October 1, 2014

By Jack Caravelli

China and Iran last month conducted their first joint naval exercise, a pointed reminder of each nation’s intent to increase military cooperation. The exercise, held over four days in territorial and international waters around strategically important southern Iran, involved a Chinese frigate and a guided-missile destroyer, which first docked at the Iranian port Bandar Abbas. Several Iranian warships joined them later in the exercise.

Naval Exercise Shows Growing Chinese-Iranian Military Ties
Iran's shows off its naval troops in a parade last week on the anniversarfy of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Iran is increasing its military ties to China. (Behrouz Mehri/Getty Images)
Ratings Agencies Facing Bill for Risky Business
September 8, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD


Recent federal judgments totaling $20 billion against J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs for their actions in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis are a reminder that the final reckoning is incomplete: The three U.S. credit ratings agencies that grade 96 percent of global bond issues have thus far evaded similar punishment for their role in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, pleading the First Amendment. That could be about to change.
Russian Misdirection Hid Strategic Looting of Ukraine
September 5, 2014
Russia stole high-tech parts for warplanes and helicopters from Ukraine when a convoy of trucks on what Moscow called a humanitarian mission pulled off a clever ruse.
Illicit ISIS Finances Could Remain Intact for Years
September 5, 2014
By fencing stolen oil, kidnapping for profit and engaging in mafia-style extortion, ISIS terrorists have secured significant cash flows that the West can do little to cut off. The United States specializes in stopping international terror financing through banks and charities, but it lacks the reach and expertise it needs to bust fundraising at the village level.
Why Netanyahu is Under Fire for Gaza Cease-fire Agreement
September 5, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

Israeli forces pounded Gaza over the summer, yet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being heavily criticized for accepting an Aug. 26 cease-fire agreement. The objectives of the operation have not been met, the critics claim. Chief among those goals was disarming Hamas to enhance Israel’s security.
Chaos Opens New Options for Israel, as US Ties Suffer
September 4, 2014
In the spreading chaos and rapidly shifting geopolitics of the Middle East, Israel for the first time finds itself in a position of formal or informal alliance with much of the Sunni Muslim world but increasingly at odds with its strongest historical backer in the West, the United States.
EU-Russian Standoff Traps Moldova, Europe’s Poorest Nation
September 4, 2014
As the standoff between the European Union and Russia over the fate of Ukraine and the other former Soviet republics of Eastern Europe intensifies, the Kremlin seems likely to increase its efforts to destabilize Moldova — the continent’s most impoverished country. Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to punish Moldova for moving closer with the EU.
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