April 22, 2014
As Western nations struggle to appease environmentalists, Russia is moving fast to tap huge oil and gas deposits in the Arctic Circle, making its first oil shipment from an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic Ocean on April 18. Moscow is likely now to attempt to fortify its dominant position in the icy region in a bid to protect its interests.
Russia Taps Arctic Oil, Leaving Rivals in Its Wake
The Prirazlomnaya drilling platform, owned by Gazprom, is towed to its home in the Pechora Sea. The Arctic region is estimated to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the US Geological Survey. (Gazprom)
Philippines Sues China Over High-Stakes Sovereignty Claims
April 7, 2014
The Philippines has escalated a regional dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea, home to huge potential oil and gas reserves, by seeking UN arbitration over a deliberately beached ship Manila uses to fend off Chinese sovereignty claims. The outcome could affect at least six nations and one-third of global commerce which passes through the waters each year.
With Turkish Aid, Islamists Drive Christians From Syrian Town
April 4, 2014
Al-Qaeda-backed insurgents reportedly aided by Turkey stormed a Syrian coastal town populated by Christians on March 21, driving more than 2,000 ethnic Armenians from their homes and prompting calls for Western governments to intervene. Turkey’s support of radical Islamists imperils regional security and further tests Western efforts to relieve the area’s worsening refugee crisis.
West Finds Some Russian Arms Deals Are Too Big to Fail
April 4, 2014
Despite the urgency to enact tough sanctions following Russia’s taking of Crimea, Western governments are finding that canceling large military deals with Russia is not as easy as it seems. The defense trade with the Kremlin creates jobs and profits for Western contractors, making some contracts so lucrative that they can become “too big to fail.”
Ukraine Crisis Edges Closer to Armed Conflict
April 4, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

The crisis in Eastern Europe continued to build this week as Russia, Ukraine and the diplomatic community took a series of steps that raised the risk of open conflict.
North Korea Wants the World’s Attention, and Gets It Again
April 4, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

Hostilities suddenly increased over the past two weeks between North and South Korea as the North tested mobile medium-range missiles, threatened a “new form” of nuclear test and precipitated an exchange of artillery fire with the South. North Korea’s provocations often are intended to grab headlines and force major powers to negotiate, yet Pyongyang’s latest attempts at brinkmanship could lead instead to armed conflict.
Cold War Redux: NATO Sets Strategy to Counter Russia Threat
April 3, 2014
NATO foreign ministers are moving at full diplomatic speed to counter a potential Kremlin threat to Ukraine's neighbor to the south, Moldova, which has a large ethnic Russian population. The ministers met this week in Brussels and agreed on a series of steps aimed at blunting further Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.
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