Framing the World XV

Vacations are coming, so you’ll have more chances to read a Framing the World number! After all, everybody knows that vacations are a little bit boring, and the best solution is to read what happened around the world during the past two weeks.
Here we’re gonna write about Africa and its double fight against Ebola, that killed thousands of victims again, and the battle against Boko Haram Islamic terrorism, which is back to affect Nigeria.

Therefore we’re going to move to the Middle East, where Iran is going through several violent international disputes; so blood doesn’t stop flowing in the region, after the recent attacks against Yemen and Afghanistan. Also, reading Framing the World, you'll understand how Middle East political balances are changing, after Hamza bin Laden’s death.
Concerning Latin America instead, it’s necessary to mention some relevant trade moves, such as the Pacific Alliance intention to create a wide free trade area; while Brazil is nearing the USA, and it joined NATO. However Brazil has to deal with some ruthless miners who killed a village chief as he had opposed to their illegal activities
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, North Korea tested missiles again, restarting to scare the world. At the same time, the ongoing anti-government strikes in Hong Kong put a strain on Beijing’s patience.
Regarding Finance and Economics, in this number we’ll describe the latest market trends, after Federal Reserve’s new moves, and Trump’s decision to impose additional duties on Chinese products.
Therefore we jump to Italy, where industry has troubles competing with European competitors. Among them, Great Britain has a new PM: Boris Johnson, who has to handle all problems related to Brexit processes.
Finally, news from Russia relate to the difficulties in extinguish fires in Siberia.

Human Rights

Brazil, an indigenous village chief has been killed by gold miners. In the state of Amapá, in Brasil, some gold miners (the garimpeiros) have stabbed to death the leader of an indigenous community, taking over the village scaring the community and forcing people to flee. According to some human rights activists, this wave of violence is imputable to Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s choice to permit mining activities in protected indigenous reserves.

Libya, Haftar’s forces attacked a field hospital. Five doctors have been killed during an air attack conducted against a field hospital near Tripoli, in Libya. According to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), the airstrike has been carried out by Khalifa Haftar’s armed forces, and it constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law, according to which it’s not permitted to attack medical staff, clinics and hospitals.

The Netherlands bans the burqas and niqabs. The Netherlands has recently banned women to wear face-covering clothing – such as the burqa or niqab – in public places, transports, and buildings such as schools and hospitals. Between 100 and 400 women are estimated to be affected by the said-law. Any woman who will infringe the ban will be fined 150 euros.

The United States boycotted the UN Security Council vote to condemn Israel for violation of the Palestinians’ human rights. In occasion of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the United States vetoed a proposal to condemn Israel for having demolished some Palestinian homes in the Jerusalem’s outskirt. The Resolution, drafted by the State of Kuwait, Indonesia and South Africa, condemned Israel for having violated Palestinians’ human rights and called Israel for halting the demolitions. Israel, for its part, declared that the ten demolished apartments had been built illegally and that they were representing a threat to the Israeli armed forces.

United States, the Senate of Massachusetts voted to ban child marriage. Between 2000 and 2016, more than 1.200 children were married in Massachusetts; nowadays, this is no longer possible. In fact the Senate of Massachusetts has unanimously voted to ban child marriage in the State. Many exponents of NGOs for the protection of the rights of the child participated to the vote, including UNICEF USA. This ban represents an important step towards the abolition of child marriage in all United States, 48 of which still allow child marriage.

Marta Stroppa

International Finance and Economics

Fed. Reserve, history in the making. Last Wednesday (31 July), the FED cut interest rates by 0.25%; it is a historic move as it is the first cut in more than 10 years and it marks a reversal of the rising trend in interest rates that began in 2017. Cutting rates usually constitutes a stimulating and incentive measure adopted during recession periods in order to encourage businesses and consumers spend more. However, in the current context it should be considered as a preventive intervention aimed at staving off recession or stamp it out quickly if it occurs.

The warning signs are serious: the global economy is currently going through a slowdown, especially in Europe and Asia. Although the World Economy has been expanding for ten years, inflation rates are relatively low. Manufacturing and companies growth rates increase slowly in the United States, and the housing market does the same, especially in metropolitan cities. However Powell suggested that Wednesday's rate cut was a simple interest rate adjustment, but it does not necessarily marks the start of a new trend in lower rates. Markets dropped more than 1% because of those comments and stayed down until closing.

