Center for Strategic Communication

International News


UN: Growing number of foreigners in terror groups
Cara Anna / The Associated Press

A new United Nations report says the world is facing a challenge of foreign fighters in terror groups on an “unprecedented scale,” with about 15,000 in Syria and Iraq alone.

Isis kills hundreds of Iraqi Sunnis from Albu Nimr tribe in Anbar province
Martin Chulov / The Guardian

The bodies of more than 150 men killed by Islamic state (Isis) militants were recovered from a ditch in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, on Thursday in the latest of a series of mass executions of tribal figures who oppose the group.

Air strikes hit Kobani as Kurdish peshmerga prepare to enter
Humeyra Pamuk / Reuters

U.S.-led air strikes hit Islamic State positions around the Syrian border town of Kobani on Friday in an apparent bid to pave the way for heavily-armed Kurdish peshmerga forces to enter from neighboring Turkey.

ISIL shells Kobane’s border post with Turkey

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have shelled the border crossing between Syria and Turkey in their latest attempt to stop an expected arrival of Kurdish troops from Iraq to help defend Kobane.

Kurds’ battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders
Isabel Coles / Reuters

Cloaked in Kurdish flags, thousands of people lined the roads to cheer on a military convoy headed for what was — until recently — an obscure Syrian border town, now the focus of a global war against the militants of Islamic State.

Afghan President Calls On Taliban To Join Peace Process
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has urged the Taliban to join in reconciliation talks, a call that was echoed by China’s prime minister.

Burkina Faso’s Military Takes Power After President Resigns

Burkina Faso’s military appears to have taken control of the African nation shortly after long-time President Blaise Campaore, who has ruled since staging a coup in 1987, agreed to resign as part of what he said was a plan to hold elections in 90 days.

FSU and Europe

Gas Deal Ensures Europe Won’t Freeze This Winter
Dashiell Bennet / the Atlantic

After months of tense and, at times, bitter negotiations, Ukraine has brokered a deal to resume natural gas shipments from Russia and keep the pipelines open through the coming winter. The settlement includes an negotiated rate on future gas shipments and—with the help of the European Union—the settling of more $3 billion in debts owed by Ukraine.

Poroshenko: EU Leaders Press Putin On Rebel Votes
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The leaders of France and Germany have joined Ukraine’s president in urging Russian President Vladimir Putin not to recognize this weekend’s rebel-held elections in the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russian Central Bank Sharply Raises Interest Rate
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The Russian central bank has said it will raise interest rates from 8 percent to 9.5 percent as Western sanctions and falling oil prices have sent the Russian ruble plummeting.

Spain says will seek to block watered-down Catalan vote on independence

Spain will seek to block in the courts a watered-down version of a Catalan vote on independence planned for Nov. 9 in the same way it stopped a non-binding referendum, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said on Friday.

Brutal Winter Set to Hit War-Torn Eastern Ukraine
ABC News

Dark tunnels in the basement of a bombed-out hospital in the eastern city of Donetsk lead to a makeshift shelter. Opening the door hardly alleviates the gloom, for the only lighting inside is the flicker of handmade oil lamps.

Ukraine’s Economy Shrinks Despite Military Spending
Alexander Kolyandr / The Wall Street Journal

Ukraine’s economy continued its rapid slide in the third quarter of 2014, gross domestic product data from the state statistics service showed Thursday.

Europe won’t recognize vote in eastern Ukraine, Merkel tells Putin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone that Sunday’s planned elections in eastern Ukraine were illegitimate and would not be recognized by European leaders, a Berlin government spokesman said on Friday.

Twenty-Five Years After Fall Of Berlin Wall, Hungary Lurches Away From Democracy
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A quarter of a century ago, in a stirring speech on Budapest’s Heroes’ Square, a young Viktor Orban called for the dismantling of communism in Hungary, free elections, and the withdrawal of Soviet troops — spearheading a wave of revolutions in the Eastern Bloc that culminated with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago — but Germany is still divided
Rick Noack / The Washington Post

It can be hard for visitors to Berlin to imagine where the Berlin Wall once separated Germany’s communist East from the U.S.-friendly West. Today, commuters run to catch a metro where trains stood for nearly 40 years. Curried sausages are sold and illegal (but popular) parties are celebrated in empty warehouses just feet from where East Germans were shot by their own countrymen as they tried to cross the border to the west.

Asia Pacific

Hong Kong’s Occupy Generation
Lian Yi Zheng / The New York Times

The dramatic opening of the Occupy Central movement five weeks ago, complete with liberal use of batons, pepper spray and tear gas by the police against unarmed students, triggered a surge of support for the young pro-democracy protesters. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of demonstrators still occupy several of the city’s main traffic arteries, camping out in neat lines of colorful tents.

Burma to consider reform to allow Aung San Suu Kyi to be elected president
The Telegraph

Burma’s parliament will consider amending the country’s constitution to allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president in next year’s election, an official has said.

China to Help Afghanistan Fight Terrorism, Rebuild
The Wall Street Journal

China pledged to help Afghanistan build its antiterrorism capabilities and encourage new investment there by Chinese enterprises, part of a trend that has been welcomed by U.S. officials.

