become hard to see Turkey under Erdogan's rule as any sort of ally to American interests. Islamic State is enemy number one in the Middle East for the US, for Europe, for Syria, Iraq, the Kurds, Iran, Hezbollah, Egypt, Russia; for every player in the region save two: Israel, which still fears Hezbollah the most, and Turkey - which fears the Kurds more than ISIS and which continues to prioritize the overthrow of the Syrian government over the crushing of the Islamic State.

There are five forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria that are actually doing battle with ISIS directly (while the US and a few European and Muslim allies bomb them from the air). Three of these are effective ground forces that actually put up a fight and wage effective operations. The first are Assad's Syrian Arab Army, backed by elite Hezbollah infantry. The second are sectarian Iraqi Shia militias coordinated by Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers. The third are the Kurdish Peshmerga and YPG militias, who are very tough and determined fighters (they and Hezbollah are the most skilled soldiers  in the war), but are poorly equipped as they don't have as much outside patronage.

The other two forces on the ground against ISIS are the national Iraqi Army, equipped and trained by the Americans, and the "moderate Syrian rebels" (who include al-Qaeda subgroup Jabhat al-Nusra and whose largest forces are all Islamist sectarians). These are the two forces the US and its coalition officially collaborate with as part of the anti-Islamic State campaign.

And they are useless.

Jabhat al-Nusra are the only decent fighters the Syrian rebels have - and they're al-Qaeda foot soldiers, a bunch of savage, extremist freaks that are only a lighter shade of black next to those of ISIS.

The rest are losers, a disorganized rabble that can be counted on to flee, to surrender their weapons to jihadists in exchange for their lives, to sell their guns to ISIS for quick cash, or even to defect and join it. More than a thousand armed groups have sprung up over the course of the war in Syria, and hundreds of them have lasted just long enough to receive shipments of weaponry from the West or the Gulf - and then promptly switched over to the jihadist forces, taking their freshly-delivered guns and bombs along with.

And the Iraqi Army is a joke. This army, a creation that America built up from scratch during the occupation, after disbanding the old one, is an absolute embarrassment to its nation and to ours. It is one of the most colossally failed projects we have ever undertaken in our foreign policy. Years of training efforts, tens of billions of dollars in funding, advanced U.S. equipment like the M1 Abrams tank were put into this new army.

It fell apart the first time it ran into an enemy that would actually fire back against it. It turned out that half its brigades were imaginary, scams for the officers to pocket extra money. It surrendered an enormous haul of American weaponry to the Islamic State, enough for IS to equip tens of thousands of newly recruited and conscripted soldiers, to turn itself from a terrorist group into a terrorist army.

These are the same Iraqis that Saddam Hussein marshaled into an eight-year war with Iran. They didn't win, but they stayed fighting the whole eight years and never broke down.

Give Saddam some credit: he clearly knew better than we do about how to create a working Iraqi Army. His army wasn't that good; it didn't last a week against ours. But Saddam's army would not have been run out of Mosul by a few thousand jihadis on armed pickup trucks. ISIS wouldn't have had a chance against it.

So the two forces the US officially sponsors against ISIS are garbage. Two of the forces that actually are worth a damn when it comes to a fight - the Hezbollah-backed Syrian Army and the Iranian-led Iraqi Shia militias - are ones the United States refuses to support for ideological reasons (don't like Assad, don't like Iran), even when we have strong strategic reasons to cooperate with them.

Which leaves the Kurds, the last of the effective fighting groups. They are people that we like, the Europeans like, the Israelis like, that even the Syrians and Iranians are willing to cooperate with.

The only problem is that the Turks hate the Kurds - and the view them as a larger threat than ISIS. The Islamic State they see as a tool for their ends (it's the most dangerous and effective group fighting to overthrow Assad). The Kurds they see as an enemy.

Turkey is what's keeping America from throwing its full support behind the Kurds. The US is helping out Kurdish forces wih air strikes, but has refrained from supplying them with the weapons they need to mount a major offensive against Islamic State. The Kurds are actually much better and more experienced fighters than most of ISIS' troops (with a few exceptions like the Chechens, jihadists who came from a war with Russia and are some of the most feared guerrilla warriors in the world). The problem is that ISIS soldiers have better weapons and more ammunition than the Kurds.

The US and its allies could level the playing field by delivering major arms shipments to the Kurds, letting their superior combat skills tilt the tides in their favor. The problem is that Turkey won't allow this. The Turks are thinking ahead to tomorrow: they are asking themselves what the Kurds are going to do with those weapons after ISIS has been defeated? The answer is that they'd probably end up being turned against Turkish soldiers. Putting together a Kurdish army strong enough to defeat ISIS would pose a serious threat for Turkey: Turkey has fought against a Kurdish insurgency for decades, and it has never been as strongly equipped before as it would be if it received a full package of American weaponry.

So the Turks have become the biggest obstacle to the formation of an effective anti-ISIS coalition (one that would include US, European, Gulf, Iranian, and Jordanian air support for a joint ground campaign by the Kurds, the Syrian Army (with a ceasefire, truce, or surrender from the Syrian rebels), Hezbollah, and an Iraqi Army directed by Iranian officers and reinforced with Shi'a militas). This coalition working in concert would crush the Islamic State.

