Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Illegal, Appeals Court Rules

Charlie Savage / The New York Times
A federal appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal. The decision comes as a fight in Congress is intensifying over whether to end and replace the program, or to extend it.

Iran Releases Seized Marshall Islands-Flagged Ship
Oren Dorell / USA Today
Iran on Thursday released a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship that its navy seized last week, allowing it to leave Iranian waters, according to government-controlled media.

American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy

IMF Says China, Japan Weakness Threatens Asia-Pacific

Mark Magnier / Wall Street Journal
BEIJING—Rising debts, a stronger dollar and weaker-than-expected performances from China and Japan pose increasing risks to the broader Asia-Pacific region, even as it looks likely to remain the world’s fastest-growing, the International Monetary Fund said.

Obama Mounts Unusual Defense for Trade Pact
William Mauldin, Sara Germano / The Wall Street Journal
President Barack Obama is mounting his latest defense of a Pacific trade agreement with a visit Friday to the headquarters of a quintessential importer, Nike Inc., a move that scrambles the traditional political arguments for free trade.


National Security & Strategy

 Saudi Arabia Offers Five-Day Yemen Ceasefire

Lesley Wroughton, Mohammed Ghobari / Reuters
Saudi Arabia offered a five-day humanitarian truce on Thursday to the Houthi militia it has hit with weeks of air strikes in neighboring Yemen, on condition that fighting across Yemen stops.

Germany to Pull Back on Helping U.S. Gather Intelligence
Alison Smale / The New York Times
The German government has moved to restrict its cooperation with the United States on intelligence gathering after revelations of spying on German businesses and other Europeans.

Turkey, Saudi in Pact to Help Anti-Assad Rebels
Desmond Butler / The Associated Press
Casting aside U.S. concerns about aiding extremist groups, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have converged on an aggressive new strategy to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad.

US Navy Cyber Launches Strategic Plan
Joe Gould / Defense News
The commander of US Navy Cyber announced a five-year strategy, and like the Pentagon’s cyber strategy announcement two weeks earlier, acknowledged the dire need for talented workers with the skills to fend off the nation’s foes.


Asymmetric Operations

Flights to Besieged Afghan City Canceled as Taliban, Army Clash

Mirwais Harooni / Reuters
Commercial flights to Afghanistan’s besieged northern city of Kunduz have been suspended, an official said on Thursday, as hundreds of Taliban militants fought against government forces struggling to oust them from the city’s outskirts.

IS Opens Own 5-Star Hotel for Jihadist Commanders in Iraq, Reveals Report
Press Trust of India
Dreaded Islamic State terror group has purportedly opened its own 5-star hotel complete with 262 rooms, restaurants, ballrooms and gym in Iraq’s Mosul city for its Jihadist commanders, according to a media report. The hotel is believed to be the Ninawa International Hotel, which received a number of positive reviews before being overtaken by militants and stripped of its branding, The Independent reported.

Canadian Judge Frees Former Teen Terrorist Who Killed US Army Medic
Maxim Lott / Fox News
A former teen terrorist who killed a U.S. Army Delta Force medic in Afghanistan in 2002 was ordered released Thursday by a Canadian judge who said rules the former Guantanamo Bay detainee once sentenced to 40 years in prison has changed his jihadist ways.

Yemen’s Exiled Government Asks UN for Ground Troops to Halt Advance
Kareem Shaheen / The Guardian
Yemen’s exiled government has written to the UN security council to ask for a ground intervention to halt the advance of their rivals, the Houthi rebels.


Climate Security

Feds to Require Climate Change Plans for States Seeking Disaster Relief
Lydia Wheeler / The Hill
A new Federal Emergency Management Agency policy requiring states to address climate change before they can become eligible for grant funding is drawing fire from congressional Republicans. The regulations, part of a FEMA State Mitigation Plan Review Guide issued last month, are not set to take effect until next March. But lawmakers are demanding an explanation for the rules now.

Why Solar is Critical to Confronting Climate Change
Erik Sherman / CBS
Unless a substantial price is put on carbon dioxide emissions, expanding solar output to levels needed to fight climate change will be cost prohibitive without major change in government policy, the research concludes.


Energy Security

Oil Rally Snaps as Ample Supplies Outweigh U.S. Stock Draw 

Barani Krishnan / Reuters
Oil fell 2 percent on Thursday, wiping out gains from the past two sessions, as euphoria from the first U.S. inventory drawdown in months faded and focus returned to oversupplies in crude and gasoline.

Latvian MFA: Broader Regional Cooperation is Needed on Energy Security
The Baltic Course
On 6 May in Copenhagen, the Foreign Minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkevics, delivered a speech at the conference entitled “Energy Dialogue in the Baltic Sea Region”, reports BC the Latvian MFA. The Minister expressed the conviction that a regional level energy policy should reflect the priorities of the Energy Union Strategy, namely, safe, secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy for households and companies.

Nuclear Security

Iran Nuclear Deal on Brink of Final Vote in Congress, Despite G.O.P. Infighting 

Jennifer Steinhauer / The New York Times
A bill that would give Congress a voice in any nuclear agreement between world powers will face its final vote Thursday afternoon after Republican infighting prevented a debate of further changes to the bill.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

 What Tesla’s Powerwall Means for Energy Security

Philip Rossetti
The Powerwall and Powerpack mark the first commercial success in bringing batteries powerful enough to power a home—or even a factory, as the factory where Tesla will produce the Powerpacks will be powered entirely by (naturally) Powerpacks.

 The ISIS Threat in U.S.

American Security Project
ASP’s Director of Strategy and Communications Paul Hamill was featured on Fox Local News yesterday discussing the threat of ISIS terror cells in the United States. A report from someone claiming to have ties to the terrorist organization reported over 70 militants living in 15 states across the country.

Exporting the Best of America – What the Business Sector Can Learn From Jazz

Chad Tragakis
Jazz, once a uniquely American art form, has been embraced in nearly every corner of the populated world. Many of its most ardent and enthusiastic devotees – both listeners and performers themselves – are now found outside of the United States. And, there are dozens of wonderful programs around the world that use Jazz as a means to promote peace and foster cross-cultural understanding, even among those who share little if any other common ground. It is a grand idea, though not a new one.

From over the Pond – Four things to watch after the UK’s General Election

Paul Hamill
This Thursday will see a General Election in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK). All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs.

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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