- By Josh Rogin
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.
In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. These are the highlights of Monday’s briefing by spokeswoman Victoria Nuland:
- Poland is the new protecting power in Damascus following today’s closing of the U.S embassy in Damascus and the departure of Ambassador Robert Ford. "So any remaining American citizens in Syria who haven’t heeded our repeated travel warnings, which were updated again today, can receive consular services through the Embassy of Poland," Nuland said. Ford will head the State Department’s Syria team in Washington and try to maintain relationships inside Syria. Fred Hof will maintain relationships with opposition leaders outside Syria, Nuland said. Ford met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem before he left town. The U.S. is not breaking diplomatic relations… yet. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in Damascus Tuesday.
- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is coming to Washington this week. At the 2012 Munich Security Conference last weekend, The Cable asked Davutoglu if it was true that his government has requested NATO to start planning for contingencies in Syria. Davutoglu said, "It’s not true," but we’re told otherwise.
- The State Department can’t confirm reports that Qatar has brokered an agreement between Fatah and Hamas. "We’re obviously seeking more information about precisely what was agreed," Nuland said. She said that State is still waiting to hear about it directly from the Palestinians, but Hamas is still a terrorist organization and the U.S. is still against that. "Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence. It must recognize the state of Israel. And it must accept the previous agreements and obligations between the parties, including the road map. So those are our expectations," Nuland said.
- State isn’t happy that the NGO workers in Egypt are now going to be charged and tried in Egyptian courts. "These groups and the individuals associated with them do not fund political parties or individual candidates. Many of these groups have worked in Egypt for many years, supported by the U.S. government, in order to promote democracy and free elections. There’s nothing new in their activities," she said. More Americans are seeking refuge at the U.S. embassy. 17 people are affected, about half of them Americans.
- Former Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens has been appointed as the acting undersecretary of State for public diplomacy, pending the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee, USIP’s Tara Sonenshine. All nominations are stuck in the senate, so Stephens could be running the public diplomacy shop at State for a while. Nuland compared the situation to when Ambassador Tom Shannon was brought in for a while as acting undersecretary for political affairs while Wendy Sherman awaited senate action. "But the full expectation is that the Senate will act promptly on Therese Sonenshine’s nomination," Nuland said without elaborating on what’s behind that expectation.