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Red Robots Rising: Behind The Rapid Development Of Russian Unmanned Military Systems
By Samuel Bendett, The Strategy Bridge, December 12, 2017
 

Over the last five years, the Russian Federation has made great strides in designing, testing, evaluating, and fielding a variety of unmanned military systems, including land, air, and sea-based models. Russian media is full of announcements and analyses of the use and specification of what I call red robots, while Russia's foray into Eastern Ukraine and Syria afforded Moscow a rare opportunity to field and operate such machines in combat

 
Reality In Jerusalem
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, December 8, 2017
 

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality," he said. "It is right thing to do. It has to be done." He also said the U.S. will begin the formal process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City.

 
Beyond Super Soldiers and Battle Suits
By Richard Harrison, AFPC Defense Dossier, December 5, 2017
 

Science fiction is always fascinating to follow, because at least some of the ideas presented in the genre do become reality over time. The concept of "super soldiers" is a case in point. Although the protagonists in Marvel's iconic Avengers comic books (and now movies) are still a long way from being realistic, we are unquestionably trending in that direction. Thus, the character of Captain America is a soldier enhanced by the government using a special serum to make him stronger, faster and more resilient, while Iron Man is an operator encased in full body armor that affords him super human strength, advanced weapons, and extrasensory systems. Even though such enhancements are still a stretch, performance drugs, exoskeletons, and other new technologies are increasingly augmenting - and expanding - the capabilities of today's warfighters.

 
Egypt's Population Bomb
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, December 5, 2017
 

It's the most important Middle Eastern news story that no one is talking about.

Earlier this Fall, Egypt's state statistics agency, the Central Agency for Popular Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), formally released the
findings of its 2016 national census. The results shed important new light on the challenges now confronting the government of president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo.

 
US Would Be Wise To Prepare For EMP Attacks On Its Cities
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, November 29, 2017
 

Imagine that a hostile nation - say, North Korea - fires a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. The missile detonates in the upper atmosphere above a major American city such as Los Angeles, releasing a cascade of charged electrons that damages and destroys all technology and electrical systems within line-of-sight of the explosion. Vital infrastructure on the country's Western seaboard is incapacitated. Large swathes of California and parts of Nevada lose power. Stores, social services and emergency functions that rely on electricity begin to break down, as disorder spreads and the death toll climbs.

 
Human Rights Hypocrisy
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, November 29, 2017
 

Seventy years ago today, with the Holocaust still fresh in the minds of global leaders, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to partition Palestine in two, with the goal of establishing one state for Jews to reclaim their historic homeland and another for the Arabs who were also living there.

 
Toward A New Uzbekistan
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, November 22, 2017
 

You could call it "Extreme Makeover: Central Asian Edition." Today, among the five post-Soviet republics that make up the region, there are heartening signs of political dynamism and a newfound drive for integration.

At the center of these changes is the Republic of Uzbekistan, which has launched a far-reaching program to reform and modernize the state.

 
Iran's Imperial Project
By Ilan Berman, The Washington Times, November 21, 2017
 

Iran is on the march in the Middle East.

Over the past year, a steady drumbeat of news reports from the Persian Gulf, intelligence assessments regarding Syria's civil war, and firsthand accounts out of Iraq, Lebanon and beyond has pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Iran is erecting a new empire in the region.

 
Iraqi Kurdistan: Post-Independence Referendum
By Christine Balling, Small Wars Journal, November 17, 2017
 

On September 25th, against the urging of the United States and other allies, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held an independence referendum within the boundaries of its autonomous region and provocatively, without, in the city of Kirkuk. While the regional response was fast and furious, the United States did nothing, leaving the Iraqi Kurds at the mercy of a revengeful Baghdad: Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports were closed to international commercial traffic. Turkey threatened to close borders and the Iranian and Iraqi militaries conducted joint exercises on the Iraqi Kurdish border.  Baghdad sent the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) militias to retake the disputed territories back from the Kurdish peshmerga. Then, on October 29th, KRG president Masoud Barzani stepped down and suspended the post of presidency, distributing control of the KRG to other branches.

 
Gaming To Victory: Synthetic Training For Future Combat
By Jennifer McArdle, War on the Rocks, November 15, 2017
 

It looked like a video game. From the comfort of a living room couch, with TV dinners in hand, families watched as precision-guided munitions rained down with seemingly perfect accuracy on Iraqi military and civilian targets. It was Jan. 17, 1991 - the start of Operation Desert Storm - and the combination of camera equipped high-tech weaponry and night vision equipment provided viewers an action-packed front-row view into the coalition's air war. What had seemed like science fiction was now a reality.

