The Evening CSIS May 22 2015
May 23, 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.
ISIS Claims Bombing of Saudi Mosque
ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia on Friday. Media reports said the bombing had killed at least 21 people during midday prayers, according to the New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick reporting from Riyadh.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Jon Alterman and William McCants’ “Saudi Arabia: Islamists Rising and Falling” (chapter 6 of the CSIS publication Religious Radicalism after the Arab Uprisings) provides context regarding the Kingdom’s current zero tolerance for domestic dissent—whether Sunni or Shi’ite—and its effort to delegitimize ISIS.
CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman provides an assessment of the Gulf military balance and the military capabilities of each Gulf state in his early May analysis, “The Arab-U.S. Strategic Partnership and the Changing Security Balance in the Gulf.”
Business Insider has an easy to digest piece: “These maps show what ISIS has achieved in the last year.”
Next week the 14th annual Asia Security Summit–IISS Shangri-La Dialogue will take place in Singapore. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will attend, as well as the defense ministers of Germany, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, and the UK.
Rowan Callick, the Australian’s Asia-Pacific editor writes in a new column published today, “ US push-back in Asia gains momentum to reassure partners,” that “the Washington elite is making a powerful push to implement core economic and security elements of its ‘rebalance’ to the Asian region before the US’s decision-makers become mired in the presidential election campaign.”
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Ernie Bower authored a new commentary today, “Ash Carter and a US Economic Strategy for Asia,” for CSIS’s CogitAsia blog.
CSIS’s Mira Rapp Hooper and Zack Cooper contributed a new analysis for the blog War on the Rocks: “Shangri-La won’t be a fairyland for Beijing.”
And, Dr. Hooper had an op-ed published in CNN Opinion late last night: “Why China’s island-building is raising eyebrows.”
CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) has all the latest satellite images of island building and land reclamation in the South China Sea. Explore these images and analysis by visiting the AMTI micro website.
In that Number
114,000 square meters reclaimed (as of March 19, 2015) by Chinese development at the Gaven Reef, located in the Tizard Banks, near the center of the Spratly islands in the South China Sea.
Source : CSIS AMTI.
Asked: Why has the European Union announced a military operation in the Mediterranean Sea?
Answered: Simond de Galbert and Heather Conley of the CSIS Europe Program: EU foreign affairs and defense ministers announced Operation Naval Force in the Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) on May 18, which seeks to disrupt the “business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.” EUNAVFOR MED will identify, capture, and dispose of vessels and assets used by smugglers to bring migrants to Europe’s southern shores. How EUNAVFOR MED will dispose of the smugglers’ vessels has yet to be defined in detail, but the concept is to eliminate their ability to bring refugees into international waters. For this operation to be successful, it is very likely that operations will be conducted within Libya’s territorial waters.
France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy will participate in EUNAVFOR MED. As Italy has borne the brunt of the migration crisis, Rome will host the operation’s headquarters, and Admiral Enro Credendino of the Italian Navy will lead EUNAVFOR MED. The European Union has successfully implemented similar maritime military operations under its Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), including its counterpiracy initiative off the coast of Somalia, Operation Atalanta, which has helped reduce the number of attacks on commercial vessels from 176 in 2011 to 2 in 2014. Operation EUNAVFOR MED should underscore the European Union’s growing strength and capabilities in the maritime security domain and signal Europe’s willingness to take greater responsibility for regional security. To date, neither the United States nor NATO has been asked to provide additional maritime capabilities, although NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO stands ready to assist if such a request is made.
Read the full analysis.
One to Watch
CSIS’s Mira Rapp-Hooper (at right) ( @MiraRappHooper) is director of the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), which has made worldwide news over the past several months with exclusive photos showing China’s reclamation projects in the South China Sea. Dr. Rapp-Hooper had an op-ed published by CNN.com late yesterday: “Why China’s island-building is raising eyebrows.”
With a Torah at his side, President Obama concludes his speech from the pulpit of Adas Israel synagogue in Washington in honor of Jewish Heritage Month. Photo courtesy of Mark Knoller.
This week Fortune Magazine’s Nina Easton interviewed Melinda Gates for the CSIS Smart Women, Smart Power speaker series. Be sure to read her latest column, “Melinda Gates on Bill, ending poverty, and her plans to invest in women and girls,” for an up-close look at Gates’s inspirational career and life.
CSIS hosted a discussion on Xi Jinping’s economic reforms with one of the world’s leading experts on the Chinese economy, Barry Naughton, UCSD, and with commentary by Beijing-based economist for Bloomberg, Tom Orlik.
Wes Bush, chairman, CEO, and president of Northrop Grumman, will join CSIS for part of the Next Generation Dialogue on Industry and Defense, focusing on “Rethinking Research and Development for the Department of Defense.” Join us at 10:00 a.m.
This Town Tuesday
The Atlantic Council will host a conversation with three of Europe’s leading ambassadors to the US—French ambassador Gérard Araud, British ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott, and German ambassador Peter Wittig—on the role of the E-3 in negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. Click here for more.
CSIS on Demand
Yesterday, CSIS hosted Cédric Schweizer , head of delegation in Yemen, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for a timely and critical conversation on the crisis in Yemen and what the ICRC and other humanitarian groups are doing to assist vulnerable populations.
This week’s CSIS Podcast looks at the humanitarian situation on the ground in Yemen, with the head of Yemen’s operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross Cedric Schweizer.
Memorial Day weekend is upon us. It’s a time when we Americans honor the men and women who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces. The people who serve are our heroes, and I can think of no better way to pay tribute to them than to show you one of my all-time favorite performances of our national anthem. Here’s Linda Ronstadt performing the “Star Spangled Banner” at the World Series in Dodger Stadium, 1977.
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