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Topical Alert: Security Affairs

(Updated August 18, 2014)


THE IRANIAN SEA-AIR-MISSILE THREAT TO GULF SHIPPING. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Anthony H. Cordesma. August 14, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 143 pages, 2.86 MB]
The build-up of Iran's naval, air, and missile capability is steadily increasing Iran's ability to pose a wide range of threats to maritime traffic throughout and outside of the Gulf. One potential target of this threat is the steady increase of bulk cargo shipments into the Gulf, Arabian Sea/Gulf of Oman, and Red Seas - shipments that are of growing strategic importance to the Gulf states. However, it is the danger Iran poses to Gulf energy exports that poses the most critical threat to the economies and stability of the other Gulf states, and is the key threat to both international maritime security and the global economy. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]


CITIZEN-SOLDIERS IN A TIME OF TRANSITION: THE FUTURE OF THE U.S. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Stephanie Sanok Kostro. May 28, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 74 pages, 6.68 MB]
Currently, U.S. armed forces are facing a rapidly shifting environment. Even as the major combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq that defined the last decade are coming to an end, a wide variety of new and evolving challenges, both abroad and at home, are confronting the nation's military. The U.S. Army National Guard faces a unique set of dynamics, given its role in domestic as well as overseas operations. The report provides policymakers and practitioners with objective insights and recommendations to assist in outlining potential future responsibilities for the Army National Guard. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]


BEYOND SANCTIONS: WHAT'S THE WEST'S STRATEGY ON RUSSIA? Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Ulrich Speck. August 1, 2014.
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Western sanctions against Russia appear to have a fairly narrow, tangible goal: to punish Moscow for supporting pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. But to what end? Sanctions need to reinforce a wider strategy designed to change Moscow's behavior so that it starts respecting the sovereignty of all post-Soviet states. Ukraine is just the latest example in a long series of attempts by Russia to control its neighborhood and to reduce the sovereignty of countries that were controlled by Moscow in Soviet times. The conflict did not start in Ukraine, and it will not end there. The tensions that have erupted in Ukraine will subside only if Russia finally understands that it can have a prosperous future as a nation-state alongside others when it respects the rules of the post-World War II and post-Cold War international system. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

MOST THINK THE U.S. HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT IN IRAQ. Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. July 18, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 14 pages, 419.67 KB]
As violence and chaos spreads in Iraq, the public is wary of U.S. involvement in the country. A 55% majority says the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the violence in Iraq; 39% do see a responsibility to act. Overall public awareness of the situation in Iraq is high: 45% say they have heard a lot about the violence in Iraq and takeover of large parts of the country by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

GLOBAL CASUALTY OF AN ESCALATING LOCAL WAR. YaleGlobal. David R. Cameron. July 25, 2014.
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Malaysian Flight 17 was presumably mistaken for a military plane and shot down by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. The blatant disrespect for the dead, images of pro-Russian separatists picking through the wreckage and passenger belongings, drunkenly and belligerently barring international investigators from the scene, have shocked the world. Tragically, "the insurrection has escalated into an air war and become more dependent on Russian weaponry because Ukraine has been slowly winning the battle on the ground against the separatists that begun in April," writes David R. Cameron. Distributing sophisticated weapons to the untrained inevitably has dire consequences. Nations who intervene in such ways cannot evade responsibility. Cameron urges the European Union to join the United States in imposing tough sanctions on Russia. Leadership entails understanding and acting upon such sweeping concerns among citizens, and global leadership expands such empathy to those living anywhere in the world in the effort to preserve human dignity and peace. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

DR CONGO: NORTH KIVU'S LONG, ROCKY ROAD TO STABILITY. Refugees International. July 9, 2014.
Full Text [PDF format, 4 pages, 180.40 KB]
The deployment of the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade and the expulsion of the M23 rebel group have led many to herald a new era of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province. Yet much of the province remains unsafe, many humanitarian needs are not being met, and stability over the long-term is far from guaranteed. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

Summary in English [HTML format, various paging]
To stabilize the Central African Republic (CAR), the transitional government and its international partners need to prioritize, alongside security, action to fight corruption and trafficking of natural resources, as well as revive the economy, according to the report. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]


VISUAL PROPAGANDA AND EXTREMISM IN THE ONLINE ENVIRONMENT. Strategic Studies Institute. Carol K. Winkler and Cori E. Dauber. July 25, 2014.
Full Text [HTML format with a link to the PDF format, 258 pages, 3.69 MB]
Visual images have been a central component of propaganda for as long as propaganda has been produced. But recent developments in communication and information technologies have given terrorist and extremist groups options and abilities they never would have been able to come close to even 5 or 10 years ago. There are terrorist groups who, with very little initial investment, are making videos that are coming so close to the quality of BBC or CNN broadcasts that the difference is meaningless, and with access to the web they have instantaneous access to a global audience. Given the broad social science consensus on the power of visual images relative to that of words, the strategic implications of these groups' sophistication in the use of images in the online environment is carefully considered in a variety of contexts by the authors in this collection.

HOW TO TURN OFF THE ISIS TAP. YaleGlobal. Carol E. B. Choksy and Jamsheed K. Choksy.
July 8, 2014.
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Wealthy donors and even officials in nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have at times tolerated terrorist groups that attack religious foes in other nations. Inevitably, the extremists lash back, seeing to control the minds and hands that feed them. Such is the case with the self-proclaimed caliphate known as the Islamic State, also ISIS, ISIL or IS, which now controls extensive strands of territory in Syria and Iraq. The world, especially Muslim nations, must cooperate to cut the group's financing used for weapons, operations and recruiting, urge the authors. They propose immediate regulations on centralizing records on terrorist backers, regulating all financial institutions and couriers, limiting value of cash transfers, registering charitable organizations and conducting audits. [Note: contains copyrighted material.]

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