Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ‘seriously wounded in air strike’
Martin Chulov and Kareem Shaheen / The Guardian
The leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been seriously wounded in an air strike in western Iraq, sources have told the Guardian.


US open to include Iran in Syria peace talks, if Tehran changes policy
Reuters / Ynet News
The US State Department said on Monday it might talk with Iran about promoting regional stability, noting it had been open to including Iran in past efforts to achieve a Syrian peace deal if Tehran had altered its policy.


American Competitiveness


China seeks homegrown expertise as U.S. bans supercomputer chip sales
Chinese supercomputer builders have downplayed a U.S. government ban on selling Intel processors to China and said the ban may instead boost homegrown expertise.


MEPs approve EU investment fund, want more say on how money is spent
Peter Teffer / EU Observer
The European Parliament has approved on Monday (20 April) the plan for an investment fund, but demanded some changes are made to where the money comes from and what the role of the parliament should be.


National Security & Strategy


Defense hearings: House budget details finally arriving
Leo Shane III / Military Times
The House Armed Services Committee begins marking up its version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill this week, the first public statement on where the lawmakers will come down on pay raises, benefits reform and platform funding.


Philippines seeks more military aid from US to counter China
AFP / Yahoo News
The Philippines said Tuesday it would soon ask the United States for more military equipment and training to build its defences, as it faces Chinese “aggressiveness” in disputed waters.


Asymmetric Operations


Iraq deploys Shiite militia in Ramadi to confront ISIS
Iraq’s prime minister has authorized the deployment of a large number of Shiite fighters in the Anbar province capital of Ramadi, where residents have been fleeing intensified fighting between ISIS and government forces.


Syrian fighters to begin training in Turkey despite divide over mission
Karen DeYoung / The Washington Post
About 200 Syrian opposition fighters will begin military training next month in Turkey, despite ongoing Turkish disagreement with the Obama administration over the enemy they will combat when they finish the six-week course.


U.S. carrier moving off coast of Yemen to block Iranian arms shipments
Tom Vanden Brook / USA Today
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has moved off the coast of Yemen to prepare to intercept potential shipments of Iranian weapons to the rebels fighting the U.S.-backed government of Yemen, Pentagon officials said Monday.


Arrival of more U.S. warships off Yemen tightens ‘siege’: Houthis
A senior official in the Iran-allied Houthi movement said the movement of more U.S. warships into waters off Yemen escalates Washington’s role in a Saudi-led campaign against the group and aims at tightening a “siege” on the country.


Saudi-funded French arms arrive in Lebanon
France 24
The first shipment of French weapons and military equipment arrived in Lebanon on Monday under a Saudi-funded deal worth $3 billion to bolster the Lebanese army’s fight against militants encroaching from neighboring Syria.


NSA Chief: Rules of War Apply to Cyberwar, Too
Patrick Tucker / Defense One
Rogers’s assurance that the U.S. will follow the laws of conflict in how it deploys cyber weapons is significant. But since such weapons can be constructed in secret, and, often, offer victims no way to determine attribution, the world will have to take that assurance at face value—or not.


‘Iran optimistic Yemen war will end soon’
Press TV
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says hopes are high that the Saudi military strikes against Yemen will end within hours following diplomatic efforts by the Islamic Republic.


Bomb explodes at Spanish embassy in Libyan capital
A bomb exploded in front of the Spanish embassy in the Libyan capital late on Monday, residents said, the latest in a string of attacks on foreign missions in the North African country.


Climate Security


Serbia: Damage from climate change over EUR 5 billion
The total material damage caused by extreme climate and weather conditions in Serbia since 2000 is estimated at over EUR 5 billion, Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Snezana Bogosavljevic Boskovic said on Monday.


Energy Security


Russia may supply natural gas to North Korea
Ko Soo-suk and Sarah Kim / Korea JoongAng Daily
Natural gas from Russia’s Sakhalin Island may soon be supplied to North Korea via the Khasan to Rajin route, according to the JoongAng Ilbo.


Bulgaria Launches Tenders for Oil, Gas Exploration Rights at Silistar, Teres Blocks
The tenders for oil and natural gas exploration rights for Block 1-14 Silistar and Block 1-22 Teres, two exploration blocks located in Bulgaria’s Black Sea continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, are underway.


Norway launches oil and gas licencing round for mature areas
Reuters Africa
Norway launched its 2015 oil and gas licencing round in mature areas on Tuesday, seeking applications until September and planning to award licences in early 2016, the oil ministry said in a statement.


Middle East Outpaces World in Oil and Gas Sector Job Growth
Jason Lemon / Stepfeed
Despite a global decline, the first quarter of 2015 saw continued job growth within the Middle Eastern oil and gas sector, with Asia also seeing a noteworthy increase according to the Hays Oil and Gas 2015 Global Job Index released this week.


