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10 Most Dangerous People in the World

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 12:53 PM

The world is a dangerous place, and there is no shortage of dangerous people whose actions threaten to have deadly repercussions.

Here are 10 of the most dangerous men who wield power around the globe:

1. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s top leader and the successor to Osama bin Laden, reportedly ordered the attacks in Paris in January which killed 17 people and were carried out by the organization’s affiliate al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Zawahiri is believed to have been involved in several foiled attacks on the U.S. since 9/11 as well as numerous deadly attacks in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He’s so dangerous the U.S. has offered $25 million for his capture.

2. Kim Jong-un, 32, the Swiss-educated, whisky-loving leader of impoverished North Korea, heads the world's most militarized and some say unstable society, with an active army of 1.21 million and nearly 10 million active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel.

The youngest son of the previous leader Kim Jong-il, he came to power in 2010 and was lauded in the state media as "a great person born of heaven." Two years later he ordered the summary execution of his close uncle who was suspected of plotting to overthrow him.

Kim is said to be obsessed with American basketball and has played host to former NBA star Dennis Rodman on several widely-publicized occasions.

Recently North Korea was suspected of launching a cyber attack on Sony Pictures over its movie "The Interview," which lampooned Kim and North Korea. The studio’s emails were hacked and confidential information including its executives’ compensation was made public. The studio was forced to delay the movie’s release. The FBI says it believes the attack was inspired from North Korea.

North Korea is developing advanced missile capability and has threatened several nations with their use. The country is technically still at war with South Korea and an armed outbreak could threaten the thousands of U.S. troops stationed on the Korean peninsula. Until now North Korea’s main patron has been China, which feared a huge influx of refugees if Kim’s regime collapsed. But there are signs Beijing is tiring of propping him up. The question is will this force Kim to be more conciliatory — or will he become even more isolated an even more dangerous menace?

3. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, has publicly mourned the collapse of the old Soviet Union and seems determined to re-launch Russian influence over its former territories. He annexed Crimea, staged a proxy war in Ukraine, and made veiled threats to other neighbors including the Baltic states and Poland, all members of NATO. Despite western sanctions and a plunging Ruble, Putin still enjoys huge popularity at home and has showed no signs of backing down — prompting fears of new conflicts a return to the Cold War.

4. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has declared a worldwide caliphate as head of the Islamic State, which includes large swathes of Syria and Iraq. His ruthless organization has killed thousands and driven thousands of others from their homes.

The FBI recently warned that ISIS has instructed a person in Tennessee to blow up a bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

5. Mullah Mohammed Omar, Taliban founder and supreme commander, heads a substantial force that the United Nations said was responsible for 80 percent of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2012 alone. It has also attacked U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Taliban could retake Afghanistan after the departure of American troops, which could in turn trigger new intervention by U.S. forces.

6. Hassan Nasrallah heads Hezbollah, which the United States considers a terrorist organization. The group has amassed an arsenal of thousands of rockets, and a Hezbollah attack on Israel could lead to another Mideast war.

7. Abubakar Shekau is the leader of the Nigerian Islamic militant group Boko Haram, which means "Western Education is Forbidden." The ruthless group has massacred thousands of civilians, kidnapped hundreds of women and children, and displaced some 650,000 Nigerians — all in the name of establishing an Islamist state. The group threatens to destabilize Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and a major oil producer.

8. Ahmed Omar is the leader of the Al-Shabaab militant organization in Somalia that has launched attacks in neighboring Kenya and killed non-Muslims there. In 2012, the terrorist group announced that it was joining al-Qaida.

The United States has placed a bounty of Al-Shabaab's leaders. Conflict in Somalia could lead to intervention by Ethiopia, which has intervened in the past.

9. Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, has the ultimate say in whether Iran develops nuclear weapons, which many believe the Islamic Republic is on course to accomplish.
A nuclear-armed Iran would put weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a fanatical Shi’ite regime, which has threatened Israel as well as supporting terrorism to destabilize its Sunni Moslem neighbors.

10. Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's democratically-elected prime minister, is largely considered a responsible leader, but his nation is armed to the teeth with more than 100 nuclear warheads, has fought four wars with its nuclear-armed neighbor India over the disputed territory of Kashmir, and has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Pakistan also harbors terrorists who operate in Afghanistan, and its security services are suspected of still maintaining covert links to the Taliban that date back to the 1970s when the group was fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Today, many consider Pakistan the most dangerous nation in the world.

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The world is a dangerous place, and there is no shortage of dangerous people whose actions threaten to have deadly repercussions. Here are 10 of the most dangerous men who wield power around the globe.
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Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 12:53 PM
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