The Evening CSIS: Assad’s March, Iran’s Oil, All Down the Line & More
October 19, 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.
As Bashar al-Assad’s troops head toward Aleppo, Syria’s former commercial hub and largest city, helicopters are dropping warnings to residents to vacate areas. Should Aleppo and other Sunni towns fall to Assad’s forces, the potential for another, larger, wave of refugees would be nightmarish, as Bloomberg’s Donna Abu-Nasr reports from Beirut.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman authored anew report published today: The Arab-U.S. Strategic Partnership and the Changing Security Balance in the Gulf.
As the Financial Times reports, Iran’s energy minister has vowed to reclaim the country’s share of global crude oil exports within months of sanctions being lifted and said Tehran will quickly boost production with the help of foreign investment.
And, as the Wall Street Journal today reports, “European oil companies are in fierce competition for the best oil and gas fields in Iran when Western sanctions are lifted, while U.S. energy firms watch from the sidelines.”
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Frank Verrastro and Kevin Book last week authored a commentary: “Oil Market Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Upside.”
As the Wall Street Journal reported today, within minutes of China publishing its economic data, a wave of skepticism emanated from economists over the accuracy of the official 6.9% third-quarter growth figure.
Dive Deeper: A recent commentary by CSIS’s Claire Reade, “Oracle Bones: Assessing Progress Made on Trade and Investment Issues through the Xi Visit,” looks at how far the US and China advanced toward removing key obstacles to market-based trade and investment and what the implications for future trade relations are.
A Scottish nurse battling a relapse of the deadly Ebola virus has improved, according to a CNN report this afternoon.
Dive Deeper: A new report by CSIS’s Cathryn Streifel, How Did Ebola Impact Maternal and Child Health in Liberia and Sierra Leone?, released today, highlights the importance of accounting for preexisting weaknesses in the health systems, seasonal weather patterns, and the considerable variation in the number of Ebola cases at the subnational level in explaining what actually happened in the health sector during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In that Number
The cost of repairs to keep London’s famous Big Ben ticking, which include repairs to the clock’s hands, pendulum, mechanism, and tower.
“It is now pretty clear that things are not going according to plan.”
—CSIS’s Matt Goodman on China’s economic strategy after China posted its lowest economic growth figures since 2009.
Sourc e: Ne w York Times .
One to Watch
Demetri Sevastopulo (@DimiSevastopulo) is Washington Bureau chief at the Financial Times. Demetri previously served as FT’s Asia news editor for four years and reported on the South China Sea for two additional years. For news on Asia, Demetri is one to watch.
Japan’s naval power was on full display yesterday during a fleet review south of Tokyo. Reuters was onsite to capture the procession, which included vessels from the US, India, France, and Australia.
The New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle writes for the October 26 issue of the magazine, “Ten Borders: One refugee’s epic escape from Syria.”
Catch Professor M.S. Swaminathan and Ambassador Islam Siddiqui discussing the role of science in informing public policy to achieve sustainable development goals. The CSIS Global Food Security Project hosted the enlightening event on best practices for conservation and sustainable food growth.
The CSIS International Security Program will host Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) for keynote remarks on “Amphibious Capabilities & the Asia Pacific.” Register here for the event, or watch live at 8:30 a.m. And later, join us as the CSIS Human Rights Initiative hosts Dr. Nils Muiznieks, commissioner for human rights, Council of Europe, to discuss the conflict in Ukraine and the European refugee crisis. Finally, Bob Schieffer will moderate a discussion between Kurt Campbell, Demetri Sevastopulo, and Chris Johnson on “ US-China Relations after the Obama-Xi Summit .”
This Town Tomorrow
Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council will host John Woolard, vice president of energy at Google, for a discussion on the innovative work that nonenergy technology companies are doing at the cutting edge of today’s most pressing energy and climate issues. Register or watch the event live here.
CSIS on Demand
As China releases its Q3 GDP numbers, get the lowdown on why they’re lower than usual and the implications for policymakers and businesses. CSIS hosted a distinguished panel of experts on the Chinese economy, who shared key findings from independent reappraisals of China’s nominal GDP.
This week’s CogitAsia podcast features President Park Geun-hye of South Korea as she discusses the future of the US-Korea alliance; then, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia joins to discuss the current geopolitical environment from Australia’s perspective.
I Like It Like That
Eye-catching things in CSIS's orbit
NASA today launched a new website so the world can see images of the full, sunlit side of the Earth every day. The images are taken by a NASA camera 1 million miles away.
I received a wonderful email this morning that made me smile. Really Smile. It comes from one of my mentors, the “Faulkner of Rock Journalism,” Stanley Booth. Stanley, the author of the definitive book about the Rolling Stones, The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones, sent me this note:
“On this day, October 19, forty-six years ago, I hopped on a big bird and flew to Los Angeles, where I met up with the Rolling Stones. In the weeks to come we visited the West, East, North and South. It all happened long, long ago, in a galaxy far away. Many who were here then ain't here now.”
It made me smile because Stanley is still very much here and continuing to put the greatest people who make the greatest music in their proper context. His remembrance of B.B. King for Vanity Fair back in May when King died is just one of his latest masterworks.
In addition to B.B., rest his soul, Stanley’s essays on Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, James Brown, Elvis Presley, Gram Parsons and Al Green, to name a few, have underscored the essence of these deified artist’s humanity.
Booth famously spent a week in 1967 with Otis Redding during the last days of the singer's life. On assignment for the Saturday Evening Post, Booth observed the recording sessions at Stax studios in which Redding composed "Dock of the Bay." The following weekend, Redding died in a Wisconsin plane crash. In his book, “Rhythm Oil” Booth described how Redding's posthumous hit song unfolded:
"Sittin' in the mornin' sun -- "But I don't know why he's sittin'," Otis says, rocking back and forth as if he were singing. “He's just sittin'. Got to be more to it than that."
He pauses for a moment, shaking his head. Then he says, "Wait. Wait a minute.”
"I left my home in Georgia, Headed for the Frisco Bay.'"
He pauses again, runs through the changes on his fractured guitar, and then sings: "I had nothing to live for, Look like nothing's gonna’ come my way."
Can you imagine?
So, in honor of Stanley Booth setting off to chronicle the Rolling Stones at the pinnacle of their powers, let’s watch this clip of the Stones in ’72 “All Down the Line.”
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