The Yemen Crisis

The problem may seem far away, but here’s why it still matters.

With so many headlines dominating the news, people fail to acknowledge the crisis taking place in Yemen. For those who don’t know much about Yemen, it’s located below Saudi Arabia and is the poorest country in the Middle East.

(AFP)
(AFP)

Recently, Saudi Arabia has been launching military attacks at rebels in Yemen. Saudi Arabia strives to restore the Yemeni government, which had been kicked out by the rebels earlier this year. With Yemen being part of Saudi Arabia’s coalition and a key ally in fighting against Al Queda, Saudi Arabia can not risk losing Yemen to the rebels. If the rebels do win, Saudi Arabia would face numerous consequences and require a heavily guarded southern border against the Iranian government. Already under constant pressure by the countries to the north, losing Yemen to the rebels is a disgrace that the Saudi Arabian government will not tolerate.

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Saudi Arabia already began to launch missiles, especially at Northern Yemen where most of the rebels are located. But of course, the missiles and airstrikes are just the beginning. Saudi Arabia has shown their determination by pledging to send over 150,000 soldiers to the coalition that would be fighting against the rebels in Yemen. The United States, however, stated that they would not intervene directly with troops, but would rather support Saudi Arabia with the supply of information.

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(Reuters)

Because so many countries are against it, civil war has erupted inside Yemen with the south supporting the military attacks against the north. At this point, all we can really do is to wait and hope for the best. With many terrorist groups in Yemen, such as ISIS, Al Queda, and AQAP, it is critical that the Saudi government achieve its goal and stabilize the Yemini government in a timely manner.

– Andy Yang (’16)
Header: Reuters

Keystone: The X-Larger The Better?

It’s the debate that will affect generations to come.

Aside from events in the Middle East that have dominated the newspapers, there has been another event recently in the headlines. The Keystone XL Pipeline has been a controversial topic that stirred up and created a fiery debate. On one side of the argument, stands angry environmentalists, striving to conserve the environment. On the other side, stands money-hungry capitalists and trust-seeking politicians. With such determined people on both sides, the Keystone XL crisis is something that can not be easily negotiated.

Students were arrested after protesting against the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline in front of the White House. (Kristina Banks, Huffington Post)
Georgetown students marched to the White House from their school to hold this protest, but were arrested soon after. (Kristina Banks, Huffington Post)

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed oil pipeline that would run from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. There is already a pipeline named the Keystone Pipeline, but the XL is a more direct pipeline.

A drawing of the proposed XL Pipeline. (The Canadian Press)
A drawing of the proposed XL Pipeline. (The Canadian Press)

To begin with, capitalists have strived to pass the bill to build the Keystone XL Pipeline because of the economic benefits they can gain. Receiving over 550,000 barrels of oil each day from the existing Keystone Pipeline, as well as having an even greater amount of oil imported from Canada to the States, would lower the price of oil for consumers. Not only would building the XL pipeline lower the cost of oil, but it would also create over 42,000 jobs for a two-year period during the building process—35,000 of which would be kept permanently. Especially at a time when unemployment rates are high, the idea of creating the pipeline seems to be a good idea.

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President Obama seen visiting a pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Moreover, politicians wish for the bill to pass in order to create better relations with Canada. Sharing over 1,530 miles of border with Canada, it seems only reasonable to maintain good relationships with them. Canada is also a very close ally to the United States, which seems yet another reason to pass the bill.

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Although economic benefits may look attractive, we cannot let those benefits be the sole reason we decide to construct the Keystone XL. (Shutterstock)

However, there are many faults and detrimental factors of building the Keystone XL Pipeline. Risks of spillage, destruction of houses, and damage to the environment cause many people to shout in outrage. It is only reasonable to see such anger and protest against the pipeline since it has yet only been rushed and not thoroughly planned out.

In the end, President Obama did veto the bill, but there is speculation that he may pass future bills if all safety measures are taken into consideration. With such extreme benefits and harms, the Keystone XL will for sure be a topic that will not be easily resolved.

– Andy Yang (’16)

Header: (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Captions: Faith Choi (’16)

ISIS Destroys Priceless Ancient Artifacts

ISIS continues to destroy precious ancient artifacts at an Assyrian archeological site, as well as the centuries history and culture that they embodied.

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An Assyrian relief at Nimrud, Iraq from 725 BC (The Guardian; c. Steven Vidler/Eurasia Press/Corbis)

History is what pushes us forward and changes our actions. History is what allows our future actions to be more satisfactory to us than those we experienced in the past. By utilizing and memorizing our past, we can learn many things and jump closer to reaching that previously unattainable goal. But there are people out there who do not understand the importance of history and how it affects our everyday lives. There are people out there who destroy our history and furthermore prevent anyone from learning anything about the past, thus stunting our advancements. One group in particular, a terrorist group named ISIS, has been destroying ancient artifacts that we have been so caring of.

