As Congress considers the Iranian nuclear deal, it should also prepare a strategy to use U.S. financial and economic power aggressively against a broad array of Iranian threats. If the deal is adopted, the risks from an enriched, emboldened Iran will only grow. These risks should not be accepted as an unavoidable cost of the deal.
Any unwinding of sanctions and reintegration of the Iranian economy will provide Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps , and its overseas Quds Force — the defenders of the regime and exponents of the revolution, with greater resources and access to global financial and commercial systems.
The Revolutionary Guard and the ruling mullahs control strategic elements of the Iranian economy — the largest construction company, much of its telecommunications sector and a large portion of the Tehran stock exchange.… Seguir leyendo »
A few feet from the Bab al-Salam border crossing near the Turkish town of Kilis, there is a shabby cafe where the most interesting items for sale are not found on the menu. The cafe is the final stop for young radicalized men from Europe or North Africa who are planning to slip past the lax Turkish border officers and into Syrian territory. This is where they exchange their passports for cash. When one of us visited the cafe in January, a Belgian passport was for sale for $8,000. A buyer could have it altered for movement to Europe or visa-free travel to the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
The United States and Europe have issued sanctions in response to recent events in Ukraine. If the goal is to impose real costs and affect Vladimir Putin’s calculations, this must be the start of a serious campaign of economic pressure against Russia.
U.S. and NATO military support is not a viable option as the Russian annexation of Crimea appears more likely. But aggressive financial measures could make clear that the West can bite hard even absent a military response — and that continued provocations could lead to real damage to Russia’s economy and prestige. Such an effort, however, will prove more difficult, and perhaps dangerous, compared with other financial pressure campaigns since 9/11, such as that against Iran.… Seguir leyendo »
The new threat warnings of an al-Qaeda-driven plot in the Middle East and North Africa have reminded Americans that the terrorist threat persists even though Osama bin Laden is dead and the core of al-Qaeda is decimated. They are also a timely wake-up call to the broader terrorist threat now entrenched throughout an “arc of instability” — from South Asia to West Africa, where our diplomatic posts have been closed because of the reported threats — that we can’t ignore.
The inability to grasp the gathering threat from al-Qaeda prior to Sept. 11 was deemed a failure of imagination. Given the globalized nature of terrorism and the ability of transnational terrorist, militant and criminal groups to collaborate and morph, we are now at risk of failing to imagine how the terrorist threat may be changing — well beyond the exclusive al-Qaeda prism.… Seguir leyendo »
In the wake of revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, President Obama has acknowledged the imperative to balance privacy and security. But so far, his administration’s defense of the programs has failed to assure the public that this balance has been achieved — or that basic privacy rights and civil liberties are being protected.
Now that these programs have been leaked, Americans need to decide what this balance should look like. How do we devise a program that can allow the intelligence community to use big data and the latest technology to prevent terrorist attacks while ensuring we have not created a Big Brother state?… Seguir leyendo »
Many in the West had taken comfort in Al Qaeda’s silence in the wake of the uprisings in the Muslim world this year, as secular, nonviolent protests, led by educated youth focused on redressing longstanding local grievances, showcased democracy’s promise and seemed to leave Al Qaeda behind.
Indeed, the pristine spirit of the Arab Spring does represent an existential threat to Al Qaeda’s extremist ideology. But Al Qaeda’s leaders also know that this is a strategic moment. They are banking on the disillusionment that inevitably follows revolutions to reassert their prominence in the region. And now Al Qaeda is silent no more — and is taking the rhetorical offensive.… Seguir leyendo »
In 1914, a terrorist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo – unleashing geopolitical forces and World War I. Today, while the United States rightly worries about al-Qaeda targeting the homeland, the most dangerous threat may be another terrorist flash point on the horizon.
Lashkar-i-Taiba holds the match that could spark a conflagration between nuclear-armed historic rivals India and Pakistan. Lashkar-i-Taiba is a Frankenstein’s monster of the Pakistani government’s creation 20 years ago. It has diverse financial networks and well-trained and well-armed cadres that have struck Indian targets from Mumbai to Kabul. It collaborates with the witches’ brew of terrorist groups in Pakistan, including al-Qaeda, and has demonstrated global jihadist ambitions.… Seguir leyendo »