Oh heck, he was not President Obama’s Paul Laxalt, after all, and Hosni refuses to cut cleanly…

C10079-9A, President Reagan with President of ...Image via WikipediaWell, when Ambassador Frank Wisner was sent on that important mission to Cairo by the Obama Administration, we wondered out loud if this is President O’s Reagan moment. And if Mr. Wisner was this administration’s, Paul Laxalt sent to tell Mr. Mubarak to “cut and cut cleanly” in the “time has come” moment.  Mr. Laxalt, of course, is forever remembered as then President Reagan‘s ultimate messenger to former Philippine dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

We don’t know what message Mr. Wisner was asked to relay.  The BBC reported that he was sent by President Obama to Cairo apparently to urge Mr Mubarak to announce his departure.

Mr. Mubarak, unfortunately, did not hear the message. Or if he heard it, did not know when to cut cleanly. Either that, or there was something wrong with his ears.  He could not hear the relayed message and he could not hear the thundering sound from Liberation Square?  Could be that he’s hearing everything through the delusion channel?  What? The kids in the square are asking him to go, are you nuts?  They’re screaming and pleading for him to stay.  While the voices are screaming “Leave!, Leave! Leave!”, he could only hear “Save us! Save us! Save us!” Please somebody give him the clear channel.

So anyway, Mr. Wisner was in Cairo … then he was in Munich. And when we saw him on teevee, we had to cover our eyes when he said this:

Via BBC:

“We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes,” he told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

“I believe that President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical – it’s his chance to write his own legacy.

“He has given 60 years of his life to the service of his country, this is an ideal moment for him to show the way forward.”

Video here … we won’t blame you if you want to cover your eyes, too.

According to the BBC, the State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, ever diplomatic said: “We have great respect for Frank Wisner and we were deeply appreciative of his willingness to travel to Egypt last week.”

“He has not continued in any official capacity following the trip. The views he expressed today are his own. He did not co-ordinate his comments with the US government.”

We suspect that Ambassador Wisner won’t get any invite to the WH any time soon. 

In the meantime, President Obama has issued a new statement on Egypt on February 10.

As of this writing, Mr. Mubarak has so far, refused to budge from his undisclosed location. And it does not sound like he is anxious to pack his bags either. This is not/not good.             


Officially In: Scott Gration to Nairobi

Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration provides...Image via WikipediaOn February 10, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Scott Gration  to be Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya. The WH released the following brief bio:

Major General Scott Gration, USAF (Ret) is currently the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan.  He was appointed to the position on March 18, 2009. Previously he was at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel.  General Gration served in the United States Air Force from 1974 to 2006. After retiring, General Gration served as the CEO of Millennium Villages, an organization dedicated to reducing extreme poverty. He then joined the Safe Water Network where he helped to provide potable water to vulnerable populations in India, Bangladesh, and Ghana.  His staff positions in the Air Force included tours in the Pentagon, NATO, and a White House Fellowship. From June 2004 to October 2006, he served as Director of the Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate of United States European Command. In August 2003, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs. From January to June 2003, he commanded Joint Task Force-West during Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2000-2002, General Gration served at the Pentagon, first as the Joint Staff Deputy Director for Operations and then as Director of Regional Affairs for the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs. During his early years in the Air Force, General Gration served as an F-5 and F-16 instructor pilot, including a two-year assignment with the Kenyan Air Force.

General Gration speaks Swahili and has an M.A. from Georgetown University in National Security Studies and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University.

* * *

It is not often that you see political appointees at the US Mission in Kenya. If confirmed, General Gration would be the 7th political ambassador and 15th chief of mission to Nairobi.  He would replaced career diplomat, Michael Ranneberger who has been in Nairobi since June 28, 2006.

The USG has appointed fourteen ambassadors to Kenya since it established an embassy in Nairobi on December 12, 1963. Of that, six had been political appointees with journalist and author, Smith Hempstone, as the most recent one, appointed ambassador by George H. W. Bush in 1989.

Former ambassadors to the US Embassy in Nairobi include Johnnie Carson, the current Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs, and  Prudence Bushnell, who was the chief of mission during the embassy bombing in 1998.

Related item:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts | February 10, 2011

Related posts:

Special Envoy Gration Makes Splash on Sudan | Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Officially In: J. Scott Gration, US Special Envoy for Sudan | Mar 20, 2009

US Embassy Cairo Local Employee Confirmed Dead with Three Bullet Holes

FSN Khairy Ramadan Aly was allegedly picked up by Egyptian security forces from his home and has now been confirmed dead.  AP is reporting that he disappeared on Jan. 28 after he went to Tahrir Square to find his missing son and was killed in a random act of violence.  We have no independent confirmation of the pick-up or that the actual shooting occurred near or at the Sq.  All the confirmation we got was that his family finally found his body in the morgue with 3 bullet holes. The statement from Secretary Clinton only says that he “
went missing from his home.”

Secretary Clinton’s statement on the Loss of Locally Employed Staff Member Khairy Ramadan Aly in Cairo | February 10, 2011:

On behalf of all the men and women of the State Department and USAID, I offer our condolences to the friends and loved ones of Khairy Ramadan Aly, a member of our Embassy family in Cairo who went missing from his home on January 28 and has now been confirmed dead. Mr. Aly was a carpenter in the Embassy’s Facilities Office with 18 years of dedicated service. We join his family, friends and colleagues in Egypt in mourning this loss. Throughout this period, many Egyptian employees of the U.S. Mission have continued to work alongside their American colleagues in Cairo and Alexandria. The United States is grateful for their contributions, commitment and sacrifice during this difficult time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the many Egyptians who have lost their lives or loved ones, been injured, or had their homes and property destroyed in recent days. As we have said repeatedly, the United States condemns violence against civilians under any circumstances. Abuses committed against those seeking to exercise basic freedoms must stop. There is a clear responsibility by the Egyptian government, including the armed forces, to protect those threatened and to hold accountable those responsible for using violence and intimidation that threatens the aspirations of the Egyptian people. We look to the Egyptian government to demonstrate to its people that it is serious about moving quickly toward genuine change.

Our thoughts and prayers for his bereaved family and the US Embassy Cairo community. 
Revised and updated on 2/14/2010