The Evening CSIS: Hezbollah Ally Wins, South Korean Scandal, Spell on You & More
October 31, 2016
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 sign up here.
Busting Down the Door
Iraqi forces said they reached the eastern outskirts of Mosul today and were preparing to make the first break into the city, which has been held by ISIS for more than two years, as the Washington Post’s Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim report.
The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Kesling and Tamer El-Ghobashy report that survivors recount how a few dozen militants used torture, guns and bureaucracy to hold sway over thousands in and near Mosul.
And, as CNN reported late today, video shot secretly from a car inside eastern Mosul by a resistance group gives a rare glimpse of Iraq's second largest city in recent days -- a ghost town ahead of what is sure to be a bloody battle with ISIS,
Dive Deeper: The CFR Interview “The Meaning of Mosul” with CFR’s Phillip Gordon.
South Korean Scandal
South Koreans gathered in the tens of thousands on Saturday in Seoul to demand President Park Geun-hye’s resignation, following revelations about a close female friend, Choi Soon-sil. Choi, seen as a Rasputin-like figure who reportedly wields immense influence over Park, was allowed to gain access to confidential information, used her connections to operate non-profit foundations as personal slush funds, and acted as a spiritual advisor of sorts to Park, among other allegations, as Quartz reports.
Dive Deeper: See “Feeding Frenzy: Political Fallout from South Korean Scandal Continues” by CSIS’s Victor Cha and Lisa Collins published today.
Hezbollah Ally Wins
Lebanon’s parliament today ended more than two years of political deadlock in the country, electing as president a former army general, Michel Aoun, who is the main Christian ally of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, as the Wall Street Journal’s Maria Abi-Habib and Noam Raydan report.
Dive Deeper: The Washington Institute’s PolicyWatch released today “A New President for Lebanon."
US stocks were little changed today, as market participants turned cautious following a slide in oil prices and ahead of major central bank meetings, as the Financial Times’s Wataru Suzuki reports.
Dive Deeper: Listen to the new CSIS’s Energy Program podcast posted today, “Oil Market Dynamics—A Conversation with Dr. David Knapp” moderated by CSIS’s Frank Verrastro.
The Political Reporter You Turn To
CSIS Trustee Bob Schieffer is the political reporter we all turn to in order to make sense of it all. But Bob often turns to the Washington Post’s Dan Balz, and in this new “About the News” podcast posted today, you can listen to why.
In That Number
An interactive look at some of the more than 3,000 women killed from 2013 to 2015 in so-called honor killings in Pakistan.
Source: Associated Press.
“Given her inner steeliness, it is unlikely President Park would resign. She may end up serving out her last year as president without a party to support her, and with a neutral prime minister running the government.”
— CSIS’s Victor Cha and Lisa Collins authored “Feeding Frenzy: Political Fallout from South Korean Scandal Continues” today.
One to Watch
Gregory Poling is the director of CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI). He recently authored “The US-Philippine Alliance Is Stronger Than You Think” for War on the Rocks.
(Photo Credit: Tom Dulat/Getty Images.)
A general view of new extension of Dubai Canal. The Dubai Water Canal connects Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf.
Ahead of this week’s meeting of the Federal Reserve, MarketWatch’s senior economics reporter Greg Robb today published an interview with former IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard (now with the Peterson Institute). Blanchard told Robb that the Fed should let the economy run hot to guard against recession.
CSIS’s Europe Program hosted “A New Foreign Policy Frontier: Asset Recovery and Combating Illicit Financing,” a discussion on the strategy, reforms, and challenges of asset recovery and combating illicit financing, featuring Ambassador Roberto Balzaretti.
And CSIS’s Project on Prosperity and Development hosted “Global Media in Foreign Policy and Public Engagement,” a discussion on how governments and civil society use media and journalism to promote narratives around the world.
Join CSIS’s Youth, Prosperity, and Security Initiative at 10:00 a.m. for “The Global Millennial Viewpoint Series,” a briefing series on the results of a 30-country survey exploring millennial perspectives on security, governance, economics, work, education, health, civic participation, and values.
This Town Tomorrow
Join Brookings at 8:15 a.m. for “How Should the Next President Counter Violent Extremism?”
Join the Wilson Center at 2:30 p.m. for “The Green Supply Chain Challenge—On-The-Ground Stories from China.”
And visit the Newseum at 4:00 p.m. for a discussion on the future of journalism, featuring Richard Gingras, vice president of Google, and Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director at NPR.
CSIS On Demand
As Xi Jinping tightens his grip on the Chinese Communist Party, catch up on our event last week, “China Reality Check Series: Chinese Public Opinion and the Durability of Chinese Communist Party Rule.”
CSIS’s Building the Future podcast released "The UN, Afghanistan, and U.S. Global Leadership with Robert O'Brien" today.
I Like It Like That
CSIS’s new micro-website “Reconnecting Asia” maps the challenging economic and geopolitical realities in Eurasia. You can follow updates via Twitter @ReconAsia and visit the site, which also features a “Reporter’s Notebook” in partnership with the Nikkei Asian Review.
There has never been a performer like the late, great, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, who I always think of on Halloween.
Screamin’ Jay’s 1956 recording of “I Put a Spell on You” was selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It’s that serious of a piece both musically and theatrically—many scholars view it is the precursor to shock rock and glam rock. But it was Hawkins’s bizarre, operatic, theatrical performances of the song complete with over the top ghoulish props that make the haunting “Spell on You” a Halloween classic.
What always makes me smile about Screamin’ Jay is that despite his outlandish performances, he was always taken very seriously as a musician by other musicians and musicologists (see the Rock Hall’s designation above.) Here, for instance, is a classic performance with jazzman David Sandborn. I love the juxtaposition of Jay’s antics with his extraordinary vocals and the fantastic live sound he creates with Sandborn and the band. Happy Halloween to all.
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