The Future of Syria and the Importance of Education

As Geneva III approaches, Geneva II Cesefire collapses

In late February, a partial truce agreement known as the “Cessation of Hostilities” was achieved between Russia and the United States in order to foster Geneva Peace Talks between different Syrians groups and move towards a political solution to the conflict. In order to better facilitate cohesion and capacity to negotiate on the opposition side, the Higher Negotiating Committee (HNC) was formed. However, as the Geneva Conference III on Syria is approaching – and as peace talks are expected to resume- there has been a complete collapse of the Geneva II ceasefire. In the last two weeks, all rebel-held areas have witnessed massive Russian airstrikes, shelling and bombing to the point that many activists and government officials feel that the there is little ability to have a component negotiation. Worse, the direct intervention of the Russian Airforce in conducting airstrikes in multiple civilian targets and US-backed rebels have severely hobbled the credibility of the UN-backed negotiations process.  This comes as fifty-one State Department officials signed an official memo of dissent, critiquing the U.S. policy in Syria and calling for tougher action against the Assad Regime, after two years of American military operations in Syria, 400,000 Syrians dead and a refugee tragedy that is crashing over Europe.

ISIS: A collective Product of the Modern Society

Big data analytics is big business in our modern world. Analytics, which includes collecting unstructured datasets as well as processing them in order to uncover patterns and correlations, can also be used for security threat detection and possible prevention. As the virtual world is the primary recruiting mechanism for jihadists and engaging in cyber terror practices, a huge amount of data is now available to be analyzed and can help in predicting terrorist behavior and ultimately empower authorities in the cyber fight against extremism. These tools added a valuable asset in the war against terrorism and gave us an insight into ISIS strategies. Currently, experts at the University of Exeter are even talking about real-time ISIS propaganda collection and analysis to understand radicalization mechanisms. Researchers aim to reveal how ISIS online campaigns succeed in converting Millennials into Jillennials (Millennials extremist/ jihadist). The research team said in their public release on May 23rd, 2016 that they would “make use of powerful, computational techniques to detect, gather, and analyze this propaganda”.