Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


Iraq needs more air strikes to dislodge IS in Tikrit: officials
Maggie Fick / Reuters
Iraq said on Monday it had put its Tikrit offensive on hold and senior officials called for more air strikes to dislodge Islamic State militants who have laid explosives across Saddam Hussein’s home city and still hold its central districts.

U.S. launches drone strike against al-Shabab figure tied to Kenya mall attack
Craig Whitlock and Kevin Sieff / The Washington Post
U.S. military officials said Friday that they had launched a drone strike against a senior leader of the militant group al-Shabab who was suspected of helping to plan a massacre at an upscale Kenyan shopping mall in 2013.


American Competitiveness


Wall Street rises as euro recovers against dollar
Sinead Carew / Reuters
U.S. stocks opened higher Monday and the benchmark S&P 500 rebounded after three weeks of losses as the euro strengthened against the dollar, easing some concerns over the impact of a robust greenback on corporate earnings.

Manufacturing output takes surprise dip in February
Lucia Mutikani/ Reuters
U.S. manufacturing output fell in February for the third straight month as automobile production tumbled, pointing to slower economic growth in the first quarter.



National Security & Strategy


U.S., Cuba set for third round of talks aimed at agreement to open embassies
Karen DeYoung / The Washington Post
The United States and Cuba will begin a third round of high-level talks Monday, aimed at reaching agreement by next month to open embassies in each other’s capital, a senior State Department official said Friday.

Russia starts nationwide show of force
Thomas Grove / Reuters
More than 45,000 Russian troops as well as war planes and submarines started military exercises across much of the country on Monday in one of the Kremlin’s biggest shows of force since its ties with the West plunged to Cold War-lows.


Asymmetric Operations


UN unclear on impact of bombing on Al-Qaida group in Syria
Ken Dilanian and Lolita C. Baldor / Associated Press
The U.S. military has hit as many as 17 separate targets connected to a shadowy al-Qaida cell in Syria known as the Khorasan group, U.S. officials say, as part of a little-discussed air campaign aimed at disrupting the group’s capacity to plot attacks against Western aviation.

Iraqi Kurds claim Islamic State group used chemical weapons
Vivian Salama / The Washington Post
Kurdish authorities in Iraq said Saturday they have evidence that the Islamic State used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against peshmerga security forces, the latest alleged atrocity carried out by the extremist organization.


Climate Security


Climate change in the Arctic is messing with our weather
John Abraham / The Guardian
There has been a lot of attention on the influence of rapid warming of the Arctic on weather in the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes. Much of the work has focused on changes to the Jetstream amplitudes and association of these changes to ice loss in the Arctic.

Revamped environmental law raises hope for cleanup in China
Jack Chang / Associated Press
People in China who want to take industries to task for fouling their surroundings have been rushing to file complaints and lawsuits this year in a test of legal reforms that toughen environmental penalties and make clear that many public-interest groups have the right to sue.

Officials blame climate change as Vanuatu picks up the pieces after ‘monster’ storm
Sarah Kaplan / The Washington Post
Two days after the vicious Cyclone Pam lashed the tiny island country of Vanuatu, residents are beginning the brutal business of accounting for its causes and costs.


Energy Security


$23.5bn agreements signed in oil, gas, mining sector at Summit
Doaa Farid / Daily News Egypt
Several agreements were signed in oil, gas and mining sectors were signed at the recent Economic Summit, under the supervision of Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail, according to Summit-organiser Hill+Knowlton.

OPEC says low oil prices may hit U.S. output by late 2015
Alex Lawler / Reuters
U.S. oil output could start to take a hit by late 2015 due to low prices, OPEC said on Monday, suggesting the exporter group will have to wait beyond its next meeting in June to see if its strategy to defend market share will dent the shale oil boom.

Emissions by Makers of Energy Level Off
John Schwartz / New York Times
Carbon dioxide emissions from the world’s energy producers stalled in 2014, the first time in 40 years of measurement that the level did not increase during a period of economic expansion, according to preliminary estimates from the International Energy Agency

SolarCity, a Vocal Critic of the Utility Industry, Joins It
Diane Cardwell / New York Times
As SolarCity, the rooftop solar system provider, has rapidly expanded its reach over the last few years, its executives have pushed hard against the utility industry, criticizing it as a hidebound monopoly standing in the way of change.


Nuclear Security


US, Iran press for nuke pact; lesser announcement on table?
Bradley Klapper and George Jahn / Associated Press
­The United States and Iran are plunging back into negotiations in a bid to end a decades-long standoff that has raised the specter of an Iranian nuclear arsenal, a new atomic arms race in the Middle East and even a U.S. or Israeli military intervention.


Ukraine conflict: Putin ‘was ready for nuclear alert’
BBC News
President Vladimir Putin has said he was ready to put Russia’s nuclear weapons on standby during tensions over the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea.



On Our Flashpoint Blog



Attacking Energy in Libya- A New ISIS Strategy?
William George
Last month, affiliates of the terrorist group ISIS attacked key oil fields and pipelines in Libya. Are these recent attacks aimed at Libya’s energy infrastructures indicative of a new ISIS strategy? Would attacking energy installations reap more benefits in the long term than capturing them?


Kerry Speaks on Climate with a Focus on Energy Policy
The American Security Project
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the Atlantic Council on the importance of climate change and why a global climate agreement from the upcoming climate summit in Paris is so important.


The Military Option on Iran – the reality
BGen. Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.) / The American Security Project
Stating that we can unilaterally eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapon program with an air campaign is incredibly naïve.


Upcoming Events

LSU Event – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
March 25th @ 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Climate change is already a major concern for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue of this growing threat. Join ASP at Louisiana State University on Wednesday, March 25th as we discuss this important issue.


Climate Change: Risks for National Security
March 26 @ 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Climate change is already a major concern for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue of this growing threat. Join ASP at Tulane University on Thursday, March 26th as we discuss this important issue.


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

Energy in Egypt: Background and Issues
American Security Project
The Egyptian government is making serious efforts to bring more investment into its oil and gas sector while seeking to diversify Egypt’s sources of energy. Given the country’s political, economic, and social challenges, whether the Egyptian government will be able to achieve its objectives remains to be seen.


Energy Security in the Caribbean
American Security Project
On Wednesday, February 4th 2015, the American Security Project hosted a half-day conference examining energy security in the Caribbean. Nearly 100 experts from academia, International Financial Institutions, the US government, and private corporations attended the conference.

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