Hong Kong Protesters Consider Taking Their Grievances to Beijing
Michael Forsythe / The New York Times

The student leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrations, increasingly frustrated by their lack of progress in negotiating with the local government over how to carry out elections, are considering taking their demands directly to the Chinese capital.

Taiwan’s President Backs Hong Kong Protesters While Courting Beijing

The New York Times

President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan voiced support on Friday for the democratic ideals of student protesters in Hong Kong and for greater democracy in mainland China itself, taking a chance on antagonizing Beijing even as he reaffirmed his policy of seeking further free-trade agreements with the mainland.

Bank of Japan Unexpectedly Eases Policy
The Wall Street Journal

The Bank of Japan took financial markets by surprise Friday, ratcheting up its already aggressive campaign against deflation by expanding its yearly asset purchases by tens of trillion yen, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth-revival plan teeters on the verge of faltering.

North Korea welcomes top human rights official
The Hill

North Korea said it has invited the European Union’s top human rights official to tour the country, The Associated Press reported.

Japan, North Korea Talks on Abductions Yield Little Progress
The Wall Street Journal

Japan’s main government spokesman said Friday that talks with North Korea over its past abductions of Japanese citizens yielded no new details about the whereabouts of those missing, underscoring the gap between Tokyo’s expectations and Pyongyang’s willingness to offer more information on an issue that has long dogged relations between the two nations.

U.S.-Japan joint military exercise Orient Shield underway

“We’re very grateful to have this opportunity to train with our Japanese counterparts,” U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Queck said of Orient Shield, the annual U.S.-Japan joint military training exercise that began Oct. 27.


Ebola crisis: China to send elite army unit to help tackle outbreak in Liberia
ABC News Australia

China will send an elite military unit to Liberia to help stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, the country’s foreign ministry says.

Liberia’s Ebola Crisis Puts President in Harsh Light
The New York Times

The president waited until her family members were seated around the dining table before announcing, with no fanfare, the latest defection from her cabinet.

Climate change

38 federal agencies reveal their vulnerabilities to climate change — and what they’re doing about it
The Washington Post

The Obama administration on Friday plans to publish a small library’s worth of climate change documents, outlining 38 federal agencies’ vulnerabilities to global warming and how they will address them — as well as a separate and even larger set of new government-wide plans to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and achieve new targets for sustainability.

Climate change to be discussed at G20 summit
The Sydney Morning Herald

The Abbott government has reluctantly agreed to discuss climate change at the G20 summit in Brisbane, but the G20 group will not make any new commitments to act on emissions. According to a draft communique now circulating to member countries, climate change will come under discussion.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Fusion is “the perfect way to make energy”
Caroline Julia con Wurden
The BBC Radio 4 series “In Our Time” broadcasted a program on nuclear fusion which offers carbon-free clean energy and is an ideal power source in terms of security and the environment.

Anderson University Podcast – ASP in Indiana: Climate Change and Security in the Heartland
Porter Brockway
At this event, ASP spoke to a group of about 50 undergraduate students as well as members of the local community about how climate change was impacting national security.

Butler University Podcast – ASP in Indiana: Climate Change and Security in the Heartland
Porter Brockway
ASP Senior Fellow Andrew Holland laid out the facts about climate change in a presentation hosted by Butler’s MBA students association.

Climate Change and Food Insecurity Threatens Stability in Developing Countries
AJ Degarmo
Maplecroft released their seventh annual “Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas” (CCERA), and the initial findings are bleak for some developing nations.

ASP in Indiana: Climate Change and Security in the Heartland
Andrew Holland
ASP visited Indiana to discuss how the Midwest is threated by climate change.

The US and EU Strategy to Defeat ISIL
Giancarlo Lima
Aside from military operations, US and EU leaders should pursue a comprehensive socioeconomic strategy to confront groups like ISIL.

Upcoming Events

ASP Conference – The US – EU Strategic Partnership: Trade, Energy, and Security
November 12 @ 12:30PM – 1:30PM
Location: American Security Project, Suite 750W – 1100 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005
Numerous strategic challenges and opportunities face the United States and European Union in 2015. Join ASP on November 12, 2014 as our high-level panel discusses what options are ahead of the US and the EU.

ORLANDO EVENT – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
November 17 @ 08:00 am 10:30 am

Location: Pegasus Ballroom – Student Union Building – University of Central Florida: 12715 Pegasus Dr., Orlando Fl 32816

Today, the U.S. Navy is preparing for an open Arctic, the Marines are deploying in response to historic typhoons, and the Army is preparing its bases to use less energy than they produce. Climate change is already a major consideration for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue. Join us for a discussion with senior flag officers as they discuss the steps the US military has taken and future implications for our national security.

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 18, 2014 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 the University of Tampa on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 as we discuss this important issue.

ASP Conference: Electricity Supply: What it Means for Security, Developments and Geopolitics
November 19 @ 12:00PM – 4:30PM
1100 New York Avenue, NW – 7th Floor – West Tower
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.

ASP Conference – Pakistan: Aid, Trade, and Security
December 9 @ 12:00PM – 2:00PM
Location: TBA
Join ASP and FTI Consulting as we host an event that will discuss current conditions of economic aid, trade and security in Pakistan, and will feature experts of military and development backgrounds.



The post What We Are Reading… October 31, 2014 appeared first on American Security Project.