International News Coverage
Middle East, Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Tom Perry and Mariam Karouny / Reuters
Islamic State’s defeat in Kobani and other recent setbacks in Syria suggest the group is under strain but far from collapse in the Syrian half of its self-declared caliphate.
Thousands of people are marching in Jordan’s capital, Amman, in support of their government’s fight against Islamic State (IS) militants. Jordan says its warplanes carried out dozens of air strikes on IS targets in Syria on Thursday in response to the killing of a Jordanian fighter pilot.
Kareem Fahim / The New York Times
Seeking to normalize life in the embattled capital, Iraq’s prime minister said on Thursday that the authorities would lift a nighttime curfew in Baghdad that has been in force, with some interruptions, for over a decade.
Ahmed Al-Haj / The Associated Press
Yemen’s powerful Shiite rebels have announced they are taking over the country and dissolving the parliament. The dramatic move finalizes their power grab, which has been months in the making.
Shaun Walker, Ian Traynor, Dan Roberts, and Alec Luhn / The Guardian
The leaders of Germany and France abruptly announced a summit with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow on Friday in response to overtures from the Kremlin, raising hopes of a breakthrough in the year-old Ukraine conflict.
Estelle Shirbon / Reuters
The public is increasingly frustrated that government-promised reforms — chief among them an anti-corruption effort — have yet to be realized. And in the ranks of a rapidly expanding military, there are signs of disorganization and frustration with commanders as the conflict in the east wears on.
James Kanter / The New York Times
European Union officials on Thursday nudged up growth forecasts across the 28-nation bloc amid optimism that falling oil prices, a weaker euro and intervention by the European Central Bank were brightening the outlook for a region wrestling with economic stagnation.
The Associated Press
U.S. employers added a vigorous 257,000 jobs in January, and wages jumped by the most in six years – evidence that the U.S. job market is accelerating closer to full health.
Simon Romero / The New York Times
The lead investigator in the mysterious death of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who accused Argentina’s president of trying to shield Iranians from responsibility over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center here, summoned an ousted spy chief to testify in the case on Thursday.
Caroline Stauffer / Reuters
Brazilian federal police said on Thursday they had started questioning João Vaccari Neto, the treasurer of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party, as a corruption probe focused on state-run oil company Petrobras widened to include political figures.
The Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has attacked a town in Niger for the first time, witnesses say.The attack on the border town of Bosso was the group’s second on a neighbouring country in as many days. The militants control a large stretch of land in north-eastern Nigeria.
Anna Yukhananov / Reuters
The International Monetary Fund has granted Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone debt relief of about $100 million in total, the first time a global institution has provided such relief to the three West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak.
Oil Companies in the Crosshairs of Libyan Violence
Benoit Faucon and Georgi Kantchev / The Wall Street Journal
The violence roiling Libya has increasingly targeted oil companies and their assets, upending long-term investments by Western companies and driving down production in a country that helped launch the world-wide rout in oil prices.
Jethro Mullen / CNN
One of Washington’s greatest policy failures is North Korea. Pyongyang’s most recent provocation apparently was hacking Sony Pictures in retaliation for the movie The Interview. More fundamentally, despite manifold U.S. efforts to enforce nonproliferation the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains determined to create a sizeable nuclear arsenal.
China has rejected accusations it was behind an attack that stole data from health insurer Anthem. Personal details of up to 80 million people are believed to have been stolen in the hack. Investigators looking into the breach told US newspapers the methods used in it resembled earlier attacks blamed on China.
Energy Security, Science and Technology, Climate Change
Kevin McSpadden / TIME Magazine
A new study claims that volcanic eruptions along the ocean floor may impact earth’s climate cycle and that predictive models, including those that analyze humanity’s impact on climate change, may need to be modified.
Nitin Sethi / Business Standard
In Lima, last year-end, more than 190 countries drew together a conflict-riddled wish list of what they desired the 2015 Paris climate change agreement to be. Starting February 8, negotiators from these countries will sit again for a week with this contentious wish list to produce the first draft negotiating text of the 2015 global climate change agreement. The agreement has to be agreed upon by consensus by the end of the year in Paris.
On Our Flashpoint Blog
In today’s Le Monde, Peter S. Rashish (Transnational Strategy Group and ASP consensus member), stressed the geopolitical importance of the ongoing negotiations between the US and the European Union to conclude an ambitious free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Fusion energy research is simply too important for budgetary games. It should be a priority. With focus and direction, we know that fusion energy research could be accelerated ASP’s report “Fusion Power – A 10 Year Plan to Energy Security” provides an aggressive, but doable, timeline for research and development.
When asked about climate, Admiral Fallon delivered a lengthy response emphasizing the near and short term threats of climate change, as well as the importance of the U.S. taking the lead on it as an issue.
In 1963, the measles vaccination program began in the United States. Before that, three million people contracted the virus annually and of those infected 500 died from it and thousands more were sent to the hospital.
Global Challenges and U.S. National Security Strategy
Key Quotes from the Testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee, 27 January 2015
What’s in a Name? ISIL being labeled Daesh
Check off another name on the list of officials, states, and agencies which refuse to grant ISIL its self-appointed label of being the “Islamic State.” Business Insider has noted that LTG James Terry, in command of Operation Inherent Resolve, is using the term “Daesh” to refer to ISIL.
Obama’s National Security Policy: A New Assessment
February 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Based on the research for his new book, Faces of Power: Constancy and Change in United States Foreign Policy from Truman to Obama, Seyom Brown will argue that Obama’s national security policy resembles those of Reagan and George W. Bush in their second terms more than any of his other predecessors; and will assess the implications of Obama’s evolving grand strategy for his successors.
ASP Recently Published
Fact Sheet: Yemen (2015)
Sungtae “Jacky” Park
Yemen has entered a new phase of instability and uncertainty, as a conflict between the Houthis and the country’s government led by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi eventually forced him and his cabinet to resign in January 2015. On January 25, Hadi then withdrew his resignation. While Yemen has been “a cluster of civilization” going back to the ancient days, the country has always been fraught with divisions. This updated fact sheet for 2015 looks at the key players in Yemen, its history, and its relations with the United States.
This report analyzes the recent events that have placed Libya on its current path. In order to understand events on the ground, this report includes a breakdown of key Libyan parties and figures as well as an examination of the economic and energy dimensions of the conflict. The report then concludes with a look forward for Libya and recommendations for the U.S. and international community.
U.S. Fusion Program Recommendations
Caroline Julia von Wurden and Andrew Holland
This report on fusion energy is informed by a roundtable discussion of fusion energy that was hosted by ASP on December 4, 2014. The report goes on to explain the potential benefits of fusion energy in the U.S. as a safe and clean source of power, but only if certain barriers to the implementation of this technology are overcome.