No Vacancy Yet at US Embassy Dublin But …

Pittsburgh media reported this week that Ambassador Rooney is stepping down as U.S. ambassador to Dublin and rejoining the Pittsburgh Steelers. US Embassy Ireland just released a statement by Ambassador Rooney regarding his tenure:

“In reference to recent media reports, the role of Ambassador from the United States of America to Ireland is extremely rewarding work. It is a privilege to serve President Obama and the country, and to support and expand the excellent relationship we enjoy with Ireland. On July 4, 2012, I will have served three years in Dublin.  There is no specific date for departure.”

Photo from US Embassy Dublin

If Ambassador Rooney steps down after July 4, 2012, that does not leave a lot of time for a new nominee to get vetted and confirmed prior to the presidential election.  In all likelihood, a career diplomat, in this case, John Hennessey-Niland, the embassy’s deputy chief of mission who arrived in Ireland on April 9, 2010 will keep things running until a new ambassador is nominated and arrived at post.  Which may not happen until the election dust settles and we get a new round of ambassadorships, possibly by the spring of 2013.

That’s over a year away, I know … but hurry! The early bird gets the worm; and the late one doesn’t get any embassy in Europe.

State Dept Considering Closure of US Embassy Syria

Via the Office of the Spokesperson, January 20, 2012:

“While no decision has been made, we have serious concerns about the deteriorating security situation in Damascus, including the recent spate of car bombs, and about the safety and security of embassy personnel. We have requested that the government of Syria take additional security measures to protect our embassy, and the Syrian government is considering that request. We have also advised the Syrian government that unless concrete steps are taken in the coming days we may have no choice but to close the mission.”

I hope that organized mob does not return for another attack while the Syrian Government is considering the State Department’s request.   And I don’t have an answer for this — but just how much trust can you have on a government that has no compunction about killing its own people?

WaPo reported on January 24 that Syria’s foreign minister shrugged off warnings by the United States that it may close the US Embassy in Damascus due to inadequate security.

“That’s their business,” Walid al-Moualem was quoted as saying at a press conference in Damascus when asked about the threatened closure by a reporter from the U.S.-funded al-Hurra TV station. 

The US Embassy in Damascus is located on a busy intersection in the heart of the city, and apparently, the Syrian Government has been unresponsive to requests for greater security, including concrete barricades, not just from the US Embassy but also from other diplomatic missions in Damascus.  Two months ago, embassies and consulates of Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and France were attacked by Syrian mobs.