The Evening CSIS June 16 2015
June 17, 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.
AQ's Number 2
This afternoon the White House confirmed the death of Nasser al-Wuhayshi , the biggest al Qaeda target to fall since Osama bin Laden in May 2011, reports the Wall Street Journal’s Maria Abi Habib.
CNN provides this good explainer of who al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is.
China announced today that it would soon halt island-building projects around some reefs and shoals in the South China Sea but that it would continue constructing military and civilian facilities where projects already exist, as the New York Times’ Edward Wong reports.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Michael J. Green, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Ernest Z. Bower, Christopher K. Johnson, and Bonnie S. Glaser today authored a new Critical Questions: “China’s Land Reclamation Announcement: A Change in Message, Not in Policy.”
CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) has all the latest satellite images and analysis of island building and land reclamation in the East and South China Sea. Explore these images and analysis by visiting the AMTI micro website’s “Island Tracker.”
In that Number
The number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that Vladimir Putin said Russia would add to its arsenal.
Source: Washington Post.
Asked: What impact will AQAP leader Nasir al Wuhayshi’s assassination have on the future of AQAP?
Answered: Thomas Sanderson, director of the CSIS Transnational Threats Project: The death of Wuhayshi is important, but the benefits will be short-lived. Leadership decapitation has not proven decisive against many militant groups, though it is a victory for the time being. Previous leaders across the AQ spectrum have always been replaced, with groups continuing to exist and plot attacks. For the near future, AQAP may spend more time and energy on local targets in order to maintain the territorial advances made since April and to defend its strongholds against attacks from the Houthis and Saudi forces.
From the perspective of AQAP’s morale, Wuhayshi’s death is another in a string of recent blows to senior leadership. This latest strike comes just two months after the deaths of senior AQAP ideologue Ibrahim al Rubaish and Nasser bin al Ainsi, a top AQAP official who claimed the Charlie Hebdo attacks. With only one of the original founders remaining, the group’s direction and future strategy may be at stake.
One to Watch
Deeyah Khan (@Deeyah_Khan) is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker who spent two years with some of the leading figures in the British jihadi movement from previous generations to try to understand the draw of ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalist movements. Her new film about it, Jihad, makes her one to watch.
Thousands of Syrian refugees cut through a border fence and streamed into Turkey on Sunday, fleeing fighting in Syria between Kurdish fighters and ISIS militants. The Atlantic has this photo compilation of the flood of refugees.
A new documentary, Jihad, premiered yesterday on the UK’s ITV. It is by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan and explores the roots of Islamic radicalism in Britain. Danish TV’s DR2 interviewed Ms. Khan about her film. Fascinating.
CSIS hosted Admiral Paul F. Zukunft (USCG) to discuss the US Coast Guard’s new cyber strategy, outlining the Coast Guard’s plan to work with industry to manage cyber risks to maritime critical infrastructure, boost its own cyber capabilities for defending USCG networks, and enable USCG operations.
At 9:00 a.m., Andriy Taranov, Ukrainian president Poroshenko’s deputy head of administration, will join CSIS to discuss the escalating conflict and the collapse of the February Minsk II agreement.
At 2:30 p.m., CSIS will host a discussion analyzing the refugee crisis in Southeast Asia , the reasons for the refugee departures, and possible solutions.
This Town Tomorrow
The Atlantic Council will host an event on “Russia’s Strategic Interest with the West” starting at 12:30 p.m.
CSIS on Demand
As Congress continues to be at a stalemate on trade legislation, CSIS hosted Foreign Minister K Shanmugam of Singapore who drummed up much press coverage with his remarks on the importance of this debate abroad. As the Financial Times reports , “Singapore’s foreign minister said the holdup in Congress raised questions about the ability of the US to negotiate the TPP. That represented a threat to its relationships in the Asia-Pacific.”
The Senate is at work for its third week on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). David Hawkings of Roll Call, who writes the “Hawkings Here” blog spoke to Federal News Radio’s Francis Rose about the status of the NDAA and what is likely to happen this week—very much worth listening to if you are following this.
I Like It Like That
Kaspersky Lab is a corporation focused on cybersecurity. They also provide a great deal of thought leadership on digital matters with their “Daily” blog—which I like. This item from the blog is interesting: “The telegraph, Internet’s Grandpa: the beginning of the information era.”
My wife’s entire family is from Cleveland. It is a special town that I now call “home.” Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers return home for a must win game in the National Basketball Association Finals against the Golden State Warriors. The city’s failure to win a championship in any major professional sport since 1964 has earned it a reputation of being a “cursed” city. But Cleveland is a hard-working, get-up-and-go place full of civic pride and determination.
When LeBron James returned to play for the Cavs this season, he once again put an entire city on his back. He has taken his team to Game 6 of the NBA championship even though the Cavs are decimated by injuries and fatigue. Cleveland always leaves it all on the floor, gives its best, works hard. And whether the team and city are smiling or not after tonight, they will have accomplished the biggest smile of all. This epic commercial by Nike shown at the very beginning of this season, LeBron’s return season, underscores why. Anyone who knows Cleveland will tell you that this commercial is what the city is really like. How it really feels. Smile for Cleveland. LeBron is home.
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