Several areas of Africa and the Middle East have seen a great deal of violence in recent years and months.
Israel has warned that an escalation of violence in Gaza this week is unlikely to end soon.
In Nigeria, the Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 260 schoolgirls in Nigeria in April. The group has remained in international headlines, and as it continues its bombings and assassinations, international leaders are questioning whether Nigeria is well enough equipped in its defense.
And in Somalia, Al-Shabaab, another Islamist extremist group, is continuing its terror attacks across the country. Linked to al-Qaeda, the group has been pushed out of some of its former strongholds, but it remains a potent threat.
The Daily Circuit took a deeper look at these three hotspots.
3 takeaways from our conversation
- Look to the youth, said Jerusalem-based journalist Jeff Moskowitz on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The median age in Israel is 29.9, in the West Bank it's 22.4, and in Gaza it's 18.2. (In contrast, in the United States, it's 37.6.) The younger generation on both sides of the conflict has grown up accustomed to violence and terror, he said, seeing only disappointment coming out of decades of peace talks. Day-to-day interaction between Israeli and Palestinian youth has become less and less common, he said, which results in each side considering the other as a faceless enemy.
- Rescue of kidnapped Nigerian girls was always a long-shot, and now nearly impossible. The Nigerian government failed to recognize the girls' kidnapping for more than 90 days, and exhibited little interest in any rescue mission, said Alex Perry, a correspondent and contributing editor for Newsweek. Now, the assumption is that the girls are no longer in one group, and are instead scattered, potentially across several countries. At this point, their best hope is escape, he said. International offers of aid, like that of the U.S., were more for public consumption, and had minimal to no concrete effect, he said. Boko Haram, however, is likely "absolutely delighted by the attention they got in the west," Perry said, adding that the group has been seeking greater visibility on the world stage.
- In Somalia, expect slow progress in a long war. The Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab continues to decline in influence, and life is slowly returning to normal, said EJ Hogendoorn of the International Crisis Group. That said, "normal" does not necessarily mean peaceful, as there remain many division lines between Somali clans, he said. There is a sense that while Al-Shabaab is still able to carry out attacks, the government is gaining strength and some basic services like education and healthcare are returning. What many don't realize, Hogendoorn said, is that Al-Shabaab is not new to the scene and Somalia is more conservative now than in the past. While many don't agree with Al-Shabaab's tactics, they do wish to see a return to more religious values. Thus, he argued, Al-Shabaab has a lot more support than people would like to think.
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