 
A Saudi Shake-Up At Last
By James S. Robbins, U.S. News & World Report, November 8, 2017
 

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a long overdue housecleaning. The mass arrests of members of the government, royals and businessmen that have taken place in recent days are unprecedented in modern times, and the country's attorney general has promised that what has taken place so far is only "phase one."

 
The Russian War On Terror
By Ilan Berman, The National Interest, November 3, 2017
 

Which country ranks as the largest source of foreign fighters for the Islamic State's "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq?

That dubious distinction doesn't belong to a Middle Eastern state, despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia have historically been major contributors of radicals to the Islamic State's ranks. Nor is it a North African nation, even though Tunisia had previously served as the preeminent supplier of fighters for the Syrian front.

 
President Trump Takes A Wise Middle Course On The Iran Nuclear Deal
By Ilan Berman, Orlando Sentinel, October 20, 2017
 

In his policy speech last Friday, President Trump did not scrap the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, as some prominent conservative thinkers had suggested he should. Nor did he simply leave the deal intact, as proponents of the agreement had previously counseled. Instead, the president charted a middle way intended to give America greater leverage over Iran's nuclear program and processes.

 
Trump Takes Aim At The IRGC
By Ilan Berman, Al-Hurra Digital, October 18, 2017
 

You wouldn't know it from the media coverage surrounding President Trump's October 13th speech on Iran, but the most notable element of the Administration's new, "comprehensive" strategy toward the Islamic Republic isn't its plan to revisit the 2015 nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 
A Setback For Peace Prospects
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 17, 2017
 

Perhaps United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to congratulate him on the new unity deal between Abbas' Fatah Party and the terrorist group Hamas, simply didn't know what Hamas had said about it a day earlier.

 
Prague's Eastward Turn
By Ilan Berman, U.S. News & World Report, October 10, 2017
 

Since its emergence from the wreckage of the Soviet Union more than a quarter-century ago, the Czech Republic has consistently ranked as a success story of post-totalitarian transition. Unlike that of many of its neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe, Prague's path toward democracy has been more or less linear, cresting in the middle of the last decade when the country garnered the ranking of "full democracy" from the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit. Today, however, Czech democracy is showing signs of erosion, while the country as a whole is in the process of making an alarming eastward turn.

 
Could Spain Go The Way Of Yugoslavia?
By Svante E. Cornell, The National Interest, October 5, 2017
 

In recent years, the European Union has been bogged down by one crisis after another - from Greece to the Euro to Brexit. But happily, none of these have endangered what has underpinned European integration since the late 1940s: securing lasting peace among European states. Europe has not been spared political violence, as residents of Northern Ireland and the Basque country can attest to. But to almost all Europeans, the notion of armed conflict within their midst is no longer even thinkable. While the Catalonia crisis is not destined to degenerate into large-scale violence, European and American leaders do not appear to take the potential for conflict seriously. They are mistaken.

 
Defending The Indefensible
By Lawrence J. Haas, U.S. News & World Report, October 3, 2017
 

Like an all-too-proud father rejecting a teacher's legitimate criticism of his child, former Secretary of State John Kerry is defending the U.S.-led global nuclear agreement with Iran that he engineered from the legitimate concerns of Iran-watchers in the Trump administration, Congress and the private sector.

 
Political Power Is Dividing a Germany That Was Once Unified
By E. Wayne Merry, The National Interest, October 2, 2017
 

All politics may be local, but the German national election reflected major trends in the political culture of a country at the center of both the European Project and the Transatlantic relationship. These trends need to be understood by Americans who casually assume that Angela Merkel won again. In fact, her party received one vote in three, hardly a mandate. More broadly, the election demonstrated the continuing fragmentation of political power in unified Germany, the sustained alienation of its eastern population from the political cultures of both Germany and Europe, and the increasing delegitimization of German political and economic elites.

 
Why Trump Will Not Allow The Iran Deal To Stand
By Ilan Berman, The Hill, September 29, 2017
 

Those who support the Obama administration's landmark nuclear deal with Iran are nervous, and for good reason. In his Sept. 19 address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump gave what was perhaps the clearest signal to date that he has no plans to recertify the agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) next month, as mandated by Congress.