Jiangxi to build world’s first fourth-generation nuclear plant
Xinhua / Want China Times
The building of the world’s first commercial fourth-generation nuclear power plant may start in east China’s Jiangxi province in 2017, if a plan to the effect is approved by the government, sources said.


EU Approves Hungary’s Nuclear Fuel Supply from Russia
Margit Feher / The Wall Street Journal
The European Union has agreed that Hungary can receive nuclear fuel from Russia to expand its only nuclear plant, a milestone decision that will allow the project to proceed, a Hungarian government official said Monday.


Researcher Discovers How to Recycle Nuclear Fuel With Radioactive Element
Ben Wolford / Newsweek
…Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt, a researcher at Florida State University, has discovered new properties of californium that may someday help the United States store and recycle its spent nuclear fuel.


Nuclear Security


Obama administration signals possible compromise in Iran nuclear talks
Paul Richter / LA Times
Signaling a potential key compromise in negotiations with Iran, the White House said Monday that it might be willing to start providing sanctions relief as soon as Tehran begins putting in place new curbs on its nuclear program.


Iran rejects US call for ‘anywhere, anytime access’ to military sites
Press TV
Iran has rejected a call by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for unlimited access of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to the Islamic Republic’s military sites.


Iran still respecting terms of interim nuclear deal: U.N. report
Iran has continued to meet its commitments under an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a confidential United Nations nuclear agency report seen by Reuters showed on Monday.


Iran: Congressional oversight efforts won’t disrupt nuclear negotiating process
The Jerusalem Post
Efforts made by the US Congress to ensure oversight on any final nuclear deal with Iran will not deter from the diplomatic process between the Islamic Republic and world powers, Tehran’s top negotiator said Monday.


On Our Flashpoint Blog


ASP Adjunct Fellow to Work at World’s Expo 2015 in Milan
Paul Hamill
The American Security Project would like to congratulate Adjunct Fellow Sharon Yang on her new position as Chief Protocol Officer for the U.S. Pavilion at the World’s Expo 2015 in Milan. Ms. Yang is an experienced finance consultant and has worked on the election campaigns of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.


Geopolitics of Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Panel 1 Recap
William George
In ASP’s Geopolitics of Energy Security in the Eastern Mediterranean event’s first panel, ASP hosted Tim Boersma, Director of the Brookings Institution’s Energy and Security Climate Initiative and Zack Gold, ASP Adjunct Fellow and Visiting Fellow for the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. Andrew Holland, ASP’s Senior Fellow for Energy & Climate, moderated the panel. The panel laid the groundwork for the rest of the event, discussing the current geopolitical atmosphere regarding Eastern Mediterranean Energy. ASP CEO BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) opened the event.


Geopolitics of Energy Security in the Eastern Mediterranean: Panel 2 Recap
Philip Rossetti
In ASP’s Geopolitics of Energy Security in the Eastern Mediterranean event’s second panel, ASP hosted Sir Michael Leigh, a senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Ms. Anne Korin, the Co-Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, and Mr. Emre Tuncalp, the managing partner of Sidar Global. The panelists discussed the role of energy relationships in the Eastern Mediterranean for building cooperation, as well as what barriers are present to developing these relationships.


Geopolitics of Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Panel 3 Recap
William George
In ASP’s Geopolitics of Energy Security in the Eastern Mediterranean event’s final panel, ASP hosted Steve Lutes of the US Chamber of Commerce, David Gillers of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Ben Dillon, VP of Communications and Government Relations for Noble Energy. The panel discussed the US interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and its role in promoting energy cooperation and investment opportunities.


What the Experts Are Saying About the Nuclear Framework Deal with Iran…
Sungtae “Jacky” Park
Here is a list of opinions from political and military leaders, academics, scientists, and other experts on the nuclear framework deal with Iran.


White House Details Caribbean Energy Approach
Philip Rossetti
The islands of the Caribbean are threatened by their dependence on imported energy. Venezuela, which has dominated the control of energy in the region, is suffering as a result of low oil prices. This has created a vacuum in the region for who will provide energy, and has created a new opportunity for the U.S. The President has just returned from his trip to the Caribbean for the summit, and the White House has released its U.S.-CARICOM Summit fact sheet outlining proposals for energy cooperation between the U.S. and its neighbors.


Upcoming Events


ASU EVENT – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
April 28 @ 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Climate change is already a major consideration for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue. Join us for a discussion with senior flag officers as they discuss the steps the US military has taken and future implications for our national security.


ASP Recently Published


Critical Issues Facing Russia and the Former Soviet Union: Governance and Corruption
American Security Project
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.


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.

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