The Evening CSIS May 5 2015
May 5, 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.
Yemen’s Houthi fighters fired mortars and rockets at a Saudi Arabian border town striking a girls’ school and a hospital. It is the first attack on Saudi territory since a Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign against the Houthis, Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh began today as King Salman of Saudi Arabia warned of a threat from Iran. French president Francois Hollande, the only Western leader in attendance, said France was “by the side” with Gulf nations, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports .
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Jon Alterman points out in a new commentary published today that “Regional diplomacy has had few successes in recent years, despite widespread agreement that most of the region’s most difficult challenges have no military solutions,” and that “Astute officials will try to use several weeks of focusing on weaponry to move forward on diplomacy.”
President Obama today nominated Marine Corps commandant Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. to be his next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Peter Baker of theNew York Times has this report.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Kathleen Hicks today published a new commentary regarding General Dunford’s nomination.
A transcript of President Obama’s remarks in nominating General Dunford can be accessed here.
Visit To Somalia
John Kerry became the first US secretary of state to visit Somalia when he landed in Mogadishu on Tuesday for an unannounced visit, theLos Angeles Times’ Robyn Dixon reports.
Dive Deeper: Dominik Balthasar, an analyst with the EU Institute for Security Studies in Brussels authored a report for CSIS in late 2014 that is helpful for understanding the difficulties in governing Somalia, Thinking beyond Roadmaps in Somalia: Expanding Policy Options for State Building.
The BBC’s website today published a Somalia profile that is a helpful resource.
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
Asked: What will the Gulf states be looking to achieve in the next two weeks, after their summit in Riyadh and meeting at Camp David?
Answered: Dr. Jon Alterman, senior vice president, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and director of the Middle East Program: This week and next, the Arab side seems preoccupied with two tasks. The first task is coordinating their efforts. Some governments have signaled they are looking for a more formal defense commitment from the United States, while others are wary of the political blowback—in both the United States and the Middle East—that formal agreements might entail. The Obama Administration is likely to come forward with something that falls short of a treaty but seeks to represent a genuine and enduring commitment. Each government also has a shopping list of desired U.S. weapons systems which they would like without the delay that weapons procurement generally takes. Complicating the weapons sales question is the U.S. legal requirement that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge over any potential adversaries, meaning that increasing the capabilities of the Gulf States would necessarily entail boosting Israeli capabilities as well. The leaders who gather at Camp David will want to present a united front.
The second task is reminding the United States that the Gulf has other options. The French government has sold billions of dollars in weapons in the Middle East in the least year, with little of the conditionality and qualifications that accompany U.S. deals. A shrinking global market and diminishing U.S. purchases mean U.S. arms producers are especially keen to identify sales opportunities, but the U.S. approval process is not designed for speed or efficiency.
One to Watch
|J. Stephen Morrison ( @MorrisonCSIS) is a senior vice president and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center —a major source of policy recommendations and research. Two members of Dr. Morrison’s team, Katherine Bliss and Cathryn Streifel, tomorrow will publish a report and interactive micro-website: Targeting Big Results in Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health: A Trip Report of the CSIS Delegation to the United Republic of Tanzania, February 2015 . The Evening CSIS will spotlight this new report tomorrow, but in the meantime, Dr. Morrison is one to watch.|
Russia has a new high-tech battle tank that they displayed during military practices running up to Saturday’s Victory Parade. CNN has the pictures of this cutting-edge vehicle.
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
The CSIS Global Food Security Project hosted Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) for a discussion on the importance of global food security efforts to broader US foreign policy and national security goals.
CSIS also hosted Serge Pun, chairman of Serge Pun and Associates, for a discussion on the current political and economic situation in Myanmar.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
CSIS will launch a major new report and accompanying micro-website on “Enhancing U.S. Engagement on Maternal and Child Health,” which will examine U.S. policy options to advance maternal, neonatal, and child health in sub-Saharan Africa. Join us for an overview at 9:00 a.m.
At 1:30 p.m., CSIS will also feature a discussion with leading energy experts on the future of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the global strategic stocks system. RSVP or watch live here.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important events in this town—so little time. Of note:
The Atlantic Council will host an event on “Breaking Down Digital Barriers” and increasing digital cooperation across the Atlantic. Watch live at 9:30 a.m. for a keynote by EU ambassador David O’Sullivan.
CSIS on Demand
Yesterday, CSIS was proud to host CSIS alum and EU trade commissioner Dr. Anna Cecilia Malmstrom for a major public address on TTIP and the strategic goals Europe hopes to achieve through its current trade agenda.
NPR's Scott Horsley reports on President Obama's latest pitch for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in an unorthodox location—Nike HQ in Oregon.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
I don’t just like this one, I love it. Turns out that Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, has posted on his Facebook page a code he wrote to solve Sudoku puzzles. Raises the question: Is Mr. Lee the first world leader to know how to code?
Last week, I showed you a “disruptive” British rugby fan who probably got what he deserved. I don’t like it when sporting fans are disruptive (especially if they cause problems for the athletes or other fans) and am not attempting to glorify or encourage their actions. But as with the aforementioned rugby fan, there is something of an art to sporting event disruption if carried out in good fun. So, please enjoy this young man from the UK online comedy channel “Troll Station” who decided to have a go at the World Diving Championships in Olympic Park, London. I have to admit this made me smile!
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