Briefing Skipper: Jordan, Bogota, Afghanistan, Wikileaks, Mitchell
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 spokesman P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh attended the signing ceremony at the State Department Monday where Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes ...
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 spokesman P.J. Crowley:
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 spokesman P.J. Crowley:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh attended the signing ceremony at the State Department Monday where Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO Daniel Yohannes and Jordan’s minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammod Najar signed a $275.1-million compact to reduce poverty through economic growth in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Later Monday, Clinton awarded Anne Patterson the Distinguished Service Award for her service as Ambassador to Islamabad. "Under her leadership, bilateral U.S.-Pakistani relations have grown, you know, significantly stronger, as we witnessed last week during the strategic dialogue," Crowley said.
- On Tuesday, Clinton will deliver "an intervention" at the U.N. Security Council session on U.N. Security Council resolution 1325 at the United Nations in New York City. "Resolution 1325 calls for increasing the participation of women in peacekeeping and ending sexual violence in conflict," Crowley said. "And during this session, member states will renew their commitment to this landmark resolution."
- Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg led a high level delegation in Bogota Monday, accompanied by Undersecretary Maria Otero, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman, Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela, and USAID Assistant Administrator Mark Feierstein, to launch the U.S.-Colombia high-level partnership dialogue. Steinberg will also meet with President Juan Manuel Santos, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, as well as other government officials and human rights representatives. Here’s their joint statement.
- Special Representative Richard Holbrooke showed up in Afghanistan Monday, where peace negotiations are not going on, according to him. Crowley said Holbrooke was there to check out the Afghan military forces and participate in an "an intense interagency review of our civilian-military efforts in Afghanistan for the coming year," called the Rehearsal of Concept, or ROC, drill. He said Deputy Secretary Jack Lew was also participating. Last year, the ROC drill was in Washington.
- On Afghan President Hamid Karzai‘s stunning admission that he ordered his chief of staff Umar Daudzai to accept big bags of cash from Iran, Crowley said, "We do not question Iran’s right to provide financial assistance to Afghanistan, you know; nor do we question Afghanistan’s right to accept that assistance." The U.S. remains "skeptical" of Iran’s motives, he added. He also admitted that the U.S. has been funneling cash to Karzai as well, although not always in big bags.
- Crowley repeated the policy of rhetorically supporting Karzai’s decree that all private security contractors must leave Afghanistan, even as the U.S. negotiates to ameliorate its effects. "We support President Karzai’s decree," Crowley said. "And we continue to work with the government of Afghanistan to implement the decree in a way that supports Afghan sovereignty — you know, the development of the ANSF — but allows critical development work to continue in support of the Afghan people."
- On the Wikileaks disclosure of 400,000 Iraq war documents, Crowley said they showed that U.S. troops don’t ignore torture and abuses. "We have not turned a blind eye. You know, our troops, we’re obligated to report abuses to appropriate authorities and follow up. And they did so in Iraq." No U.S. investigation into the incidents revealed in the reports is in the works, he said. "We, of course, abhor the release of classified documents. We think they put our troops and our interests at risk," Crowley added.
- Crowley acknowledged that the U.S. and South Korea delayed planned joint exercises in the Yellow Sea near China, but declined to say why. But don’t worry, The Cable has you covered
- Still no word on whether Special Envoy George Mitchell will take his previously scheduled trip to the Middle East. "We will send Senator Mitchell out when we think that his trip can be most fruitful," Crowley said. In another semi-acknowledgment that the peace talks are stalled for real, Crowley couldn’t name any specific actions State is taking on the issue this week. "We remain in close contact with the parties," he said.
- Special Envoy Scott Gration leaves Tuesday for Sudan, where he will join the soon to be restarted talks over the upcoming January referendum.
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 email@example.com.
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. Twitter: @joshrogin
More from Foreign Policy
Saudi-Iranian Détente Is a Wake-Up Call for America
The peace plan is a big deal—and it’s no accident that China brokered it.
The U.S.-Israel Relationship No Longer Makes Sense
If Israel and its supporters want the country to continue receiving U.S. largesse, they will need to come up with a new narrative.
Putin Is Trapped in the Sunk-Cost Fallacy of War
Moscow is grasping for meaning in a meaningless invasion.
How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests
And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.