Tensions remain high between Iran and several EU countries, even after some of the primary signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement vowed their continued support this week, offering Iran an opportunity to reverse its recent, deliberate violations of the JCPOA.  In play right now: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Just last week, Canada listed two radical far-right wing groups as terrorist organizations. Both of the newly listed terrorist groups—Blood and Honour and Combat 18—adhere to a Neo-Nazi ideology and advocate for the use of violence and intimidation to achieve their objectives. By listing Neo-Nazi ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Just last week, seven members of the so-called Islamic State, all of them from France, were sentenced to death by an Iraqi court. Many Western countries have refused to take back citizens who traveled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State. An estimated ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Germany is experiencing a renewed wave of virulent anti-Semitism and intimidation and violence directed toward immigrants, especially Muslims. Some German politicians have displayed admirable leadership to speak out strongly against anti-Semitism and calling for fellow Germans to 'stand against this with all our means.' This ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. Treasury Department recently imposed sanctions on the Rawi terrorist financing network, which helped move funds for the so-called Islamic State. The network was truly global in nature; headquartered in Iraq, it had connections that spanned the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Even without ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s principal foreign policy vehicle and may be the most significant geopolitical strategy of the 21stCentury. BRI now extends to approximately 70 countries and is increasingly folding EU-countries under its infrastructure investment umbrella—most recently, Italy. Beijing’s investments in European ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In Europe, groups on the political far-right are attempting to mainstream and normalize their ideologies to recast themselves for the modern era. The Identitarian Movement is transnational, with linkages across Europe and increasingly in North American and Australia. The Identitarian Movement and similar groups base ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities enable it to project power while compensating for an otherwise modest conventional military capacity. Iran’s supply of missiles to regional armed factions have helped these groups morph into significant threats to American interests and allies. The fielding of Iranian-supplied missiles by ...

  Bottom Line Up Front • In 2017, Europe suffered from the highest number of terrorist attacks linked to jihadist ideology in modern history. • In the United States, 2018 saw just one death as a result of jihadi-linked terrorism, although right-wing terrorists killed 15 Americans the same year. • ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 11th, there was a terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France.  While the suspect was known to the authorities, he was merely one name on a list of approximately 20,000 in France who are suspected of ‘radicalization.’ With the collapse of ...

  Bottom Line Up Front As the recent World War I centenary tribute in Paris foreshadowed, the world order may be shifting, with the contours of a ‘Post-American Order’ slowly taking shape. The defining characteristic of a post-American world would be multipolarity, with revisionist powers like Russia and China growing ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. has announced it will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987. Washington’s departure from the hallmark treaty was not unexpected; the U.S. has accused Russia of violating the INF agreement since 2014. The decision to leave is quite ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On October 19, Saudi Arabia once again changed its official response to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi from a denial to an implausible cover story. The manner in which other countries react to the official version of events from Riyadh is extremely important; Saudi citizens ...

Bottom Line Up Front Russia continues to attack the data and computer networks of Western countries and organizations. Moscow will target any organization that seeks to report the truth on the Kremlin’s criminal activities, from the downing of flight MH-17 to more banal Russian actions like sports doping. On October ...

The United States and its allies routinely describe Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  Despite this designation, the regime proudly supports Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Tehran funded, trained, armed and supported terror groups targeting U.S. military personnel in ...

Bottom Line Up Front The United States is alienating its European allies by insisting that they comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. Iran is attracting international support by remaining, at least for now, in the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal. The European Union (EU) countries are establishing a ‘special purpose vehicle’ ...

President Donald Trump largely followed the U.S. policy script on Iran when he addressed the United Nations on Wednesday.  So what exactly, did the key players get out of the verbal nack and forth and what does it mean for the future complicated relations between the U.S., its European partners, ...

The word ‘resignation’ is being used here in London - not, for once, about the actual or potential departure of yet another of our ministers, but to describe Britain’s reaction to the US decision to pull out of the Iran deal. Many people on this side of the Atlantic, right ...