Trade War, back at it. The FED announcement was not enough to push Wall Street to new (higher) growth rates. President Trump's tweets explained how the trade talks between U.S. and China will lead the application of a 10% tariffs on $300 billion dollars of goods coming from China to the U.S. his decision will take effects since September 1st. Before the news spread, forecasts concerning market growth rates were largely positive (+2% ca) and targeted new highs but, in a sudden reversal, they closed the day recording lower rates. The same process affected commodities such as oil, which lost as much as 8% of his value before closing at -4%; maybe it gave birth to a descending trend for the coming weeks. Also it’s due to remark that, although the announced tariffs amount to half of those previewed, a relatively strong reaction came from Markets; this last might mark the start of a short-term overreaction, fed by nervous investors, influenced by other elements.

Pharmaceutics, a merger ahead. This operation aimed at creating a powerhouse of low-cost medicines is about to be finalized. According to the WSJ, Mylan, one of the biggest Companies selling generic medicines, and Upjohn Pfizer, a company whose patents expired, are going to merge, creating the largest group in the industry; the new colossus would be present in 165 countries, and it is expected generate annual revenue of $20 billion. The transaction will be carried out through an equal stock exchange: Pfizer would gain 57% of the shares of the new company, in addition to about $ 12 billion in return of settling Mylan's debt.
The merger will allow Mylan to benefit from Upjohn's extensive commercial network (e.g. its leading position in China and emerging countries), while Upjohn will expand its catalogue with Mylan's numerous products.

The bigger the business, the bigger the problem. An analysis of the top 50 Italian listed groups, edited by Mediobanca, was issued last week. A bleak picture emerges from the report, one in which the italian big businesses, the only one capable to compete and prosper in the globalised economy, according to many, has a very small weight on the national economy. Looking at the top ten manufacturing groups from many European countries, their average revenue coming from Italy is €8 billion, 19 billion come from the UK, 38 billion from France and 82 billion from Germany. Their weight on GDP is 4.6% in Italy, compared to 8% in the UK, 16% in France and 24% in Germany. Things are even worse if we look at revenues and investments recorded between 2014 and 2018, a period during which the top ten groups in Great Britain increased their revenues by 23.7%, in France profits increased by 23.6%, by 15% in Germany and only by 8% in Italy; concerning investments, Germany recorded + 33.1%, France + 32.9%, Great Britain+ 19.2%, while in Italy investments suffered a 9% decrease.

India, Modi scares the markets. India's Nifty 50 index has been one of the few indexes not recording any profit during the past year. Although many hoped that the Narendra Modi-led government - returning to power for a second term - might have boosted the stock market on the backs of broader economic reform, those early expectations are likely to be disappointed, as there are worrying signs for the future ahead. Among the most controversial points, a tax increase on the super wealthy, a proposal to tax share buybacks by listed companies, and a proposal to increase the minimum public shareholding requirements. In the month of July alone, investors pulled more than $2 billion out of Indian stocks that’s the highest rate recorded among all emerging markets, leading to a steep sell-off (more than 9%) for the Nifty 50.

Italy, contrasting data. Data concerning the Italian economy in the second quarter were published last week and presented a conflicting picture. If on the one hand economic growth has disappeared again from the screens (+ 0.0%, furthermore, without any correction for calendar effects, the GDP would have decreased by € 182 million), on the other hand the labour market has set the historical record of employed, reaching 23.38 million units, with general unemployment rate down to 9.7% (its lowest point since 2011) and youth unemployment rate decreased to 28.1%. Also, considering that working hours per-capita are also growing, we could conclude that more people have worked for more hours (per capita), but producing less GDP per work hour. In fact GDP/hour has risen from € 37.3/h to € 36.7/h. It marked a drop in productivity of 1.5%, which precludes the return to sustained growth rates in the foreseeable future.

Leonardo Aldeghi

Africa Sub Sahariana

Burkina Faso, new jihadists’ attack. Fourteen people have been killed during an attack occurred in Dibilou, in the North of Burkina Faso. A group of 20 armed people, allegedly belonging to a jihadist movement is suspected to be responsible for the attack.

