Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


Syria conflict: Assad calls for US action on negotiations


Syria’s president is awaiting “actions” from the US after Secretary of State John Kerry said negotiations to end the country’s conflict should include him.


Iraqi offensive for Tikrit stalls as casualties mount
Loveday Morris / The Washington Post
Iraqi forces’ operation to retake the city of Tikrit has stalled as troops suffer heavy casualties at the hands of Islamic State militants, raising concerns about whether the pro-government fighters are ready for major offensives.


Fresh allegations of chlorine gas attacks in Syria

The Guardian

Activists in the Sarmine coordination committee alleged that the regime dropped barrel bombs containing chlorine gas on the town in two attacks on Monday night. 


American Competitiveness


U.S. Housing Starts Tumble 17% in February
Kate Davidson and  Jeffrey Sparshott / Wall Street Journal
Builders pulled back on new-home construction in February, a sign of uneven demand in the housing market amid harsh winter weather.


Broadest Unemployment Measure ‘Less Rosy’
Eric Morath/ Wall Street Journal
The U.S. unemployment rate is sitting near levels usually consistent with a healthy labor market. Federal Reserve officials this week will assess whether this time is different.


National Security & Strategy


Pentagon sets up panel to study electronic warfare requirements
Keiran Doherty / Reuters
The U.S. Defense Department is setting up a new panel to study electronic warfare needs across the U.S. military and make strategic recommendations to ensure the United States retains its competitive edge, a top Pentagon official said on Tuesday.


Row between US and Venezuela sees Cuba caught in the middle

The Guardian

As Raúl Castro and Barack Obama edge closer diplomatically, Havana’s closest ally Nicolás Maduro comes under fire from Washington.


Asymmetric Operations


Isis welcomes Boko Haram’s allegiance and plays down coalition ‘victories’

The Guardian
The Islamic State welcomed a pledge of allegiance made to it by Boko Haram and vowed to press with its expansion, according to a recording on Thursday purportedly from its spokesman.


Islamic State: Syria accused of bombing civilians in Raqqa
There is evidence the Syrian government has bombed civilians in the city of Raqqa, stronghold of Islamic State jihadists, Amnesty International says.


 Climate Security


Drought-stricken California only has one year of water left, Nasa scientist warns
The Guardian
As California experiences the fourth year of one of the most severe droughts in its history, a senior Nasa scientist has warned that the state has about one year of water left.


In Russia, a drying lake threatens an ‘era of water wars’
Angelina Davydova / Reuters
In Russia’s Siberian south, near the border of Mongolia, the world’s largest freshwater lake is shrinking. The surrounding communities depend on Lake Baikal, which contains about one-fifth of the earth’s unfrozen freshwater reserves, for their power, water and livelihoods.


 Energy Security


Iran’s Nuclear Deal Could Open Oil Flood

Bill Spindle and  Benoit Faucon / Wall Street Journal
Iran, the U.S. and its allies are pushing ahead with talks over a nuclear deal that would change many things—perhaps none faster than the price of oil.


Japan utilities set to scrap five aging nuclear reactors

Kentaro Hamada/ Reuters

Three aging nuclear reactors in Japan will be decommissioned due to the high cost of upgrading them in line with tougher safety standards set after the Fukushima disaster, their operators said on Tuesday.


Global CO2 emissions ‘stalled’ in 2014
Helen Briggs / BBC
The growth in global carbon emissions stalled last year, according to data from the International Energy Agency. It marks the first time in 40 years that annual CO2 emissions growth has remained stable, in the absence of a major economic crisis, the agency said.


Oxford’s postponed divestment decision faces protest
Roger Harrabin / BBC
Former students occupied an Oxford building on Monday to protest the university’s failure to decide about divesting funds from fossil fuels.

  Nuclear Security


Iran, U.S. line up technical options as push for deal intensifies
Louis Charbonneau and Lesley Wroughton / Reuters
Iran and major world powers have been making headway in identifying technical options for a historic nuclear deal as an end-March deadline nears but difficult issues must still be addressed, U.S. and Iranian officials said on Tuesday.


 On Our Flashpoint Blog


Vanuatu Devastation Blamed on Climate Change

William George

This past weekend, the island nation of Vanuatu was devastated by Cyclone Pam, a massive cyclone with winds that reached up to 185mph, destroying a significant portion of the country’s infrastructure.


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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