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Afghanistan Seems Fixed on a Return to Chaos
Articles - March 16, 2012

Talk to civilian and military officials who've recently served in Afghanistan and you will be hard-pressed to find a single optimistic assessment of our current strategy there.

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 1755
Bulletins - January 4, 2012

 Equipment quality, personnel problems plague Russia's military;

The Eurasian Economic Union inches forward
Constraining Iran In The Strait
Articles - January 2, 2012

The past two weeks have seen a dramatic escalation in Iran’s war of words with the West.

Last Wednesday, Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, that new economic pressure currently being contemplated by the West would come at a steep cost. According to Rahimi, “not a drop of oil” will pass through the Strait of Hormuz — a key strategic waterway that serves as a conduit for as much as a third of the world’s oil — if additional sanctions are levied against the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program. Iran’s top naval commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, has been even more explicit, warning publicly that his country stands ready to block the strait if necessary.

Electromagnetic Pulse A Real Threat
Articles - December 16, 2011

Is electromagnetic pulse a real threat to American security? On the heels of recent Republican primary debates, the danger to U.S. electronics and infrastructure posed by a high-altitude nuclear blast suddenly has emerged as a campaign issue. So has concerted opposition to it, with both liberal and conservative skeptics ridiculing the idea as an overblown, even fabricated, distraction. Yet there is ample evidence that the danger is both clear and present.

Jittery In Jerusalem
Articles - October 22, 2011

WHEN the "Arab Spring" unexpectedly broke out late last year, Natan Sharansky waxed optimistic. Writing in the Washington Post in March, the former Soviet refusenik who ranks as Israel's best known pro-democracy activist argued that the grassroots revolts that unseated Tunisian strongman Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali and Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak marked the start of a democratic tsunami that could soon engulf the region. Regional conditions, he counseled, were ripe for just this sort of radical surgery.

These days, however, Israelis who share this hopeful outlook are exceedingly hard to find. A recent visit found policymakers and academics of all political stripes deeply apprehensive of the tectonic shifts that have taken place in their region this year. They have good reason to be. Israel's security environment, never favorable, has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

History's Bleak Afghan Lesson
Articles - September 1, 2011

As the United States and other NATO countries begin to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan, Afghan and US policymakers alike fear a return to the carnage that characterized the five year civil war (1996-2001) between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. In that conflict, battles over large population centres and campaigns of ethnic cleansing killed thousands. To prevent a repeat of that disaster, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Obama administration are now seeking to negotiate a truce with the Taliban. But just how likely is such a peace deal to materialize – or to hold, if it does?

Russia Reform Monitor - No. 1743
Bulletins - August 31, 2011

Interior Ministry eyes new Internet curbs;
Putin and company: popular at home, but not abroad

Military Force Must Be Considered
Articles - August 11, 2011

Make no mistake: U.N. Security Council sanctions and additional U.S. and European pressures are hurting Iran. Tehran is having a harder time importing food and other key goods, its foreign investment is drying up, financial firms and shipping companies are turning down its business, and its central bank is running short of hard currency.


What sanctions are not doing, however, is achieving their goal - to persuade Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Not only is Iran making more progress in its nuclear program, it's acting more boldly in its region, threatening U.S. interests while distributing weapons that are killing U.S. troops. Because neither current nor additional sanctions alone will deter Tehran, and because a nuclear Iran would be a disaster for the United States and the world, Washington must seriously consider a military option.

How Iran And America Could Wind Up At War
Articles - July 29, 2011

Are Washington and Tehran headed for a showdown?

For much of the past decade, conventional wisdom has held that Iran’s dogged pursuit of a nuclear capability – carried out in spite of mounting pressure from the international community – will ultimately become a casus belli for Washington. Early on in his tenure, President George W. Bush even went so far as to declare that the U.S. “will not tolerate” Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons, and to indicate that he was prepared to use force to prevent it. Despite its more dulcet diplomatic tones toward Iran, the administration of Barack Obama has grudgingly repeated much the same thing since taking office: that all options, including the use of force, remain on the table for dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Still, some eight years into the international standoff over Iran’s atomic program, it has become clear that a military option for dealing with an Iranian bomb, if not out of the question entirely, is an exceedingly remote possibility.

That does not mean, however, that Tehran and Washington won’t soon find themselves embroiled in a war. Indeed, Iran’s escalating activity on the territory of its western neighbor, Iraq, could end up becoming the real catalyst for a U.S.-Iranian conflict.

High Cost Of Stability In Egypt
Articles - June 14, 2011

Welcome to “The Hangover,” Cairo edition. The widespread grass-roots protests that broke out in Egypt this spring succeeded in accomplishing what many skeptics doubted they could: ousting long-serving strongman Hosni Mubarak and ending his 30-year authoritarian rule. But now, some four months on, Egypt’s revolution is obviously on the skids.

The problems start with Egypt’s economy. Under Mr. Mubarak, Egypt’s economic fortunes were comparatively rosy, with the national gross domestic product growing an average of nearly 6 percent annually over the past three years. Today, by contrast, they are anything but rosy. Since Mr. Mubarak’s ouster in February, the Egyptian stock exchange has lost nearly a quarter of its value, prompting its chairman, Mohamed Abdel Salam, to embark upon a frantic tour of Gulf monarchies in an effort to drum up Arab investment. Tourism, the lifeblood of the Egyptian economy, likewise has plummeted, falling an estimated 60 percent over 2010 levels and costing the country more than a half-billion dollars in revenue to date in the process. Nor is a reprieve in sight. According to observers, it could take a decade for Egypt’s tourism industry to rebound fully - if, indeed, it rebounds at all. The prognosis is grim: As a recent analysis in the Asia Times put it, “Egypt’s economy is in free-fall.”