The Cable

FP’s Situation Report: Explosive report on Rwandan genocide; Ash Carter to Asia; Taliban leader gets new biography; lots and lots more

By Paul McLeary and Sabine Muscat Exclusive from FP’s Colum Lynch: Former President Clinton said he never knew the extent of suffering during Rwanda’s genocide. But America’s diplomats on the ground knew exactly what was happening — and they told Washington. Lynch obtained a trove of previously classified State Department documents spelling out who knew what, ...

By Paul McLeary and Sabine Muscat

Exclusive from FP’s Colum Lynch: Former President Clinton said he never knew the extent of suffering during Rwanda’s genocide. But America’s diplomats on the ground knew exactly what was happening — and they told Washington. Lynch obtained a trove of previously classified State Department documents spelling out who knew what, when.

On the morning the killing of ethnic Tutsis by Hutu extremists began in April 1994, “we had a very good sense of what was taking place,” the U.S. Embassy’s deputy chief of mission in Kigali, Joyce Leader, would later tell a 2014 gathering of international policymakers. “It was clear that a systematic killing of Tutsi was taking place in neighborhoods.”

Question: Does this come back to touch Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president, or does it simply add to the din?

Just days before Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is due to arrive in Seoul, South Korea, the hermit kingdom to the north test-fired four missiles off its west coast on April 3. The latest shots came — as they often do — in the middle of an annual U.S.-South Korean war game. The short-range missiles flew about 84 miles off the west coast before splashing down in the sea, following a similar test the day before.

Elsewhere in angry responses, the Kenyan military has launched a series of air strikes against two al-Shabab encampments to answer to last week’s brutal attack on Garissa University. The Kenyans are known to fly old U.S. F-5 Tiger attack planes, and a handful of Short Tucano single prop planes that can be weaponized.

But getting back to SecDef Carter for a moment, he’ll be making a pit stop today on the way from D.C. to South Korea to chat with Sen. John McCain at the aptly named McCain Institute at Arizona State University. The conversation starts at 10:30 am (Mountain Time) and will be live streamed.

A Defense Department release says Carter will be talking about “the strong link between national security and economic security and the full-court press the administration will continue to take on the rebalance” to Asia. As these things go, that topic will likely die a quick death in the Q&A, as issues like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, ISIL, Egypt, and maybe even Afghanistan take over.

But guess who won’t be asking those questions? The Pentagon press corps. Since his swearing in on Feb. 17, Carter has yet to hold a press conference in the building, and is still looking for a press secretary to replace the Rear Admiral John Kirby, who was quickly nudged aside once the new team took over.

Carter is known to prefer a civilian in that role, and from what we hear is looking for someone with some journalistic experience. Several prominent names have already turned the gig down, though the search continues.

Hi, all. Paul McLeary here and I’ll be taking over this daily digest from here on out, allowing David Francis to get some much deserved extra sleep in the mornings. I recently made the jump to Foreign Policy from Defense News, where I covered the Pentagon. I’ve spent some time in Iraq and Afghanistan, slept in cars and on floors in post-Katrina New Orleans and have two kids under five years old, so this early morning Washington gig should be…fun?

Complaints, tips, leaks, and general information can be passed along to: paul.mcleary@foreignpolicy.com and/or on Twitter: @paulmcleary

RED SIREN Former Texas governor (and U.S. Air Force vet) Rick Perry will be delivering a big speech at The Citadel — the historic South Carolina military college — this afternoon. He plans to discuss “national security & military service” according to RickPAC, his political action committee. No livestream of the event is available, but watch this space for more.

Long read of the day: Read all about Red Falcon, the story of Mossad agent Yehuda Gil and the Syrian invasion that wasn’t.

In what promises to be a staggering work of hagiography, some Taliban Boswell has published a biography of leader Mullah Mohammd Omar on the group’s Web site over the weekend that offers some insight into the group’s leadership structure.

Back to the sandbox. Speaking at Fort Drum last week, Ash Carter told the 10th Mountain Division that some of its soldiers would be deploying to Iraq later this year. Turns out, 1,250 soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team will head to Iraq for nine months, to be exact.

Meanwhile, the European rebalance continues. While the 10th Mountain heads to Iraq, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade is shipping out to Europe, where it’ll fall in on hundreds of Abrams tanks, armored fighting vehicles and mobile gun systems that Washington recently sent for U.S. units to train on along with Eastern European allies.

WHO’S WHERE WHEN

9:00 a.m. The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a panel on “The Kurds:  Strategic Partners in the Fight Against ISIS?” 9:00 a.m. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosts a panel on “The Fate of South Africa’s Nuclear Material.” 12:00 p.m. The New America Foundation hosts a panel on “Abducted Abroad: Returning American Hostages.”

AND IN OTHER NEWS….

The Wall Street Journal’s Julian E. Barnes and Adam Entous: “The Pentagon has upgraded and tested the largest bunker-buster bomb in the U.S. arsenal, senior U.S. officials said, readying a weapon that could destroy or disable Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facilities should a nuclear deal fall apart and the White House decide to take military action.”

Kyodo News Agency: “[Ash] Carter will arrive in Japan on Tuesday for a three-day stay during which he will meet with senior government officials. They will discuss progress on the review of the Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation, which have not been revised since 1997, among other issues.”

Yonhap News Agency: “Carter’s trip had drawn keen attention in Seoul because of the possibility of him raising the need for deploying the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system to South Korea. But U.S. officials said they have decided not to bring up the issue this time.”

India – U.S. Defense Cooperation

Reuters’s Andrea Shalal: “The U.S. government would support selling General Atomics’ electromagnetic launching system for aircraft carriers, and other key technologies, to India, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer told Reuters on Friday.”

The Economic Times’ Manu Pubby: “Modi Sarkar has taken the first real step in giving India’s capital city, Delhi, a security cover that cities such as Beijing and Washington already have — a nuclear missile shield.”

China-Yemen

Xinhua News on China evacuating nationals from 10 countries out of Yemen: “A Chinese military official involved in the operation says it is the first time that a Chinese military vessel evacuated foreign nationals as part of the country’s international humanitarian aid efforts.”

Islamic State

The Wall Street Journal’s Matt Bradley and Dion Nissenbaum: Iraqi forces and their American advisors are divided about where to next confront Islamic State. The Americans want to push north toward Mosul, but the Shiite Iraqi militias plan to head west to the cities in Anbar province.

Missile defense:

The Los Angeles Times’ David Willman: The controversial SBX radar “was supposed to be operational by 2005. Instead, it spends most of the year mothballed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The project not only wasted taxpayer money but left a hole in the nation’s defenses.”

Reuters: “Lithuania, spooked by Russian military assertiveness, outlined plans on Friday to raise defense spending by a third in 2016, contributing the highest share of its economy to defense since it joined NATO in 2004.”

Paul McLeary is Foreign Policy’s senior reporter covering the U.S. Defense Department and national security issues. @paulmcleary

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