The West’s coordinated expulsion of more than 150 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal is a sign, perhaps, of a reinvigorated transatlantic relationship – a relationship that pro-Kremlin social media accounts have actively sought to undermine. Until recently, however, most of the attention on ...

Cipher Brief network expert Michel Flournoy, former senior Obama administration defense official, offered advice to her former European counterparts at the German Marshall Forum in Brussels this month on how to manage their anxiety in the age of President Donald Trump – advice made all the more timely, given Thursday’s ...

Marrakech, MOROCCO — Most African migration is taking place inside the continent, despite the headlines that give the impression that Africans trying to flee their struggling home countries in waves are on their way to Europe, according to a report by the Rabat-based OCP Policy Center. But the growing use of ...

One of Russia’s largest military exercises begins today – and it’s targeted toward the West. Zapad, which literally means “West” in Russian, is a recurrent exercise held in Russia’s western and central districts. The last one was in 2013, just a year before Russia invaded Crimea. This year’s exercise could ...

Russia has increased its meddling in European countries outside the former Soviet bloc recently. Moscow’s support for populist parties – including France’s National Front, Italy’s Five Star Movement, and Britain’s UK Independence Party – has shown tangible results. During the French presidential election this year, for example, centrist candidate – ...

Russia interfered in France’s recent presidential elections, supporting far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, and is likely to meddle in Germany’s upcoming federal elections in September. Beyond these countries, there is speculation that Russia has close ties with the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) and also maintains ties with some of ...

Gone are the times when the Italian Communist Party preserved its political and strategic autonomy when competing in domestic politics, while supporting the Soviet Union in international politics. Firmly in the Western camp, all Italian governments over the past few decades were happy enough to be members of the two ...

A populist wave is washing over the United States and Europe, which have seen populist leaders take the helm – U.S. President Donald Trump – or come exceedingly close to power. Geert Wilders’ Dutch populist Party for Freedom is strong, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen went face to ...

What is the definition of populism? What are the common threads that tie together populist movements? Does populism work? The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Carmen Medina, a former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence, about how she defines and evaluates populism, and how, in some ways, it’s related to ...

The upsurge of populism in the United States and Europe has us asking the wrong questions. The issue that should concern us is not what populists have in common. The similarities between Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen or Nigel Farage are unimportant. We also should stop wondering why voters ...

America’s commitment to European security is up in the air under the Trump Administration, raising the question, will Europeans have to take more responsibility for their own defense? Europe must “take our fate into our own hands,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel after President Donald Trump’s visit to Europe last ...

Donald Trump’s interactions with our European Allies and his renunciation of the Paris Climate Accords have left our Allies baffled and startled.  Faced with “America First” their reaction is to look after themselves.  Unfortunately for both President Trump and the Europeans, we’re stuck with each other.    More than anything ...

U.S. President Donald Trump shook the post-war foundation of German foreign policy: its integration into the European Union (EU) and NATO. By questioning Pax Americana and trying to divide and conquer Europe, Trump has been forcing European – and particularly German – leaders to stand up for their vital interests. ...

Dusko Markovic.  Not a household name.  Neither is Montenegro, the small, stunningly beautiful Balkan country with an Adriatic coastline, where Mr. Markovic is Prime Minister.  Despite having visited a number of times, I still have to squint sometimes when I look at a map to find it.  Montenegrins like to ...

The meeting of NATO heads of state on May 25 in Brussels, dubbed the “little summit,” did not bring any breakthroughs. Still, it was far from just a routine gathering. Symbolically, it introduced the new NATO headquarters, as well as stressed the Alliance’s modernization. It was seen as a demonstration ...

As NATO prepares to add another small Balkan country to its ranks – Montenegro is expected to join on June 5 – the region that has long been torn between the East and the West, and plagued with internal ethnic, socioeconomic, and political tensions is once again showing signs of ...

