Officially In: Amb Robert Bradtke to the Minsk Group

On September 7, the Office of the Spokesman announced the appointment of Ambassador Robert Bradtke to the OSCE Minsk Group. Full text below:

The Secretary is pleased to announce the appointment of Ambassador Robert Bradtke as the next U.S. OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair. Ambassador Bradtke brings to this position more than thirty-six years of Foreign Service experience and extensive expertise in European security policy. In July of this year, he completed a three year assignment as Chief of Mission at American Embassy Zagreb, Croatia. Prior to that, he served from 2001 to 2004 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, with responsibility for NATO and the OSCE.

The United States understands the critical importance of achieving a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We welcome recent positive dialogues between President Sargsian of Armenia and President Aliyev of Azerbaijan. Secretary Clinton has indicated to the two presidents her strong interest in the Minsk Group’s ongoing efforts to bring the process to a fruitful conclusion, and the Obama Administration is committed to doing everything possible to support this goal.

We have informed the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan of Ambassador Bradtke’s appointment. Ambassador Bradtke looks forward to his first trip to the region in the coming weeks.

* * *

Transnational Issue (CIA World Factbook):
Armenia supports ethnic Armenian secessionists in Nagorno-Karabakh and since the early 1990s, has militarily occupied 16% of Azerbaijan – Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) continues to mediate dispute; over 800,000 mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis were driven from the occupied lands and Armenia; about 230,000 ethnic Armenians were driven from their homes in Azerbaijan into Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh; Azerbaijan seeks transit route through Armenia to connect to Naxcivan exclave; border with Turkey remains closed over Nagorno-Karabakh dispute; ethnic Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy; Armenians continue to emigrate, primarily to Russia, seeking employment

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Measuring Success in Afghanistan

Afghanistan by the Numbers

Tom Engelhardt has just published his Tomgram on Measuring Success in Afghanistan. He writes that “metrics in war almost invariably turn out to occupy treacherous terrain. Think of it as quagmire territory, in part because numbers, however accurate (and they often aren’t), can lie — or rather, can tell the story you would like them to tell.” It is quite long so I am only excerpting the section on the Diplomats and the Civilian Surge:


Cost of new “crash” program
to expand the U.S. “diplomatic presence” in Afghanistan and Pakistan: $1 billion. ($736 million of which is slated for the construction of a massive new embassy/regional headquarters in Islamabad, Pakistan.)


Number of additional
U.S. government personnel reportedly slated to be sent to Pakistan to augment the 750 civilians already there: almost 1,000.


Expected number
of U.S. government civilians to be posted at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan by the end of 2009: 976. (There were 562 at the end of 2008 and there are now reportedly more than 1,000 diplomats, staff, and Afghan nationals already working there.)


Estimated total number of civilians
to be assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul as part of a proposed ongoing “civilian surge” by 2011: 1,350 (800 to be posted in Kabul, 550 outside the capital).


Cost of
the State Department’s five-year contract with Xe Services (formerly Blackwater) to provide security for U.S. diplomats in Afghanistan: $210 million.


Cost of
the State Department’s contract with ArmorGroup North America, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Wackenhutt Services Inc., to guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul: $189 million.


Number of private guards
provided by ArmorGroup North America: 450, based at Camp Sullivan, several miles from the embassy compound where they reportedly engaged in Lord of the Flies-style behavior.

Read the whole thing here.

SFRC Hearings: Robert Hormats

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th CONGRESS
1st SESSION


Date:
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Time: 10:00 A.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Presiding: Senator Cardin

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement


Nominee

Robert D. Hormats of New York (PDF)
to be Under Secretary of State for Economic,
Energy, and Agricultural Affairs

Related Item:
Officially In: Robert Hormats to “E”