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Iran's Imperial Project
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, November 21, 2017

Iran is on the march in the Middle East.

Over the past year, a steady drumbeat of news reports from the Persian Gulf, intelligence assessments regarding Syria's civil war, and firsthand accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

Future Thinking: the Role Of Artificial Intelligence
By Zachary Lemnios and Michael Perrone, AFPC Defense Dossier Iss. 20, November 2017, November 18, 2017

The past several years have seen a remarkable transition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from academia to practical use. This shift is beginning to transform every industry, is fundamentally changing many consumer services, and will have a profound impact on national security.

Iraqi Kurdistan: Post-Independence Referendum
By Christine Balling, Small Wars Journal, November 17, 2017

On September 25th, against the urging of the United States and other allies, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held an independence referendum within the boundaries of its autonomous region and provocatively, without, in the city of Kirkuk. While the regional response was fast and furious, the United States did nothing, leaving the Iraqi Kurds at the mercy of a revengeful Baghdad: Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports were closed to international commercial traffic. Turkey threatened to close borders and the Iranian and Iraqi militaries conducted joint exercises on the Iraqi Kurdish border.  Baghdad sent the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) militias to retake the disputed territories back from the Kurdish peshmerga. Then, on October 29th, KRG president Masoud Barzani stepped down and suspended the post of presidency, distributing control of the KRG to other branches.

Gaming To Victory: Synthetic Training For Future Combat
By Jennifer McArdle, War on the Rocks, November 15, 2017

It looked like a video game. From the comfort of a living room couch, with TV dinners in hand, families watched as precision-guided munitions rained down with seemingly perfect accuracy on Iraqi military and civilian targets. It was Jan. 17, 1991 - the start of Operation Desert Storm - and the combination of camera equipped high-tech weaponry and night vision equipment provided viewers an action-packed front-row view into the coalition's air war. What had seemed like science fiction was now a reality.

Directed Energy Weapons And Modern Warfare
By Howard R. Meyer, Jr., AFPC Defense Dossier Iss. 20, November 2017, November 14, 2017

In a 2009 article entitled "Technology and Warfare," Professor Alex Roland of Duke University wrote that ", more than any other outside force, shapes warfare.”[1] In his article, Roland went on to explain how military technologies, while not being deterministic, open doors and provide opportunities - often referred to as 'opportunity space' in current military parlance - for the nations employing them.

A Saudi Shake-Up At Last
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, November 8, 2017

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a long overdue housecleaning. The mass arrests of members of the government, royals and businessmen that have taken place in recent days are unprecedented in modern times, and the country's attorney general has promised that what has taken place so far is only "phase one."

The Russian War On Terror
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, November 3, 2017

Which country ranks as the largest source of foreign fighters for the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq?

That dubious distinction doesn't belong to a Middle Eastern state, despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia have historically been major contributors of radicals to the Islamic State's ranks. Nor is it a North African nation, even though Tunisia had previously served as the preeminent supplier of fighters for the Syrian front.

President Trump Takes A Wise Middle Course On The Iran Nuclear Deal
By Ilan Berman, Orlando Sentinel, October 20, 2017

In his policy speech last Friday, President Trump did not scrap the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, as some prominent conservative thinkers had suggested he should. Nor did he simply leave the deal intact, as proponents of the agreement had previously counseled. Instead, the president charted a middle way intended to give America greater leverage over Iran's nuclear program and processes.

Trump Takes Aim At The IRGC
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, October 18, 2017

You wouldn't know it from the media coverage surrounding President Trump's October 13th speech on Iran, but the most notable element of the Administration's new, "comprehensive" strategy toward the Islamic Republic isn't its plan to revisit the 2015 nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A Setback For Peace Prospects
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 17, 2017

Perhaps United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to congratulate him on the new unity deal between Abbas' Fatah Party and the terrorist group Hamas, simply didn't know what Hamas had said about it a day earlier.