Cameroon, uprisings in the jails. It happened on Thursday 25 July in the main jail of Buea, a city in the English-speaking south west region of the country. Sources talks about almost fifty detainees and two police officers wounded. The turmoil was due to the request for better life conditions and judicial fairness. The event was preceded by the protest occurred in the major prison of Yaoundé few days before.

Mozambique, peace between the Government and Renamo. It is one of the longest clash in the history of the country. It involved the Résistance National du Mozambique (born in 1975 in a historical context marked by decolonisation processes and the Cold War) and the Government. On Thursday August 1 the fighting parts finally reached a peace deal, in accordance with the Treaty signed in 1994, after having infringed it in 2013. Both parties have been working to finalize the agreement since 2016.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola rages. After that two people died for Ebola in Goma, a city overlooking Lake Kivu and bordering Rwanda, and in the city of Gisenyi, the Ebola epidemic has been declared an international threat. On August 1st (exactly one year after the outbreak of the contagion) Rwanda first announced that it closed its borders, but Congolese sources later confirmed its reopening. The presence of an airport in the city further complicates the situation.
Moreover, closing borders may not be the most effective solution to combat the epidemic, as it would encourage individuals (even contagious ones) to take secondary, not monitored roads. In 365 days about 2700 individuals were infected, 1800 of whom lost their lives.

Sudan, constitutional declaration agreement. After having reached the agreement on a mixed transition government, finally, three days ago (August 2nd) the two interlocutors (ALC and TMC) also found consensus on the constitutional document that will regulate the management of power. The agreement will be signed in the coming days during an official ceremony.

Marcello Alberizzi

North America

United States of America, between North Korea and Iran. The attitude of the US president towards Kim Jong Un is extremely positive. North Korean tests are not considered in as violating of the Singapore agreement, ratified between US and North Korea. They are probably a violation of UN resolutions but, Trump says by Twitter: "Surely Kim doesn't want to betray the trust of his friends".

At the same time, the White House has proposed a meeting between Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the US president. Iran, however, felt compelled to refuse, as it would be inserted in a context of mere appearance towards the international community. Remaining in Asia, the United States does not relax its hold on Taiwan, confirming its strategic and commercial ally, hindering China's geo-strategic plans.

Michele Pavan

South America

Pacific Alliance - Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. A Pacific Alliance summit has been held in Lima in recent days. It was aimed at signing a trade integration agreement between these four countries in order to gradually conquer the markets of the different Pacific Ocean basins. The Pacific Alliance was born in 2011 in sharp contrast to the ALBA - Alianza Bolivariana para America Latina y el Caribe, founded in 2004 by the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Ecuador will join the Pacific Alliance shortly, while South Korea has shown interest in joining it as an associate member. The summit was also attended by Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore. These last are also part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, together with Brunei, Japan and Malaysia. A meeting with the member countries of Mercosur will be held soon. This last organisation recently signed trade agreements with the European Union.

Among the themes treated during the summit, it’s due to mention: problems concerning the trade war between the USA and China have been treated, Trump’s threats against Mexico, the fluctuation in oil prices, the rise in the unemployment rate in Colombia, duties according to the USMCA - United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement.

Developments involving the Alliance might be various.

During the 2020 summit, expected to be held in Chile, special announcements may change some aspects of the Latin American economic system.

Brazil, the status of non-born major ally. The United States has given Brazil the status of a main ally outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - NATO. In the past, the title was also confered to Japan, Israel and South Korea, thus guaranteeing greater military collaboration with the United States and facilitated arms purchases.

At the same time, the country became one of Trump's loyal allies, so that it’s been considered to negotiate a free trade agreement between the United States and Brazil, as this last would be a useful ally to curb China's expansion in Latin America. Bolsonaro has repeatedly stated that China is a predatory power in the international market. But the Chinese market is still fundamental for the country. Relations between the United States and Brazil are increasingly stable and consolidated; in face intense partnerships in the economic and strategic fields are expected.

Michele Pavan e Mario Ghioldi

Mexico, journalist killings go on.

