Center for Strategic Communication

International News


The Associated Press

Muslim militants pushed forward in their offensive on a major military air base in eastern Syria Friday capturing a nearby village in an attempt to take one of President Bashar Assad’s last outposts in a province that borders Iraq, activists said.

Inflating the Salafi Threat in Jordan
The Atlantic Council

Jordan’s government-influenced media has declared the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) as an affront to Islam and human dignity and availed itself to the coalition fighting the militant group.

Jordan’s king: Fight on ISIS “a third world war”
CBS News

President Obama will meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House Friday morning to discuss the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an ongoing civil war in Syria and Middle East peace.

U.S. training of Syrian rebels still months away: coalition chief

Western plans to train and equip non-jihadi rebels in Syria will not start until at least late February, a leading opposition figure said on Friday, depriving them of support they need to counter both rival insurgents and Syrian government forces.

Germany, in a First, Convicts a Returned Jihadist
The New York Times

A German court sentenced a 20-year-old man who traveled to Syria to fight alongside a group associated with the Islamic State to three years and nine months in juvenile detention, the country’s first conviction of a returned jihadist.

Displaced Afghan Families Fear Winter Without Food, Shelter
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been displaced by Taliban attacks and other violence, fleeing to safer havens within the country.

Syrian Militant Threatens Lebanese Shiites After Family Arrested
The Wall Street Journal

A Sunni militant commander in Syria who has pledged allegiance to Islamic State has threatened to “retaliate” against Lebanese Shiites over the arrest of his wife and two children in Lebanon, according to a new militant posting.

Eastern Libyan government conducts air strikes on border with Tunisia

Forces allied to one of two rival governments vying for power in Libya conducted air strikes near the Tunisian border and vowed to shut the main land border crossing between the two countries, officials said.

Kerry Praises Good Start by New Afghan Government
VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said President Ghani’s new government had already made moves to combat money laundering and corruption since taking office in September in the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history.

Europe FSU

A Year Later, a New Ukraine
PETRO POROSHENKO/ The Wall Street Journal

For the first time since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the nation has the opportunity to evolve into a true European democracy, thanks to the recent election of a pro-European constitutional majority to Parliament.

Navigating Russia’s imploding economy

Sanctions will cost Russia $40bn annually, and an additional $90-$100bn will be lost because of tumbling oil prices.

Serbia caught between Russia and the west
The Financial Times

Gazprom, the state gas company, has been at the forefront of Moscow’s push to expand its influence into the Balkans — a region beset with economic and political difficulties.
U.S.-Russia Space Alliance Hits Snags
The Wall Street Journal

Heightened tensions between Russia and the U.S. are hampering their cooperation in space, adding to the problems of an American space industry reeling from the crashes of two commercial spacecraft this fall.

Ukraine turns towards Nato, increasing tension between Russia and west
The Financial Times

Will Ukraine really push ahead with Nato accession? Nato made its own position clear quickly enough: on Friday, the alliance updated its fact sheet on relations with Russia to state that “Ukraine has the right to choose its own alliances, and Russia has, by its own repeated agreement, no right to dictate that choice.”

Ukraine sets new truce date with rebels

New ceasefire beginning on December 9 will seek to establish a buffer zone between rebels and government troops.

Moldova Is Next Battleground for Russia and EU
Judy Dempsey / Carnegie Europe

Like Ukraine, Moldova has become a geo-strategic competition between Brussels and Moscow. And like Ukraine, Russia will be determined not to let the country slip away from its influence. As shown during the election campaign, Russia will attempt to use its version of soft power to continue to meddle in Moldova.

Russia’s Brain Drain Is Astounding
Business Insider

The biggest bombshell of all is that since April 2014 — a month after Russia annexed Crimea — 203,659 Russians have left the country.

EU’s Juncker says South Stream pipeline can still be built

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted the $40 billion South Stream natural gas pipeline can still go ahead and accused Russia of holding EU-member Bulgaria to ransom when it said it had abandoned the project.

French Defense Minister Says Russia May Never Receive Mistral Warships
The New York Times

Two warships that France agreed to sell to Russia might never be delivered, the French defense minister said on Friday, drawing an angry response from Moscow, which said Paris must honor its contract in full.

Eurozone Investment Fell in Third Quarter
The Wallstreet Journal

Falling investment continued to weigh on the eurozone in the third quarter, partly offsetting an acceleration in consumer spending to leave the economy close to stagnation.

Nazarbaev Urges Europe, Russia To Seek Compromise On Ukraine
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has said sanctions are having little effect on Russia and that the West should seek compromise with Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

Ukraine’s Foreign-Currency And Gold Reserves Dip Below $10 Billion
The Wall Street Journal

Ukraine’s foreign-currency and gold reserves dropped below $10 billion in November for the first time in nearly a decade due to large payments for debt and gas, the National Bank of Ukraine said on Friday.

Asia Pacific

Japan’s Abe Set for Landslide Victory, Polls Suggest
The Wallstreet Journal

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is poised for a landslide victory in Dec. 14 parliamentary elections, polls by Japanese news organizations said Thursday, a result that would give Mr. Abe a mandate to pursue policies such as opening Japan’s agricultural markets.