But the Turks won't allow it (and the Israelis, the Saudis, and John McCain do their part to sabotage it as well by refusing to cooperate with the Iranians or the Syrians). And what's most frustrating of all is that Turkey could do it all by itself. It has an army of hundreds of thousands of troops, well-trained, NATO-equipped, freshly rested. If the Turkish Army went in full force, it could wipe out Islamic State on its own - and it could do it even faster than the battle-weary Syrians, who are drained by four years of war and terrorism, let alone the Iraqis, who continue to stumble about like their shoelaces have been tied together.

Erdogan's not interested, though. He's still too caught up in his pipe dream of installing a puppet government in Syria, and too invested in Turkey's decades-long feud with the Kurds (a problem he inherited, not that he started, to be fair). So the Islamic State still stands, and the Kurds and the Syrians struggle valiantly against it, unsupported by the US, which is stuck blundering about trying to get the Iraqi Army and the "moderate jihadists" of the Syrian opposition rabble to do something useful - which may or may not happen before the Israelis and Palestinians decide to be best friends.

And the mighty Turkish Army, fresh off its little tomb raiding adventure in Syria, sits on the border and watches the show, carefully keeping its eyes on the slaughter while the latest batch of European jihadists sneaks past to go and join the Caliphate's war.

Tim Mulhair
February 25, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fear grows in Europe as ISIS comes to Libya

Isis like always finds its face in the news with new murders what seem like every week. Now they are in the news for a different reason. Isis seems to be spreading it's territory into Libya. This extension of ground comes closer to Europe where it could erupt into a massive problem. It is said that this new Libyan branch is responsible for the capturing of a university in the city of Sirte as well as murdering 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Egypt responded with various airstrikes, but what will happen next? Is it time for the United States to handle the matter?

Matt Marcotte

Australia's tightening borders

After the December Cafe Siege the Australian government is looking to tighten it's borders to try and reduce the spread of radical terror groups breaching the countries borders. What the government officials fail to understand is that by stopping people from entering they are not stopping hate ideologies from entering the country. Ideas, especially now in our globalized world, do not need face to face contact like some type of terror virus rather ideas can spread just by looking online.

ISIS Burns 40 People

The US just received word that reports that ISIS burned 40 people have just been confirmed by an Iraqi official.  Anbar provincial council chairman Sabah Karkhout says we was just advised by his field commanders that ISIS militants killed at least 40 police officers and tribesmen and most of them were burned to death.  It is still unclear whether these people were actually burned to death or if they were killed then burned the bodies.  The bodies were reportedly burned right outside of a town ISIS captured last week that is just 9 miles away from an airbase where 400 U.S troops are training Iraq troops to fight against ISIS.

This last killing of ISIS is a little bit different from the rest of the killings.  For one, they didn’t take videos and send them out like they usually do.  Sending videos through mass media was their main tactic of terrorism and it seems unusual that they wouldn’t do something like that again.  It seems like nobody is sure that ISIS actually burned the 40 bodies, but it is a high chance that they did.  It also seems unusual that ISIS would take action like this so close to an airbase where they can be attacked within minutes.

Brad Munson

Western Sahara is Still Lacking Peace

This article documents the case of people who are still living in exile in the Western Sahara as Cold War victims. Even though there has been no conflict in this area, there has also been no solution. In these states, women run social services, such as education, since independence and democracy has yet to be achieved. For the past 24 years, this area, known as Tifariti, has been under stress due to the anticolonial force they are seeking. This era of land is a result between Polisario Front and Moroccan soldiers, and it seems that no resolution has been even attempted. The most chilling part is the closing statement if this article by a 58 year-old living in the region. “I want you to carry a message to the United States of America asking for help, help for us to get independence… We are a people and we were attacked in our land and we were treated unfairly. We just want our land.”

Julianna Grandinetti

Europe agrees to extend the bail-out—after Greece drops Itnearly all its demands

It must have been easily made decision by euro-zone finance ministers about extending Greece's second bail-out, announced at 8:30pm on the Friday night. Still, on the end, they agreed to prolong Greece's second bail-out for next four months, expecting that the Greece will have enough time to reorganize its funding as well as to at least temporary slow down Greece's departure from using euro. Previous deadline was February . Regardless the positive step for euro zone, euro-pessimists don't see the real reason for the spark of optimism. Greek Government is required to come up with list of reforms which they will conduct as a part of the terms for the extension of the second bail-out.
Through this process Greece will be supervised by the tree institutions, The European Commission, European Central bank and International Monetary Fund(IMF). Under the pressure of these institutions Greece will have to do serious work in relatively short time periods. There is constantly less and less space for Greece's man-oeuvre, where Europe is expecting Greece's positive answer for all the 'trust' and  support Greece got from  the Euro group.

