North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday, another step towards its goal of becoming a nuclear power in the world - prompting an ominous warning from the U.S. commander in chief. “We will take care of it,” President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday, after being briefed by the ...

Are Bangladesh and Myanmar poised to make progress to address the refugee crisis involving hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya? Maybe. The two countries signed an agreement to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State after the latest wave of violence that ...

Moscow may increasingly look toward private military companies (PMCs), known in Russia as Chastnye Voennie Companiy (ChVK), to exert plausibly deniable and economically and politically sustainable military influence abroad, according to experts speaking to The Cipher Brief. Unlike relying on proxies such as ragtag local militias or organized criminal groups ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Myanmar is guilty of “ethnic cleansing” in its crackdown on minority Muslim Rohingya, driving more than half a million refugees to neighboring Bangladesh. Although previously restrained in his description of the exodus, Tillerson said he’d concluded the violence warranted further investigation and possibly targeted ...

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. government has designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in a move that will trigger additional economic sanctions against the rogue nation. This is the second time that North Korea has been listed as a state sponsor of ...

In the Philippines Monday, President Donald Trump will try to maintain momentum as the U.S. rebuilds its relationship with Manila amidst rising Chinese influence. Ties between the two nations endured a fracture at the end of the Obama administration, due to Duterte's draconian anti-drug policies and a demonstrated warmness toward China. However, a friendly relationship ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with David Miliband, President of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and former British Foreign Secretary, about how the international community should tackle humanitarian crises from Syria to Afghanistan, South Sudan to Myanmar – the topic of his new book, “Rescue: Refugees and The Political Crisis of ...

U.S. President Donald Trump responded to a flamboyant welcome by Chinese President Xi Jinping with effusive praise, as the two leaders presented a united front in the face of a belligerent North Korea. However, inconsistent statements on trade and other key issues in the relationship reflect a seemingly incoherent U.S. ...

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both used Trump’s visit to Japan to bolster confidence in the U.S.-Japan alliance as the “cornerstone” of regional peace and security. Focus on the North Korean threat, as well as shared interests in the face of Chinese expansionism, allowed the ...

Jalalabad, AFGHANISTAN – When Donald Trump announced his administration’s strategy for Afghanistan, it was welcomed by Kabul’s leaders and other Afghan urban centers. Influential figures in politics, business, security and the media saw it as much-needed change from President Barack Obama’s stopwatch approach to the 16-year-long U.S. involvement in the ...

President Donald Trump leaves Friday for a nine-day trip to Asia, a continent that has stayed relatively free of the populism that has washed over the United States and Europe. But populist sentiment could catch fire, especially in Southeast Asia, given historic anti-democratic undertones, and trigger regional instability. Regional security ...

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed the six other members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo (PBSC) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The world had waited to see how the selected men might offer insight into Xi’s priorities for China – and for his own rule. Last ...

The United States must act to prevent further ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority group in Myanmar and hold perpetrators accountable by international sanction, lawmakers said Tuesday. “Make no mistake, atrocities are taking place in Burma. We have perpetrators who expect impunity and there’s no reason to doubt that that may in ...

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned North Korea may be only months away from being able to launch a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. “They are closer now than they were five years ago. And I expect they will be closer in five months than they are today, ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled the Trump administration will be leaning on India to offset China’s regional influence, hailing deeper defense cooperation with New Delhi in remarks Wednesday. “Our defense ties are growing,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International ...

China's 19th Party Congress begins Wednesday in Beijing. The Congress occurs every five years, and is an opportunity to understand the Chinese leadership's vision for the direction of the country. 2017's Congress is slated to be Xi Jinping's show, as he solidifies his power and appoints his political allies to the ...

China, in all probability, will be even more belligerent after its historic 19th Communist Party Congress, which starts today, Wednesday, in Beijing. At the Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping, China’s strongman, is expected to consolidate power atop the world’s largest ruling party. Nonetheless, rumors persist that brutal infighting continues in ...

All eyes are on Beijing Wednesday as the 19th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) begins. Carefully choreographed by the most central players in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party’s headquarters just off Tiananmen Square, the Congress meets every five years to select key leadership throughout the party. This ...

The longest war in U.S. history enters its 17th year on Saturday, with approximately 11,000  American forces still stationed in Afghanistan.  The campaign began on October 7, 2001 in response to the devastating September 11 terrorist attacks . On Tuesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and General Joseph Dunford, the ...

Japan has the means, motive, and opportunity to produce nuclear weapons. However, as a matter of long-standing policy, Tokyo has kept its options open, as long as it can rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The perception is widespread that, due to its history as the only country upon which ...

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un conducted its sixth underground nuclear test early this September – which Pyongyang claims as its first test of a hydrogen bomb – and in late August and again, two weeks later, the hermit kingdom launched a ballistic missile directly over the territory of ...

On October 10, as North Korea celebrates the creation of the ruling Worker's Party, the United States and regional allies will brace themselves for the possibility of yet another provocative missile test. With multiple missile launches this year, and even the test of a hydrogen nuclear bomb, Pyongyang is pushing ...

Pakistan’s foreign minister says the Trump administration is blaming Islamabad for America’s own failure to rout out terrorism in the region. “We are not saying we are saints. Perhaps in the past we have made some mistakes,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters in Washington Thursday. “But since the ...

After months of battling ISIS-linked militants in the Philippine city of Marawi, Philippine forces are on the cusp of wrestling control of the last ISIS holdouts away from the militant group. However, while the fight for Marawi may be reaching its conclusion, conditions across southeast Asia appear ripe for an ...

