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International Assessment and Strategy Center

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The International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC) is a think tank that purports to focus on “medium and long-term security issues and their impact on the security of the United States and her key interests and allies.”[1] IASC was founded in 2004 by national security consultant Thor Ronay, a former executive vice president of Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and a member of the advisory board of the neoconservative Family Security Matters.[2]

Ronay has a history of making anti-Muslim remarks and his organizations have maintained ties with prominent Islamophobes. In a November 2003 Washington Post article about Muslims in the U.S. military, Ronay argued that “political correctness” blinded the Pentagon from being able to detect supposed threats posed by Muslim-American soldiers. "The military has a style of political correctness that says, 'We're not in the business of judging anyone's religion,'” Ronay proclaimed in the article.[3]

Ronay was also a director of the now-defunct Counterterrorism Foundation, which ran a website called the “Counterterrorism Blog.”[4] Edited by IASC senior fellow Douglas Farah, the Counterterrorism Blog described itself as “a unique, multi-expert blog dedicated to providing a one-stop gateway to the counterterrorism community.”[5] One of the leading experts affiliated with the blog was the controversial terrorism analyst Steve Emerson, who in 2015 was labeled a “complete idiot” by British Prime Minister David Cameron for his comments claiming the British city of Birmingham had become a “Muslim-only city.”[6]

According to IASC’s 2013 Form 990, its total revenue was $174,303 and its expenditures $365,759, forcing the organization to deduct from its net assets that year.[7]

Los Abandonados Documentary

IASC garnered attention in 2015 after the release of a controversial documentary called  Los Abandonados, which promoted conspiracy theories about the alleged involvement of the Argentinean government in protecting those responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires and the January 2015 death of a controversial Argentinean prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, who had investigated the bombing.

The film advanced various theories that had been developed by Nisman, in particular his claim that the Argentinean government colluded with Iranian authorities to hide the truth about the 1994 bombing of the AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building. In 2006, Nisman accused Iran of being behind the bombing, a claim which many observers have argued is based on flimsy evidence.[8] Shortly before his death, Nisman claimed the government of Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was trying conceal Iran's role in the attack in order to secure favorable trade agreements with Iran.[9]

An October 2015LobeLog story revealed that several of the makers of Los Abandonados have ties to right-wing political factions in the United States as well as to hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, whose Elliott Investments is one of the leading holdouts opposing Argentina’s debt restructuring.[10] Lobelog reported that IASC’s Douglas Farah, an associate producer of the film, is a longtime opponent of the Fernandez government and has co-authored pieces with Mark Dubowitz of the Paul Singer-funded Foundation for Defense of Democracies attacking Fernandez.[11]

IASC reportedly received a $42,500 grant in 2013—over a quarter of the grant revenue it earned that year—from the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA), a group that represents “foreign Argentine debt holders who have refused to accept a substantial discount on the country’s defaulted bonds.” The ATFA includes among its funders Paul Singer, who joined the organization at its inception in 2006 and is the “largest holdout in the protracted conflict between Argentina’s government.”[12]

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Sources

[1] International Assessment and Strategy Center, “About IASC,” http://www.strategycenter.net/about/.

[2] International Assessment and Strategy Center, “Thor Ronay,” http://www.strategycenter.net/scholars/scholarID.6/scholar_detail.asp.

Dan Eggen, “Mueller in Keynote Controversy,” The Washington Post, June 25, 2002, http://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2002/06/25/mueller-in-keynote-controversy/e5501e16-4f68-4cb0-9e8e-a5312b8d1168/.

Family Security Matters, “Board of Advisors,” http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/about/page/board-of-advisors.

[3] John Mintz and Gregory L. Vistica, “Muslim Troops' Loyalty a Delicate Question,” The Washington Post, November 2, 2003,http://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2003/11/02/muslim-troops-loyalty-a-delicate-question/bea62170-331b-4089-aa6b-377a803dc08a/.

[4] Counterterrorism Blog, “COUNTERTERRORISM FOUNDATION QUESTIONS & ANSWERS,” http://counterterrorismblog.org/foundation/.

[5] Wendell Belew, “Experts at Fear Mongering,” Charity and Security Network, November 16, 2010,http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Experts_at_Fear_Mongering.

[6] Wendell Belew, “Experts at Fear Mongering,” Charity and Security Network, November 16, 2010,http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Experts_at_Fear_Mongering.

[7] IASC, 2013 Form 990, http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2013/201/175/2013-201175831-0ab18ae3-Z.pdf.

[8] Gareth Porter, “Indictment of Iran for ’94 Terror Bombing Relied on MEK,” Inter Press Service, August 7, 2013, http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/08/indictment-of-iran-for-94-terror-bombing-relied-on-mek/.

[9] Eli Clifton, "Following Paul Singer's Money, Argentina, and Iran (Continued)," LobeLog, May 8, 2015, http://www.lobelog.com/following-paul-singers-money-argentina-and-iran-continued/.

[10] Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe, “The Right-Wing Americans Who Made a Doc About Argentina,” LobeLog, October 7, 2015, http://lobelog.com/the-right-wing-americans-who-made-a-doc-about-argentina/.

[11] Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe, “The Right-Wing Americans Who Made a Doc About Argentina,” LobeLog, October 7, 2015, http://lobelog.com/the-right-wing-americans-who-made-a-doc-about-argentina/.

[12] Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe, “The Right-Wing Americans Who Made a Doc About Argentina,” LobeLog, October 7, 2015, http://lobelog.com/the-right-wing-americans-who-made-a-doc-about-argentina/.

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International Assessment and Strategy Center Résumé

Contact Information

328 North Pitt Street

Alexandria, VA, 22314

Phone: 202-669-1649

Fax: 703-683-6286

Email: tronay@strategycenter.net

Website: http://www.strategycenter.net/

Founded

2004

Mission (as of 2015)

“IASC is a ‘think-tank’ focused on medium and long-term security issues and their impact on the security of the United States and her key interests and allies. IASC is supported by foundations, corporations and private donors, and by contract work performed for the U.S. Government. Work is performed at both open-source and classified levels and includes specialized investigative work.”          

Team Members (as of 2015)

  • Thor Ronay: President
  • Arthur Waldron: Vice President
  • Anne Louise Antonoff: Director of Research & Academic Consortium Coordinator 
  • John Tkacik: Senior Fellow and Director, Future Asia Project
  • Kenneth deGraffenreid: Senior Fellow, Intelligence Policy 
  • Douglas Farah: Senior Fellow, Financial Investigations and Transparency 
  • Richard Fisher: Senior Fellow, Asian Military Affairs
  • Susan Schmidt: Senior Fellow, Counterterrorism and Law Enforcement
  • Alex Alexiev: Senior Fellow, Eurasian Affairs
  • Glenn R. Simpson: Senior Fellow, Corruption and Transnational Crime
  • Thomas DiNanno: Senior Fellow, Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Edward T. Timperlake: Senior Fellow, Technology Assessment and Security
  • John J. Dziak: Senior Fellow, Counterintelligence and Strategic Technology
  • June Teufel Dreyer: Research Fellow, Asian Affairs
  • Mark A. Stokes: Military Technology Fellow
  • Stephen C. Coughlin: Visiting Fellow, National Security Team
  • Harvey Rubin: Senior Fellow, Medical Sciences and Biosecurity
  • Katsuhisa Furukawa: Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center
  • Simon P. Worden: Senior Fellow, Space, Cybersecurity and Information Policy
  • Jeffrey Breinholt: Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Law (2007-8)  

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