Center for Strategic Communication

ASP:  In case you missed it ….

2 June 2015


Key Reads

How anthrax became an unexpected challenge for the Pentagon

Dan Lamothe / Washington Post

The new Pentagon chief, Ashton B. Carter, is now dealing with another cringe-worthy issue: The accidental transfer of suspected live samples of the bacterium anthrax from an Army laboratory to 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries, South Korea and Australia. The mistake has prompted an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the promise late Friday by the Pentagon that the Defense Department will conduct a review of all of its laboratories.


The Iraqi Army is Too Exhausted to Fight


The lighting seizure of the Iraqi city of Ramadi by the Islamic State doesn’t just represent the loss of one of the last government-held population centers in Sunni Muslims areas of the country, but it laid bare the notion that Iraq’s government is capable of facing the existential threat posed by the Islamic State’s highly disciplined troops



National Security & Strategy

With law expired, Senate mulls changes to phone collection

Ken Dilanian / Associated Press

The Senate now will decide the fate of a House bill backed by the president that would end the National Security Agency’s collection of American calling records while preserving other surveillance authorities.


Homeland Security sends undercover agents to slip through airport security

Ashley Halsey III / Washington Post

Federal undercover investigators were able to penetrate security checkpoints at U.S. airports carrying illegal weapons or simulated bombs 95 percent of the time, ABC News reported.


China is not the only country reclaiming land in South China Sea

Walter Pincus / Washington Post

The headlines have been about China’s reclamation of some 2,000 acres from the South China Sea over the past 18 months and building military facilities on them.  Less attention has been paid — except by the Chinese — to smaller but similar reclamation and military construction efforts over the years and currently by Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, related to islands they claim in the Spratlys.



Asymmetric Operations

While nobody was looking, the Islamic State launched a new, deadly offensive

Liz Sly / Washington Post

Syrian rebels appealed for U.S. airstrikes to counter a new offensive by the Islamic State in the northern province of Aleppo that could reshape the battlefield in Syria


Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Urges More International Support in Fighting Islamic State

Noemie Bisserbe / WSJ

Iraqi forces need more support from the international community in fighting Islamic State, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday after a meeting of top diplomats in Paris.


U.S. accuses Syria of backing Islamic State’s Aleppo Advance


The United States has accused the Syrian military of carrying out air strikes to help Islamic State fighters advance around the northern city of Aleppo, messages posted on the U.S. Embassy Syria official Twitter feed said.


Iraq coalition winning against IS, say US


Iraq and its allies are pursuing “the winning strategy” to combat Islamic State in Iraq, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said… IS controls 25% less Iraqi territory than it did when the coalition came together nine months ago.


Nine Afghans Killed In Attack On Guesthouse

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty

Nine Afghan employees of a government development program, including a woman, have been killed by militants who attacked their guesthouse in a remote village of northern Afghanistan’s Balkh Province.


Report: Sudan airdropping weapons and ammunition to South Sudan rebels over the last year

Fox News

A new report by a London-based research organization says Sudan has been supplying South Sudanese rebels with arms and ammunition.


Witnesses: Suicide Bomber Kills 20 in Northern Nigeria

Associated Press

Witnesses say that a suicide bombing at market in the northeastern city of Maiduguri has killed as many as 20 people.  The town had already been attacked in the early hours of the morning Tuesday by the extremist Boko Haram movement.


Gunmen attack airport in eastern Congo, seven dead


Gunmen attacked the airport in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s largest city, Goma, in an overnight raid in which four government soldiers and three suspected assailants were killed, a local official and a witness said on Tuesday.



Energy Security

China Energy Exchange Targets a Market Gap

Eric Yep / WSJ

China may have become the world’s largest importer of crude oil in April, but there is one thing it still lacks: its own oil market. That could change this year if the Shanghai International Energy Exchange Ltd., also known as INE, launches a long-planned oil-futures contract in Shanghai’s free-trade zone. Yang Maijun, the chairman of the Shanghai Futures Exchange, one of the partners in INE, said earlier this year that trading in the new oil contract could begin in 2015.


In quake-prone Nepal, why solar power is an energy solution (+video)

Jessica Mendoza / CS Monitor

Over the last few weeks, local solar companies have come together to deploy the sun’s energy to power homes, lights, and mobile-phone charging stations for relief workers and survivors across the country.  The effort is a testament to solar power’s growing significance in times of disaster. It also reflects the degree to which renewable sources are playing a key role in Nepal and other developing nations as they respond to the effects of climate change and carve a path towards energy and economic security


Divisions apparent ahead of energy minister’s meeting

Kalina Oroschakoff / Politico

EU energy policies have long exposed tensions between countries wedded to fossil fuels and those more committed to going green.  These splits have appeared again during preparation for an upcoming EU energy ministers meeting.



Nuclear Security

Russian firm to supply Iran S-300 missile system once deal agreed


Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey said on Tuesday it would supply Iran with the advanced S-300 missile system once a commercial agreement is reached.


Families of Americans held in Iranian prisons to testify on Capitol Hill

Carol Morello / Washington Post

The families of four Americans imprisoned or unaccounted for in Iran will testify Tuesday before a House committee poised to call for Iran to release the detainees immediately.



On Our Flashpoint Blog

The Grim Prospects of Reform in Sudan

John Bugnacki

In spite of declarations to pursue reform following South Sudan’s secession from Sudan in 2011, the political landscape in Sudan has remained bleak, with the government of Omar al-Bashir continuing to repress the country’s marginalized populations. In response, there have been increasing levels of armed conflict and protest activity against the regime, and both international and domestic organizations are calling for Bashir to be brought to justice for his crimes against the Sudanese people.


ASP Supports Cuba’s Removal from State Sponsors of Terrorism List
American Security Project
This morning, the United States officially removed Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list. This represents a crucial step in moving forward on a establishing a more effective Cuba policy. It was also an appropriate measure, as Cuba’s presence on the list has long been considered questionable, and threatened to dilute the meaning and effectiveness of that list.


Why Burundi’s Election Crisis Matters to the United States and the World
John Bugnacki
Burundi is currently undergoing an electoral crisis whose outcome is vitally important for the United States, African countries, and the world as a whole. This article explains the current crisis, it’s meaning within the context of American foreign policy, and what the U.S. can do to resolve the conflict.



ASP Recently Added
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.



Upcoming Events
New York City Event – The American Fusion Project: Scientific Breakthroughs
As a part of New York’s annual “Energy Week,” the American Security Project, in conjunction with FTI Strategic Communications, is proud to sponsor a lunch on new developments in fusion energy research. It will take place at FTI’s Wall Street Plaza office, 88 Pine Street, 32nd Floor, New York City, NY on Tuesday, June 16 at 12:30pm.



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