Prague's Eastward Turn
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, October 10, 2017

Since its emergence from the wreckage of the Soviet Union more than a quarter-century ago, the Czech Republic has consistently ranked as a success story of post-totalitarian transition. Unlike that of many of its neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe, Prague's path toward democracy has been more or less linear, cresting in the middle of the last decade when the country garnered the ranking of "full democracy" from the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit. Today, however, Czech democracy is showing signs of erosion, while the country as a whole is in the process of making an alarming eastward turn.

Could Spain Go The Way Of Yugoslavia?
By Svante E. Cornell, The National Interest, October 5, 2017

In recent years, the European Union has been bogged down by one crisis after another - from Greece to the Euro to Brexit. But happily, none of these have endangered what has underpinned European integration since the late 1940s: securing lasting peace among European states. Europe has not been spared political violence, as residents of Northern Ireland and the Basque country can attest to. But to almost all Europeans, the notion of armed conflict within their midst is no longer even thinkable. While the Catalonia crisis is not destined to degenerate into large-scale violence, European and American leaders do not appear to take the potential for conflict seriously. They are mistaken.

Defending The Indefensible
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 3, 2017

Like an all-too-proud father rejecting a teacher's legitimate criticism of his child, former Secretary of State John Kerry is defending the U.S.-led global nuclear agreement with Iran that he engineered from the legitimate concerns of Iran-watchers in the Trump administration, Congress and the private sector.

Political Power Is Dividing a Germany That Was Once Unified
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, October 2, 2017

All politics may be local, but the German national election reflected major trends in the political culture of a country at the center of both the European Project and the Transatlantic relationship. These trends need to be understood by Americans who casually assume that Angela Merkel won again. In fact, her party received one vote in three, hardly a mandate. More broadly, the election demonstrated the continuing fragmentation of political power in unified Germany, the sustained alienation of its eastern population from the political cultures of both Germany and Europe, and the increasing delegitimization of German political and economic elites.

Why Trump Will Not Allow The Iran Deal To Stand
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, September 29, 2017

Those who support the Obama administration's landmark nuclear deal with Iran are nervous, and for good reason. In his Sept. 19 address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump gave what was perhaps the clearest signal to date that he has no plans to recertify the agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) next month, as mandated by Congress.

Kim Would Regret War
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, September 27, 2017

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un seems bent on making it easier for the United States to go to war. If he draws first blood, it may be the last thing he ever does.

On Monday, North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said that his country has "every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country." Pyongyang has reportedly moved interceptor aircraft closer to the flight path of U.S. bombers that have been patrolling North Korea's periphery. Ri said that attacking U.S. forces was legal since "it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country," apparently referring to statements from President Donald Trump.

Angela Merkel's Bitter Victory
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, September 25, 2017

In Sunday's national elections in Germany, Angela Merkel presided over a major political failure for her party and her country. Yes, Merkel will remain chancellor for a fourth term, probably in a fragile three-party coalition. However, a historic mission of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has been to prevent the emergence of a viable political party on the far right at the national level. Chancellors and CDU leaders from Konrad Adenauer through Helmut Kohl understood this mission and fulfilled it. Merkel has failed, largely due to her pursuit of an ever-larger political center through coopting leftist policies and programs. She thus left ample space on the right for the new Alternative for Germany (AfD) which gained 13 percent of the vote on Sunday.

Making Sense Of Russian Strategy In Syria
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, September 22, 2017

What shapes Russia's calculus in the Syrian theater? Since its formal decision to intervene in the Syrian civil war in September 2015, the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has become a guarantor of the stability of the Assad regime, as well as a key power broker in any conceivable solution to the ongoing crisis. Yet, two years on, Moscow's motivations for its continued presence in Syria are still not well understood by most observers, either in the Middle East or in the West.

Punish North Korea By Sanctioning China
By James S. Robbins, Inside Sources, September 19, 2017

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results, then the United Nations has gone 'round the bend.

On Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2375, which imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea in response to that country's September 3 nuclear test. President Trump, who had pushed for much starker sanctions, called the resolution "not a big deal."

Iran's Big Move
By Lawrence Haas, U.S. News & World Report, September 5, 2017

The western Asian nation of Iran is on the cusp of expanding its reach all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and Israel's northern border - a drive that will make its nuclear pursuit, ballistic missile development and terror sponsorship that much more dangerous to the United States and its regional allies.