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The threats to peace from Putin’s Russia are paralleled by the instability in the Middle East caused largely by Islamic extremism, which poses a particular menace to democracy and human rights. The barbaric murder of two Japanese hostages underlines the dangers to all civilized societies.

The Islamic State group has largely taken over from al-Qaida as the leading exponent of Islamic extremism, although there are other Islamic extremist organizations such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and al Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, which pose serious threats to peace and human rights.

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