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Footage of militants destroying the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud. (Associated Press)

On March 6th, ISIS caused irreparable destruction to the archeological site at the ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq.  On March 7th, 2015, ISIS obliterated the fortress in Hatra, which had stood for over 2,000 years. On March 8th, 2015, ISIS raided the city of Khorsabad, a city that had over a 2,800 year history. They destroyed priceless artifacts, and old, cultural structures.

But that’s not all. ISIS has been destroying all the history that we have been so cautious with. The history that we wished to preserve for future generations. But now, this history has disappeared. All the work and effort went into creating the structures and preserving it had gone to waste. We are losing our grasp on our history. And to forget one’s history, is to forget one’s identity.

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Potential archeological sites at risk.

People all around the world, regardless of occupation, cry out in horror as they see this destruction. ISIS on the other hand say it’s for religious purposes, but does that really make sense? To destroy the history of humankind just because it interferes with their religion? Does the existence of some mere statues bother ISIS that much?

 

The answer is no. ISIS has only one intent. Their sole goal is to increase their numbers. But to do so, they need the resources first. They will most likely sell these items on the black marke, and continually destroy and steal artifacts for their own benefit. But we must stop them before it’s too late; before we forget who we are.

 

– Andy Yang (’16)

Header: Associated Press

The Unpredictable Development of Egypt

Conflicts between the Muslim Brotherhood and President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi continue in Egypt.

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Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the displaced president, Mohammed Morsi, protest in Cairo. (c. Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Egypt, although originally believed to have had better days since the Arab Springs in 2011, is still in turmoil and chaos. As commonly known, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s political leader, had been forced out of power on February 2011 after having ruled for over 30 years. Following his displacement, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood’s freedom and justice party took control, electing Mohammed Morsi as their president. The inauguration of Mohammed Morsi had satisfied the brotherhood, the people of Egypt, and others around the world. As the first elected leader of Egypt, he had been the hope for stability and success, but, as expected, President Mohammed Morsi had also been overthrown in June 2013 after millions of protesters milled the streets of Egypt and a military general staged a coup. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, the military general who led the coup, is currently known as President Sisi.

The fact that Mohammed Morsi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and was overthrown is causing dissent even today in Egypt. The members of the brotherhood claim the unfairness of the situation because he had been removed from office by a coup. Numbering anywhere from 500,000 to 2,000,000, (possibly more according to some news sites) the Brotherhood is not a group that can be easily be quieted down. Egypt’s whole Arab Spring had taken place to secure a more financially and economically stable country, but with the forceful removal of Mohammed Morsi, there is outrage amongst the people who believe that the government is returning to pre-Arab Spring conditions.

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President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi (Mena/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images)

The Muslim Brotherhood had been fervently trying to regain their own power in the government, but ruled under the iron fist of President Sisi, they see no hope. Thousands of members are thrown behind bars and all the opposition groups against Sisi have been easily quelled with the use of military force.

The future of Egypt is unpredictable, for what had originally been planned out was shoved to the side. With a military general leading Egypt in the status quo, we can only watch as the future unfolds.

 

– Andy Yang (’16)

Header: Getty Images

Taiwan TransAsia Plane Crash

A TransAsia passenger flight has crashed into a river, leaving with about 31 dead.

_80789178_462745410 On February 4, 2015, there was yet another plane disaster, but this time in Taiwan. Like many other plane crashes, the reason for the crash is still under uncertain speculations. Carrying a total of 58 passengers and crew members, the TransAsia plane, flight GE235, affected many families from around the world when it malfunctioned.   The airplane, which took off in Taiwan, was bound for Kinmen, a small archipelago nearby China. However, just three minutes after take-off, there were distress calls from the pilot and the plane swerved out of control. The plane rapidly descended towards the Keelung River, where it damaged a nearby bridge, but overall avoided larger infrastructures.   There were unfortunately only 15 survivors, but would those 15 people still be alive had they not landed in the water? And what was the reason for the mysterious crash?   The pilot had flown for over 4,900 hours and the copilot had flown for over 6,900 hours, so it is assumable that it was not the pilots’ faults, but rather the plane’s. When hearing the pilots’ distress call, the last thing was “Mayday, mayday, engine flameout,” which signifies a problem with the engine (BBC news). There are assumptions that a bird, or ash, or particle got stuck inside one of the engines, requiring the pilot to shut the engine off. _80771317_plane As the plane sped towards the Keelung River, one of its wings was torn off after hitting a part of the nearby bridge, and help was given nearly immediately with people swarming towards the fallen plane in lifeboats and speedboats. But even with the immediate response, it was too late. _80780627_taiwan_plane_crash_624_v2 Over the last two years, there were numerous flight accidents, such as the disappearances of the Malaysian aircrafts, which would have led us to believe that there would be much safer flights nowadays. However these crashes seem inevitable, given the fact that there were three airplane crashes in one week. But as CNN stated, 2014 was not the worst year for airplane incidents, which shows improvement. With more money funded for airplane safety, flights will be more stable and secure. Whether it be machine-caused problems, or man-caused problems, we as a whole should try to lessen the frequency of such devastating accidents. Our hearts are with those affected by this fateful crash.

– Andy Yang (’16)