October 1, 2014

By Jack Caravelli

China and Iran last month conducted their first joint naval exercise, a pointed reminder of each nation’s intent to increase military cooperation. The exercise, held over four days in territorial and international waters around strategically important southern Iran, involved a Chinese frigate and a guided-missile destroyer, which first docked at the Iranian port Bandar Abbas. Several Iranian warships joined them later in the exercise.

Naval Exercise Shows Growing Chinese-Iranian Military Ties
Iran's shows off its naval troops in a parade last week on the anniversarfy of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Iran is increasing its military ties to China. (Behrouz Mehri/Getty Images)
Don't Abandon Hope For European Recovery
September 2, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD

The overriding sentiment in financial markets is that the 18-country eurozone is at risk of chronic economic stagnation, combined with a threatened slide into price deflation. Lacking the flexibility of a nation-state to take swift remedial action, the European Union’s institutional response seems slow and ineffectual. Membership of the common currency, the euro, is acting more like a straitjacket than a springboard to economic recovery. While the European Central Bank has the reach and credibility to tackle Europe’s raft of problems, it is reluctant to assume that dominant role. But it would be wrong to abandon hope.

China’s Dreams for Shale Boom Stumble
August 29, 2014
China is stumbling as it tries to follow in the footsteps of the United States and tap its enormous reserves of shale oil and natural gas. After four years of largely lackluster exploration efforts, China recent decision to slash its 2020 production target reflects the difficulty of extracting the unconventional resource with limited foreign assistance.
New Nightmares: ISIS Crossing Border; Sleeper Cells in US
August 29, 2014
Many U.S. officials fear the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is planning to attack the United States by crossing the porous southern border with Mexico. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has already warned that the militants probably are lying in wait in some U.S. border towns. Mexico dismisses the talk as “absurd,” but it does so little to police its own border that three Ukrainians with long criminal records easily walked into Texas recently.
Russian Armored Forces Invade Ukraine as West Stands By
August 29, 2014


Two columns of Russian armored personnel carriers and tanks blitzed into southeastern Ukraine Thursday morning, in a brazen move that shows Moscow is not afraid to create a full-blown military crisis out of a regional uprising. Russia will exploit the invasion to portray the West as powerless to stop it.

A LIGNET analysis on July 29 reported the signs that an invasion was likely. (Invasion Threat Looms as Putin’s Strategy Crumbles)

US, UN Struggle to Save Afghanistan Power Transition
August 29, 2014
Afghanistan’s future is on the brink as U.S. and UN diplomats struggle to save a power-sharing agreement between two presidential candidates. Without the deal, new ethnic violence could begin just as U.S. troops withdraw from the country.
Hamas Seeks to Disrupt Israel’s Energy Plans
August 29, 2014
Hamas’ recent attempts to target Israel’s offshore drilling rigs has disturbing implications for the Jewish nation’s efforts to tap its gigantic natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel seems poised to sign a historic supply deal with Egypt to complement an earlier agreement with Jordan reached in February, but its frayed relations with Turkey from the ongoing violence seem to have killed talks to build an undersea gas pipeline to Europe.
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