Center for Strategic Communication

International News Coverage

Middle East, Terrorism and Counterterrorism

King Adbullah, a Shrewd Force Who Reshaped Saudi Arabia, Dies at 90
Douglas Martin / The New York Times
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who came to the throne in old age and earned a reputation as a cautious reformer even as the Arab Spring revolts toppled heads of state and Islamic State militants threatened the Muslim establishment that he represented, died on Friday, according to a statement on state television. He was 90.


Yemen Suffers Power Vacuum After President, Premier Quit
Yara Bayoumy and Mohammed Ghobari / Reuters
Yemen drifted deeper into political limbo on Friday after President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned in exasperation at a Houthi rebel takeover of the country, a move that appeared to catch the Iran-backed group off balance..


ISIL Deadline for Japan Ransom Passes, but Hostages’ Fate Unclear
Al Jazeera
Japan said Friday it was still trying to secure the release of two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after a deadline to pay ransom for their release passed, with no immediate word on their fate and the status of efforts to free the two men unclear.


Syrian Air Strike on Rebel Area Kills More Than 30: Monitor
Oliver Holmes and Mostafa Hashem / Reuters
A Syrian air strike killed more than 30 people in a rebel-held area near Damascus on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group and opposition activists said.


How Boko Haram has Left Northeast Nigeria in Ruins
Charlotte Alfred / The Huffington Post
A ruthless campaign of violence by the Islamist extremists of Boko Haram has devastated Nigeria’s northeast. The group’s five-year insurgency has taken a terrifying toll on an impoverished region where many already feel politically marginalized.



Ukraine Rebel Forces to Advance Kiev’s Troops, Leader Says
Nick Shchetko / The Wall Street Journal
A Ukrainian separatist leader vowed Friday his forces would extend advances against government troops in the east and said rebels would make no new efforts to initiate cease-fire talks, potentially complicating already difficult negotiations to calm the crisis.


Armenian Soldiers Killed in Border Clash with Azerbaijan
Hasmik Mkrtchyan and Nailia Bagirova / Reuters
At least two Armenian soldiers were killed in clashes with troops from neighboring Azerbaijan on Friday, but the former Soviet republics gave conflicting death tolls and disputed who was to blame.


TTIP is ‘Big Bonanza’ for Developing Countries, EU Claims
The planned EU-US free trade agreement TTIP holds unexpected opportunities for developing countries, according to a recent study. But while the European Commission has high hopes for the deal, NGOs are warning of a transatlantic “Economic NATO” with devastating effects for the global world order. EurActiv Germany reports.



Leader of Libyan Islamists Ansar al-Sharia Dies of Wounds
Ulf Laessing / Reuters
The leader of Libyan Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia has died of wounds suffered when fighting pro-government troops several months ago, his family and officials said on Friday.


Ebola Crisis: Experimental Vaccine ‘Shipped to Liberia’
Smitha Mundasad / BBC
The first batch of an experimental vaccine against Ebola is on its way to Liberia. The shipment will be the first potentially preventative medicine to reach one of the hardest hit countries. But experts say that, with Ebola cases falling, it may be difficult to establish whether the jab offers any protection against the virus.

The Americas


Republican Senator Marco Rubio Preparing for 2016 Run: ABC
Doina Chiacu / Reuters
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is preparing to launch a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, signing on a prominent fundraiser and planning trips to early voting states, a Rubio adviser said on Friday.


Barack Obama Will Not Meet Benjamin Netanyahu in March
Barack Obama will not meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he visits in March to speak to Congress, the White House says.


Top U.S. Official Meets Dissidents in Cuba
The Times of India
The highest-ranking US official to visit Cuba in 35 years met with leading dissidents on Friday, but one prominent opposition figure declined to attend amid differences over Washington’s rapprochement with Havana.



Narendra Modi and President Obama to Meet in New Dehli
Nida Najar / The New York Times
Differences that the United States and India have been grappling with for years are expected to dominate talks between President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi when they meet in New Delhi next week.


Indonesian Divers Find 6 Bodies in Fuselage of Crashed AirAsia Jet
Associated Press
For the first time, Indonesian divers were able Friday to enter the fuselage of the AirAsia jetliner that crashed last month into the Java Sea and retrieved six bodies, an official said.


North Korea Urges South to Lift Sanctions Before Talks can Begin
Ju-Min Park / Reuters
North Korea on Friday demanded the lifting of sanctions, imposed by South Korea after a 2010 attack on one of its naval vessels, as a condition for resuming dialogue.