Philippine security forces, with timely international military and intelligence assistance, successfully contained, isolated, and eliminated the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Marawi. Nearly 700 Filipino and foreign fighters that embraced ISIS ideology and practice have been killed by government and coalition forces in four months of intense ...

Now into its fourth month, fighting between Philippine forces and pro-ISIS militants in the Philippine island of Mindanao has nearly subsided, with only a handful of terrorists continuing to hold pockets in the city of Marawi. But despite this apparent victory, questions linger over the broader extremist threat facing the ...

President Donald Trump has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suicidal, but the CIA’s top Asia analysts said Wednesday that he’s a “rational actor” bent on survival. “Waking up one morning and deciding he wants to nuke” Los Angeles is not something Kim Jong-un is likely to do, said Yong ...

President Donald Trump called negotiations with North Korea a waste of time Sunday morning, directly contradicting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement only one day prior. “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…” Trump tweeted. ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to China this weekend for the second time since taking office in February, where he will meet with his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other Chinese leaders. The trip’s intended purpose is to prepare for President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing ...

China and North Korea were no doubt as surprised as anyone by Donald Trump’s dramatic electoral victory. They had probably anticipated that a new Clinton Administration, like the Obama Administration before it, would be anesthetized by Chinese diplomacy and continue the policy of “strategic patience”—really, strategic neglect – that had ...

President Donald Trump announced new sanctions on North Korea on Thursday at the United Nations, measures intended to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. The new executive order will target companies that do business with North Korea, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests this summer, alarming world ...

The Trump Administration continues to pound away at North Korea, insisting military options are on the table, but so far the threats have not stopped Pyongyang from pursuing tests of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to ...

A critical diplomatic post took a major step towards being filled when the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan appeared at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. John Bass, the current U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, faced questions from Senators about the future of Afghanistan, less ...

The United States is stepping up calls for China and Russia to comply with new United Nations sanctions on North Korea, a move that experts say would make these measures meaningful and have a significant economic impact on Pyongyang. The United Nations Security Council on Monday night unanimously passed measures ...

Tensions with North Korea are escalating. Pyongyang’s nuclear test on September 3 followed the firing of an intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan, the Trump administration sending stealth F-35 fighters and nuclear-capable B-1 bombers for exercises over South Korea, and South Korea’s defense minister asking whether the U.S. should deploy ...

A major humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Myanmar, as tens of thousands of people, the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, flee the threat of ethnic cleansing carried out by the country’s government. Rohingya civilians have been the target of village burnings, mass executions, disappearances and rape, according to the United Nations, ...

Following North Korea’s six nuclear test, reported to be far more powerful than any previous test conducted by the Kim regime, many wonder if denuclearizing North Korea is possible. Ambassador Joseph Detrani, former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Cipher ...

After another act of defiance by the North Korean regime, all eyes turned to China, seen as the best hope to apply leverage to the regime in Pyongyang. President Trump tweeted “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying ...

North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon underground early Sunday morning, demonstrating both its destructive power as well as its defiance of the international community. In this, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the blast’s power reportedly exceeded – by up to seven times - that of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima ...

Political and military leaders on all sides have assured the public that they are prepared for a potential war with North Korea, but how prepared is the public? For decades, the likelihood of war seemed remote, but that was before North Korea developed nuclear weapons, and power in Pyongyang and ...

The Pentagon has sharply revised its official number of United States forces in Afghanistan to approximately 11,000, up from the 8,400 previously acknowledged. And on Thursday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced he has signed orders to send additional troops to the country, following President Donald Trump's speech unveiling his ...

Amid continuing tension with North Korea- underscored by the firing on August 29 of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan before plunging into the Pacific Ocean- public understanding and discussion of this complex and increasingly dangerous situation is hampered by a one-dimensional narrative that has shaped much of the ...

China and India have backed down from a simmering dispute over their border in the Himalayan mountains, Chinese and Indian officials said Monday. The détente comes as Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jinping prepare to meet in China at a conference of the BRICS bloc of ...

During a primetime address to the nation last Monday, President Donald Trump laid out his vision for the United States in Afghanistan: “our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win.” Standing in front of a large audience of U.S. service members and key members of his Cabinet, ...

North Korea has been brazen in displaying its nuclear capabilities and missile ambitions, but lets the world know virtually nothing about its age-old and lethal stockpile of chemical weapons, denying their existence completely. But new evidence suggests that Pyongyang might retain a significant arsenal of chemical weapons, experts said. Kim ...

President Donald Trump said Monday night in his speech on Afghanistan, “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.” Does Trump actually know what is meant by nation-building? Didn’t Trump’s claimed study of “Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle” teach him that in addition to military gains, ...

Despite years of international sanctions and recent pressure from the Trump Administration, North Korea’s missile program has continued to rack up successes and acquire new capabilities. It would seem these new capabilities have made North Korean leader Kim Jong-un more confident, evidenced by his threat to conduct a missile test ...

North Korea’s July intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests have crossed a new capability threshold, allowing Pyongyang to potentially reach the continental United States. Further, U.S. intelligence estimates predict that North Korea now possesses the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and place it on an ICBM. As tensions remain high ...

Days after threatening a missile test aimed at the waters off the coast of the American territory of Guam and just ahead of the annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises taking place this week, Pyongyang released new propaganda posters highlighting the success of its recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests. “The entire ...

The U.S. is calling on Pakistan to eradicate its safe havens for terrorists or else the U.S. will stop providing security assistance and other support to the country. U.S. President Donald Trump made this clear in his address on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia on Monday night, saying ...