The Evening CSIS: Iran Invited, Budget Surprise, Coming Home & More
October 28, 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.
Iran has accepted an invitation to join talks with the United States and Russia this week on a possible political resolution to the Syrian civil war, as the New York Times’s Sewell Chan reports.
And, as Reuters reports, Saudi Arabia will also attend the talks, marking the first time Saudi Arabia and Iran will discuss Syria face-to-face.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Melissa Dalton and CNAS’s Ilan Goldberg authored “Bridging the Gulf: How to Fix U.S. Relations With the GCC” for the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs.
The Institute for the Study of War’s Hugo Spaulding authored “Russian Military Activity: October 21-27, 2015,” in which he explains that Russia has continued to shape conditions on the ground in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East following the air safety memorandum of understanding signed with the US on October 20.
Plus, CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman’s commentary from earlier this month, “The Long War in Syria: The Trees, the Forest, and All the King’s Men,” is a must read.
Admiral John Richardson, U.S. chief of naval operations, and his Chinese counterpart, Admiral Wu Shengli, will hold an hour-long video teleconference Thursday, days after China was angered by a US warship passing within a 12-mile limit around a man-made island in the South China Sea, as Reuters reports.
Also, Reuters’ Andrea Shalal, Matt Spetalnick, and David Brunnstrom authored an important piece this afternoon: “As Obama weighed patrol to counter China, Pentagon urged faster action.”
Plus, Reuters has created a special photo feature on “China’s Man Made Islands.”
And, CNN’s piece by Euan McKirdy and Katie Hunt, “Showdown in the South China Sea: How did we get here?,” is another important read on the latest developments.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Michael J. Green, Bonnie S. Glaser and Gregory Poling yesterday published a new Critical Questions (CSIS’s signature series of asked & answered short papers): "The U.S. Asserts Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea."
And, CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative ( AMTI) has published a new feature, “The Evolution of Asia’s Contested Waters.” In addition, AMTI’s “Island Tracker” has all the latest satellite images of continuing construction in the South China Sea and the digital publication provides key analysis regarding the regions’ maritime disputes.
Long Range Strike Bomber
A major contract has been awarded to build the Long Range Strike Bomber, the most significant combat aircraft contract since the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, but analysts say the hard work is just beginning, as the Washington Post reports.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Todd Harrison and Andrew Hunter point out in an analysis published late last night, “Seven Ways to Make the LRS-B Program a Success,” that the new bomber will be an essential part of the future force, providing the ability to penetrate enemy air defenses and strike targets over great distances—quite literally putting the “global” in the Air Force’s global precision strike mission.
The House easily advanced the bipartisan budget deal this afternoon, clearing the way for final passage, as the Hill’s Cristina Marcos reports.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Todd Harrison wrote a commentary for Defense One, “Trick or Treat: A Pleasant Surprise for the Defense Budget,” in which he argues that “The debate over the defense budget is not really about defense. But this is the best possible deal.”
“The long and potentially perilous development phase of the acquisition process is just beginning.”
—Todd Harrison, CSIS director of defense budget analysis, on yesterday’s LRS-B contract award to Northrop Grumman.
Source: Washington Post.
One to Watch
Zoe Daniel (@zdaniel) is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s soon-to-be Washington bureau chief. Zoe was previously an ABC correspondent in South Africa and Bangkok and has covered everywhere from Darfur and Zimbabwe to Thailand and Burma. (Photo Credit: Facebook.)
One of NORAD’s East Coast threat detection blimps came loose from its mooring in Maryland and drifted into Pennsylvania today. For pictures and video of the spectacle, check out CNN’s coverage.
Gary Kasparov on “How the West Propped Up Putin” for the Atlantic.
Lieutenant General Robert Walsh discussed the broad range of capabilities the Marine Corps will need as it faces the challenges of the future in “The Future of Marine Corps Capabilities.” Then, watch the recap of “Financing for Development: What’s Next?,” as panelists discuss development funding around the world.
At 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, join us for a discussion on the priorities for improving governance and addressing corruption in Nigeria’s oil sector. Afterward, at 10:00 a.m., you can catch the latest on vertical lift technology, as well as where the ultimate technological gains are likely to lie for the Department of Defense. And finally, join us at 3:30 p.m. for a briefing on the agenda and likely outcomes of the G20 Summit, featuring Caroline Atkinson, deputy national security adviser for international economics at the White House, and Nathan Sheets, under secretary for international affairs, US Treasury.
This Town Tomorrow
The International Stability Operations Association will host its 10th Annual Summit, with speakers including Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; Gary Motsek, deputy assistant secretary of defense; and Ambassador William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; among others. Register for the summit here.
CSIS on Demand
As tensions escalate between the US and China in the South China Sea, get a glimpse of what lies ahead with “Amphibious Capabilities in the Asia Pacific.” Senator Dan Sullivan and panelists discuss the importance of the region to the United States and the capabilities needed to meet the region’s challenges.
The latest episode of the Jihadology Podcast, Jihadism in the Land of the Pharaohs , provides an in-depth look at the Islamic State’s activity in Egypt. The Washington Institute’s Aaron Zelin also discusses primary source materials that the Islamic State recently released.
I Like It Like That
Eye-catching things in CSIS's orbit
Eric Clapton has experienced superstardom as a solo artist at a level that most musicians can only dream of. But during a portion of his career he has just wanted to be part of a band, not the front-man and focus of all the fuss.
Many people are unfamiliar with Clapton’s sideman status with the early 1970s southern rock/soul ensemble, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends.
Led by the husband-wife duo of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Clapton happily joined the “Friends” and participated in making some of the most organic, earthy, American rooted music ever created—especially during their live performances.
In this clip, the “Friends” includes Clapton and George Harrison on guitar backing up Delaney and Bonnie. Can you imagine Clapton and Harrison backing anyone up? It happened, and you’ll only catch glimpses of Clapton and Harrison in this video—but you will hear their guitar playing loud and clear. And if you are like me, you’ll be smiling.
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