Archive for September, 2017

ISIS isn’t Iraq’s only problem

The government of Iraq is facing an abundant of issues that threaten the country’s security and economic outlook. There have been a number of political protests, rampant sectarianism, and reconstruction problems. These political protests place a strain on Iraq’s political environment and have been adding instability throughout Iraq, especially in Baghdad. Although these protests have remained peaceful thus far, security forces have had to delay operations to recapture areas that are currently held by ISIS to help protect the Green Zone in Baghdad. This poses a threat on security in the United States and other countries that ISIS may target around the world. If security forces can’t contain areas that are being held by ISIS, this may allow them to grow only making it more difficult to defeat this group. These protests also threaten the stability of Iraq and prevent Iraq’s ability to effectively conduct war against ISIS.


Us and Indonesia Align South China Sea Policy

The US has continued to tighten opposition to unilateral Chinese claims and expansion in the South China Sea. This past Friday the government collaborated in policy with Indonesia, which made their own claims over a portion of the sea. The US and regional powers all maintain usage claims for navigation and fishing rights in parts of the sea, with powers such as China, Vietnam, and others also seeking competing extraction rights to oil and gas, as well as control of islands. China’s effort to de facto control the region through area denial through the creation of artifical atolls and garrisoning military forces upon them are in violation of international laws and agreements, as well as the interests of other regional powers, and international shipping concerns. While continuing a standoffish position may be in the interests of the US, and consistant with past policy on the issue, it could create trouble at a time when the US is demanding closer cooperation from China in reining in North Korea.


Terrorism at Buckingham Palace


A London resident named Mohiussunnath Choudhury deliberately drove at a police van which was stationed on patrol at Buckingham Palace. London authorities said that the man was wielding a 4 foot sword when he was approached by police in his car while yelling “Allahu Akbar”. Authorities have charged the man with terrorism offenses for engaging in such conduct. Unfortunately for Great Britain they seem to be a magnet for what are known as lone wolf terrorist attacks. While it’s difficult to prevent these type of terrorist attacks. British parliament can step up their efforts to further promote legislation to help thwart these attacks while they are being planned. For instance when a tip is given about a potential attack like the one in this article. Search warrants can be expedited to officers from the courts so that an investigation can begin as soon as possible. If attacks like these keep happening in the frequency that they are in Great Britain. Legislatures will certainly see the need to further expand their anti-terrorism task force within their metropolitan police department. Currently these AFO (Authorized Firearms Officers) forces stand only at 600, with plenty of room to expand from there. I believe that Britain has the greatest advantage in all of Europe to help combat future terrorism with their CCTV program. This program puts a camera on every street in London which is extremely beneficial for solving cases and tracking potential suspects. The CCTV footage of the attempted attack on Buckingham Palace will most likely be used as evidence in Mohissunnath’s court hearing .


Defense Secretary Mattis announced that new troops will be deployed to Afghanistan, “In other words, I have signed some of the troops that will go and we are identifying the specific ones.” The addition of new troops is said to be for the purpose of thwarting Taliban attempts to gain control of the government/country of Afghanistan. Currently, the major contributing actors to the Afghanistan narrative are the Taliban, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and coalition forces (primarily led by US initiatives). Stability in the region and alignment with western democratic ideals is in the best interest of the US and its allies.  The addition of more US soldiers may contribute to the idea of increased security initially, however with out a cohesive, cross sector policy to support economic stability and limit corruption, insurgency outbreaks will continue.





CIA Spies Internally

A program called ExpressLane is being used by the CIA to make sure that other U.S. agencies play fair with the CIA and share all the data they collect. If found otherwise, the CIA bricks its remote bio-metrics databases. ExpressLane was developed for the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology (DST) and was used by two of its departments — the Office of Technical Services (OTS) and Identity Intelligence Center (I2C). The company that was used to help create the program claims the U.S. used one of its tools to identify and locate Osama Bin Laden. This program could simply be an effort by the government to keep intelligence agencies honest and on their toes. It may be used to improve reconnaissance techniques and technology. Or, this could be some form of a test of the system before using it against the nation’s enemies, especially since the same company’s programming was used to target Osama Bin Laden. The only problem with the CIA testing this technology internally is that Wikileaks published this information for the world to see, making it easier for American enemies to defend themselves from an attack of this nature.


Who Are the Sanctions Hurting?

