The Evening CSIS March 26 2015
March 26, 2015
Welcome to The Evening CSIS—Andrew is away, so for this week you’re in the mostly capable hands of Nahmyo Thomas and Colm Quinn. We’ll still aim to bring you context on the events of the day and be sure to send you to the best content from within our orbit and beyond. To subscribe, please click here.
Saudi Arabia Strikes Yemen
Saudi Arabia began airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen as the Saudis begin amassing troops on the Yemeni border. Dan Roberts and Kareem Shaheen have this report in the Guardian on the growing coalition uniting against the Houthi rebels.
Dive Deeper: CSIS's Anthony Cordesman’s latest commentary, “America, Saudi Arabia and the Strategic Importance of Yemen" is a must read, as is CSIS Middle East program director Jon Alterman’s Monday piece on the scale of the crisis.
US Strikes Tikrit
US involvement in the war to uproot ISIS went up a level, as airstrikes began in Tikrit, where coalition forces are teaming up with Shia militias to remove ISIS fighters from the city. CNN has this profile on Hashd Al-Shaabi, one of the militias involved and the sectarian divisions involved in the coalition.
Dive Deeper: David Ignatius has this analysis on the political sensitivities involved in the battle, where, at least by proxy, Iran and the US are making strange bedfellows.
In that Number
The number of Predator and Reaper drones that have crashed since January 2014. The Washington Post offers this report on how falling drones may be exposing secrets about US operations.
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
Asked: Will Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in Yemen against Houthi forces be helpful in resolving the crisis?
Answered: Jon Alterman, Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program
"Saudi Arabia has been battling the Houthis off and on for more than a decade, with very mixed results. Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh used to be an ally in Saudi efforts to contain the Houthis, and now forces loyal to him are fighting with Houthi forces. Saudi Arabia and many of its GCC neighbors are convinced that the Houthis are effectively agents of Iran seeking a deeper foothold on the Arabian Peninsula, but the US view is less categorical. The US decision to provide some intelligence and logistical support but not to actively participate in the airstrikes seems to be an effort to stand with allies against Houthi aggression but not shut the door on the possibility of bringing the Houthis into some sort of agreement to resolve the crisis. The Saudis probably know that they cannot defeat the Houthis completely, and especially not from the air. Their action is most likely intended to halt the Houthi advance and create room for some sort of negotiated solution on better terms than could be obtained now.”
One to Watch
From the Internet of Things to all things cyber and tech, be sure to keep an eye out for Denise Zheng (@DeniseZheng), deputy director and senior fellow of the CSIS Strategic Technologies Program. An avid leader of hackathons, she’s also worked for DARPA and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Expect her to disrupt the debate with her new blog here.
Beauty contrasts with brute force in this photo essay from Reuters showing the Free Syrian Army taking the historic town of Bosra Al-Sham from Assad’s forces.
As the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership heats up, Scott Miller has this explainer on one of the more contentious issues reported in today’s New York Times: Investor-State Dispute Settlement.
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, joined CSIS for a discussion on “Defense Priorities for the 114th Congress.”
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
Join us for our first ever “Cyber DiploHack,” a cyper policy hackathon competition among six university teams to develop new approaches to cybersecurity and cyber capacity building—from 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Click here to learn more.
CSIS will host a “US-Japan Security Seminar 2015” from 1:30–6:00 p.m. to lay out various security scenarios and put our preparedness to the test. Participants include David Shear, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs; Masahiko Komura, Japan’s former minister for foreign affairs; and Ralph Cossa, president of the CSIS Pacific Forum.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important things in this town—so little time. Of note:
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host an event on “‘Strategic Plus’”: Taking U.S.-India Relations to a New Level,” with US ambassador to India Richard Verma.
CSIS on Demand
As the Iran nuclear talks pick up again in Russia, CSIS offers this interactive Governing Uranium website to demonstrate the technical cycle behind how uranium is processed and follow the uranium trail from mining to conversion.
Listen to Gideon Rachman discuss the ins and outs of a deal in the Iran nuclear talks in this week’s World Weekly podcast from the FT.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
Have you ever wondered what every social media picture aggregated into one place would look like? The development of this new “event detection” app will let you mine through a “world feed” of geotagged images to show what any group of people are experiencing in real time. Banjo takes the potential of social media to a whole new level.
In any tragedy, it was TV great Fred Rogers who implored us to “look for the helpers.” As the world comes to grips with the Germanwings airline crash, the village of Seyne-les-Alpes close to the crash site is opening its arms in solidarity, offering free accommodation, establishing private prayer sites, and volunteering as translators for the bereaved families.
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