Center for Strategic Communication

International News

Middle East, IS, Al-Qaeda, Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism

Islamic State keeps up Syrian oil flow despite U.S-led strikes

Islamic State is still extracting and selling oil in Syria and has adapted its trading techniques despite a month of strikes by U.S.-led forces aimed at cutting off this major source of income for the group, residents, oil executives and traders say.

Iraq says ISIS hit troops with chemical gas
CBS News 

Iraqi officials Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants used chlorine gas during fighting with Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen last month north of Baghdad.

Army retakes key Syrian town from rebels

The Syrian army on Thursday recaptured the strategic central town of Morek, nine months after it was seized by rebels and their Al-Qaeda allies, a monitoring group said.

U.S. officials worried about “lone wolf” terrorism
CBS News

There is growing concern that the Canadian shooting incident carried out by a lone wolf could trigger copycat situations in the U.S. These types of attacks are hard to track and easy to carry out. Homeland security correspondent Bob Orr reports.

Kassig family campaign reinvigorated following support from al Qaeda-linked official
CBS News

There was an urgent plea for help from the family of American hostage Abdul-Rahman Kassig, formerly known as Peter. His mother Paula posted a message on Twitter overnight asking ISIS to give her instructions on how to save the life of her only son. The appeal for mercy is getting some unusual support including from a senior al Qaeda jihadist. Margaret Brennan reports.

Syrian Rebels Oppose New U.S. War Strategy
John Hudson / Foreign Policy

The Obama administration’s strategy to train Syrian rebels to defend, but not seize, territory from Islamic State militants is facing stiff resistance from America’s partners in the Syrian opposition.

Why President Rouhani is supporting thousands of Iranian protesters
Rick Noack  / The Washington Post

Anger and outrage had been growing for months in Iran over a string of acid attacks targeting women. This week, those emotions erupted into the streets, with about 2,000 people condemning the attacks in front of the city of Isfahan’s judiciary building on Wednesday and dozens of protesters assembling in front of Tehran’s parliament.

Kurdish fighters regain ground in Kobane

Hill near Syrian town where supplies are believed to have been previously airdropped retaken from ISIL.

France says air strikes take out weapons arsenal in Iraq

French fighter jets destroyed 12 buildings in Iraq holding an arsenal of weapons under control of Islamic State militants, France’s chief of staff of armed forces said on Friday.

Erdogan: Free Syrian Army to Join Kurds in Kobani Battle
VOA News

Turkey’s president says Syrian Kurds and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters are joining forces to defend the city of Kobani from Islamic State militants. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Friday that Kurdish militia forces are finalizing how the Western-backed, moderate rebel group will get 1,300 troops to Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Hagel Says Strategy Against ISIL is Working
Nick Simeone / DoD News

The U.S.-led strategy to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is working, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today, but emphasized that the fight against the terrorist group will be a “complicated, difficult contest.”

Russia, Ukraine, Former Soviet Union

UNHCR Says More Than 800,000 Displaced By Ukraine Conflict
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The United Nations says the conflict in Ukraine has forced more than 800,000 people from their homes. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, told a briefing in Geneva that an estimated 430,000 people were currently displaced within Ukraine — 170,000 more than at the start of September.

Barroso Says EU Can Give Ukraine At Most $1 Billion to Pay Bills
Laurence Norman / The Wall Street Journal

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told the bloc’s leaders Thursday that the EU’s executive body could give Ukraine a maximum $1 billion (EUR790 million) in the near term out of its budget to help Kiev pay its bills, according to several officials briefed on discussions.

End Of The Orange-Blue Divide: Ukraine Vote May Produce New Political Landscape
Robert Coalson / Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

When Ukrainians go to the polls on October 26, they seem poised to introduce a new political configuration for the country. And, at the same time, to shatter the old paradigm of a country hopelessly divided between a pro-European west and a Russia-leaning east.

Russia still has troops in Ukraine, NATO says
Adrian Croft / Reuters

Russia still has troops in eastern Ukraine and retains a very capable force on the border despite a partial withdrawal, NATO’s military commander said on Friday.

The Russians Have Us Over a Rocket
David A. Deptula / The Wall Street Journal

Despite Russia’s ongoing adventurism and the imposition of U.S. and European sanctions—the Pentagon is still injecting millions of dollars into the Russian military industrial complex. In August United Launch Alliance—a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing and the chief supplier of U.S. Air Forcerockets—received two new RD-180 rocket engines from Russia at a total cost of $50 million.

Asia Pacific

China’s Latest Space Launch Is Next Step in Lunar Ambitions
The New York Times

China took a step toward its plans to send an unmanned probe to the moon that will return to Earth by launching a spacecraft on Friday to test flight paths and equipment.

Hong Kong protesters to vote on government offer
The Telegraph

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong will hold a public referendum on Sunday to vote on whether to accept conciliatory offers from the government, as the citywide rally continued into its fourth week.

China and Japan strive to improve ties

After four years of strained diplomatic relations, Beijing and Tokyo appear to be making efforts to heal the rift. Analysts warn, however, that the relationship will remain fractious for years to come.

Asian infrastructure bank gets big support

The launch of a China-dominated Asian infrastructure bank has received the backing of 21 nations in the region. But it has also drawn criticism from the West, where it’s seen as a threat to the World Bank and others.

Japan could deploy minesweepers off S. Korea in war with North, U.S. admiral says
Tim Kelly / Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s decision to let Japan’s military fight overseas could open the way for the country to deploy minesweepers in South Korean waters in the event of a war with North Korea, a senior U.S. admiral said on Friday.

