Nepal Quake: 1,000 EU Citizens Still Unaccounted for, Says Envoy
Officials are struggling to find 1,000 EU citizens who are unaccounted for in Nepal, six days after an earthquake that killed more than 6,000 people. An EU official said most are thought to have been trekking in the Everest or remote Langtang regions. Many are hoped to be alive but isolated by the quake.
US Navy Accompanies 4 Ships Through Strait of Hormuz
Lolita Baldor / The Associated Press
The U.S. Navy has accompanied four American-flagged ships moving through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, and may expand that aid to other nations to ensure they get no interference from Iranian vessels.
American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy
Eastern Markets Fuel Rise in Global Spending
Joe Gould / Defense News
After three years in decline, global defense spending rebounded by 1.7 percent, driven by emerging markets in the East as the West largely continues with austerity, according to analysts with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Oil Turnaround Punishes Investors-Energy Journal
Tommy Stubbington, Christian Berthelsen / The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. benchmark crude oil price ended up soaring 25% after falling 11% in the first three months of the year. Quick cutbacks by U.S. shale-oil producers and a slowdown in U.S. growth were a couple of the surprise factors behind the turnabout across stock, bond, currency and commodity markets.
National Security & Strategy
Yemenis in Desperate Need of Food and Fuel After Weeks of Airstrikes
Kareem Fahim / The New York Times
Five weeks after the start of a Saudi-led bombing campaign, more than 1,000 Yemenis have died in the fighting, and the United Nations says that at least 300,000 people have been displaced, forced to hunt for food and fuel in a country bereft of both. Fierce fighting in the port city of Aden has killed dozens of people in the last few days, left neighborhoods in flames and set off a panicked.
Breedlove: Russia Intel Gaps ‘Critical’
Joe Gould / Defense News
NATO’s top military commander warned of gaps in US intelligence gathering in Eastern Europe and its ability to understand Moscow’s intent in the wake of Russian aggression.
China Says U.S. Welcome to Use Civilian Facilities in South China Sea
Ben Blanchard / Reuters
The United States and other countries will be welcome to use civilian facilities China is building in the South China Sea for search and rescue and weather forecasting “when conditions are right”, China’s navy chief has told a senior U.S. officer.
Attacks on U.N. Force Add to Unrest in Mali
Adam Nossiter / The New York Times
Armed groups in the north of Mali have, over the last week, attacked each other as well as United Nations peacekeepers and Malian soldiers — underscoring the country’s fragility as it tries to emerge from several years of political instability and jihadist revolt.
Islamist Rebels Battle Syrian Army Near Assad Heartland
Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Sylvia Westall / Reuters
Islamist rebels and the Syrian army fought fierce battles in Latakia province overnight close to President Bashar al-Assad’s ancestral home, the army and rebels said, after weeks of insurgent gains in the country’s northwest.
US, Allies Stage 18 Air Strikes Against Islamic State: Coalition
The U.S.-led military coalition launched 18 air strikes in Syria and Iraq against Islamic State since early Thursday, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.
Frankfurt Bike Race Canelled Over Islamist Terror Plot Arrests
Justin Huggler / The Telegraph
Police in Frankfurt ordered the cancellation of a professional cycling race hours before it was set to begin on Friday, over fears of an imminent Islamist terror attack.
Syria Conflict: Islamic State Arms Dump ‘Blows Up’
An arms dump has exploded in Deir Ezzor province in Syria, killing 25 Islamic State (IS) militants, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activist group.
ISIS Leader Incapacitated With Suspected Spinal Injuries After Air Strike
Martin Chulov / The Guardian
The leader of the Islamic State (Isis), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remains incapacitated due to suspected spinal damage and is being treated by two doctors who travel to his hideout from the group’s stronghold of Mosul, the Guardian has learned.
In Kerry’s QDDR Review, Climate and Conflict are Focus
Schuyler Null / New Security Beat
The overall focus is on achieving flexibility and adaptability for a “dynamic world.” But in the foreword, Secretary Kerry also says it “does not seek to be everything to everybody…because most of all, we intend to make it relevant.” As such there are four major pillars: conflict and violent extremism, climate change, inclusive economic growth, and democracy.
Saudi Aramco Senior VP Named Acting CEO Until Further Notice
Reem Shamseddine, Rania El Gamal / Reuters
Saudi Aramco senior vice-president Amin al-Nasser has been named acting chief executive of the state oil giant until further notice, Aramco said on its website on Friday. Nasser has been serving as senior vice-president for upstream operations at Aramco since 2008, according to his biography posted on Aramco’s website. With a degree in petroleum engineering, he joined Aramco in 1982.
Iraq Oil Exports Hit Record 3.08mln bpd in April
Reuters via Al-Arabiya
Oil prices edged lower on Friday, easing off 2015 highs after Iraq said its crude oil exports hit a record in April, keeping Middle East production well above demand.
Tesla Ventures Into Solar Power Storage for Home and Business
Diane Cardwell / The New York Times
Now, Tesla Motors, the maker of luxury electric sedans, says it is taking a big step toward meeting that challenge with a fleet of battery systems aimed at homeowners, businesses and utilities. The company’s foray into the solar storage market will include rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs that can mount to a home garage wall as well as battery blocks large enough to smooth out fluctuations in the grid.
White House Looks to Ease Arab Fears Over Iran Nuclear Pact
Helene Cooper / The New York Times
The Obama administration is scrambling for reassurances it can present this month at a Camp David summit meeting to persuade Arab allies that the United States has their backs, despite a pending nuclear deal with Iran.
On Our Flashpoint Blog
A Few Points on the Geopolitics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
Washington is abuzz once again with talk of free trade, presidential authority, and Congressional responsibility. Last week’s announcement that movement is being made towards fast-track authority for President Obama in vital trade deals is an encouraging sign that the U.S. Congress is serious about advancing free trade in the coming years.
Non-Proliferation Through Strength: A Hawk’s Case for a Deal With Iran
Sungtae “Jacky” Park
A major concern that opponents of the recent nuclear framework deal with Iran have is that the final agreement will leave Iran as a “nuclear threshold state” after a decade. Those who make such arguments, however, do not adequately take into account the demand-side of proliferation.
Abe-San Comes to Washington: 5 Things to Watch
As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe comes to Washington this week to make his unprecedented address to a joint Congress, his mission will be to realign Japan and the United States in such a way that outlasts the current administration.
Governor Todd Whitman on Future Nuclear Power, SMRs
Governor Whitman explained in her blog the great potential of “small modular reactors” (SMR) in addressing both the demand for energy and the need to reduce carbon emissions. Meeting both of these requirements has been a major barrier in addressing climate and energy security needs.
ASP Recently Published
Critical Issues Facing Russia and the Former Soviet Union: Governance and Corruption
American Security Project
When it comes to Russia and the other post-Soviet states, corruption is the subject of constant academic, policy, and popular debate. According to many, persistent corruption is the major factor undermining post-Soviet states from achieving broad-based political, economic, and social development along liberal-democratic lines.
Environmental Threats to Louisiana’s Future: Climate Change
American Security Project
As one of the centers of energy production, transit, and storage, Louisiana is a hub for the whole country. This ensures that any problems in Louisiana are transferred throughout the country by energy price volatility and uncertainty.