October 20, 2014

By Lisa M. Ruth

Ragtag rebels fighting independently of each other with hit-and-run tactics are harassing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They are adding to the chaos and confusion in Syria’s three-year civil war, but they are unlikely to accomplish much with their pinprick tactics against the powerful terrorist army.

Freelance Rebels Hitting ISIS Unlikely to Change Ground War
Smoke rises over Kobani from a U.S. airstrike Monday. (Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)
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.
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.
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