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Structural Balance in Alliances against ISIS

A recent problem in the world that has been causing much disturbance and turmoil is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This is a radical Islamic group whose aim and purpose is to create an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria and to have the nation ruled by Sharia law. They initially started off as al Qaeda then declared the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) in 2006. Since then, they have been gaining influence and power by taking control of cities within Iraq before moving into Syria. The means by which they have done this is by no means humane or peaceful. For instance, they kidnapped about 100 boys in Iraq to forcefully educate them on Islamic principles and theories. They have also freed up to 1,000 prisoners and seized government offices. More than 1 million Iraqis have had to flee their homes because of the conflicts causes by ISIS. Two American journalists have also been taken captive and killed.

In the midst of this conflict, it would make sense that other nations are working toward putting an end to ISIS’s corrupt ideologies. The article published by New York Times shows that the United States and Russia have decided to share the intelligence they have about ISIS in order to focus on a common enemy. This accurately shows Structural Balance Theory. The three nodes would be represented by the United States, Russia, and ISIS. Two of the edges are negative and one of the edges are positive (the link between the United States and Russia). This is a balanced graph because one group (the US and Russia) have a common enemy: ISIS. Although they do have disagreements in other political areas, they are allies in this situation. There are also countries who are opponents of ISIS as well.


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