Center for Strategic Communication

Middle East & North Africa

Inside Islamic State’s oil empire: how captured oilfields fuel Isis insurgency

Fazel Hawramy, Shalaw Mohammed & Luke Harding | The Guardian

Islamic State has consolidated its grip on oil supplies in Iraq and now presides over a sophisticated smuggling empire with illegal exports going to Turkey, Jordan and Iran, according to smugglers and Iraqi officials.


Egypt welcomes Saudi call to mend ties with Qatar


Egypt welcomed a Saudi call on Wednesday to back an agreement among Gulf Arab states that ended an eight-month dispute over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and promotion of Arab Spring revolts.


New Kurdish offensive targets Islamic State group

Vivian Salama & Deb Riechmann | The Associated Press

Kurdish peshmerga forces launched a new offensive Wednesday targeting Islamic State group extremists in Iraq, even as a suicide bomber killed at least five people in the Kurds’ regional capital.


Suicide Attack Hits Iraqi Kurdish Capital Erbil

John Beck | Vice News

A suicide bombing hit the usually secure Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil on Wednesday, killing at least four people in the first major attack on the city for over a year.


No date for IS war vote as Congress waits on Obama

The Washington Post

Congressional authorization of the U.S. war against Islamic State extremists has gone nowhere in two weeks since President Barack Obama vowed to coordinate with lawmakers on a stronger legal basis for military action, prompting growing frustration with the White House.


Islamic State fighters pushed back on fronts in Syria, Iraq (+video)

Kenneth Kaplan

Forces of the self-declared Islamic State appeared Tuesday to have suffered another setback in the long battle for the northern Syrian city of Kobane, as Kurdish fighters there reportedly captured buildings housing a significant quantity of IS weapons and ammunition.



Taliban suicide bombers die in attack on international zone in Kabul

Hamid Shalizi & Mirwais Harooni | Reuters

Four Afghan Taliban suicide bombers died when a group of the militants tried to storm an international zone in Kabul on Wednesday in the latest high-profile assault aimed at foreign targets in Afghanistan.


Science & Technology

Particle collider notches up two new finds

Agence France-Press

Experiments at the world’s biggest particle smasher have confirmed the existence of two theorized sub-atomic particles, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said on Wednesday.


Comet landing: Organic molecules detected by Philae

Paul Rincon | BBC News

Carbon-containing “organics” are the basis of life on Earth and may give clues to chemical ingredients delivered to our planet early in its history.



Obama: West Africa not out of the woods on Ebola

Darlene Superville | The Associated Press

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that West Africa is “nowhere near out of the woods” in its fight against Ebola despite some improvement in the three countries hardest hit by the virus.


Nuclear Security

How Congress Could Block a Nuclear Deal With Iran

Kaveh Waddell | National Journal

The deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran is next Monday, and congressional opponents of an agreement are considering their options for preventing one from being struck. Congress has a wide range of tools it can use to get in the way of a deal with Iran – and President Obama has a few tricks he can use to counter.


Climate Change

Why is Record Cold and Epic Snow Hitting U.S. So Early

Brian Clark Howard | National Geographic

Temperatures are expected to remain well below normal from the Great Plains to the Eastern Seaboard over the next few days, while snow will likely continue downwind of the Great Lakes, according to the National Weather Service.


International Trade Agreements

Don’t believe the scaremongering myths – TTIP is nothing to be afraid of

Alexandra Renison | The Independent

Global summits can sometimes be short on action and long on rhetoric, to the extent that those in the real world often pay little attention to what are seen by many as mere talking shops.


Employment Opportunities

Internships Available

ASP is looking for current or recently graduated students interested in hands-on public policy experience for full- and part-time internships. Interns will support ASP researchers and staff in multiple areas including communications, development, programming and research.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Nuclear fusion laser clean sup coal emissions

Caroline Julia von Wurden

The Naval Research Laboratory is developing a low-cost method to reduce nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from coal power plants.


Iran’s Negotiating Team: Who’s Who

Marylin Carino

A run-down of the important Iranian figures currently involved in negotiations with U.S. over the country’s nuclear program.


Partnering for Prosperity: The State of U.S.-EU Relations

Sophia Dahodwala

In the wake of ISIL, climate change, Ebola, trade negotiation, elections in the European Union and United States, and new leadership in the European Commission, U.S.-EU cooperation comes at a time when partnership is more important than ever.


Challenges in Nuclear Verification: The IAEA’s Role on the Iranian Nuclear Issue

Marylin Carino

Yukiya Amano, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke at the Brookings Institutions to discuss the challenges in verifying Iran’s nuclear program.


Getting the old band back together? A possible partnership between ISIS and al-Qaeda

Matt Suber

In 2013, the jihadist group ISI (Islamic State in Iraq) began tactical operations in Syria, taking advantage of the country’s civil war. Fighting in both Iraq and Syria, ISI became ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).


Reflections from a Veteran

Jon Breed

Veterans are unique members of American society. I believe this, not because veterans receive specialized combat training or make extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of this country. I believe this because, while serving in the military, volunteers from small country towns and big urban cities acquire new experiences and perspectives that most American’s go a lifetime without.


U.S. Military Medicine Drives Innovation and Affects Civilian and Ebola Patients

Jay Lopez

This is a Guest Post from Jay Lopez, President and CEO of Estill Medical Technologies. In this post, the topics of medical innovations on the battlefield, affects on civilian life, and the medical needs for Ebola patients are covered.


Optimism or Reality: US – China Cooperation on Shale Gas

Frauke Heidemann & Patrick Renz

This is the final post of a series on US – China strategic energy relations. Chinese investment in unconventional fossil fuels is aimed at China’s goal of restricting coal use and increasing domestic natural gas production. It also presents an opportunity for increasingly difficult Sino-US bilateral relations.


Upcoming Events

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.


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