Weekly Briefing – March 22-27, 2015

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, March 27th, 2015 @ 9:36PM

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Credit: Office of the Supreme Leader

Iran: Why?Sol Sanders – Why is one of the world’s poorest countries [40% living in poverty, halfway down on list of countries in per capita GDP] building capital-intensive nuclear power facilities? Iran has the third largest oil and the second largest gas reserves in the world [without recourse to new shale gas potential]. 2006 oil production level was enough for 88 years if no new oil were found. But only in the last weeks a whole new huge reserve was located offshore in the Caspian Sea. Iran’s fossil fuel export potential is so great that were current sanctions ended suddenly, the world price of oil might well drop $10. That’s despite Tehran’s official rationale that nuclear plants for desalinization are necessary to halt diversion of oil and gas exports.…more

ISIS’ Balkan NetworksGordon N. Bardos – The appearance of ISIS flags flying over a Bosnian village a few weeks ago made headlines across Europe.[1] Last week’s discovery of a plot involving four Bosnian nationals and an Arab trying to smuggle a bomb from Bosnia to Sweden,[2] and a German police raid on the Sahabe mosque in Stuttgart frequented by Bosnian émigrés, through which “the majority of people” from southwest Germany pass on their way to Syria,[3] provide further stark reminders of the international growth and spread of Balkan Islamist extremist networks over the past two decades…more

Obama’s Hostility to Netanyahu Goes Down BadlyMarc Schulman -The following excerpts from an avid critic of Mr. Netanyahu, reflect the general reaction of the Israeli public to the Obama administration’s demonetization of the State of Israel and its freely, fairly and democratically elected leader. “The one person who seems unwilling to accept the results of the election here appears to be the current occupant of the White House and other members of his administration…”President Obama’s tone and statement are hard to take….He states further: President Obama is going too far. Attacking the government is also attacking the people. We are open to criticism, but not one-sided.” In a Middle East where over 100 people are dying every day in Syria, where Yemen and Libya are falling apart in front of our eyes…more

An Easter Gift to the Christians of Zhejiang?J. Millard Burr – Not widely reported outside of Christian circles is the fact that despite the success of the Christian movement in Zhejiang, the Chinese government had for more than a year targeted the outward symbols of Christianity displayed by Zhejiang churches.  At least 400 crosses were removed, “and 35 Protestant and Catholic churches destroyed… since the end of 2013.” The campaign was reported to be, “among the most destructive against Christians in the region in recent times.”…. in March 2015 it was reported that the government had quietly brought an end to a campaign that had targeted churches in Zhejiang.  Xia Baolong, the Communist Party Secretary of Zhejiang province, gave no official explanation.…more

ACD IN THE NEWS

On Libel And The Law, U.S. And U.K. Go Separate Ways – Ari Shapiro, Listen NPR

NEWS & ANALYSIS

US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel’s Nuclear Program. See – Critical Technology Assessment in Israel 

Obama’s Iran Policy Is Lost at Sea – How can the U.S. hope to keep tabs on Tehran’s nuclear program when we can’t even track its oil tankersClaudia Rosett

President Obama’s Intentions – NY SUN editorial

Iranian President Contacts British, Russian, Chinese, French Leaders over N. Deal – Fars News

The Orwellian Obama Presidency. Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.Bret Stephens 

Khamenei calls ‘Death to America’ as Kerry hails progress on nuke deal. Day after Obama urges Iran to seize ‘historic opportunity,’ supreme leader says US seeks to create insecurity Times of Israel

Al Nusrah Front video showcases more American-made TOW missiles – Thomas Joslcelyn 

Egypt Ministry of Religious Endowments places all Islamic centres under its authority. The move comes as part of a series of measures by the state to control unofficial religious in order to stop spread of radical and extremist ideas Al Ahram

Russia questions Britain’s claim to the Falklands as garrison reinforced. Extra Chinook helicopters and new missile system to be sent to be deployed, as Russia likens Islands to Crimea Telegraph UK

Russians Repress Ukrainians in Far East and Threaten to Deport Crimean Tatars There Paul Goble

Mind Games: Alexander Dugin and Russia’s War of IdeasAndrey Tolstoy and Edmund McCaffrayst

The Return of War Daniel Johnson

CAPITOL HILL

House:

The Department of Defense’s Readiness Posture – Armed Service Committee 

Department of Defense (DOD) Fiscal Year 2016 Science and Technology Programs: Laying the Groundwork to Maintain Technological Superiority – Armed Services Committee 

Risk-Based Security: Assessing the Path Forward for TSA Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation Security

Wrecking the Internet to Save It? The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rule – Judiciary Committee

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Strategy and the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Chemical Biological Defense Program Armed Services Committee

Fiscal Year 2016 National Security SpaceArmed Services Committee

Options for FAA Air Traffic Control Reform Transportation Committee

A Global Battleground: The Fight Against Islamist Extremism at Home and Abroad Homeland Security Committee

The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier Energy and Commerce Committee

The U.S. Rebalance in South Asia: Foreign Aid and Development PrioritiesForeign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific

After Paris and Copenhagen: Responding to the Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

Fiscal Year 2016 Atomic Energy Defense Armed Services Committee

Senate:

Securing the Border: Defining the Current Population Living in the Shadows and Addressing Future Flows Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee 

Ballistic Missile Defense Programs Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

Securing the Border: Understanding and Addressing the Root Causes of Central American Migration to the United States Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee

United States Middle East Policy Armed Services Committee

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Key Considerations Regarding Safety, Innovation, Economic Impact, and PrivacyCommerce, Science & Transportation Committee

Securing the Border: Assessing the Impact of Transnational Crime Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee

GAO Reports

Aviation Security: TSA’s Managed Inclusion Process Expands Passenger Expedited Screening, But TSA Has Not Tested Its Security Effectiveness GAO-15-465T: Published: March 25, 2015. Publicly Released: March 25, 2015.

Unmanned Aerial Systems: Status of Test Sites and International Developments GAO-15-486T: Published: Mar 24, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2015.

Border Security: Additional Efforts Needed to Address Persistent Challenges in Achieving Radio Interoperability GAO-15-201: Published: Mar 23, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 2015.

CRS Reports

CRS Insights – Israel After the 2015 Elections: What Does Netanyahu’s Victory Mean for U.S. Policy? Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs – March 23, 2015

The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs – March 23, 2015

Seventh Summit of the Americas: In Brief Peter J. Meyer, Analyst in Latin American Affairs March 24, 2015

Department of State and Foreign Operations Appropriations: A Fact Sheet on Legislation, FY1995-FY2015Susan B. Epstein, Specialist in Foreign Policy – March 24, 2015

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