On the night of August 2, Mexican journalist Celestino Ruiz Vázquez was killed by unknown persons in the municipality of Actopan, placed in the state of Veracruz. The journalist had suffered serious threats in the past. In particular, his activity was not appreciated by the editorial staff of the newspaper “El Gráfico of Xalapa”, for which Ruiz Vázquez used to write using a false name. After this new murder, the number of journalists killed in Mexico in 2019 rose to eleven. According to local sources, the Prosecutor's Office of Veracruz had given Ruiz Vázquez and his family a police protection, but it never was implemented.

Paraguay, motion of impeachment procedure not approved.

In Paraguay, a substantial number of opposition deputies have attempted to launch an impeachment process against Mario Abdo Benítez, the country's president. This was due to the scandal that arose because of the controversial agreement with Brazil aimed at exploiting the energy produced by the Itaipú hydroelectric plant. This plant is located along the Parana river , on the border between Paraguay and Brazil.

The dissident deputies were led by Efraín Alegre of the PLRA (Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico), a party with 29 representatives in the Paraguayan Parliament. However, Efraín Alegre only collected 38 votes. Basically, the changing position of the dissident movement of the Honor Colorado government party led by former president Horacio Cartes was fundamental. However, Cartes withdrew his political support and prevented the PLRA and the FG (Frente Guasú) from reaching the majority necessary to promote the impeachment procedure.

Asia and Far East

China, crisis in the summer period.

During the meeting held on Tuesday 23rd July Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign minister, stated that the protests in Hong Kong are a US creation. The US State Department then defined his statements as a "ridiculous" accusation. However, the Chinese government has put in place the threat of armed intervention, arguing that the riots in the city deeply undermine the principle of "one country, two systems". Given the position of Taiwan, which proved to be favourable to welcome citizens from the former British colony on the run, on July 31 Beijing decided to suspend exit visas to people directed to the island.

With the white paper "China's National Defense in the New Era", Beijing puts the possibility of using force in the event that a third party tries to separate Taiwan and mainland China. In response, the US sent a destroyer (USS Antietam) on 25 July. From Monday 29 to Friday 2 August China conducted military training near Taiwanese waters.

Japan, a night raid

On Friday 26 July, two Chinese coast guard ships entered the waters of Japan off the Aomori prefecture. At 2.14 at night a Japanese coastguard ship immediately sighted and identified two Chinese ships that were entering the territorial waters between Honshu and Hokkaido. After several raids, they definitely moved away at 7.14 am.

A further intrusion occurred on 27 July. Tokyo points out that China has entered its territorial waters 21 times this year.

South Korea, if we talk about raids

Beyond the continuing tensions with Japan, as pointed out in the previous number, on July 24 Russian and Chinese aircraft conducted an incursion, provoking the intervention of the South Korean air force. The Kremlin declared: "Russian aerospace forces and the Chinese Air Force conducted their first joint long-range aviation patrol in the Asia-Pacific region today. The exercise was conducted as part of a joint effort to engage in military cooperation in 2019 and was not directed against other countries ". It is the first time ever that Russia and China carry out this type of mission; it seems that Russia chose that specific location in order to send a message to the USA.

North Korea, coming back to missiles

As KCNA – an official North Korean press agency- stated, new tactical weapons were tested on July 25th with reference to a warning to the South Korean military. KCNA talks about two short-range missiles launched Thursday and fallen in the Sea of ​​Japan launched shortly after dawn from Wonsan, on the east coast of North Korea. US President Donald J. Trump said that this week's three missile tests do not represent a violation of his agreements with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last year in Singapore, but at the same time he told Kim about "do the right thing" in a series of tweets.

India, Narendra Modi into the wild

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the guest of an episode of "into the wild", a Television programme conducted by the famous Bear grylls. in Kashmir, foreign tourists and Hindu pilgrims leave the region after that a government statement on possible terrorist activities was issued.

"Indian authorities warned of terror threat against Hindu pilgrims heading to the Amarnath shrine.". Strong Indian criticisms concern the annual report "on children and armed conflicts" delivered by the UN secretary Gutierres. In the document he mentions the country within it. India comments accusing it of wanting to extend the UN mandate on some politicized issues.

Stefano Sartorio

Western Europe and European Union.

