Showing posts with label disputed territories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disputed territories. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Israel / Palestine Map: Who Controls What in 2020?

Who controls Palestine and Israel's claimed territories today (June 30, 2020), just before Israel's planned annexation of parts of the West Bank? Also file under: Palestine controlled area map. Includes bigger West Bank map (Areas A, B, C). Map also includes Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, major cities and Israeli settlements, UN peacekeeper deployments (UNIFIL and UNDOF), no man's land, Golan Heights buffer zone (area of separation, AOS), and Shebaa Farms. Colorblind accessible.
Click to enlarge. Map by Evan Centanni, incorporating base map by Koen Adams of and data from B'Tselem's interactive mapping project. (Contact us for permission to use this map.)

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Israel and Palestine Controlled Areas

Israel's prime minister has been planning to annex (absorb) parts of the Palestine-claimed West Bank into Israel proper today, July 1, though the plans likely won't be completed so soon. So who controls Palestine and Israel's claimed territories right now, before the planned annexation? This detailed new map from PolGeoNow lays out the details of control on the ground. And if you see something you don't understand on the map, check below for our concise outline of the disputed regions and conflict actors involved.

Note that this is a map of who actually controls what, not of who claims which areas. And it's certainly not intended to imply that any one actor should or shouldn't control any particular area - as always, PolGeoNow takes no position on the disputes, and we have done our best to report only the facts.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Update: Belize vs. Guatemala Dispute

A PolGeoNow News Brief

Guatemala-Belize territorial dispute: Approximate map of what parts of Belize are claimed by Guatemala.
One interpretation of Guatemala's territorial claims. The precise lines of the dispute will be laid out as the court case continues. (Wikimedia map by Janitoalevic and Bettyreategui; CC BY-SA)
Editor's Note: This article has been updated on April 29, 2020 to reflect corrections to the timeline - the details of Guatemala's claims will likely not be publicly available until mid-2024, even later than we had previously implied.

Last year, we reported that Belize and Guatemala were going to the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) to finally resolve their longstanding border dispute, which involves Guatemala claiming much of the land governed by neighboring Belize. So what's going on with that now?

So far, both countries are still preparing their cases. The next step is for Guatemala to submit its "memorial" to the court - a report laying out its position on the issues at stake. That document should be pretty interesting, because it will clarify exactly which land and sea areas Guatemala is claiming the rights to, and by extension, where exactly the lines of the two countries' territorial dispute lie.

For now, Guatemala's claims are a little bit vague, with some interpretations concluding that the country claims more than half of the land now controlled by Belize (see map at right). But we'll have to wait awhile yet to get the details - the deadline for Guatemala to submit its memorial was originally going to be June 8 of this year, but because of delays Guatemala says are related to the coronavirus pandemic, the court has agreed to extend the deadline by one year, to June 2021.

And the court doesn't usually release the written memorials to the public until hearings begin, which means we'll have to wait until after Belize responds, and likely until each country has responded once more, before actually seeing the details of Guatemala's memorial (thanks to Bordermap Consulting for that correction). Belize, for its part, thought Guatemala should only get a two-month extension, but the court decided let Guatemala have the extra time. Once Guatemala's memorial is submitted, Belize will have one more year - until June 2022 - to submit its own "counter-memorial", a report on its own official positions and responses to Guatemala's claims.

Taking all this into account, it's likely that hearings in the case won't start until mid-2024, meaning we still have to wait four more years to learn the details of Guatemala's claims, and even longer to find out how the court will settle the dispute.

Want to check for updates to our coverage of this case? View all ICJ articles on PolGeoNow to see the latest!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Belize and Guatemala Go to Court

You can view all ICJ articles on PolGeoNow for updates to this case.

Map: Where is Belize and where is Guatemala? Location in Central America.
Guatemala and Belize's location in Central America
(Wikimedia map by DO56, Rei-artur, and Vardion; CC BY-SA)
A PolGeoNow News Brief

Guatemala-Belize territorial dispute: Approximate map of what parts of Belize are claimed by Guatemala.
One interpretation of Guatemala's territorial claims. The precise lines of the dispute will be laid out as the court case continues. (Wikimedia map by Janitoalevic and Bettyreategui; CC BY-SA)
The Central American republic of Guatemala has claimed much of the land governed by neighboring Belize ever since the mid-1800s, at some times even claiming the whole country as Guatemalan territory. Now, the two neighbors have finally agreed to settle the dispute once and for all by taking it to the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The two countries officially registered their case with the court last month, after both countries' people voted in favor of the move in nationwide referendums. Of the 27% of Guatemalans who voted, 96% were in favor of going court. In Belize, voter turnout was 65%, of which 55% voted in favor.

