April 15, 2014
Three months of nuclear negotiations with Iran have yielded no breakthroughs, and considerable work remains if there is to be a permanent agreement that goes beyond the scope of last November’s interim accord. The final treaty is to be drafted beginning next month, with each side jockeying for advantage over the future course of Iran’s nuclear program.
Pressure Builds as Iran Nuclear Talks Enter Critical Stage
Protesters wave posters with anti-American slogans and portraits of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a rally in Tehran’s Azadi Square to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Feb. 11, 2014. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia, Ruble Remain Defiant in Face of Western Sanctions
March 24, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD


So far, Russian authorities have defended the ruble using foreign exchange intervention and the rumored sale of substantial holdings of its U.S. Treasury bonds. While Russia has the ability to withstand economic sanctions for the immediate future, doubts remain over its capacity to sustain a thriving economy in the absence of a ready demand for its oil and gas. Foreign investors have remained wary of Russia in light of its 1998 sovereign bond default and many arbitrary decisions that have impaired the interests of foreign companies.
ASEAN Hopes Military Exercises Will Send China a Message
March 24, 2014
Countering provocative territorial claims from China, a group of 10 Southeast Asian nations better known for promoting trade and investment has announced joint military exercises along an important entry route into the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said this month that it will conduct drills in 2015 in the Strait of Malacca, a decision likely to provoke retaliation from Beijing.
Crimea May Be Crucial Link in Iranian Chain Reaction
March 24, 2014
How the West responds to Russia’s annexation of Crimea will have consequences on multiple policy fronts, including the much-heralded U.S. rapprochement with Iran. Despite the huge amount of ink and air expended by the media in reaction to recent events in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, one truly significant event has been overlooked: Economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and European Union mean that Moscow without question will now refuse to cooperate with efforts to impose a meaningful denuclearization agreement on Iran.
Arabic Wikipedia Quickly Grows into a Democratizing Force
March 24, 2014
The growing importance of the Arabic-language version of the free, crowd-sourced online encyclopedia Wikipedia is widely underestimated in the West. From a slow start in 2005, it has fast gained credibility as a repository of information and is now considered on par with the media outlet most highly regarded in the Arab world, Al Jazeera.
Pentagon's New Target: Climate Change, not Russian Aggression
March 21, 2014
As Vladimir Putin’s Russia invades Crimea and annexes it by force, the Pentagon has released an untimely strategic review that refocuses American power on a far different mission: fighting global climate change. Clearly reflecting White House priorities, the document describes a new U.S. military force that does more with less but still must “project power and win decisively” with fewer soldiers, Marines, airplanes and ships.
Why Some Insiders Think Missing Plane Landed in Pakistan
March 21, 2014
As the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 drags on without a trace of wreckage at sea, the likelihood of foul play looms larger. One country keeps rising to the top of the list of suspects: Pakistan.

Ten days after the flight vanished, LIGNET learned that engineers at Boeing, the plane's manufacturer, believed the missing aircraft was on the ground in Pakistan. For several reasons, including al-Qaeda’s presence there, historical attack patterns, corruption, weakness and terrorist sympathies at the highest levels inside Pakistan, that hunch may be right.
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