July 21, 2014

As evidence mounts of Russian culpability in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine on July 17, pro-Russian separatists reportedly are trying to hide evidence related to the crash, including moving the missile system that downed the plane into Russian territory and keeping the plane’s black boxes from international investigators.

Putin on Hot Seat for Hindering Probe of Plane Crash
A pro-Russian fighter guards the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Hamas Leverages War for World Support, Political Survival
July 21, 2014

As the death toll from the fighting in the Gaza Strip shoots higher, neither Israel nor Hamas is showing any sign of softening. Israel remains determined to eradicate Hamas weapons stockpiles and destroy its smuggling tunnels, while Hamas continues to reject any talk of a truce that fails to grant it concessions.
Stalemate Over Iranian Nuclear Talks a Win for Tehran
July 21, 2014
A decision to push off the deadline in the already glacially slow and complex Iranian nuclear talks, an outcome predicted by LIGNET, represents a tactical advantage for Tehran. As long as the West prefers talk over confrontation, Iran is likely to stay on course toward full nuclear status, a national priority that dates back decades.
More Than Bad Weather to Blame for Plunge in GDP
July 21, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD

The resurgence of the U.S. economy this year was thrown into doubt by an unexpected plunge in national output in the first quarter. Arguably, this was the worst performance on an annualized basis outside of an outright recession since World War II. While the extraordinary weather that pervaded January through March must take a large part of the blame, it turns out that several other factors played a part. While the White House has been at pains to brush off the dismal figures as a weather-related freak occurence, the second-quarter rebound has a lot to prove.
Saudi-Iranian Proxy War Thwarts Progress in Yemen
July 18, 2014
As Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to face off over a fractured Iraq, the Sunni and Shia religious rivals increasingly find themselves engaged in a standoff in Yemen, more than 1,200 miles to the south. Yemen is already struggling to maintain order, and its fragile political gains are in danger if the ancient sectarian conflict escalates within its borders.
Hamas Rockets Inflicting Severe Damage — on Hamas
July 18, 2014
The Hamas campaign of firing rockets into Israel from Gaza has had little practical effect, other than severely degrading the Islamist group’s own image across the region. The Hamas rejection of an Egyptian cease-fire initiative (which Tel Aviv respected) will infuriate the Egyptians and end any chance of loosening their blockade, while retaliatory airstrikes by Israel have significantly degraded Hamas arsenal, storage and rocket-manufacturing facilities.
Israel Targets Hamas Rocket Threat in Ground Invasion of Gaza
July 18, 2014

After negotiations and a brief cease-fire failed to bring about a settlement agreement in the 10-day Israel-Gaza conflict, Israel Thursday night began a ground invasion of Gaza to wipe out Hamas’ rocket capabilities and dismantle an extensive network of tunnels used by the militants to infiltrate Israel.
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