October 21, 2014

By Alec Weisman

Worried by the recent success of Shiite tribesmen in Yemen, Sunni-ruled Bahrain is desperate to deter its Shiite-majority population from reviving their Arab Spring protests. However, the latest aggressive crackdown in the tiny island kingdom just before parliamentary elections next month may backfire and lead to greater unrest for the strategically important American ally torn between the two main factions of Islam.

Islamic Tensions Rock Strategic US Ally Bahrain
Anti-government protests demand democratic reforms in a September demonstration in Bahrain. (Mohammed al-Shaikh/Getty Images)
Fleitz: Attack ISIS in Syria Even If It Helps Assad
September 9, 2014
By: Fred Fleitz

Three questions are being raised by pundits and politicians about how Iran and Syria’s Assad regime should figure into possible military action by the United States and its allies against the terrorist army of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
  • Is it a mistake to attack ISIS in Syria because ISIS is also an enemy of Syrian President Bashar Assad and such attacks may ensure he holds on to power?
  • Should the U.S. team up with the Assad regime to attack ISIS in Syria?
  • Should the U.S. work with Iran to destroy ISIS?
Putin Mocks World Order With Ukraine Cease-Fire
September 8, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

A shaky cease-fire accepted by Ukraine and Russian-backed Ukrainian rebels was not just a capitulation by Ukraine to Russia: It was also a rejection by Russian President Vladimir Putin of the Western conception of world order since the end of the Cold War. Despite the cease-fire, Russia may still attempt to peel away more territory from Ukraine and possibly other former Soviet states because no power is stopping it.
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.
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