Center for Strategic Communication

International News Coverage

Middle East, Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Official: Houthis seize U.S. Embassy vehicles, Marines weapons at airport
Greg Botelho / CNN
Houthi rebels took all U.S. Embassy vehicles parked at the Yemeni capital’s airport and wouldn’t let debarting U.S. Marines take their weapons with them, a top Sanaa airport official said about the latest evidence unrest in an Arab nation long seen as key in America’s fight against terrorists.

Obama asks Congress to approve fight against militants
Susan Davis / USA Today
The White House sent Congress a formal request Wednesday for Authorization for Use of Military Force to combat the Islamic State, citing threats it poses to Iraq and Syria, stability in the region, and the national security of the United States.

Australia Arrests 2 on Suspicion of Plotting ‘Imminent’ Attack
Michelle Innis / New York Times
Australia’s counterterrorism police have arrested two men in a Sydney suburb and thwarted “an imminent attack,” the police said Wednesday.

Sandstorm hits Israel, sends sea waves tearing into Beirut
Associated Press
A Mideast sandstorm roared into Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday, causing the worst Israeli air pollution in years and sending powerful waves tearing into Beirut’s famed corniche along the Mediterranean Sea.

Fresh off victory over IS in Kobani, Kurds seek more success
Zeina Karam and Mohammaed Rasool / Associated Press
For Kurdish fighters, last month’s victory over Islamic State militants in the town of Kobani in northern Syria was only the beginning. Their ambition is to build on an alliance with moderate rebels in Syria and become the chief force fighting the extremists in the country.


Ukraine conflict: Death toll rises ahead of peace talks
BBC News
More than 20 people have died in violence in eastern Ukraine as the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany prepare for peace talks. Nineteen Ukrainian soldiers were killed, many in a town that pro-Russian rebels say they have surrounded.

About 300 Migrants Said to Have Died Crossing Mediterranean
Gaia Pianigiani / New York Times
An estimated 300 migrants were reported dead on Wednesday as survivors recounted harrowing tales of small boats being overwhelmed by waves, throwing scores of victims into deadly cold Mediterranean waters, humanitarian organizations said.

Belgium Terror Group Founder Sentenced to 12 Years in Jail
Matthew Dalton / Wall Street Journal
A heavily guarded Belgian court ruled on Wednesday that an Islamist groupthat sent dozens of its members to fight in Syria was a terrorist organization, sentencing its founder to 12 years in prison.

The Americas

China’s Xi to make first state visit to U.S. as both flag problems
Chines President Xi Jinping will make his first state visit to the United States in September, China said on Wednesday, after both countries laid out possible areas of friction in a telephone call. The world’s two biggest economies have been trying to ease tension over everything from trade and human rights to exchanges of accusations of hacking and Internet theft.

Venezuela Arrests Judge After Ruling in Drug Smuggling Case
Associated Press
Venezuelan authorities have arrested a judge less than 24 hours after he issued a sentence in a high-profile drug trafficking case that prosecutors say is too lenient. The state prosecutor’s office says Ali Fabricio Padres will face charges related to favoritism in the case of a drug kingpin.

Oil’s slump a blow to Mexico amid touted energy reforms
Peter Orsi / Associated Press
The lowest oil prices in nearly six years couldn’t have come at a worse time for Mexico, which last year opened up oil-sector investment to private companies for the first time in decades.


Niger declares emergency in Diffa after Boko Haram attacks
BBC News
Niger has declared a 15-day state of emergency in the border region of Diffa after a spate of attacks by Nigerian militant Islamist

As Ebola wanes, U.S. to bring home almost all of its troops from West Africa
Tom Howell Jr. / Washington Times
Citing a significant slowdown in West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, the White House says that nearly all of the remaining U.S. troops deployed to the hot zone will return home by the end of April.

South Africans mark 25th anniversary of Mandela’s release
Lynsey Chutel / Associated Press
On Wednesday, South Africans marked the anniversary of the release of Mandela who four years later became the country’s first black president

10 of 49 TransAsia Pilots Tested on Emergency Situations Fail
Austin Ramzy / New York Times
Ten of 49 TransAsia Airways pilots failed emergency proficiency tests ordered by the Civil Aeronautics Administration of Taiwan after a deadly plane crash in the capital, Taipei, last week, the aviation regulator announced on Wednesday.

100 Car Pile Up on South Korea Bridge Leaves 2 Dead, 68 Hurt
Kim Tong-Hyung / Associated Press
Two people were killed and at least 68 were injured Wednesday in a pileup involving about 100 vehicles in foggy weather on a bridge near South Korea’s Incheon International airport, officials said.

