July 30, 2014
By Brian M. Downing

Denied their own state at the end of World War I as 
European powers divided up the Ottoman Empire, Kurds today are using the chaos of a dissolving Iraq to move toward greater autonomy, if not outright independence. A referendum on independence for the Kurdish region of Iraq is planned, and public enthusiasm for a complete break with Baghdad is high.
Emerging Kurdistan is New Player in Fractious Middle East
A rug made in the image of Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani is viewed in a market in Erbil on July 3, 2014. Barzani asked members of Parliament this month to start making plans for an independence referendum. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Returning Jihadists Planning a Major Attack on Britain
July 7, 2014
Heard in London
by Jeremy Bradshaw


British security services are on red alert following revelations that returning jihadists from Syria and Iraq plan a major attack in Britain. Around 500 individuals from Britain have traveled to Syria to join al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria. Tracking these jihadists as they return to the UK has become a top priority for MI5.
Confusion Reigns Over ISIS Leader Video, Iraqi PM Election
July 7, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

The fate of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is currently unknown after a video of a man claiming to be Baghdadi surfaced over the weekend amid other claims that Baghdadi was gravely injured during a battle with Iraq security forces and has fled to Syria.
Tense Japan-S. Korea Ties Undermine Allied China Response
July 3, 2014
Deep-rooted tensions between South Korea and Japan appear to be complicating efforts by the United States to form a united front against China’s mounting regional belligerence and North Korea’s nuclear program.
New Risks But no Exit from West’s Economic Slump
July 3, 2014
The West appears headed for Japanese-styled stagnation because politicians and central bankers have failed to apply the right policies to recover from the economic malaise caused by the global banking collapse in 2008.


Why Did the West Not See ISIS Threat Earlier?
July 2, 2014
Heard in London
by Jeremy Bradshaw


The suddenness and speed of the surge by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took all by surprise. Yet this al-Qaeda splinter group now threatens to run from Iraq and Syria in to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Why was this threat not recognized sooner? Were Western intelligence authorities asleep on the job?
Exclusive: British Intelligence Sees Putin Still Eyeing Ukraine
July 2, 2014
British intelligence experts are convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin still has contingency plans for the additional annexation or conquest of Ukrainian territory, possibly while the West’s attention is focused on the jihadist crisis in Iraq.
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