United Kingdom, Boris Johnson is the new prime minister. After the resignation of Theresa May, the conservatives took part in a series of votes to elect the new party leader and, consequently, the new British prime minister. The choice fell on Boris Johnson, former mayor of London and foreign minister, who took office on Downing Street on 24 July. He has always been considered as an eccentric and unpredictable political figure, who does not like to play according to the classic rules of diplomacy. Opposition leader Corbyn reiterated that Boris Johnson has no plans for the United Kingdom and believes that British citizens should express their opinion through a second referendum or general election. Donald Trump seemed satisfied with the choice of the Conservative Party and called Johnson the "British Trump".

Germany, doubts about the mission in the Persian Gulf. The United States formally asked the German government to join France and England on a mission to ensure security in the Strait of Hormuz, due to recent tensions with Iran. The political forces have split up, but in the end the line of the foreign minister who declared in Warsaw that Germany will not take part in a US-led naval mission has prevailed. In fact, Berlin believes that every effort should be made to avoid a military escalation and claims that Washington's aggressive strategy is wrong. The US ambassador to Germany said he was dissatisfied and stressed the American sacrifices that allowed the German country to remain in the Western world.

Brexit, what will the advent of Boris Johnson change? The new British prime minister has always been one of the toughest supporters of Brexit and has repeatedly sustained that the UK's exit from the European Union should be completed by October 31, even at the cost of a "no deal" solution. Boris Johnson has never silenced his concerns about Theresa May's deal, using very strong tones. But what are his solutions to the critical points of Europe's most important dossier? Naturally one of the most delicate aspects of Brexit is the Irish border. Ireland and Northern Ireland are likely to find themselves in two different customs regimes and, according to some, this could undermine all peace processes.

Johnson believes that the Irish issue should be resolved, after Brexit, by signing a free trade agreement and not as part of the negotiations between London and Brussels, like Theresa May's backstop clause. Boris Johnson has never feared, at least publicly, an exit without agreement. He argued that Article 24 of the GATT would keep the tariffs at zero for 10 years, mitigating the damage that a "no deal" might cause. Actually, this clause can be activated only if Brussels and London reach an agreement on the regulation of their economic relations. In short, will hard Brexiters be able to take the UK out of the European Union at any cost?

Leonardo Cherici

Europa Centro-Orientale

Fires in Siberia. In recent days the Siberian ecosystem suffered relevant losses caused by a series of fires. These last even afflicted the regions of extreme north such as the Arctic. Fires already burnt more than 3 million hectares surface, causing several inconvenient to the people living in the bordering cities like Novosibirsk, the third biggest city of Russia. Moscow declared a state of emergency in order to limit collateral damages.

Serious worries concern the effects that fire will have on Arctic territories.
Climate change keeps threatening all regions of the globe.

Additional sanctions against Russia, after the Skripal case. The United States imposed new sanctions against Russia because of the Skripal case. It concerns the poisoning of a former Russian Intelligence official who cooperated with the British Intelligence.

The up-mentioned sanctions forbid to receive any kind of assistance by US institutions;

Also, according to the US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus, the US will cease any transfer of materials and technologies which could be used in bacteriological weapons research conducted in Russia.

Baltic States: Russia is flexing muscles. Moscow’s new new training in the Baltic States started on August 1st, and it will last until August 6.

The independent newspaper “The Moscow Times” reports that 46 warships have been placed in the Baltic Sea, and the troops present in the area would be made up by more than 10.000 units. Because of tense relations with NATO, Moscow wants to show it’s ready to defend its territorial interests, in needed.

Ukraine authorities seize Russian oil tanker. Ukraine seized a Russian tanker in Danube port city of Izmail, in the Odessa region, provided by a judicial decision issued by a local Court. The said vessel is suspected to having took part in the naval battle occurred in the Kerch Strait in November 2018, when 24 Ukraine soldiers were captured by Russian authorities.

Although Ukraine Security Forces acted according to a judicial decision, Russia strongly responded, even if Ukraine already announced that it released the whole crew on board.

The seizure of the Russian tanker might be useful in negotiations to obtain the release of the Ukraine sailors still detained in Russia.

It is a delicate matter, and President Zelensky is dealing with it by starting an intense round of diplomatic talks with Moscow.

Will the meeting between Zelenzky and Trump initiate a strengthened partnership? The Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs included a meeting with President Trump at the White House among his priorities. What’s his task? Bringing these two countries closer by following the agenda focused on reinforcing the strategic partnership with the US, as this last was heavily weakened after that the Donbas Conflict blew up in 2014.