Energy Security, Science and Technology, Climate Change

Climate Change Inaction Pushes ‘Doomsday Clock’ Closest to Midnight Since 1984

Suzanne Goldenberg / The Guardian
The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight on Thursday because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signalling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war.


Death of Saudi King Unsettles Oil Market, Prices Rise
Jonathan Fahey and Youkyung Lee / Associated Press
The benchmark U.S. crude futures contract was up 71 cents to $47.02 a barrel at 0725 GMT on Friday. Brent crude, an international benchmark, was up 92 cents to $49.42 a barrel. The small rise reflects added uncertainty about Saudi oil policy because the country’s new absolute monarch, Abdullah’s 79-year-old half-brother Prince Salman, is in poor health.


Senate Rejects Link Between Human Activity and Climate Change
Max Ehrenfreund / The Washington Post
Climate change “is not a hoax,” according to the U.S. Senate, which voted 98 to 1 in favor of an amendment stating as much Wednesday. Explaining his vote, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said that there was “Biblical evidence” of climate change, but that humans were not responsible for it.

ASP Recently Published

Libya: On the Brink
Giancarlo Lima
This report analyzes the recent events that have placed Libya on its current path. In order to understand events on the ground, this report includes a breakdown of key Libyan parties and figures as well as an examination of the economic and energy dimensions of the conflict. The report then concludes with a look forward for Libya and recommendations for the U.S. and international community.


U.S. Fusion Program Recommendations

Caroline Julia von Wurden and Andrew Holland
This report on fusion energy is informed by a roundtable discussion of fusion energy that was hosted by ASP on December 4, 2014. The report goes on to explain the potential benefits of fusion energy in the U.S. as a safe and clean source of power, but only if certain barriers to the implementation of this technology are overcome.

On Our Flashpoint Blog


Netanyahu and the Israeli Intelligence Split on the Iran Sanctions Bill
Sungtae “Jacky” Park
On January 21, an article by Bloomberg reported that Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, has split with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the new Iran sanctions bill. Israeli intelligence officials argue that passing of the bill would lead to a collapse of the current nuclear talks between P5+1 and Iran.


Challenges to the Navy in the Arctic Region
Philip Rossetti
As the ice extent of the Arctic region continues to recede, the US Navy is tasked with maintaining security in a region of increasing importance. The United States Navy should seriously consider the needs of its future Arctic mission.


The Importance of Net Neutrality and America’s Role
Porter Brockway
In Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda’s article, “The World Is Watching Our Net Neutrality Debate, So Let’s Get It Right”, he discusses in the importance of network neutrality and what it means for the world. But what is network neutrality? Why is there a debate happening in our nation’s capital about this issue?
After Ebola

Christy Vines
Though the worst of the Ebola epidemic may indeed be behind West Africa, its aftermath, especially its heavy toll on the stability and economic viability of significant parts of those countries hardest hit by the virus, is likely just beginning. The impact of the virus across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea has thrown entire civil and political ecosystems out of balance, ecosystems only recently recovering from long periods of instability and violence.


Three Energy Security Issues to Watch Out For in 2015
William George
It’s 2015, and the New Year brings with it several critical energy issues that loom large for the United States.  Many of these issues are not new, but recent developments- domestically and internationally- are poised to affect these problems in new ways. What are these issues, and how will they affect U.S. energy security moving forward?


A National CRO: Risk Management for the American Enterprise
Dante Disparte
Last week the President signed the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) of 2002, it begs the question whether a siloed risk transfer approach is the most effective strategy for national risks borne by taxpayers.  TRIA was first designed to shore up the insurance industry, which suffered large property, casualty and life losses due to the terrorist attack on 9/11.  Additional losses were borne by the airline industry and many other sectors, which never anticipated such a large scale event.


58 Million Have Right to Education: How do we deliver?
Luke Lorenz
The United States and its allies must understand the critical nature of education in the developing world. In their acts of barbarity, terrorist organizations like Boko Haram have revealed the weakness at the heart of their ideology. Their belief structure is a house of cards which can only stand on a foundation of ignorance.


Five Developing Stories in MENA
Maggie Feldman-Piltch
Five of the latest developing stories in the MENA region.

Upcoming Events


Conference – Energy Security in the Caribbean: Unique Challenges
February 4 @ 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Join ASP as we host a conference on February 4, 2015, discussing the challenges facing the Caribbean in securing their energy future and how to move forward in the years to come.

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