North Korea still a suspect in Sony attack despite denial

North Korea is a principal suspect in the cyber attack on Sony Pictures, a U.S. national security source told Reuters on Thursday, while a North Korean diplomat denied Pyongyang was behind the crippling hack.

Why China Tripled Its Military Presence in Africa
Defense One

China announced in September that it would send a battalion of seven-hundred infantry soldiers to reinforce the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), a heretofore unprecedented move that triples its troop contribution.

Chinese Stocks See Best Day Since 2012
The Wall Street Journal

After years of estrangement, China’s small investors are rushing back into stocks, driving a rally that has made Shanghai the top-performing major market in the world this year.

Did Japan actually lose any decades?
The Financial Times

On the whole, we struggle to find evidence that Japan really lost much compared to its peers elsewhere, which is rather remarkable considering the magnitude and wastefulness of the excesses of the 1980s.

China Tests Developmental Hypersonic Mach 10 Missile Vs US Defenses, US Urged To Keep Up
International Business Times Australia

China’s been busy this week conducting flight tests of a new hypersonic Mach 10 missile which, according to United States intelligence agencies, was primarily developed to evade defense systems of the U.S.

China will have more warships than the U.S. by 2020, says report
The Washington Post

By 2020, the Chinese navy will have more military vessels than its American counterpart, predicts a U.S. congressional commission on China. An annual report presented to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission projected that Beijing’s fleet could boast as many as 351 vessels in six years time, a figure that would be larger than current estimates for the American navy.

China arrests ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang

Ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang, the most senior Chinese official to be investigated for corruption, has been arrested and expelled from the Communist Party, state media report.

Narendra Modi, Favoring Growth in India, Pares Back Environmental Rules
The New York Times

Factory owners in this city on the western coast of India have been fuming, railing, and arguing for years against a single troublesome number: the pollution index used by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which identified Vapi as an area so badly contaminated that any further industrial growth there was banned.


South Africans Mark First Anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s Death
The New York Times

It was a death long foretold that drew mourners from his own nation and across the globe. But on Friday, one year after Nelson Mandela died, it almost seemed as if those he inspired were questing to rediscover his message of probity and reconciliation in a society with new troubles.

National Security

Obama Nominates Pentagon Veteran Ashton Carter as Defense Secretary
The Wall Street Journal

President Barack Obama on Friday nominated Ashton Carter to be his fourth defense secretary, elevating a Pentagon veteran to lead the nation’s military as it faces growing conflict in the Middle East.


For World’s Oil Exporters, Falling Prices Have A Domino Effect

Falling oil prices have been good news for consumers and businesses here in the U.S. and in the many countries around the world that import oil. But it’s having a domino effect in oil-exporting nations. Government budgets are strained. Economies are struggling. The currency is crashing.

Oil Prices Are Headed For $60 A Barrel: ‘There’s Nothing To Stop It’
Business Insider

Brent crude slipped below $70 a barrel on Friday and was set for a second weekly fall, with Saudi Arabia cutting prices in another indication it would maintain output in an oversupplied market.

Oil Prices – Decline Turned Into Collapse?

The current price decline has been driven by an increase in supply and a slowing in the growth rate of demand. The most probable outcome is for oil production to continue falling until prices firm. Eventually oil prices should start rising again.
Oil’s Price Is Plunging, So Why Isn’t Gas Even Cheaper?
NBC News

What’s not so obvious is why prices seem to move faster to the upside when the price of crude oil rises. In technical terms, this is known as the “asymmetric, nonlinear pass-through of crude oil prices.” Drivers call it “gasoline refiners and dealers getting greedy.”

Who to Believe: U.S. Natural Gas May Peak in 2040. Or 2020.
The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. has even more natural gas than previously thought, government forecasters said Thursday. But not all scientists are buying it.

U.S. Oil Reserves Hit 38-Year High
US News & World Report

Fracking has unleashed a torrent of oil and natural gas, the Energy Information Administration says.

Natural gas pipeline into New England approved

Federal regulators have approved a $700 million pipeline that could bring cheaper Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania into western Connecticut and the rest of New England.

Qatar, King of LNG, faces challenges in Asia
World Bulletin

Qatar, the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world, faces challenges in Asia as Australia and Malaysia become its rivals.

Shipping Chokepoint Strangles Ukraine Hopes for U.S. LNG

Ukraine’s plan to diminish its energy dependence on Russia is adrift in the Bosporus Strait.

LNG News: A New Solution Emerges to Fix Europe’s Dependence on Russian Gas
Motely Fool

According to a report by Reuters, Spanish energy company Repsol is looking for partners to build an LNG export facility on Canada’s east coast. The company is said to be seeking partners willing to invest $4 billion so that natural gas from North America can be shipped to Europe in order cut the continent’s dependence on gas supplies from Russia. However, the project has a number of obstacles to overcome before it would ever see the light of day.