Myanmar Government and students Agree on Points of Reform
Associated Press
Myanmar’s government reached an agreement Wedensday with student protestors who have been marching to Yangon to seek education reforms, but the deal announced by the two sides still needs parliamentary approval.

Energy Security, Science and Technology, Climate Change

Apple is building a giant, $850 million solar farm
Matt Rosoff / Business Insider
Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced that the company is building a giagantic solar farm near Monterey, south of San Francisco.

Europe’s mini-space shuttle returns
BBC News
An unmanned European Space Agency (ESA) mini-space shuttle has splashed down in the Pacific Ocean nearly two hours after launching. The IXV spacplane resembles a smaller, robotically controlled version of the US space shuttle and could provide Europe with a new, re-usable space transportation system.

Panel Urges Research on Geoengineering as a Tool Against Climate Change
Henry Fountain / New York Times
With the planet facing potentially severe impacts from global warming in coming decades, a government-sponsored scientific panel on Tuesday called for more research on geoengineering – technologies to deliberately intervene in nature to counter climate change.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Caribbean Energy Security Conference-Panel 3 Review
William George
The final panel delineated the prominent energy issues facing the Caribbean and offered prescriptions for how to deal with these problems.

Caribbean Energy Security Conference- Panel 2 Review
William George
The second panel discussed policy challenges and viable energy alternatives to fossil fuels in the region in an effort to reduce energy dependence. Natacha Marzolf of the Inter-American Development Bank discussed her institution’s efforts in the Caribbean, including funding for infrastructure and green energy projects. Ms. Marzolf stated that these projects can potentially result “in a 20-25% reduction of fossil fuel dependence.”

Caribbean Energy Security Conference- Panel 1 Review
William George
The first panel examined the complex overlap of geopolitics and Caribbean economics. The panelists discussed the impact of falling oil prices, Venezuela’s spiraling economy, and Cuba’s potential role in the region moving forward

U.S. Made “Plantibody” vs. Ebola
Luke Lorenz
ZMapp burst from obscurity when it was used for the treatment of two American aid workers who had contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia. While analysis of the results of the drug are ongoing, we do know that both Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol survived their encounter with the virus and that their conditions rapidly improved after receiving the ZMapp antibody.

ASP Statement on Climate Change in 2015 National Security Strategy (NSS)
The American Security Project
“…the Obama Administration released its second official National Security Strategy (NSS), and for the first time it will list climate change as one of the top threats facing the US. While the Obama Administration has consistently placed emphasis on climate change as a significant threat to national security, this new NSS delves further into the research…”

Upcoming Events

Building Effective Measures to Combat Climate Change – Does Divestment Work?
February 12 @ 9:00am – 10:00am
On Thursday, February 12th, the American Security Project, a nonpartisan think-tank, will publish a report on effective measures to tackle climate change. It will highlight the ineffectiveness of divestment as a way to fight climate change and call for a campaign that instead focuses on effective measures to reduce emissions.  The report will explore effective solutions that would actually reverse the effects of accelerating changes in our climate.

Obama’s National Security Policy: A New Assessment
February 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm 
On Thursday, February 12th, the American Security Project, a nonpartisan think-tank, will publish a report on effective measures to tackle climate change. It will highlight the ineffectiveness of divestment as a way to fight climate change and call for a campaign that instead focuses on effective measures to reduce emissions.  The report will explore effective solutions that would actually reverse the effects of accelerating changes in our climate.

Discussion with Gov. Christine Todd Whitman: Climate Change Calls for Clean and Safe Energy
April 10 @ 10:00am – 11:00am
Join Governor Whitman at the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head Island as she discusses the important issue of climate change and its impact on clean, safe energy. She will recount her experience as governor as well as the Administrator of the EPA. Come join this exciting event.

ASP Recently Published

White Paper – Military Public Diplomacy
American Security Project
The U.S. Department of State is hardly America’s sole player in the public diplomacy realm. For decades, the U.S. military has been at the forefront of America’s efforts to inform and influence public audiences abroad. Members of the United States Military are often the first Americans many foreign publics meet, and have a role in forging relationships and perceptions of America.

Fact Sheet: Yemen (2015)
American Security Project
Yemen has entered a new phase of instability and uncertainty, as a conflict between the Houthis and the country’s government led by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi eventually forced him and his cabinet to resign in January 2015. On January 25, Hadi then withdrew his resignation.

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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