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    US National Intelligence Council Names Russia, Middle East as Priorities

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    The chairman of the US National Intelligence Council said the Middle East and Russia are dominant issues the center is going to be looking at.

    WASHINGTON, December 2 (Sputnik) — The Middle East and Russia are current priorities for the US National Intelligence Council (NIC), the center's chairman Gregory Treverton said Tuesday.

    ''So those will define, and for the remainder of the administration, the Middle East and Russia are going to be dominant themes,'' Treverton said.

    He also named China and East Asia among the main issues the center is going to be looking at.

    ''We set our priorities by the big crises that are going on and need to be handled,'' Treverton noted.

    The NIC is a center within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that provides long-term strategic analysis.

    Over the past several months, the United States, the European Union and a number of their allies introduced a range of sanctions targeting Russia’s banking, energy and defense sectors over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis.

    Meanwhile, in the Middle East a US-led coalition is currently carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL), a jihadist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014 the group expanded its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.


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