Italy’s Renzi pivots to Africa for alternatives to Russian gas
The Financial Times

A day after Vladimir Putin made his surprise move to scrap a grandiose pipeline that was to carry fresh supplies of Russian gas to Europe for generations to come, Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, was in Algiers plotting a very different vision for Europe’s energy policy.

Ukraine reports accident at Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant

Ukraine has reported an accident at a nuclear power plant but the government says it poses no danger.

Mogherini pushes Kerry for energy chapter in TTIP

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini yesterday (3 December) pushed for the inclusion of an energy chapter in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) during talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Climate Change

The US-China climate pact is driving progress toward a wider deal

Representatives from nearly 200 nations are in Lima, Peru, for UN-sponsored climate change talks, but much of the focus is on China and the United States.

The Next Big Climate Question: Will India Follow China?
The New York Times

China and India share a common domestic problem — one that has motivated China’s leaders to act, and could motivate India’s. That is, the fossil fuels that cause climate change also produce local air pollution.

Maps: The countries that have been hardest hit by extreme weather
The Washington Post

More than 530,000 people have died between 1994 and 2013 due to extreme weather, according to a new report by the NGO Germanwatch. By compiling a Climate Risk Index, the organization has combined average numbers of deaths and the value of financial losses over the last 20 years to rank the countries that have been most gravely affected by such incidents. In those two decades, about 15,000 extreme weather events have cost the world about $2.2. trillion, the report concludes.

Philippines Braces for Arrival of Typhoon Hagupit
The New York Times

Parts of the Philippines were preparing Friday for the arrival of a powerful storm blowing off the Pacific Ocean, just over a year after Typhoon Haiyan cut a path of devastation across the island nation. But the new storm, Typhoon Hagupit, was not expected to have Haiyan’s destructive power.


New NASA spaceship successfully completes debut test run

A U.S. spaceship designed to one day fly astronauts to Mars made a near-bullseye splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Friday, wrapping up a flawless, unmanned debut test flight around Earth.

NASA’s Mars capsule Orion launches from Cape Canaveral for test flight above Earth
ABC News Australia

NASA’s new deep space capsule, Orion, has launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

On Our Flashpoint Blog
Innovative Solutions to Providing Reliable Power
Caroline von Wurden
BGen Stephen A. Cheney, CEO of the American Security Project, moderated a panel discussion on Innovative Solutions to Providing Reliable Power.

Bad Things Happen in the Dark
Maggie Feldman-Piltch
While there are real risks to generating and supplying power, especially in politically or socially unstable environment, the true risk lies in failing to ensure reliable energy sources and distribution systems.

Electricity: The Catalyst for Change
Sophia Dahodwala
“Electricity: The Catalyst for Change,” brought together an array of development and security experts to highlight the importance of energy and electricity generation around the globe. Each panelist stressed the importance of reliable, sustainable electricity as means to bring about peace, security, and stability.

Russia’s Natural Gas Pivot to Asia: A Reality Check
Hidetoshi Azuma
2014 China-Russia natural gas deal is beset with mounting challenges from the beginning. Russia has pivoted to Asia but is heading there at great costs.

14 Challenges in the Secretary of Defense’s Inbox on Day 1
Andrew Holland
There’s no shortage of challenges that Secretary Hagel’s successor will face. Here’s a list of 14 detailed by ASP experts.

Japan Looks East: The Growing Importance of North American LNG
Hidetoshi Azuma
Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011 eliminated Japan’s nuclear power. As Japan seeks alternative energy sources, North American LNG is emerging as the country’s solution.

Three Challenges for the Next Secretary of Defense
Ken Robbins
What will be on the next Secretary of Defense’s desk? ASP Adjunct Fellow Ken Robbins outlines three main challenges facing the incoming SecDef.

Statement on the Extension of the Iran Talks
BGen Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.)
ASP CEO BGen. Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret) issues a statement on the extension of the Iran nuclear negotiations.

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.

Upcoming Events

Special Envoy Amos Hochstein: Energy Diplomacy and National Security Challenges in the Middle East
December 8 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Location: American Security Project, Suite 750W – 1100 New York Ave NW, Washington DC 20005
Join ASP on Monday, December 8th as we host Special Envoy Hochstein on how the United States can use energy diplomacy in the Middle East as a tool in combating ISIS.

NYC Event: Pakistan – Aid, Trade, and Security
December 9 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
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.

Deputy Under Secretary of Defense John Conger: DoD Efforts on Climate Adaptation
December 12 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Location: American Security Project, Suite 750W – 1100 New York Ave NW, Washington DC 20005
Join ASP on Friday, December 12 as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense John Conger discusses the Department of Defense’s Climate Adaptation Roadmap, its implications, and how the military is planning for climate change.
4th Annual Defense, National Security & Climate Change Symposium
January 7, 2015
Location: Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd NW

Join us for the 4th Annual Defense, National Security & Climate Change Symposium from January 7-8, 2015.

Take advantage of a special 20% discount offer by entering
at check-out.

Complete registration information is available at:

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