In the most recent rounds of economic sanctions that the United States has imposed on Venezuela, some 18 million packages of food were blocked from entering the country. While Venezuela has been declared a threat to the security of the United States, it seems the true victims of these sanctions are the impoverished people of Venezuela rather than President Maduro and the other officials of his regime. The country is currently enduring a food crisis, and it affects are being seen amongst the entire population; many families are starving and the economy is taking a massive hit. As conflict between the socialist regime and the opposition forces grows, it seems that the United States, along with other world leaders, needs to take a more proactive role in handling the threat of Maduro. The president’s regime continues to deny that the country is in a crisis, and while these sanctions are intended to weaken Maduro, they are only furthering the suffering of a nation in turmoil and have yet to inspire any sort of change in the Venezuelan government.



Enrique Pena Nieto’s Scandals in Mexico


The news article I read detailed the downfall of Enrique Pena Nieto’s presidency and his rule over the Institutional Revolutionary Party in Mexico. His presidency has been riddled with countless scandals such as forcibly disappeared students, escaped drug dealers, a sharp spike in gas prices and steady increases in violence and murder, along with a rise in government spyware aimed at journalistic groups. As a result his approval ratings have plummeted. Citizens  are now questioning the IRP’s motives which has lead many to hope for a new party in power. I believe that the wide discontent felt by many has come about because the corruptive regime wasn’t held to a higher standard decades back. The IRP has infringed on many human rights such as freedom from surveillance and freedom of speech over the years, resulting in the people protesting and using violence to show their frustration. If, and when, the party loses in the 2018 election, it will most likely benefit US foreign policy as the IRP hasn’t cracked down on ending the drug cartel in Mexico. This has caused a influx of violence and murder surrounding drugs crossing the US Mexico border. Furthermore, US-Mexican relations are currently limited as the Trump administration is still adamant on building the wall that Mexico has fervently said they will not pay for. Therefore, the likelihood of Trump having a positive reaction to Nieto’s scandals and a possible new establishment coming into power is quite low as there is a lot of animosity between the two nations at the moment. The analysis of the article captured the essence of why the IRP is crumbling but it didn’t have much commentary on the rivaling parties platforms and what their take on the IRP’s repressive governmental effort towards their people and how they would like to change that normalcy in Mexico.   

-Ayel Morrissey


Instead of “You’re Fired”, It’s “I Quit” from Members of the NIAC



          Eight members of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) recently resigned, citing one of the reasons as President Trump’s inadequate attention to potential cyber threats to American infrastructure. The Trump administration should take these resignations very seriously, especially considering Russia’s growing threat to U.S. cyber security. Experts have criticized the president for not taking a hard line with regard to Russia, especially due to his short-lived attempt to pursue a cyber-security coalition with the country. It would be beneficial for Trump to focus his efforts on gaining knowledge about cyber security and to recognize the threat that Russia and other actors pose to the United States in the event of cyber attack. It is paramount that the NIAC be staffed with the most experienced and qualified candidates to protect the country from cyber threats. Therefore, the current administration should meet with the remaining members of the NIAC to gain input, as well as conduct a thorough search, in order the find the most qualified replacements to fill the vacant seats.







Iran Compliant to Nuclear Deal Limits 

Trump is insisting that Iran is violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the UN’s nuclear watchdog reports that Iran’s supply of heavy water and uranium are lower than the main limits established in the 2015 multilateral agreement. The Trump administration is pressuring officials to look for Iranian non-compliance that could justify the U.S. withdrawing from the agreement. The report is significant because Trump is scheduled to meet with Congress in October and has threatened to hold back his certification of Iranian compliance, which he anticipated that Iran would be found non-compliant. With Iran found compliant, it is beneficial for them because it is harder for the U.S. to justify and find a way to bring the deal. Iran is nominally compliant; however, the White House believes that Iran are covertly subverting the intentions of the agreement. Trump claims Iran is cheating, but there is not much they can do about it.


Potential Victory for Assad as Opposition Backers Reconsider?

Support for the anti-Assad regime seems to be losing confidence, funding and energy as things continue to degrade in Syria. What was once considered a nonnegotiable for peace in the region– ousting al-Assad–has now been tempered and his staying in power is no longer a deal-breaker. Both the U.S. and Jordan have focused their efforts on fighting ISIS and pulled back more direct support of the FSA (Free Syria Army). Mounting al-Qaida involvement, in-fighting and poor management of funds inside the opposition is causing concern for other opposition backers like Britain and Germany, who are also having second thoughts and doubts about the likelihood of successful regime change. What this means for the countless migrants who fled Assad’s brutality is anyone’s guess. Many IDPs (internally displaced people) fear giving up on Syria will “feed impunity and revenge.” All of this is good news for Russia and Iran who both have an interest in seeing al-Assad and the current regime stay in place–for strategic and financial gains.


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