Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Foreign policy luminaries urge Congress to hold off on Iran bills

Kristina Wong / The Hill

More than 50 foreign policy luminaries, in a statement on Tuesday, applauded progress made on a nuclear deal with Iran and urged members of Congress to hold off on any legislative action that could affect reaching a final deal by June 30


Yemen crisis: Rebels push into central Aden


Fresh fighting has been reported in the southern Yemeni city of Aden between Houthi rebels and militiamen loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.


American Competitiveness

Report shows jobs openings are up, but hiring slows

The Associated Press via The New York Times

A new Labor Department report Tuesday showed that job openings surged 3.4 percent to 5.1 million in February — a 14-year high. That’s a clear sign that companies are willing to boost their staffs.


Powell, citing crisis damage, says rate hikes to proceed gradually after liftoff

Howard Schneider / Reuters

Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell said on Wednesday he would be willing to start raising U.S. interest rates even at current low levels of inflation, but said the central bank should proceed slowly from then on to ensure continued recovery from the crisis.


Greece has not asked Russia for financial aid: Putin


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did not ask for financial aid at talks in Moscow on Wednesday but Russia could provide credits for large joint projects in the future, President Vladimir Putin said.


National Security & Strategy

Revised defense rules would give Japan new powers to aid U.S. military

Missy Ryan / The Washington Post

The United States and Japan are close to concluding a set of bilateral defense rules that if finalized would give Japan’s military new powers to act when U.S. forces are threatened by a third country, U.S. officials said Wednesday.


At the Summit of the Americas, focus is likely to be on the U.S. and Cuba

Karen DeYoung and Nick Miroff / The Washington Post

Cuba ends more than five decades of official isolation in the Western Hemisphere this week when President Raúl Castro attends a regional summit with up to 35 heads of state and government, including President Obama.


U.S. steps up arms deliveries to Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

AFP via The Guardian

With scores killed or wounded in Aden, Red Cross warns of ‘catastrophic’ situation as soldiers loyal to president Hadi hold out against Houthi rebels.


EU re-imposes sanctions on Iranian bank, 32 shipping firms


The European Union re-imposed sanctions on an Iranian bank and 32 Iranian shipping companies on Wednesday, using new legal grounds, after the measures were struck down by a European court.


Iran says working to help Yemen form unity government to fix crisis
Iran says Yemeni factions should form a national unity government to resolve the crisis there and that it is working to help achieve that, a senior Iranian official said on Wednesday.


Asymmetric Operations

Iraq launches drive against ISIS, but reports on scale differ

Rod Norland / The New York Times

The Iraqi Army and militia forces launched an attack against the Islamic State outside Ramadi on Wednesday, with some local officials claiming it was the beginning of a major offensive in western Anbar Province, though others said that was premature.


Syrian rebel takeover of border crossing severs ancient link to Jordan

William Booth / The Washington Post

The ancient road to Damascus that passes through here, a route plied by traders for thousands of years, is now severed. The government border crossing between Jordan and Syria has been sealed after the heavy fighting, barrel bombing and wild looting that took place last week at the checkpoint and nearby trade zone.


In Egypt, ex-military men fire up Islamist insurgency

Yara Bayoumy / Reuters

A small but highly dangerous succession of former Egyptian army officers are joining Islamist militant groups, complicating President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s efforts to counter what he calls an existential threat from extremism.


Islamic State releases 216 Yazidi prisoners in Iraq

Sameer N. Yacoub, AP via USA Today

The Islamic State group released more than 200 Yazidis on Wednesday after holding them for eight months, an Iraqi Kurdish security official said, the latest mass release of captives by the extremists.


ICC has no jurisdiction to prosecute ISIS despite ‘crimes of unspeakable cruelty’

AP via The Guardian

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says international criminal court cannot open an inquiry as neither Syria nor Iraq are member states.


U.S. soldier killed in Afghan ‘insider’ attack


A US soldier has been killed in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, reportedly after being fired upon by an Afghan soldier in an “insider” attack.

