Latest Briefings

Increasing Pressure on Russia to Resolve the Ukraine Conflict

July 23, 2014

  Following the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) in eastern Ukraine, the West faces challenges in coordinating a significant increase in pressure on Russia to bring an end to the regional conflict.  Thus far, relatively modest sanctions by the United States and Europe have been effective in imposing costs on the Russian economy […]

Iran Nuclear Talks: Extension Builds on Positive Momentum

July 21, 2014

On Friday night, P5+1 and Iranian diplomats announced a plan to extend the nuclear negotiations past the July 20 deadline for the Joint Plan of Action that has frozen Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for modest sanctions relief. Under the terms of the extension, Iran’s nuclear enrichment program will remain frozen and it will continue […]

Stopping the Dangerous Political Games with State Department Nominees

July 16, 2014

    Fueled by conservative obstructionism, over 50 nominees for top posts at the Department of State remain unconfirmed by the U.S. Senate, including over 40 nominees for ambassador positions. But the foot-dragging is not motivated by substantive concerns regarding most of the nominees. Instead, conservative obstructionism appears to be primarily a politically motivated retaliation […]

Understanding a Potential Iran Nuclear Deal

July 14, 2014

  Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are in Vienna this week as Iran and the P5+1 attempt to conclude negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program prior to the July 20 deadline. After a meeting between Kerry and Zarif on Sunday, Zarif noted that the two had “made some important […]

Critical Issues in the Senate Defense Appropriations Bill

July 11, 2014

  As the Senate begins consideration of Pentagon spending next week, several issues in the proposed defense budget warrant closer scrutiny. The Defense Appropriations Bill will be marked up at the subcommittee level next week and legislators should pay careful attention to  the Administration’s proposals for a Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) and European Reassurance Initiative […]

What Afghanistan’s Election Crisis Means for Kabul, the Taliban, and the United States

July 9, 2014

  The divisive Afghan elections have escalated into a crisis. Preliminary results from the June 14 presidential election run-off, released on Monday, showed Ashraf Ghani leading with 56.4% of the vote, ahead of Abdullah Abdullah’s 43.6%, but millions of votes reportedly remain under review amid accusations of fraud. Abdullah’s campaign has leveled accusations of fraud […]

Iran Nuclear Talks: Compromise Possible as July 20 Deadline Approaches

July 7, 2014

  Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 resumed on July 3 in Vienna, as teams of diplomats enter the final phase of talks to reach a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program ahead of the expiration of the Joint Plan of Action on July 20. Significant gaps remain between Iran’s demands and those of the United […]

What the Islamic State Really Means for al-Qaeda, Iraq, and the U.S.

July 2, 2014

  On Sunday, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) declared that it had established itself as a new nation, the Islamic State, and restored the caliphate, led by ISIS’ ruthless leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In its announcement, the organization now known as the Islamic State demanded all Muslims swear their allegiance to Baghdadi […]

The Right Call: Benghazi Suspect to be Tried in Civilian Court

June 30, 2014

On Saturday, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the alleged mastermind behind the Benghazi attack, appeared in a Washington, D.C., court to plead not guilty to charges of conspiring to support terrorism. Khatallah’s arraignment in an Article III federal court has prompted outrage from conservatives who claim Khatallah should be tried as an enemy combatant or war criminal, […]

Overseas Contingency Operations Funding: Vigilance Required

June 27, 2014

Yesterday, the White House submitted its Fiscal Year 2015 request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. The request totaled $65.8 billion – what would be the  fifth highest-funded military in the world if it were a stand-alone force – $58.6 billion of which is slated for the Pentagon. While modestly below last year’s $80 billion, […]

Bookmark and Share