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Justice or Peace in Colombia
By Christine Balling, Foreign Affairs, September 30, 2015

Timing is everything. On September 20, Pope Frances met with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana. Three days later, Cuban President Raúl Castro was photographed in a three-way handshake with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko, the commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Castro’s hands were clasped over theirs as if he were blessing a marital union. And, in a way, he was. The Colombian government and FARC had just announced that, after over two years of negotiations, they had come to an agreement on transitional justice, the last point on their four-point peace talks agenda.

Moscow Rising
By Lawrence Haas, U.S. News & World Report, September 22, 2015

 "We need to get to the negotiation," Secretary of State John Kerry said of efforts to convince Syria's Bashar Assad to step down. "That's what we're looking for, and we hope Russia and Iran, [and] other countries with influence, will help to bring that about, because that's what's preventing this crisis from ending." 

Israel Braces For Obama's Bad Iran Deal
By Ilan Berman,, September 15, 2015

JERUSALEM - It's all over but the shouting. Over the past week, the political tug-of-war over President Obama's controversial nuclear deal with Iran has tilted decisively in favor of the White House. 

Despite widespread disapproval among the American electorate, and last-ditch attempts by some in Congress to delay its passage, it increasingly appears that the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, will soon be a done deal. 

Paradise Lost In Crimea
By Ilan Berman, Foreign Affairs, September 9, 2015

In mid-August, during the latest wave of violence in the long-running Ukraine crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a coterie of other Kremlin officials trekked out to Crimea. The high-profile visit was intended as a public sign of the Kremlin's enduring commitment to its newest territorial holding. But behind the headlines, the story is far less reassuring: Russia is realizing that its Crimean annexation has become an increasingly costly venture in both political and economic terms. 

Pull The Plug On The Iran Deal
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, September 3, 2015

When the proposed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 powers was announced in July, it was sold as a tough deal with robust verification that blocked Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons and would lead to peace and stability in the region. However, it soon became apparent that the deal is much weaker than its proponents first suggested. With a vote on Capitol Hill approaching, members of Congress who rushed early to support the proposed deal need to take another look at their positions. The deal as announced weeks ago is already falling apart. 

Latest In-House Bulletins

China Reform Monitor - No. 1184
October 6, 2015


Beijing centralizing, consolidating environmental oversight;
Chinese group to build high-speed rail connecting Las Vegas, LA



Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2005
October 5, 2015

The Kremlin as "lender of last resort";
Banning Russians from Ukrainian media

Global Islamism Monitor - No. 11
October 5, 2015


Al-Shabaab makes a comeback;
Canada tackles counterradicalization...; Morocco takes on training French imams;
Russia's jihadi legion



China Reform Monitor - No. 1182
September 30, 2015

China forced to defend yuan amid economic turmoil;
Europe concerned China’s “reform momentum has been lost”



Missile Defense Briefing Report - No. 340
September 29, 2015

Exploring East coast site options;
Growing pains for Mideast missile shield;
Chinese missile advances on display;
Israeli missile defense at sea;
The next iteration of the ABL

Latest Policy Papers

A Nuclear Deal with Iran: Managing the Consequences
By AFPC Iran Task Force , October 7, 2015

The announcement of a nuclear deal in July 2015 brought to a close nearly two years of intensive negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers (the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany). It also ushered in a new — and arguably more challenging — phase of American policy in the Middle East...

The War Against ISIS Through Social Media
By Dr. Abraham Wagner, Dr. Rand Waltzman, and Amb. Alberto Fernandez , July 7, 2015

On July 7, the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) held the fourth installment of its Defense Technology Program’s Understanding Cybersecurity lunch briefing series for Congressional Staffers. This event, entitled, “How the Caliphate is Communicating:” Understanding and Countering the Islamic State’s Messaging outlined how and why the Islamic State has been winning the “war of ideas” through the use of social media, and how the group is using social media to further its operations...


Cyber Crime: Security Under Scarce Resources
By Trey Herr and Sasha Romanosky , June 30, 2015

Cyber crime covers a wide range of activities that includes theft, fraud and harassment; stealing valuable intellectual property as part of industrial espionage; committing financial fraud and credit card theft; and disrupting internet services for ideological goals (“hacktivism”). The crimes target both firms and consumers, and while they rarely result in physical harm or property damage, there can still be severe consequences...

Iran Strategy Brief No. 7: Iran's Various Voices
By Ilan Berman , June 17, 2015

Is the Islamic Republic of Iran a country or a cause? For decades, the question is one that has bedeviled Western observers. Foreign politicians and diplomats long have struggled to reconcile the Iranian regime’s radical rhetoric and destructive international behavior with its pragmatic participation in numerous treaty arrangements, and its prominent role in various multilateral forums.

Understanding Cybersecurity - Part 2 - Information Assurance
By Trey Herr and Eric Ormes , April 15, 2015

Information Assurance is the art and science of securing computer systems and networks against efforts by third parties to disable, intrude, or otherwise impede operations. It is the focus of most “cybersecurity” professionals in the technical community. The principal goals are to maintain an information system’s Confidentiality (the secrecy of information as it is used and stored), Integrity, reliability of data and equipment, and Availability, that a computer system is ready and able to function as needed. Information Assurance includes writing secure software, deploying it safely, and managing it to minimize the risk of compromise.