International Column - Around the World in 600 words

A report indicating that ISIS has begun reconsolidating its power was released by the Department of Defense in August. The report, looking at U.S. efforts of stabilization in Iraq and Syria, implies that President Trump’s declaration of victory over ISIS in December 2018 was premature.


It states that while ISIS has lost much of the territory it once held, it still has established cells with the ability to train ISIS fighters. ISIS is also allegedly “reestablishing financial networks in both countries.”

This global unrest expands beyond the Middle East to China, where videos circulating online show Hong Kong police beating up civilians on a local metro. Pro-democracy activists have been staging protests against the Chinese government in Hong Kong.

A law giving the Chinese government the power to remove Hong Kong residents for trial on mainland China in June spurred the original protests. 

They continue to march against the socialist structure of the Chinese government and for the expansion of democracy.

Joshua Wong, leader of the pro-democracy group Demosisto, hopes to enlist help against the Chinese government from nearby Taiwan.

In a meeting with reporters, Wong pushed back against the narrative that China’s power over Hong Kong will increase and that it would soon hold Taiwan as well.

“Hong Kong can be like Taiwan,” he said, “A place for freedom and democracy.”

Democracy has also been a controversial topic in Britain as new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hopes to ensure that Britain leaves the European Union, per the results of the Brexit election in 2016.

“The referendum results must be respected,” Johnson tweeted on August 30, “We will leave the EU on 31st October.”

He faces opposition from many members of parliament, and on September 3 the BBC reported that “Tory rebels and opposition MPs have defeated the government in the first stage of their attempt to pass a law designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit.”

Johnson has lost two bids for a snap or general election. This election could have given him enough votes to complete the Brexit process if more Conservatives were elected.

Over the months of June, July, and August, over 150 Eritrean Christians have been detained in underground tunnels by Eritrea’s government. 

According to the International Catholic News, these Christians, in order to accommodate more prisoners, are forced to expand the tunnels by digging. The imprisoned Christians come from the Faith Mission of Christ Church in Keren. 

Christian hospitals have also been targeted recently by the Eritrean government. On July 8, the latest of twenty-one Catholic-run hospitals and clinics was shut down.

Daniela Kravetz, a reporter on Human Rights in Eritrea criticized the government for its actions. 

“The seizure of these health facilities will negatively impact the right to health of the affected population,” she said, “In particular those in remote rural areas.”

Refusing to renounce Christianity at the behest of the government, six former Eritrean governmental workers also await their fate.

Uncertainty dominates international headlines. Will there be an ISIS resurgence? Will the Hong Kong protests be resolved peacefully or violently? Will Brexit procede or be blocked? Will Eritrea yield to international pressure and release the imprisoned Christians? The answers to these questions will have major ramifications for the international political and economic climate.