The Evening CSIS April 16 2015
April 16, 2015
Welcome to The Evening CSIS—my daily guide to key insights CSIS brings to the events of the day plus HIGHLY RECOMMENDED content from around the world. To subscribe, please click here and if you want to view this in your browser, click here.
This edition of The Evening CSIS is dedicated to Jon Alterman who serves as CSIS senior VP, Brzezinski Chair, and Middle East Program director. Dr. Alterman and his superb team, led by Rebecka Shirazi, are responsible for the remarkable event CSIS held today with Iraqi prime minister Haider Al-Abadi (as described below.) When you watch the video of today’s event you will see Dr. Alterman expertly lead a thoughtful discussion with Iraq’s prime minister. I am proud to be Dr. Alterman’s colleague and to have the opportunity to work with him every day.
Iraqi Prime Minister at CSIS
Today in his remarks at CSIS, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi of Iraq argued for a strengthened role for Iraq’s central government and called for the various factions that make up the fabric of Iraq to function together as a government instead of as disparate groups. The full video of Prime Minister Abadi’s remarks and wide-ranging discussion with CSIS’s Jon Alterman can be viewed On Demand, as well as a transcript of his prepared remarks (a full transcript including Q and A will be added later).
During the event, the Iraqi prime minister also said the presence of a top Iranian commander in Iraq is “a bad idea” and walked back his differences with Saudi Arabia, as Bloomberg’s David Lehrman reports.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman today published a new analysis, “America’s Failed Approach to Chaos Theory,” which includes an important section relevant to today’s discussion with PM Abadi. “Back to Almost War in Iraq.”
And, Jon Alterman’s excellent multimedia presentation “Iraq in the Balance” looks at how history, geography, power, and people have shaped Iraq’s past and its potential future trajectories.
China's Newest Airstrip in the S. China Sea
As Issac Stone Fish and Keith Johnson of Foreign Policy reported today, based on new satellite images and analysis provided by CSIS and DigitalGlobe, “China’s New Airstrip in the South China Sea Is Almost Completed.”
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s latest material on China’s activities in the South China Sea are thoroughly explored and analyzed, including never before seen satellite images and analysis on our Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) micro website. Today’s new material focuses on “Island Building on Fiery Cross Reef” and shows new airstrip images indicating China has completed about one-third of the project. Another informative feature of the website is our “Island Tracker,” which shows before-and-after imagery of construction in the South China Sea.
CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative is an interactive, regularly updated source and web magazine for information, analysis, and policy exchange on maritime security issues in Asia.
In that Number
The amount of Treasury bonds Japan held at the end of February, surpassing China as the top foreign funder of the US government since the 2008 financial crisis.
Source : Wall Street Journal.
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
At today’s event with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi of Iraq, Dr. Jon Alterman, CSIS senior vice president and director of the Middle East Program, asked the following question:
Alterman: What is Iran doing [in the Middle East] that they shouldn’t be doing?
Prime Minister Al-Abadi: The challenges that are facing us, terrorism and Da’ish [or ISIS]. The challenge is not only for Iraq, but this challenge is also for Saudi Arabia, for the Gulf states, for Jordan, for Egypt, even for Turkey…and Iran of course.
We must be together on this, rather than polarizing the whole situation.
What we are facing in Iraq is a polarization of society caused by this terrorism and of course by this failure of governance, not only in Iraq, but in the whole region. That is a very dangerous cocktail of failures, which produce terrorism.
I think that instead of fighting amongst ourselves and polarizing the region, we have paid heavily in terms of human lives and damaged infrastructures in our own cities due to this polarization. There is a polarization in the region.
There is a regional competition for control, but unfortunately, sectarianism has been used, ethnic differences have been used, and this is harmful for us and everybody.
We in Iraq are paying dearly for these mistakes, and that’s why we talk in public. I’m not trying to criticize anybody on this. It’s not my role to criticize gulf states, Saudi Arabia or my neighbors. I wouldn’t allow myself to do that. But I very much care about the Iraqi people, and inaction there and away from us, can cost lives in our own country.
One to Watch
Edward Delman ( @EdwardJacob90) is an editorial fellow and research assistant to David Frum, Jeffrey Goldberg, and Leon Wieseltier at the Atlantic who I am proud to present in this space. I first met Edward a few years ago and have closely followed his steady upward trajectory in policy and journalism. His writing is unique and superb, such as this piece he wrote for the Atlantic in January, “The Politics of Last Names.” If you don’t already read Edward’s work and follow him on Twitter, I recommend that you do. He is one to watch.
CSIS’s Jon Alterman led an informative and thoughtful discussion today at CSIS with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi of Iraq. Photo: Jesse Swanson/CSIS
The Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon published an interesting commentary today in the National Interest: “America’s Military Is the Best: What about the Acquisition Process?”
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
In Eastern and Southern Africa, girls account for 80% of all new HIV infections among adolescents, and HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19. Join us at 8:30 a.m. for a discussion on “Addressing HIV Risk in Adolescent Girls and Young Women,” featuring Ambassador Deborah Birx, US global AIDS coordinator.
CSIS will host the Honorable Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia, for a discussion on alternative futures for the US-China relationship, “U.S. China 21: Constructive Realism, Common Purpose.” Watch live at 11:30 a.m.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important things in this town—so little time. Of note:
The Heritage Foundation will host an event on “The Philippines: Enhancing Economic Freedom and Momentum for Growth,” featuring Jose Cuisia, ambassador of the Philippines to the US, and Amando Tetangco, governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines. Click here for more.
CSIS on Demand
Yesterday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of India joined CSIS for a major conference on “Deepening the U.S.-India Commercial Partnership: The First Year of the Modi Government,” just ahead of the IMF and World Bank meetings.
The Army’s electronic warfare capabilities have been an important tool during the war in Iraq. Today on Federal News Radio, host Tom Temin spoke to Col. Joseph Dupont, project manager of the Pentagon’s Electronic Warfare office, about tools designed to give soldiers more options in dealing with improvised explosive devices without necessarily destroying local infrastructure when deployed. I’m a bit of a FNR junkie; it’s a superior product, and if you don’t know about it, you should.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
The Harvard Business Review’s May issue has an interesting article on how much people across the world think their data is worth.
Today at CSIS we learned something new about Prime Minister Al-Abadi of Iraq. He has a terrific sense of humor. Watch what happens when a statement he made almost gets lost in translation.
I always welcome and benefit from your feedback. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.