The U.S. Senate last month overwhelmingly voted for Montenegro’s accession into NATO. President Donald Trump signed off on this, writing in a letter to the Senate, “the inclusion of Montenegro in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will not have the effect of increasing the overall percentage share of the ...

There are many differences between the Balkans and the Middle East, but they have two things in common. Both regions are former pieces of the Ottoman Empire that have not found stability since that empire receded in the late 19th century. Both also have been objects of serial intrusion by ...

The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Daniel Byman, Senior Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution to discuss ISIS’ recent battlefield losses and what to expect from the ISIS threat moving forward. The Cipher Brief: What is your assessment of ISIS’ overall strength ...

Estonia, both a European Union and NATO member, shares an entire eastern border with Russia but remains firmly embedded in the Western defense alliance. Mariin Ratnik, the head of security policy and transatlantic relations in Estonia’s Foreign Ministry, was recently in Washington for meetings with the Trump administration. The Cipher ...

The elites still don’t get it. Brexit, Trump, surging right-wing nationalism on both sides of the Atlantic; and yet time after time, the media and global leaders who helped steer the U.S. and Europe into the current morass of broken politics miss the forest for the trees in trying to ...

Relations between Turkey and Europe have been tense for decades. Turkey first applied to the European Economic Community – the European Union’s precursor – in 1987. Turkey has been an associate member since 1963, but the EU still has not offered it full membership, despite the country’s membership in NATO ...

Relations between Europe and Turkey are tense. In the past weeks, Turkey has called the Netherlands “the capital of fascism” and accused Germany of “fascist actions” reminiscent of the Nazi period, after Germany cancelled political rallies aimed at gathering support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his referendum on ...

Turkey’s damaging crisis with Europe is self-generated in large part – a tactic sometimes used by Ankara to create a problem and then hold the other party responsible. Acting the victim also deflects domestic attention from the government’s own accountability and justifies revenge. Turkey is stirring a crisis with the ...

Turkey has once again been very much on Europeans’ minds. This time, the issue has been about the Turkish referendum on April 16 over whether the country moves from its current parliamentary system to an executive presidency. The vote could be close, and the Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, needs ...

Where will Russian President Vladimir Putin strike next? With the 2018 Russian election around the corner, former Soviet states are nervous. Foreign adventures are the quickest way for a politician to get a bump in the polls. What does this mean for cybersecurity? In the internet era, one thing is ...

Russia and NATO countries are going tit for tat in the Black Sea region. In 2014, Russia invaded eastern Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula, on the northern coast of the Black Sea. Over the past three years, Russia has militarized the area, modernizing its Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol, ...

Black Sea security has become a top NATO concern since Russia’s incursion in eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. A lot of Russia’s ships and aircraft being used in Syria come out of the Black Sea, Magnus Nordenman, a director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative with the Brent Scowcroft Center ...

The Romanian government has announced it will soon spend two percent of its GDP on defense, a goal set for all NATO members. Last year, NATO allies agreed to enhance defense in Romania and Bulgaria with a tailored forward presence. The Cipher Brief asked Romanian Defense Minister Gabriel-Beniamin Leş what ...

This year’s Munich Security Conference (February 17-19) brought together leaders from all over the world to discuss the current state of global affairs and the transatlantic defense partnership. Julianne Smith, Director of the Strategy and Statecraft Program at the Center for a New American Security, attended the conference. She spoke ...

Europe faced a wave of ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks last year, from Brussels to Nice to Berlin. As ISIS-occupied territories in Iraq and Syria continue to shrink under the bombardment of U.S. and coalition forces, former CIA Acting Director John McLaughlin told The Cipher Brief, “I would anticipate the greatest post-caliphate ...

European-wide defense is based on two elements: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. Understanding how each institution may develop in the coming years and coordinate together on defense is vital to assessing the future of European and transatlantic security. The Cipher Brief spoke with the United Kingdom’s ...