Climate Security

Sanctions, higher costs considered under California drought plan

Sharon Bernstein / Reuters

California’s cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules released Tuesday, the state’s first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use amid ongoing drought.


Canada glaciers shrink to 70% by 2100

AFP via The Guardian

Glaciers of Alberta and British Columbia to shrink 70% in volume by end of the century, as global warming brings about serious melting


Energy Security 

Oil drops towards $57 after largest U.S. stock build since 2001

Himanshu Ohja / Reuters

Oil prices fell towards $57 a barrel on Wednesday after the largest weekly build in U.S. crude inventories since 2001 and as Saudi Arabia reported record output in March. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that U.S. stocks of crude oil rose in the week to April 3 by 10.9 million barrels – the largest weekly build since March 2001 – to a record 482.39 million barrels


The U.S. oil story in seven charts

Jeffrey Sparshott / The Wall Street Journal

The oil price crash has been rippling through the global economy since last summer. Now it’s hitting more corners of the U.S. economy


Nuclear Security

U.S. defines its demands for new round of talks with Iran

David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger /  The New York Times

The Obama administration and its European allies plan to open new negotiations with Iran by demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling of a recently completed nuclear facility deep under a mountain, according to American and European diplomats.


Iranian establishment faces risks if nuclear deal fails

Parisa Hafezi / Reuters

Failure to finalize a framework agreement between Iran and the six major powers aimed at curbing the country’s sensitive nuclear work could profoundly destabilize the Islamic Republic, analysts and politicians say.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Infrastructure is a critical national security issue

Philip Rossetti

On April 7th much of the District of Columbia lost power. Traffic lights stopped working, metro stations went dark, and even key government buildings—including the White House and the State Department—suffered power failure. While the power outage was determined to be caused by a “small fire and explosion” at an electrical substation in Maryland, the incident serves to highlight the vulnerability of U.S. infrastructure in even its capital.


Statement on the Framework for a Comprehensive Nuclear Security Agreement with Iran

Sungtae “Jacky” Park

Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret.), the CEO of the American Security Project, recently signed a statement released by the Iran Project, endorsing the recent nuclear framework agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. The statement was signed by a bipartisan group of 50 former military officials, foreign policy leaders, Ambassadors, and other leading national security experts.


Obama, Biden, Kerry: Energy Security is Needed in the Caribbean

Andrew Holland

The attention to energy security issues in the Caribbean is very important as oil prices have dropped to lows not seen in five years. However, it is important for these countries to “fix the roof while the sun is shining” as Vice President Biden said at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit.


Critical Issues Facing Russia and the Former Soviet Union: Governance and Corruption

John Bugnacki

When it comes to Russia and the other post-Soviet states, corruption is the subject of constant academic, policy, and popular debate. According to many, persistent corruption is the major factor undermining post-Soviet states from achieving broad-based political, economic, and social development along liberal-democratic lines. However, most analyses of corruption in Russia and the other post-Soviet states do not actually detail what their corruption is, the way that it endangers their development, or how they can fix it.
Upcoming Events

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.


Conference: Geopolitics of Energy Security in the Eastern Mediterranean

April 15 @ 12:00pm – 5:00pm

ASP will host a half day conference to examine the energy security challenges faced in the Eastern Mediterranean.


Conference: The Geopolitics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

April 16 @ 12:00pm – 4:30pm

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has the potential to redefine transatlantic cooperation in the economic, security, and political spheres and provide the U.S. and the EU with a window of opportunity to advance core values that could help shape the international trading system in the 21st century. Our expert panelists will discuss these issues and attempt to examine TTIP’s potential to facilitate further trade liberalization on a global scale.


ASP Recently Published

Environmental Threats to Louisiana’s Future: Climate change

American Security Project

As one of the centers of energy production, transit, and storage, Louisiana is a hub for the whole country. This ensures that any problems in Louisiana are transferred throughout the country by energy price volatility and uncertainty.


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.

The post What We Are Reading appeared first on American Security Project.