Former Japan PM Fukuda to meet China’s Xi next week: source
Yuko Yoshikawa / Reuters

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next Wednesday in Beijing, a source familiar with the matter said, setting the stage for a possible meeting between the leaders of Japan and China in November.

Japan warns of increased activity at volcano near nuclear plant

Japan warned on Friday that a volcano in southern Japan located roughly 64 km (40 miles) from a nuclear plant was showing signs of increased activity that could possibly lead to a small-scale eruption and warned people to stay away from the summit.

U.S., South Korea Reach Agreement for Wartime Control of Forces
DoD News

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Korean Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo met at the Pentagon today for the 46th Security Consultative Meeting. At the meeting, they agreed to implement South Korea’s proposal for a conditions-based approach to transferring wartime control of allied forces, known as operational control, or OPCON, to ensure the combined defense posture remains strong and seamless, defense officials announced.


WHO speeding up development of Ebola vaccine
CBS News

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans on Friday to speed up the development and deployment of experimental vaccines to combat the Ebola virus, with hundreds of thousands of doses expected to be ready to use in West Africa by the middle of next year, Reuters reports.

WHO: several hundred thousand Ebola vaccine doses expected by mid-2015
Sarah Boseley / The Guardian

Ebola vaccine trials could start in west Africa in December – a month earlier than formerly planned – and hundreds of thousands of doses should be ready by mid-2015, the World Health Organisation has said.

Ebola crisis: World Health Organisation sends experts to Mali where 43 are monitored after first confirmed case; Europe increases aid to $1b
ABC News Australia

The World Health Organisation says it is sending experts to help Mali fight Ebola, a day after the country confirmed its first case of the deadly virus.

Energy, Climate Change

EU sets ambitious emissions target, challenging US
Laura Barron-Lopez / The Hill

The European Union set a tough carbon emissions target in an effort to put the heat on the U.S. and China in the run up to the climate talks next year.

Lockheed looks for partners on its proposed fusion reactor
Daniel Clery / Science Monitor

The leader of a proposed compact fusion reactor project says that Lockheed Martin’s decision to lift the lid on its secret effort is an attempt to build a scientific team and find partners.

Saudi Arabia’s Crude Oil Supply Said to Fall in September

The amount of oil Saudi Arabia supplied to markets fell last month, according to a person familiar with the country’s oil policy. Its production climbed.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

The US and EU Strategy to Defeat ISIL
Giancarlo Lima

ASP Director of Strategy and Communications Paul Hamill and ASP Senior Adjunct Fellow Fadi Elsalameen recently addressed the ways in which the US and EU should partner in order to combat the threat of ISIL and like-minded militant movements.

Canada’s Resilience in the wake of this week
AJ Degarmo
This week has tested the moral fiber of Canadians, and placed them in the center of the recent conversation of residents who aspire to travel to the Middle East with the intent of joining deadly terrorist groups.

Electricity: The Catalyst
Sophia Dahodwala
Electricity supply is a catalysts for economic development. Operating a factory, maintaining a business, transporting crops and goods are impossible without utilizing some form of energy. Electricity at a more basic level is indispensable. Without it, people cannot refrigerate, use household appliances or illuminate their homes.

Senator Gary Hart To Play Diplomatic Role for State Department
BGen Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.)
The American Security Project congratulates Senator Gary Hart upon his appointment at the Secretary of State’s Personal Representative including on issues related to Northern Ireland.

Status After the Last Round of Nuclear Talks with Iran
Marylin Carino
Another series of intensive nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) ended in Vienna last week.

The Green Side of Energy Security: EU event
Caroline Julia von Wurden
The EU delegation to the US and the US State Department hosted a discussion for World Energy Day on energy security and sustainability objectives.

Carbon Holdings to make massive investment in Egypt
Giancarlo Lima
The Egyptian economy has recently received some positive investment news.

Upcoming Events

The U.S. – EU Strategic Partnership: Trade, Energy, and Security
November 12 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Numerous strategic challenges and opportunities face the United States and European Union in 2015; some of which include: how to defeat ISIL, the economic transformation of the Middle East, negotiations around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, energy security, Russia, effects from climate change, and many more.

Tampa Event – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
November 18 @ 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: University of Tampa, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606
Climate change is already a major concern for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue of this growing threat. Join ASP at the University of Tampa on Tuesday, November 18th as we discuss this important issue.

Geography 2050: Mounting an Expedition to the Future
November 19
Location: Low Memorial Library, Columbia University, 2960 Broadway, Manhattan, NY 10027
The one-day inaugural event, to be held at Columbia’s Low Library in Manhattan, offers an opportunity for thought leaders in industry, government, the social sector, and academe to come together to think about collectively exploring the future, and to examine how geography, geographic thinking, and geospatial data and technologies will enable this new age of exploration.

FSC Event – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
November 19 @ 10:30am – 12:00pm
Location: Florida Southern College, 111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland, FL 33801
Climate change is already a major concern for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue of this growing threat. Join ASP at Florida Southern College on Wednesday, November 19th as we discuss this important issue.

ASP Conference: Electricity Supply: What it Means for Security, Development and Geopolitics
November 19 @ 12:00pm – 4:30pm
The nexus of electricity, development, and security is significant, yet its nuances are too often overlooked. The half-day event will bring together development and energy experts, government officials, and policy makers to better establish the important linkages between power, security, and development, share successful implementation strategies and consider how these successes can be replicated in diverse contexts.

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