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Analysis & Commentary

8th February 2018 – Fox News

Syria chemical attack rockets ‘Made in Germany,’ report says

Benjamin Weinthal

Syria chemical attack rockets ‘Made in Germany,’ report says

The rockets used in the recent chemical attacks in Syria that poisoned dozens of civilians, including children, were “Made in Germany,” Bild reports. more...

24th January 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Treasury Sanctions North Korea and China while Russia Escapes

Anthony Ruggiero

Treasury Sanctions North Korea and China while Russia Escapes

Today, the Treasury Department issued sanctions against 15 North Korean overseas representatives, two Chinese firms facilitating sanctions evasion, and five North Korean shipping companies. These actions come during a visit to Beijing and Hong Kong by Treasury’s chief sanctions enforcer, Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker, a signal the Trump administration is pushing ahead with its “maximum pressure” policy even during the inter-Korea talks. more...

6th February 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Syria and Russia Test Trump’s Red Line on Chemical Weapons

David Adesnik

Syria and Russia Test Trump’s Red Line on Chemical Weapons

Just days after an explicit warning from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Syria has launched another round of chemical gas attacks in the northwestern province of Idlib. Footage posted by volunteer rescue workers showed suffocating men being stripped of their clothes and doused with water. The attacks are part of an ongoing effort to test whether President Trump will enforce the red line on chemical weapons he put in place last year. more...

6th February 2018 – The Washington Times

Russia’s disinformation offensive

Clifford D. May

Russia’s disinformation offensive

For decades, thousands of Soviet propagandists and espionage agents disseminated tons of dezinformatsiya around the world. Today, using social media, sophisticated tech platforms and cyber weapons, the Russian government, headed by Vladimir Putin, is running a dezinformatsiya offensive beyond Joseph Stalin’s wildest dreams. more...

1st February 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Turkish Civil Society Also a Casualty of Erdogan’s Afrin Campaign

Aykan Erdemir

Turkish Civil Society Also a Casualty of Erdogan’s Afrin Campaign

On January 20, the Turkish government launched a ground offensive into northwestern Syria, codenamed “Operation Olive Branch.” Ankara’s ongoing intervention in Syria’s Afrin region aims to clear the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian Kurdish force, away from Turkey’s southern border. Meanwhile, in northeastern Syria, other YPG units continue to serve as the most effective ground force within the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. With the offensive, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not only aiming to eliminate the YPG presence in Afrin, but also dissidents at home. more...

12th January 2018 – FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Research Memo

Bitcoin Laundering: An Analysis of Illicit Flows into Digital Currency Services

Yaya J. Fanusie

Bitcoin Laundering: An Analysis of Illicit Flows into Digital Currency Services

Bitcoin gambling sites, “mixers” and European Bitcoin exchange may be the destinations of choice for criminals looking to launder bitcoins, according to a study issued today by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) and cryptocurrency analytics firm Elliptic. more...

25th January 2018 – FDD Research Memo

Iranian Ballistic Missile Tests Since the Nuclear Deal – 2.0

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Since the conclusion of the JCPOA, Iran has launched as many as 23 ballistic missiles. This number is based on aggregated open-source reporting, since neither the U.S. government nor the UN have issued an official statement on the total number of post-deal missile launches. Although the JCPOA did not itself impose any restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles – which past and present U.S. Directors of National Intelligence (DNI) have assessed to be Iran’s most likely delivery vehicle for a nuclear weapon – UNSCR 2231, which codifies the JCPOA, contains prohibitions on the testing and transfer of these munitions. This memo builds on an earlier FDD product from February 2017, which determined that Iran conducted 14 post-JCPOA launches. FDD was the first organization to provide a number explicitly for post-deal launches, contributing to the public debate over Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities and intentions. Like the previous memo, this document explains how FDD determined the number of missile tests and explores the implications. more...

5th February 2018 – Foreign Affairs

What Washington Can Learn From the Iran Protests

Behnam Ben Taleblu

What Washington Can Learn From the Iran Protests

More than a month has passed since protests in Iran’s northeast metastasized into anti-regime demonstrations across the entire country. This outpouring of discontent, which took the United States almost completely by surprise, should help lay to rest a range of tenuous assumptions about Iranian politics that had become conventional wisdom in Washington—namely, an underestimation of the Iranian people’s willingness to oppose the regime and an overestimation of Iran’s reformers. Now, as Washington weighs how to address the multitude of challenges emanating from Iran, it must also reconsider the foundations of its knowledge about the country. more...

6th February 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

The Case for Designating Iran’s State Media

Saeed Ghasseminejad, Richard Goldberg

During the recent protests in Iran, dissidents both inside and outside the country asked the U.S. government to enforce sanctions against Tehran’s state-run media enterprise, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). more...

5th February 2018 – FDD Policy Brief

Iranian Women Protest the Mandatory Hijab

Tzvi Kahn

Iranian Women Protest the Mandatory Hijab

Iran has now arrested at least 29 women for refusing to wear the hijab, or headscarf. These acts of defiance reflect women’s second-class status in the Islamic Republic, where they face a range of discriminatory laws aimed at reducing their perceived threat to the sexual and religious norms championed by the regime. more...