Cyber Warfare

This article really opened my eyes to the different ways to fight a war. Traditionally a war is fought with men and guns. Never before did I think that countries actually attacked each other through cyberspace. Some documents revealed that not only have there been attacks on national banks but that the war taking place in cyberspace is fought almost daily. Iran has actually been responsible for some attacks involving US banks like JP Morgan in which they flooded their servers with data making it almost impossible to access account information. However in an attempt to down play much of the cyber attacks the NSA and its Iraqi counterparts attempt to work with each other but end up spying on each other while helping. This cyber attack phenomenon just shows the vulnerability of both states. This is an issue that is often overlooked but should actually be watched over carefully.

-Sigi Padilla

Armed groups raid South Sudan school

While sitting in my dorm room thinking about what I read during this article, I thought to myself what would happen tomorrow in class if groups of armed men raided the classroom, and abducted everyone in it. Throughout this post I kept trying to understand what happened in the South Sedan School where armed groups raided the students, and abducted 89 children who were just taking their exams that day. Even though officials on the United Nations told these armed men that it was against the international law, they still got together near an area around Malakal Sudan and went house to house taking the people being harmed, starting with the young boys over the age of 12. The article also stated that these children are in extreme areas of violence, and they are loosing everything they have and even their possibility of going to school. From this article, I really learned to appreciate the safety we have here in the U.S. and tried to understand what it would be like living in these situations that other kids have to face on a day-to-day basis.  

Paul Rollet

U.S Reconsidering 2016 Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal Plans

As Ashton Carter is sworn in as Secretary of Defense four days ago, following Chuck Hagel, he has already begun works in the international world as a compass for global safety and American conflict-resolution. For most of the American public, one of the largest domestic concerns is regarding troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. It has proven to be a consistent theme for much of President Obama's administration, and promises to do so were made very early on. The deadline was announced to be 2016 for all combative troops to be withdrawn, and by 2017 we will have only standard "normal" security troops stationed. However, as Carter visited Afghani President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday, talks of moving the deadline have come into play. Ghani stated that he would like President Obama to re-examine the 2016 to "ensure his country has the support it needs to maintain security gains". This reminded me of the very prominent issues Afghanistan faced when US troops had left the first time after the Cold War had ended. Many of the Mujahideen who had been trained by American troops to defeat Soviets were left with the many toys of war with little to no guidance to reconstruct civil society. Ghani's fear reiterates this idea that it needs American troops for obvious safety concerns regarding the Taliban insurgency. Will this mean the American public has to wait another two or more years to bring all of its troops home? 

Yoomna Rahim

Greece prepares reform amid cracks in Syriza party

February 22, 2015. The government of Greece prepares for reform measures on Sunday in an effort to secure their financial lifeline from the Eurozone. However, the effort was weakened by a party member within the Syriza party who failed to keep a promise in extracting the country from international bailout. Despite the shortfall, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted that Greece achieved success on the negotiation table when Eurozone finance ministers agreed to extend the current bailout deal for months. It's important to note that this comes after Angela Merkel rejected Greece's previous proposal regarding a bailout deal negotiation. Tsipras is adamant in his belief that the nation supports him despite giving ground to Greece's Eurozone creditors. Under this deal, Greece will still function under the terms of their existing bailout for an additional four months. With this, Greece hopes to have enough wiggle room in negotiating new lending arrangements by the summer.

Many believe that these negotiations will air out feelings of apprehension for Greece possibly leaving the Eurozone. However, not everyone on the Syriza were entirely happy with the terms of the agreement who believe that the deal spells failure for the party's campaign promises. Despite these disagreements, Tsipras will need to hold onto his public support during this time as it might turn into political gains for the Syriza.

- Josephine Madrawska
The United States' Secretary of State John Kerry and Britain's foreign secretary Philip Hammond have been discussing imposing additional sanctions on Russia.  Since agreements have been made between Russia and the international community regarding Russia's treatment of the situation in the Ukraine, Russia has been violating some of those agreements.  In the past week alone, the State Department has issued concerns over Russia's support of separatists in the Ukraine.  In addition to providing weapons to the separatists, Russia has been utilizing its own militia to get involved in conflict.    While the Obama administration has been debating sending weapons to the Ukraine, Kerry and colleagues have decided additional sanctions would be best. -Kaytlin St.Clair Link

Tension Continues Between the U.S. and Russia Over Ukraine

Yesterday, an article on The Washington Post titled, U.S. weighs more sanctions against Russia over violations in Ukraine was published. The article notes the push for more sanctions on Russia's economy as a response to their continued arming of Russian Rebels (as the article labels them) instead of the more representative view Russian Separatists. The article notes that the United States is pressing for more sanctions against Russia, while Congress is calling for the U.S. to arm the Ukrainian government. In the coming days the United States will have to pick one method or the other - to either press for more sanctions or arm the Ukrainian government. Doing both would seem a bit hypocritical, but I suppose it also would not be the first time the U.S. has failed to struck a balance in what it says and what it does (ex: calling for sanctions against Iran regarding nuclear power, yet all the while allowing Israel to remain inspection free).

In the coming days we will have to see not only how the United States will choose to respond to Russia, but how the U.N. will respond to the United States' demand for more sanctions.

-Jon Stanciu