According to the Secretay of the Council of National Security and Defence Oleksandr Dayluk, the Minister of Foreign affairs is waiting to establish the exact date of the meeting between the two presidents.

Andrea Maria Vassallo e Mario Ghioldi

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Iran-USA, a diplomatic solution to the crisis is ever remoter. The US sanctions imposed against Iran figure among the element influencing bilateral relations between Iran and the US (in decline since the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement); the aim of applying the said sanctions would be to hit the assets and interests of Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in US territory. The US is damaging one of the main exponents of the Iranian government's "moderate wing" - more open to dialogue with the West - putting at risk a possible diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Also, the US decided to prologue the term of exemptions on sanctions, conceded to countries that collaborate with Iran in civil nuclear matters.

Furthermore Iran and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding, committing themselves to carry out joint military exercises in the same waters of the Indian Ocean. This last was the scene of clashes between Iran and USA.

Breaking news: the BBC (citing Iranian state media) reports that Iranian authorities have seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf on charges of illicit fuel traffic in the area.

Syria, a ceasefire has been established in Idlib. A general increase in violence occurred in the city of Idlib prompted the Syrian regime to accept the temporary truce reached on the night between 1 and 2 August.

At the same time, the 13th session of the Syria talks ("Astana talks") was held in Kazakhstan, attended by the delegations from the Syrian government and the opposition, some representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and other foreign delegations. The situation in Idlib was certainly one of the main topic treated during the talks; things got worse again from July 12, when the Syrian government's offensive resumed with energy, supported by a spread of Russian air raids. The attack of 25 July, during which around 12 civilians perished, figures among the most violent recent events.

Predictably, the current truce was firmly anchored to one condition: an agreement between Turkey and Russia (17 September 2017) which provides for the creation of a demilitarized area near Idlib.

What developments in Libya? on July 22, Haftar's army announced the beginning of "the decisive and final phase" of the Libyan capital's liberation campaign, after it lost its control over the city of Gharyan on June 27th. Therefore, the forces of the LNA (Libyan national army - in charge of the general of Cyrenaica) have undertaken a series of raids against the international airport of Mitiga, the only one still functioning in Tripoli, that has been being repeatedly attacked since April. On July 27, the LNA air force perpetrated a series of attacks in Misrata against some military posts, belonging to the Turkish army (according to some local sources). These are the first air raids against the city since the beginning of hostilities. In this context, the UN envoy to Libya, Ghassam Salame, proposed a new plan to restore peace and lead the conflicting factions to undertake a political process. Among the requests, one concerns a truce scheduled for August 10, the day of the "feast of sacrifice", celebrated every year by the Islamic world.

Tunisia, President Beji Caid Essebsi died. On July 25 the Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi passed away at the age of 92. He had been admitted to intensive care at the military hospital in Tunis.

Before becoming Head of State, Essebsi had held ministerial positions under the presidency of Bourguiba and he had been President of the Chamber during Ben Ali's presidency. Following the Tunisian Arab spring, he had contributed to the founding of the Nidaa Tounes party, a secular political formation that is still in ruling the country, together with Ennahda (Islamist-inspired). On 31 December 2014 he became President, and he was the first one to be chosen with free elections in the history of the country, three years after the fall of the authoritarian regime of Ben Ali. Waiting for the presidential elections, anticipated in September (initially scheduled for November), the current president of the Parliament, Mohamed Ennaceur, will temporary hold the highest national position.

Vincenzo Battaglia e Federica Sulpizio

Terrorism and International Security

Boko Haram conducted an attack in Nigeria after a funeral. On Saturday 27 July 2019, the fundamentalist group Boko Haram conducted the most serious attack against civilians in Nigeria since the beginning of the year. The heavily armed assailants flew to Nganzai, in the north east of the African country, and started shooting at a group of people returning from a funeral in a village nearby. The final dead toll is 65 victims and 11 wounded. Maybe it was a retaliation against the inhabitants of Ngazai, who had rejected an attack perpetrated by the fundamentalist group in the area just two weeks earlier.