Belize has vigorously denied Guatemala's claims for over a century, but in exchange for putting the issue to rest, it's agreed to let the court redraw its borders if the justices decide in favor of Guatemala. The two countries have also agreed to let the court draw the boundary between their respective territories and economic zones at sea.

What exactly does Guatemala claim today? It's actually not completely clear. By some interpretations, Belize's current area could be cut in half if the court sided with Guatemala. But the exact lines of Guatemala's claims should be clarified soon as both countries bring their official arguments to the court...

Want to see more PolGeoNow coverage as this case unfolds? Let us know with a comment on Twitter or Facebook!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Map: Costa Rica & Nicaragua Settle Border Dispute in Court

Conflicto Isla Portillos - mapa 2018. Map of Costa Rica and Nicaragua's post-2015 territorial dispute on Isla Portillos at the mouth of Rio San Juan, showing the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of February 2018, based on the case filed in 2017. Includes key features such as Harbor Head Lagoon, the Nicaraguan military camp, the disputed territory along the beach, and the small water channels used to argue Nicaragua's case. Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on materials submitted to the court. Contact for usage permissions.

World Court Rules on Costa Rica vs. Nicaragua

What happens when two countries draw their border along a river, then the river changes course? The world got to find out yesterday, as the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) released its judgement on a border dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Though the court's ruling was dominated by a related request to define the two countries' borders at sea, it also involved a tiny sliver of land in a temperamental river delta.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Explainer: Is Jerusalem the Capital of Israel or Not?

Detailed map of administrative control in Israel and the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), including official and de facto capitals. Cities: Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza, Tel Aviv. Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni. All rights reserved.

US recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel

This Wednesday, the United States government announced a new policy of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. US president Donald Trump said the declaration's purpose was to "acknowledge the obvious", while also revealing plans to eventually move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. These decisions were extremely controversial, to say the least. But why? We'll break it down for you:

What's the big deal?

Israeli law says the city of Jerusalem is the country's capital. But even Israel's closest ally, the US, has never officially accepted the city's capital status. And the world's countries generally haven't either: In fact, no country in the world has a proper embassy in Jerusalem. So the new move by the US is a major change of policy, and one that runs contrary to an established world consensus.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Iraq Control Map & Timeline: Government Takes Kirkuk from Kurdistan - October 2017

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Iraq updates.

Detailed map of territorial control in Iraq as of October 16, 2017 after the recapture of Hawija and Tal Afar and government seizure of Kirkuk. including territory held by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL), the Baghdad government, the Kurdistan Peshmerga, and the Yezidi Sinjar Alliance (YBS and YJE). Colorblind accessible.
Basemap by Koen Adams of, with territorial control by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic. All rights reserved.
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Timeline by Djordje Djukic

Summary of Events
Since our previous Iraq control map update in late July, there have been big changes to territorial control in Iraq, all involving expansions of control for the Iraqi military and its close allies (mainly police and Iran-backed militias): The so-called "Islamic State" (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) has been driven out of its Tal Afar and Hawija enclaves, and the disputed city of Kirkuk has been retaken from Kurdish forces in response to the controversial Kurdistan independence referendum. Iraqi government forces have also begun to chip away at the remaining swath of IS territory in the countryside of Anbar province, capturing the town of Anah on the road to the Syrian border.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Referendum 2017: Iraqi Kurdistan Map

Two of the world's autonomous regions are about to vote in controversial independence referendums. Iraqi Kurdistan decides on independence from Iraq this Monday, and on October 1 Catalonia plans to vote on leaving Spain. PolGeoNow will be covering these events with a series of articles, but in the meantime we couldn't wait to share our new Iraqi Kurdistan map with you!

Map of Iraq and Kurdistan's place within it, published in advance of the 2017 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum. Includes disputed territories and territorial control as of July 30, 2017. Colorblind accessible.
Graphic by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic, incorporating base map by Koen Adams of All rights reserved.

Iraqi Kurdistan Independence Referendum

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan for short) is just part of the traditional homeland of the Kurds, the Middle East's fourth-largest ethnic group after Arabs, Persians, and Turks.

Many Kurds also live in Turkey, Syria, and Iran. But Iraqi Kurdistan is where they have the most legal rights, governing themselves in what's internationally recognized as an autonomous region within Iraq.

But all's not well in Kurdistan-Iraq relations. Iraqi Kurds suffered through horrific violence and persecution in the 1980s and 90s, and now the region's top politician has staked his reputation on separating Kurdistan from Iraq permanently.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the Ground: Gibraltar and the "Brexit" Referendum

This is the first installment of PolGeoNow's On the Ground, a new series of exclusive photo essays on what political geography looks like in the real world. Whether it's borders, nationalism, or other geopolitical phenomena, we'll bring the on-the-ground situations to your screen in vivid detail.

