September 2, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

The United States and its allies are inching toward greater involvement in the civil war in Iraq and Syria as the White House continues to try to recover from President Obama’s controversial remark last week that he has “no strategy” to deal with the terrorist army of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
As NATO Weighs ISIS Action, US Still Has ‘No Strategy’
An Iraqi fighter from Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigade), waves a flag next to a rocket launcher during heavy clashes with Islamic State fighters in Tuz Khurmatu in Salaheddin province, south of Kirkuk, on Aug. 31, 2014. (JM Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
Troop Buildup Raises Fears Russia Will Invade Ukraine
August 8, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

Russia doubled the number of its troops on the Ukrainian border and conducted military exercises this week, increasing the prospects for an invasion to support pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. Moscow also retaliated against new Western sanctions, suggesting it will be difficult to reach a diplomatic solution to lower tensions.

Russia Tries to Intimidate US With New Ties to Cuba
August 8, 2014
An iconic Cold War-era Russian spy base in Cuba once used to steal communications from the United States could soon be back in business. Russian President Vladimir Putin has worked the last two years to rejuvenate relations with Cuba. His recent trip to Havana has the Castro brothers and Cubans nostalgic for the Soviet era, salivating at the prospect of a Russian renaissance in the Caribbean.
Bipartisan Defense Report Warns of ‘Widening Gap’ Between US Strategy, Force
August 7, 2014
A recently completed study of future U.S. defense spending plans underscores the consequences of deep cuts in force posture and capabilities, concluding that, if carried out, they pose a direct threat to national security.

The study by the National Defense Panel is the product of a joint call from Congress and the Defense Department for an independent critique of the Pentagon’s own planning document, the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which proposes, in recognition of looming cuts in defense spending, to scale back U.S. military capabilities over the next decade.

Sanctions Threaten Arctic Ambitions of Russia, Oil Majors
August 7, 2014
The latest round of U.S. and European Union sanctions on Russia, which include restrictions on the Kremlin’s pet oil company Rosneft, are likely to imperil its partnership with ExxonMobil to start oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean. The standoff also threatens to hurt Britain’s BP and France’s Total as well as oil services and technology companies such as Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Schlumberger.
Cyber Attacks on US Loom as Key NSA Program Stymied
August 7, 2014
Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) new bill to severely restrict the National Security Agency’s collection and use of U.S. phone records looks likely to create an impasse in Congress that will force the cancellation of this program next year. That will be good news for terrorist groups and U.S. adversaries such as Russia and China that are conducting aggressive cyber-warfare efforts against the United States “comparable to the devastating September 11 attacks.”
Boko Haram Expands Threat, Targets Nigeria’s Economy
August 6, 2014
The Islamist militant group Boko Haram is extending its reign of terror beyond the nation’s impoverished Muslim majority in the northeast into the wealthier, mainly Christian south, with the West African nation’s faltering oil industry as a prime target. It is also deploying female suicide bombers.
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