Thanks to analysis, we can say that Nigeria has been afflicted by Boko Haram attacks for ten years; the group used to target both Nigeria and other bordering states, such as Chad, Cameroon and Niger, killing more than 16,500 civilians, about 2 thousand victims among soldiers and policemen, while about 19 thousand belonged to the Army. If on the one hand the group is able to recruit because the poor population feels neglected and finds inspiration in the group, on the other hand, the followers adhere to a current of fundamentalist Islam that rejects the secular state and other religions.

Hamza bin Laden died. The American media revealed it: NBC Network was the first news agency, followed by the New York Times, to reveal that the United States would have had a role - not specified - in its elimination.

His death occurred during an unspecified period of the current presidency. The journalists tried to get more details by addressing Donald Trump directly, but his first reaction was "I don't want to comment".

For the officials cited by the newspaper, confidentiality is linked to security reasons and to the delicacy of the mission. Considered by many to be the heir of Osama, he was targeted by security forces and was at the centre of many speculation about his real weight within the organization. This last had long been entrusted to the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al Zawahiri, deemed to be ineffective. Alleged Qaedist militants

denied the news via Telegram, but added to be waiting for directions from their "authority".

It is also important to add that, according to recent studies, although the dynasty of bin Laden is destined to disappear, Al Qaeda’s terrorist network remains operative. In fact, even if in recent years we have not seen al Qaeda, which has chosen to leave the stage, the organization tries to have a central leadership communicating with some affiliated groups; so its silence is not, a symptom of weakness but the outcome of a strategic-programmatic choice.

Afghanistan, the trail of attacks does not stop. On 31 July, more than 30 people died as a roadside bomb exploded on a bus in the Bala Blok district (in the western province of Farah). Two days earlier, an armed attack had been perpetrated against the party offices of Amrullah Saleh, a former interior minister, as well as a vice-presidential candidate in the upcoming September elections (20 victims and fifty wounded). On July 25, in Kabul, a kamikaze attacked a bus carrying government officials causing at least 7 deaths. This last attack occurred when Zalmay Khalilzad, US special envoy for the reconciliation of Afghanistan, was visiting Kabul.

After meeting the Afghan president, Ghani, and the prime minister, Abdullah, the US representative, visited in Doha (Qatar) in the view of the eighth negotiation round with the Taliban. Therefore, attacks and negotiations continue to proceed in parallel.

Yemen, rebels and jihadist groups strike. On 2 August, al-Qaeda militants carried out an armed attack against the al-Mahfad military base in the southern district of Abyan. (The dead toll is 19 dead soldiers). The previous day, two more attacks were carried out in Aden, the current headquarters of the internationally recognized Yemeni government: a missile launched by pro-Shiite and pro-Iranian rebels hit a military camp killing more than 30 people. The second attack, claimed by ISIS, took place in front of a police headquarters (causing a dozen victims). Meanwhile, the situation in Yemen is ever more catastrophic: a forgotten war, far from the international spotlight, still involves three million internal refugees and 22 million people with urgent need for humanitarian assistance.

Laura Vaccaro Senna e Vincenzo Battaglia

International Organisations.

The United Nations, The UN Security Council announced the risk of new attacks by ISIS by 2019 by publishing a report written by some UN analysts. The situation, therefore, is not appeased.

At the same time, Africa keeps fighting against the expansion of the Ebola virus in Congo. Difficulties concern both the operational context and people’s access to medicines. Hhowever the United Nations are preparing for new sessions on health emergencies cooperating with the WHO - World Health Organization – that constantly works to find concrete solutions to eradicate the epidemic.

Michele Pavan.

Framing The World is a project conceived and created by the collaboration between of Mondo Internazionale associates.

Andrea Maria Vassallo: East - Europe and Russia Federation

Federica Sulpizio: Middle East and North Africa

Laura Vaccaro Senna: Terrorism and International Security

Leonardo Aldeghi: Economy and International Finance

Leonardo Cherici: West Europe and European Union

Marcello Alberizzi: Sub-Saharan Africa

Mario Ghioldi: South America, West Europe and Russia Federation

Marta Stroppa: Human Rights

Michele Pavan: North America, South America, Oceania and International Organizations

Stefano Sartorio: Asia and Far East

Vincenzo Battaglia: Middle East and North Africa; Terrorism and International Security

Translated by Simona M. Vallefuoco.

Original article: issued on 5 August 2019.

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