Update 2016-06-24: Gibraltar on Thursday voted in favor of the UK staying in the European Union, by an incredible margin of  96% to 4%. However, the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, meaning that Gibraltar can expect to get pulled out with it, against the wishes of the Gibraltarians.
Photo of the Gibraltar Stronger in Europe campaign office on the British territory's main street. Gibraltar's population is overwhelmingly against a so-called Brexit, or departure of the UK from the European Union.
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Map of Gibraltar and its location in Europe relative to the UK and Spain
Right: Map of Gibraltar by Eric Gaba (source; CC BY-SA)
Left: Gibraltar's location in Europe (based on this Wikimedia Commons map by TUBS; CC BY-SA)
Gibraltar prepares to vote on whether UK should leave European Union
Last month, PolGeoNow's Evan Centanni and Meihsing Kuo visited the small British territory of Gibraltar (pronounced "jih-BRALL-ter"), one month ahead of the UK's referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union (EU).

Gibraltar, a tiny peninsula connected to Spain - and claimed by the Spanish government - is the only British overseas territory that's part of the EU. It's also the only external territory whose residents are eligible to vote in the so-called "Brexit" referendum without living in the UK proper. ("Brexit" is an abbreviation for "British exit" from the EU.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Map: "Eurasian Union" Gets New Member

Map of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), also known as the Eurasian Union. Includes new member Armenia, as well as prior members Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and disputed territories Crimea and Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Eurasian Economic Union's four member countries, plus disputed territories that might be officially or unofficially included. Map by Evan Centanni, starting from this map by Keverich2. License: CC BY-SA
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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mayotte Enters European Union

"Outermost regions" are officially part of the European Union; "overseas countries and territories" are not part of the EU itself, but have special relations with it because of their connections to member countries. New outermost region Mayotte is located in southeastern Africa. Map from Wikimedia Commons © Alexrk2 (CC BY-SA)
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Article by Evan Centanni

EU Expands to Include Mayotte
You probably heard about Croatia joining the European Union last year, but did you know the EU expanded further this Africa? The French overseas department of Mayotte, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean northwest of Madagascar, became officially part of the EU on January 1.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crimea Joins Russia, Gives Up Independence, Becomes Disputed Territory

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Map of the claimed Republic of Crimea, which briefly declared independence from Ukraine on Mar. 17 before being annexed by Russia
The claimed Republic of Crimea which has now joined Russia (click to see full-sized map). By Evan Centanni, based on this blank map.
By Evan Centanni

Russia Annexes Crimea
The Crimean peninsula, which declared independence from Ukraine ten days ago as the Republic of Crimea, has now been absorbed into Russia. This was part of the plan all along - the claimed Republic of Crimea had requested to join Russia at the same time that it declared independence.

Related: Complete Map of Locations Seized by Russia in Crimea (Premium)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Premium Map Report: Russian Control of Crimea

Map of Russian seizures and military actions in the Crimea region which it recently annexed from Ukraine.

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After a month of low-level conflict, Russian military control of Crimea appears to be nearly complete. Here's a complete map - to the best of our knowledge - of all locations of Russian seizures and other military actions inside and outside of the Crimea region. This map and article are exclusive premium content, available only to members and for individual purchase. Buy now (US$4.99).

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Map: Peru & Chile's Sea Dispute Settled in Court

Two weeks ago, the International Court of Justice released a long-awaited ruling on Peru and Chile's disputed maritime boundary. Many headlines claimed that Peru "won" the case, but in fact it was not a full victory for either country. Below is our detailed map of Peru and Chile's seas and of the dispute, followed by an easy-to-understand summary of the case. 

Map of Chile and Peru's territorial waters and exclusive economic zones (EEZ), plus the details of their territorial dispute at sea and disagreement of the land border. Shows the results of the Jan. 27, 2014 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) settling the dispute.
Map by Evan Centanni (country coastlines and land borders from Natural Earth)
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Article by Evan Centanni

Disputed Territory
Chile and Peru have just settled a decades-long dispute over the location of their maritime boundary (the border between their sea zones). A large wedge of sea off the countries' coast was claimed by both sides, in part because of its high value for the fishing industry. In 2008, Peru took Chile to court over the dispute. Their disagreements would be resolved by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a United Nations body in the Hague founded for the purpose of settling differences between U.N. member countries.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lies Your World Map Told You: 5 Ways You're Being Misled

Unfortunately, most world political maps aren't telling you the whole story. The idea that Earth's land is cleanly divvied up into nation-states - one country for each of the world's peoples - is more an imaginative ideal than a reality. Read on to learn about five ways your map is lying to you about borders, territories, and even the roster of the world's countries.

