Samia Nakhoul / Reuters
A year after declaring his caliphate, it is clear that the secret of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s success is the army and state he has built from the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s military, and the allegiance he has won or coerced from alienated Sunni Muslims in Iraq, Syria, and beyond.
Somini Sengupta and Rick Gladstone / NY Times
An independent panel reviewing United Nations peacekeeping operations recommended sweeping changes on Tuesday to make the blue-helmeted soldiers more accountable for sexual abuse and other crimes, and urged that they no longer be used in counterterrorism operations.
American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy
Greek Central Banks Warns of ‘Painful’ Euro and EU Exit
Greece’s central bank has warned for the first time that the country could be on a “painful course” to default and exit from both the eurozone and the EU.
U.S. Tech Firm Cisco to Invest $10 Billion in China Expansion
Dominique Patton / Reuters
Cisco plans to invest more than $10 billion in China along with local business partners over the next several years, the U.S. network equipment maker said on Wednesday, as it seeks to shore up its position against strong domestic rivals.
National Security & Strategy
Christopher Drew and Dave Philipps / NY Times
The U.S. military is cutting back the number of drone flights it operates because of attrition and burnout among drone pilots.
US Questions Iraq’s Commitment to Fighting Islamic State
The US has questioned Iraq’s commitment to fighting Islamic State and lamented the lack of Iraqi recruits available for training.
CIA Kills al Qaeda’s No. 2 Leader
Dion Nissenbaum and Maria Abi-Habib
A Central Intelligence Agency drone strike in Yemen killed the No. 2 al Qaeda leader in the world, officials said on Tuesday, delivering a serious blow to the militant group’s operations and a much-needed success for America’s global counterterrorism campaign.
33 Dead as Syria Army, Rebels Trade Fire Around Damascus
The Daily Star via Agence France Presse
At least 18 people were killed in the Damascus region as the army bombarded a rebel-held town and the rebels fired rockets into the capital, activists said Wednesday.
Al Qaeda Kills Two Saudis Accused of Spying for America: Residents
Mohammed Mukhashaf / Reuters
Al Qaeda militants in Yemen killed two alleged Saudi spies on Wednesday, residents said, accusing them of planting tracking devices which enabled the assassination of the group’s leader in a suspected U.S. drone strike last week.
Houthis Blow Up Delegate’s Home, Casting Shadow Over Geneva Talks
Mohammed Ghobari and Lara Sukhtian / Reuters
Houthi fighters in central Yemen blew up the home of a senior politician on Wednesday while he was in Switzerland as a member of the exiled government’s delegation to peace talks, residents said.
Pope’s Views on Climate Change Add Pressure to U.S. Candidates
Coral Davenport / NY Times
A Florida archbishop will highlight the pope’s climate change message in the hope that it will resonate in particular with Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
Americans Are Again Getting More Worried About the Climate
David Leonhardt / NY Times
About 69 percent of adults say that global warming is either a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem, according to a new Pew Research Center poll, up from 63 percent in 2010.
Fusion Energy’s Front-Runners
Marguerite Ward / CNBC
Fully harnessing fusion power—the ability to produce energy by combining atoms rather than splitting them—sounds like an elusive, science-fiction dream. But billions of dollars in investment are trying to make that fiction a reality, according to a recent article byOilPrice.com.
Oil Firmer but Rally Sapped by U.S. EIA Data
Marguerite Ward / CNBC
Oil rose on Wednesday on U.S. demand although the finer points of weekly data from there tempered its rally. Some of the steam was taken out of the rally after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, showed that U.S. gasoline inventories rose unexpectedly and stocks at Cushing rose for the first time since April, while refinery utilization rates fell.
Russia to Increase Nuclear Arsenal as U.S. Plans More Firepower in Europe
Karoun Demirjian / Washington Post
Russia announced Tuesday that it will expand its nuclear arsenal, sparking concerns about a renewed arms race as old Cold War rivals Moscow and Washington plan to increase their military capacity amid rising tensions over Ukraine.
Iran Likely to Score Concession from West on Nuclear Deal
Elise Labott / CNN
Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Tuesday that the Iran nuclear deal most likely won’t require the country to detail suspected past efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, a concession sought by Tehran.
On Our Flashpoint Blog
New York Energy Week: Fusion Energy Sooner and Cheaper?
On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, Dr. Dennis Whyte, the Director of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center showed that a series of scientific and engineering breakthroughs could enable fusion to become a feasible a power source faster and cheaper than anyone had thought possible. These technological breakthroughs were not originally developed for fusion, but they could revolutionize the development of fusion energy.
The Turkish general elections held on June 7th proved to be one of the most critical in the nation’s history. For the first time in 13 years, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) no longer holds the majority in parliament and for the first time ever, a pro-Kurdish party (The Peoples’ Democratic Party, HDP) received enough votes to enter parliament. With this election, AKP is forced to build a coalition government or choose to remain as a minority government.
Fusion Energy – The National Security Requirement
As a part of New York’s annual “Energy Week,” the American Security Project, in conjunction with FTI Strategic Communications, sponsored a lunch discussion on new developments in fusion energy research.
Three Reasons TAA Matters
On June 12, the House of Representatives voted against the passage of TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance), a vital component of the bi-partisan supported “fast track authority” necessary for negotiation of TTIP and TPP. The House will likely revisit the issue later this month or in July, but no vote is currently scheduled. TAA is a cornerstone of successful trade policy. Should it fail to pass after being reintroduced, the impact on American workers and companies, trade negotiations, and future trade deals would be severe in three key ways.
ASP Recently Added
White Paper: Economic Diplomacy
American Security Project
Economic diplomacy is the utilization of all national economic instruments in furtherance of the national interest when engaging with other nations. It is the new frontier of foreign policy in an interconnected world. Principles in Action: Economic Diplomacy as the New Face of American Global Leadership, explains and analyses a variety of U.S. economic diplomacy efforts, and provides key recommendations for improvement.
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.
New York City Event – The American Fusion Project: Scientific Breakthroughs
As a part of New York’s annual “Energy Week,” the American Security Project, in conjunction with FTI Strategic Communications, is proud to sponsor a lunch on new developments in fusion energy research. It will take place at FTI’s Wall Street Plaza office, 88 Pine Street, 32nd Floor, New York City, NY on Tuesday, June 16 at 12:30pm.