Center for Strategic Communication

International News Coverage


Middle East, Terrorism and Counterterrorism


Covert CIA Mission to Arm Syrian Rebels Goes Awry

Adam Entous / The Wall Street Journal

It didn’t take long for rebel commanders in Syria who lined up to join a Central Intelligence Agency weapons and training program to start scratching their heads. After the program was launched in mid-2013, CIA officers secretly analyzed cellphone calls and email messages of commanders to make sure they were really in charge of the men they claimed to lead. Commanders were then interviewed, sometimes for


Japan vows to work with Jordan to secure hostage release

Yuya Shino / Reuters

Japan has vowed to work with Jordan to secure the release of a Japanese journalist held by Islamic State militants after the killing last week of another Japanese captive, but it reiterated that it would not give in to terrorism.


Iraq sleeper cells fight ISIS in Mosul

Sameer N. Yacoub / The Daily Star

“Sleeper cells” made up of former Iraqi police officers and soldiers are tipping off authorities to ISIS positions in the northern city of Mosul, a prominent lawmaker has told the Associated Press.


Kurds drive Islamic State fighters from strategic town of Kobane

Karen DeYoung and Hugh Naylor / The Washington Post

The key Syrian border town of Kobane, the main focus of U.S. airstrikes in Syria for the past four months, has been retaken from the Islamic State by Kurdish forces, according to the U.S. Central Command and Kurdish activists.





French Police Arrest 5 in Terrorism Raid

Dan Bilefsky / The New York Times

The French counterterrorism police on Tuesday raided the southern town of Lunel and arrested five people in an operation aimed at rooting out a suspected jihadist network, a senior police official said. Christophe Crépin, a spokesman for the UNSA police union, said that the five people arrested were suspected of being part of a group that had been recruiting people to join militants fighting in Syria.


EU Heads Call for More Russia Sanctions

Laurence Norman / The Wall Street Journal

European Union heads of government asked the bloc’s foreign ministers to consider further sanctions on Russia as a response to the latest violence in eastern Ukraine, saying Moscow held “responsibility” for the rebels’ actions.




Gunmen Storm Libyan Hotel, Killing Guards and Taking Hostages

Osama Alfitory and Matt Bradley / The Wall Street Journal

Unknown gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Libya’s capital Tuesday, killing at least three people and taking several others hostage, eyewitnesses and security officials said. A group calling itself Islamic State-Libya Province claimed responsibility over Twitter for the midmorning attack on the Corinthia Hotel.


As Boko Haram rampages, Nigerians head to polls. John Kerry is worried.

Carol Morello / The Washington Post

Against a backdrop of militant Islamist attacks, Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Sunday urged Nigeria’s president and his leading opponent in upcoming elections to accept the results of next month’s vote and encourage their supporters to eschew postelection violence.


U.S.-built Ebola treatment centers in Liberia are nearly empty as outbreak fades

Kevin Sieff/ The Washington Post

Near the hillside shelter where dozens of men and women died of Ebola, a row of green U.S. military tents sit atop a vast expanse of imported gravel. The generators hum; chlorinated water churns in brand-new containers; surveillance cameras send a live feed to a large-screen television.


The Americas


Brazil risks recession as central bank bucks global trend, raises rate

Walter Brandimarte and Silvio Cascione/ Reuters

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s crusade to win back investor confidence has entrusted policymakers with the tough mission of hiking interest rates while major central banks cut them, raising the prospect of another recession in Latin America’s biggest economy.


Brazil’s Petrobras probe grows with international firms eyed

Caroline Stauffer / Reuters

A Brazilian police officer investigating a kick-back scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras said the total amount of money involved could exceed $28 billion, making it the country’s biggest-ever money laundering probe.


Death toll rises in Mexico’s roiling Michoacan state

Tracy Wilkinson / LA Times

Five more members of a vigilante “self-defense” group were killed during the weekend in a spiral of violence sweeping parts of Mexico’s troubled Michoacan state, showcased by the government in the last year as a security success story.




‘Contain China’: The big takeaway from Obama’s historic 3-day visit

Krittivas Mukherjee / Hindustan Times

India may no longer be unwilling to act to offset a rising China in Asia-Pacific, aligning its strategic vision for the region with that of the United States in what seems a radical departure from New Delhi’s history of independent foreign policy.


Massive power failure plunges 80% of Pakistan into darkness

Arshad Arbab / The Guardian

Pakistan was plunged into darkness after a power transmission line broke down early on Sunday in an incident blamed on a rebel attack. The power failure, one of the worst Pakistan has experienced, caused electricity to be cut in 80% of the country, including major cities and the capital Islamabad.


Energy Security, Science and Technology, Climate Change


EPA: States can’t ‘preempt’ climate rule

Timothy Cama / The Hill

Justice Department attorneys, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told the court Friday that the rule cannot be challenged in court until it is made final later this year.


The exciting potential for sensors and drones to combat global hunger

Shawn DuBravac / The Washington Post

Ethiopia halved the number of its undernourished people from 75 percent to 35 percent in two decades, according to the United Nations. Still, that 35 percent is considerable – the U.N.’s World Food Programme estimates that 3.2 million Ethiopians need food relief assistance.


Cablevision to Introduce Wi-Fi-Based Phone Plan

Emily Steel  / The New York Times

Cablevision Systems plans to announce on Monday the start of a low-cost mobile phone service that will use Wi-Fi for connectivity rather than standard cellular networks, the first such service to be introduced by a cable operator.


On Our Flashpoint Blog


What’s in a Name? ISIL being labeled Daesh

Matthew Walin

Check off another name on the list of officials, states, and agencies which refuse to grant ISIL its self-appointed label of being the “Islamic State.” Business Insider has noted that LTG James Terry, in command of Operation Inherent Resolve, is using the term “Daesh” to refer to ISIL.


5 Key World News Stories

Maggie Feldman-Piltch

Government officials in the Philippines said Monday at least 43 members of the elite Special Action Force were killed in a counter-terrorism raid, making it the largest single loss of involving Philippine police officers in recent history.


Risk is a Process, Not an Event

Dante Disparte

In risk management there is an old adage that complex systems fail in complex ways. Yet, many risk management approaches deal with risk as if it were a discrete, time-defined event, rather than a dynamic process that is highly volatile.


Countering terror, and the wider challenges in the Middle East

Pau Hamill

Four key events happened in regard to the Middle East and our own national security last week.
In the Middle East, Water Security IS Energy Security

William George

ASP defines energy security as “the ability for a country to act in its foreign policy independently of how it uses energy domestically.” Countries in the Middle East are finding this concept increasingly difficult to implement due to intensifying resource-based challenges. Specifically, many of these countries are running out of water.


Green Bonds for Clean Energy

Luke Lorenz

The promise and potential of alternative energy is rapidly becoming a reality. In the manufacture of green technology, the United States has a clear opportunity for significant export growth and global leadership. This sector is also becoming a sound investment. The issuance of “Green Bonds”, investment instruments of which proceeds are dedicated to the advancement of alternative energy initiatives, has skyrocketed in just a few years.



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.


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.

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