Al Qaeda, with its many operational and structural challenges, remains embroiled in an unsuccessful search for an effective, inspirational leader to satisfactorily replace Osama bin Ladin, an exceedingly difficult proposition for a lesser known extremist group, let alone the world?s most targeted terrorist organization.
Along with China, Russia has been cited as a top cyber threat to an expanding number of countries, including several of its former republics and the U.S. homeland. Primary targets of cyber espionage are intellectual property, trade secrets, and national security information...
After overthrowing the autocratic regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, the National Transition Council announced that the country had finally been liberated. But political infighting, increasing nationwide violence, calls for regional autonomy, and confusion leading up to the June elections have left the country struggling for viability...
Iran's assistance to Venezuela in building unmanned aerial vehicles and the possibility of future Iranian naval visits to the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast of the U.S. are likely to add increased uncertainty to an already unsettled world oil market. Recent increases in oil prices have provided a windfall that Chávez has been quick to use in expanding social programs, buttressing his relationship with Iran, and building ties with neighboring states. As Iran and Venezuela continue their attempts to exert increasing influence in Latin America, the geopolitical relationship between the two nations is likely to grow stronger...
The withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force will leave a power vacuum that the Afghan political actors and insurgents will try to capitalize upon. The struggle over the distribution of political power in Afghanistan in the form of presidential elections coincides with NATO combat troops' withdrawal; the outcome of the untested transfer-of-power mechanism is going to shape America's legacy in the country after a decade of involvement...