Map of the world's countries according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
The lines and coloring on this map are hiding major truths about the world's countries.
(Source: U.S. CIA; public domain)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Japan-China Dispute: The Eight Islands of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Group (Aerial Photos)

Map of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, disputed between Japan, China, and Taiwan; includes location as well as detail of islands
Map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (by Evan Centanni). Click to view at full size.
Article by Evan Centanni

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
A recent feature on Political Geography Now introduced the history and status of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, a disputed territory controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan. The article included an original map which showed the isles' configuration and precise location within the East China Sea (click on the map at right to see it at full size). But if you're like me, you may be wondering "just how small are these islands, and what do they really look like?"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disputed Territory: The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

You may have heard the news about China and Japan's ongoing territorial dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea. But what are the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and why are they so fiercely contested? Read on for all these answers and more!

Map of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, disputed between Japan, China, and Taiwan; includes location as well as detail of islands
Map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (by Evan Centanni).
Article by Omar Alkhalili

About the Islands
The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are a collection of five small islets and three rocks in the East China Sea, all of which are uninhabited. The largest of the islands has an area of 4.32 km² and the smallest is only 0.45 km². They are located about 140 km from the nearest inhabited Japanese islands, 300 km from mainland China and 170 km from Taiwan. They are administered by Japan but claimed by both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan, whose government is known officially as the Republic of China (ROC).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Niger and Burkina Faso Resolve Territorial Dispute

Update: In May 2015, Niger and Burkina Faso formally agreed to implement this ICJ ruling, with the practical aspects of exchanging territories to be completed by the end of the following year.

Map of the disputed territory between Niger and Burkina Faso, which was divided between the two countries in an April 2013 ruling by the International Court of Justice
Map by Evan Centanni. Sources: ICJ, Natural Earth. Africa inset based on this map by TUBS/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).
By Evan Centanni
Border Dispute Settled
Last week, a territorial dispute between the West African countries of Niger and Burkina Faso was resolved peacefully with a ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Both countries' governments agreed to respect the court's ruling on where their border should lie, a question which had persisted ever since they both achieved independence in 1960.

In the ruling, the court drew an official border based on a careful analysis of a 1927 document establishing the pre-independence boundary between the two former French colonies, also turning to a 1960 French map which both countries had agreed to use as a secondary reference. The new border splits the disputed area between Burkina Faso and Niger, and will help put an end to confusion regarding policing and tax collection in the border area.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

North Kosovo Status Changing After Serbia Deal

Map of Serbia, Kosovo, and North Kosovo
Map by Evan Centanni, based on these two blank maps by Nord-NordWest. License: CC BY-SA
Kosovo & Serbia in Historic Agreement
Serbia and the breakaway Republic of Kosovo reached a landmark deal on Friday to normalize their relations, partially compromising on several contentious issues between the two governments in southeastern Europe. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but due to Serbia's opposition it has still not achieved full international recognition. 

Status Change for North Kosovo
North Kosovo is the largest of several areas within Kosovo where the majority of people are part of the Serb ethnic group, whereas 90% of people in Kosovo as a whole are ethnically Albanian. When Kosovo split from Serbia, many Serbs in the north refused to go, governing themselves separately from Kosovo and choosing instead to continue cooperating with and accepting government funding from Serbia.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What is North Korea?

North Korea's threats of war have captured the world's attention in recent weeks, leaving citizens of other East Asian countries anxiously awaiting the latest news. A new war is unlikely, but how much do you know about North Korea, its international status, and its dispute with the south?

Map of North Korea and South Korea
Map by Johannes Barre & Patrick Mannion (CC BY-SA) (source)
What is North Korea?
Located on the northern half of the Korean Peninsula between South Korea and China (and sharing a short border with Russia), North Korea is a medium-sized East Asian country of about 24 million people. Despite its size, it boasts the fourth-largest army in the world, and has remained officially at war with South Korea since 1950.

Sometimes considered one of the world's last remaining communist states, North Korea actually claims no longer to follow communist ideology. However, it surely does hold the distinction of having the world's most closed borders, with its totalitarian government tightly controlling the flow of information and people in and out of the country.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Map: The Falkland Islands' Disputed Seas

The Falkland Islands, a South Atlantic territory disputed between the U.K. and Argentina, held a status referendum this week in which 99.8% of voters defied Argentina by choosing to remain British. But it's not just about the islands - also at stake are legal rights to the sea for hundreds of miles around.
Map of maritime jurisdiction in the seas surrounding the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), including territorial sea, internal waters, and exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
Zones of maritime jurisdiction around the Falkland Islands, highlighting area disputed between the U.K and Argentina. Map by Evan Centanni (country coastlines from the Natural Earth dataset). All rights reserved.
The Disputed Seas of the Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are administered by the U.K. as an overseas territory, but are also claimed based on historical arguments by Argentina, which calls them "las Islas Malvinas". Both countries have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which defines ownership and legal rights for the waters surrounding coastal countries. According to the UNCLOS, each country is entitled to three basic zones of control in its surrounding seas: