The civil war in Syria may have begun in March 2011 with peaceful protests against regime policies, but it is now unquestionably a brutal sectarian conflict characterized by massacres and ethnic cleansing. It is now clear that the Syrian humpty dumpty, with its mix of Sunnis, Alawis, Christians, Druze, Kurds, Ismailis, and other communities, cannot be put back together again. One action that could potentially bring stability and advancement to Syria is partition.
Since Israel’s last incursion into Gaza in December 2008, Hamas and its fellow “resistance organizations” in Gaza have been taking advantage of weak Egyptian control over the Sinai Peninsula to hasten the smuggling of medium and short-range rockets. Hamas’s strategy is to attempt to deter Israel from launching attacks against the organization by amassing a rocket arsenal that will allow it to strike deep into Israel. It is highly unlikely that this latest round of fighting will fundamentally change a reality in which Hamas continues to rule in Gaza and Israel lacks any realistic alternatives to changing the equation.
October 22nd, 2012 - by Stephen Heifetz
U.S. government agencies often seek more power. They generally do that by asking Congress for a new law conferring additional authority or by simply asserting the power based on old law. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, has made a recent bold play that follows the second path. CFIUS now has asserted that it is a full-scale regulator, with the power to issue orders on its own.
October 10th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
Since news of the shooting of a fourteen year old Pakistani girl by a Taliban gunman, a ninth grader named Malal Yousafzai broke, I’ve wrestled with feelings of heartbreak and sheer anger. This young woman could be my own daughter, another happy ninth grader, and what happened to her is nothing short of despicable. Much of the world finds the Taliban abhorrent, but what I find just as disturbing is the deafening silence coming from the streets of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places in this region. People seem to be willing to riot over a stupid YouTube video, but when the blood of child is spilled, where is the outrage?
An interesting thing happened this weekend – two diverse voices came in violent agreement on the threats America faces today. First, CBS reporter Laura Logan, a renowned Middle East war correspondent; then, Governor Mitt Romney, in a foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute this past weekend. They separately emphasized that only by showing strength to foreign radical groups will we ever hope to have a degree of safety.
The White House’s 2009 Cyber Review estimated the loss of intellectual property from companies as a result of cyber-based hacking in 2008 alone exceeded $1 trillion in value. FBI Director Mueller said in 2009 that his Bureau was aware of 3200 Chinese front companies operating in the United States. Kudos to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers for telling the American public about the significant efforts of countries like China to utilize every means available to spy on American companies – something the National Economic Security Grid has designated as the “Advanced Persistent Asymmetrical Threat.”
September 19th, 2012 - by Steven Bucci
It helps those of us who might be considered “experts” in Washington, DC to get out once in a while. there is a need to see the real world and talk to real people. I was able to interact with both “non-Beltway” Americans in a recent trek through the Pacific Northwest. Despite the difficulties in the world, we have much to be grateful for, and friendly partner to the north (Canada) is one the United States should never take for granted.
July 2nd, 2012 - by Justin Hienz
Information travels through America’s cyber networks at the speed of light. The legislation that will be used to govern some aspects of network security is traveling at the speed of bureaucracy. The Senate has been debating two cybersecurity bills that will impact U.S. cybersecurity standards, but whatever Congress eventually decides, the onus is on U.S. citizens and businesses to step up their individual security efforts.
June 29th, 2012 - by Justin Hienz
One issue that receives too little public attention is the blatant use of hackers by China to steal U.S. intellectual property, defense technology, and other data critical to national security and competitiveness. China is one of America’s biggest competitors, and they (hackers, Chinese corporations and the Chinese government) clearly have no problem penetrating U.S. public and private sector networks to leapfrog over the years of hard work and innovation. Are we not outraged?
June 27th, 2012 - by Nadav Morag
When looking at the developments of the last year and a half in the Middle East, it seems quite clear that the media was too quick to coin the term “Arab Spring” to describe the popular unrest and overthrow of regimes in significant parts of the Arab World. It would be more appropriate to refer to what is happening in the region as the “Islamist Spring” because it is creating unprecedented opportunities for Islamist political movements to finally grasp the reins of power, such as with the elections in Egypt. All of this, of course, has implications for the region and the United States.
A recent Twitter exchange between the Taliban and the U.S. military shows how social media is evolving and how its current stage of development involves the use of Twitter to wage war on an ideological level. Over the past several years, social networking sites have become a catalyst for users to achieve political objectives. The U.S. Government and its security forces need to be constantly aware of how the enemy’s use of social media is evolving and proactively plan for ways to win the social networking battle.
People talk. That’s a fact. Whether at the water cooler, the fence post or on Facebook, people talk about almost anything and everything. Eventually though we all reach a point where what we really should do is just shut up. We’ve long crossed that point when it comes to intelligence and national security operations in this country. Lately there have been a truly disturbing number of very public examples that bring these conditions to light.
June 5th, 2012 - by Robert Blitzer
Like many Americans, I am concerned about the major intelligence leaks that have taken place over the past weeks and months. It i disturbing to see this kind of activity, particularly in time of war. The unmasking of Dr. Skakil Afridi, who helped bring Bin Laden down in Pakistan, and the significant reporting of the intricacies of cyber attacks against Iran’s nuclear program, makes me cringe.
May 25th, 2012 - by Matthew Levitt
The Arab uprisings created significant opportunities to counter radical Islamist propaganda and leverage financial tools against violently repressive regimes. Yet, they have also strained the intelligence community’s resources, forcing agencies to shift personnel and reprioritize their collection and analysis efforts. The Washington Institute’s new compendium, “Finding the Balance: U.S. Security Interests and the Arab Awakening,” delves into these issues in depth.
May 24th, 2012 - by Janice Kephart
Earlier this month, I testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on “The Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act of 2011.” My testimony makes clear that while tourism is a valid goal, it cannot be done in an atmosphere where immigration law is not being enforced domestically, visa processing becomes a rubber stamping process, and the countries targeted have some of the highest overstay populations in the United States.
May 18th, 2012 - by Robert Liscouski
While the United States successfully thwarted another attempted bombing of a domestic inbound aircraft by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the disrupted plot should tell Americans two important things: our intelligence and security agencies are doing excellent work, and continued vigilance is the price of security. We need every available tool to combat and protect against terrorists, and this means speeding up the rate at which America procures and implements counter-terrorism technology.
May 15th, 2012 - by Matthew Levitt
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr. has noted some Iranian officials are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States. Iran’s aggressive posture toward the United States, which suggests a heightened intent to target the homeland, is made all the more acute given Iran’s massive diplomatic presence in the Western Hemisphere.
The CIA’s recent success in interrupting an al Qaeda-inspired plot to destroy an airplane bound for the United States with a non-metallic bomb is an important victory for American security. It is also a harsh reminder that while many of America’s terrorist enemies are dead, jailed or on the run, others remain committed to turning the aviation system against us. What does that mean for America’s ongoing aviation security efforts?
May 10th, 2012 - by Robert Blitzer
The prevention of a bombing attack on an inbound passenger airliner this week was a great piece of work by the Intelligence Community. Since 9/11, there have been numerous attempts at attacking the homeland from both within the country and from without. All have failed. I have read a lot of the news stories reporting on this – each day, more operational details leak out. Coming from the intelligence world, I am dumbfounded by “anonymous sources” reporting the details of the operation to the press. Does anybody even try to protect sensitive sources and methods anymore?
Maps Show 330 Illegal Alien Crossing Ariz. Border in One Night in March, Including Ultralight Incursion
May 9th, 2012 - by Janice Kephart
During the night of March 23, 2012, illegal activity was shockingly high along 12-mile stretch of border in the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in Arizona and extending into the United States – 330 illegal aliens in one night. Over the course of a year, it can add up to 120,450 illegal entries just along these 12 miles of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. The destruction and illegal use of federal taxpayer lands and the great chance of success that the drug cartels and alien smugglers have tell a story of a border where illegal activity is high and the border remains out of control.