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IranNuclear SecurityFriday, July 17, 2015

Iran Is Hardly On The March

Iran Is Hardly On The March By John Bradshaw and J. Dana Stuster July 15, 2015 | Defense One The reality is that Iran is fighting to maintain a diminishing sphere of influence. And Washington mischaracterizes Iran’s actual position in the Middle East. Yes, Tehran covets a role as regional hegemon with power reaching beyond Shiite-controlled areas to become the hub of an anti-Israel axis that includes Sunni territories. But Iran is unable to move this strategy forward. What some of President Barack Obama’s critics portray as a newly aggressive Iranian policy instead reflects Iranian efforts to counter challenges it has not faced in decades. Facts on the ground simply do not support fears in Congress that a nuclear agreement will somehow empower an Iranian… Read More ›

radicalizationViolent ExtremismYouthThursday, July 2, 2015

To Counter Violent Extremism, Focus on the Young | Tara Sonenshine

To Counter Violent Extremism, Focus on the Young By Tara Sonenshine, member of the NSN Advisory Board July 2, 2015 | The Hill In the run-up to July Fourth, there is increasing “chatter” about the potential for a terrorist attack somewhere in the world this weekend. And behind the fear of violent extremism, is always an unspoken assumption that Muslim youth around the globe are, by and large, inclined towards negative activity, and likely to be recruited and radicalized by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or another terrorist group, and that social media is today’s platform for youth-inspired hatred, hostility and horrific behavior. Both are misleading assumptions and likely to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, ISIS has become very good at targeting… Read More ›

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Human Tinderbox in the Middle East | Sandy Berger, NSN Advisory Board Chair

The Human Tinderbox in the Middle East Sandy Berger, NSN Advisory Board Chairman June 10, 2015 | Foreign Policy The 25,000 civilians who fled the Iraqi city of Ramadi after its recent fall to the Islamic State represent only the latest wave of tragic human dislocation resulting from violence in the Middle East. Turmoil across the region has displaced more than 15 million people since 2011, leaving their return uncertain. Today, a staggering 78 million people worldwide, many uprooted, need assistance to meet basic food and shelter needs. This reflects a steady and unrelenting increase, up from approximately 30 million in 2006 and 65 million in 2012. This situation is the human byproduct of political disintegration in conflict-torn countries across the Middle East and around… Read More ›

2016 Presidential CampaignPatriot ActThursday, May 28, 2015

The Patriot Act in Policy and the Presidential Campaign | Tobias Gibson

The Patriot Act in Policy and the Presidential Campaign By Tobias Gibson, NSN Non-Resident Fellow May 28, 2015 | The Hill Recent developments have all but guaranteed the demise of significant programs of the USA Patriot Act. The history of the act is well-documented, and the sprint to the June 1 deadline has been the subject of front-page news, commentary and presidential election hopes. Many politicians have expressed why they support the renewal of Section 215, the controversial section that the executive branch has interpreted to allow unlimited storage of “metadata.” Other politicians have opined about supposed civil liberties violations due to the government’s storage of this data. Pundits, too, have expressed, concern, support or even indifference about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) metadata collection… Read More ›

DronesPoliticsRand PaulTuesday, April 21, 2015

Bring back the drone debate, Sen. Paul | Tobias Gibson

Bring back the drone debate, Sen. Paul By Tobias Gibson April 21, 2015 | The Hill When Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) declared his candidacy for the presidency, I will admit to having a certain excitement. In part, this feeling is based on the opportunity he offered to literally blanketmyself in the Constitution. Another is the opportunity to read a political comic book — but the real reason is that he clearly embraces his willingness to be a voice of concern about American use of drones. In other words, Paul’s campaign offers the most likely possibility that discussion and debate around the U.S. counterterrorism, military and diplomatic use of drones will reemerge. Despite the fact that the drone debate has quieted dramatically in the recent past,… Read More ›

Saudi ArabiaYemenMonday, April 13, 2015

Misunderstanding Wars in Yemen, Vietnam, and Yemen Once Again | J. Dana Stuster

Misunderstanding Wars in Yemen, Vietnam, and Yemen Once Again By J. Dana Stuster, NSN Policy Analyst April 6, 2015 | Foreign Policy There’s an moment in the 2003 documentary The Fog of War in which former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara lays out what he got wrong in Vietnam. “We saw Vietnam as an element of the Cold War,” he says. “Not what they [the Vietnamese] saw it as: a civil war.” I thought of that the other day as I listened to Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, talking about the Saudi intervention in Yemen. “This is treated as a sectarian battle between Iran-backed Shia and Saudi Arabia-backed Sunnis, but really when you look at the essence of Yemen’s… Read More ›

IranP5+1 Talkssanctionssandy bergerMonday, April 6, 2015

Sandy Berger: the Fantasy of a Better Iran Deal

Writing in Politico Magazine, NSN Advisory Board Chair Sandy Berger had the following caution for those who think more sanctions will lead to a better deal: [I]t is highly unlikely that even our allies in Europe would join us in further sanctions against Iran in the wake of a nuclear agreement they believe is sensible and positive. That is even truer for other countries—like India, Japan, South Korea and China—that were pulled into the existing sanctions regime quite unwillingly. The support of these countries for the oil sanctions in particular has been critical to the sanctions’ effectiveness. They will not willingly sign up for more… Indeed, the proponents of tougher sanctions to get a “better” deal have misunderstood the nature of the Iranian sanctions. The… Read More ›

IranP5+1 TalksFriday, April 3, 2015

A Window onto Iran | Tara Sonenshine

A Window onto Iran By Tara Sonenshine April 3, 2015 | The Hill Many months of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have given the U.S. and the West an unprecedented window onto Iranian thinking and policy. Regardless of where one stands on the merits of the diplomatic outcome, diplomacy usually leads to better policymaking. It is far wiser to understand other countries — particularly longstanding adversaries — than misread them or have them misread you. The framework agreement announced yesterday between the P5+1 nations (the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) and Iran represents historic progress toward the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. While much work remains to be done to achieve an effective and verifiable comprehensive… Read More ›

YemenThursday, March 26, 2015

How Regional Power Struggles Stoke Yemen’s Conflict | Brian Katulis

How Regional Power Struggles Stoke Yemen’s Conflict By Brian Katulis, NSN Board of Directors Chair March 26, 2015 | Wall Street Journal For all the complaints from the Middle East about the Obama administration’s reticence to involve itself deeply in conflicts such as those in Syria and Yemen, nations in the region act on their own when motivated. Saudi military intervention in Yemen‘s civil war–actually a joint effort by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain–underscores a broader struggle for power that is accelerating the collapse of states across the Middle East. The key question now is whether regional actions will lead to stability or further turmoil. At its core, Yemen’s conflict is an internal struggle for power between long-competing factions. But in the past year it has taken on dimensions… Read More ›

CongressIranP5+1 TalksPoliticsWednesday, March 18, 2015

A Bumper Crop of Banana(s) Republicans | John Bradshaw

A Bumper Crop of Banana(s) Republicans By John Bradshaw March 18, 2015 | Huffington Post One of the ironies of life in Washington is that those most concerned with American credibility are often working the hardest to undermine it. Under the new “Cotton doctrine,” unveiled in the now-infamous letter from Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republican Senators to the government of Iran, America’s commitments are only good for as long as the President who signed them remains in office. This is the way banana republics do business, not the United States. It’s an approach unworthy of our diplomatic traditions, and one that damages our ability to work with other nations and exercise international leadership. As a former U.S. diplomat who served overseas under both… Read More ›

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