US Embassy Eswatini Confirms Shots Fired at Embassy Vehicle, @USMC Augments Internal Security

Thank you to over 500 readers and supporters who made our continued operation possible this year. Raising funds for a small outlet that is already open and free for all to read has often been the most challenging part of running  this blog. We are grateful for your continued support and well wishes. Thanks — DS

 

The US Embassy in Mbabane, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) issued a Security Alert, the sixth alert since late June following the continuing civil unrest in the country. The Embassy has also confirmed that shots were fired at a U.S. Embassy vehicle on July 1st and that U.S. Marines have augmented its internal security. @USMC has released a statement that a team of 13 Marines deployed on short notice to the embassy to support on-ground embassy security personnel along with the Diplomatic Security Service Mobile Security Deployments team.

Event:  The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini announced a nationwide curfew from 1800 – 0500 hours.   Communication disruptions, including internet and cell phone service, are occurring.  Security forces are actively patrolling the streets during curfew hours.

The international airport, KMIII, is now operational.  U.S. citizens wishing to depart Eswatini should take advantage of commercial options available.

The U.S. Embassy has limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Eswatini.

Citizens are urged to respect the government curfew and exercise caution.

US citizens who require assistance should contact +268 2417 9000 and then PRESS TWO.

The South African land borders are currently open and antigen tests are available at the border at a cost of 300 Rand, payable in Rand only.  For citizens flying out of OR Tambo, PCR testing labs are available.  Citizens are required to have a negative PCR test in order to travel to the United States.

The U.S. Embassy is operating with reduced services. U.S. citizens needing emergency services should call the Consular Section using the contact information below.

Actions to Take: 

    • Monitor local media for updates on changing conditions.
    • Expect communication disruptions; contact family and friends to let them know you are safe.
    • If safe, stock up on groceries and water and then stay home.

 

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How a Small Post in Africa Gets Lost in the Shuffle

Thank you to over 500 readers and supporters who made our continued operation possible this year. Raising funds for a small outlet that is already open and free for all to read has often been the most challenging part of running  this blog. We are grateful for your continued support and well wishes. Gracias — DS

This is a story about a small post in Africa forgotten by the time lords of Foggy Bottom. Not too long ago, this post quietly lost its top two officials at the same time. The State Department made no official announcement of their  departures from post. A retired ambassador was eventually sent down to take care of the far away shop.  Embassy life continued. The retired ambassador’s temporary assignment eventually ended.
An Acting Chargé d´Affaires (A/CDA) soon assumed charge, we were told. Shortly after the death of RBG in September 2020, the A/CDA complained that the flag at the official residence was not flown at half staff in her memory.  It turned out the domestic help who would have been tasked to do this had been fired and there was no replacement hired.
Dangit!
The newly designated Acting Charge d’affaires did not remember that he previously fired the live-in house manager of the ambassador’s official residence? The employee who had been in that residence for almost three decades was given a two-weeks warning. The local employee reportedly claimed no reason was given for his/her dismissal nor did said employee received any counseling.
There was also reportedly no financial settlement after the firing but this small post did have a small farewell ceremony.
“It’s not every day the head of an ancient African tribe comes to the Embassy to rebuke the acting Chargé d ́Affaires,” we learned.

The house manager’s pastor spoke, echoing the same themes, then praying for everyone present to get their hearts’ desire. Then, turning to the official responsible for the house managers’ predicament, the pastor prayed that the A/CDA would receive extra wisdom.

The chief of the ancient African tribe to which the embassy house manager belonged to, also came to gave a speech. He said it was unusual for him to speak at an event like this, but he had to come to stand with his brother, such a good and well-respected man who has been so unfairly treated.  

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the A/CDA was reportedly pleased with the ceremony not recognizing the rebuke from the visitors.
We understand that the top two senior officials at the embassy then subsequently went on R&R at the same time for a month plus two weeks of quarantine. Post was left with no trained management official except for the embassy’s computer support specialists working at the Management section. The incoming Regional Security Officer’s residence could not be  ready for occupancy and MED was reportedly acting as part Facilities Manager!
Then there were the vacant positions:
  • HRO/FMO — vacant. Incumbent transferred in summer, no replacement identified
  • GSO — vacant. Incumbent transferred summer, replacement due fall + 2 weeks quarantine
  • FMO — vacant Incumbent transferred summer, replacement due fall + 2 weeks quarantine
  • IMO — dual-hatted as Acting Management Officer
  • IMO Deputy — dual-hatted as Acting GSO
  • MED — partially acting as Facilities Manager
  • CONS — vacant. No replacement identified.
One of two consular officers transferred from post in 2020. The identified successor was discouraged by post from coming because of likely issues with accreditation with the host country. Consular Affairs reportedly had no officer identified to fill the vacant Consular officer position at post.
Second consular position was previously removed from post staffing in 2019. The incumbent officer did not only leave post but also left the Foreign Service.
The howler we heard says “There are other elements to this shit show, but mainly this Embassy is perhaps the worst managed place I have ever worked.”
How many more posts like this get lost in the shuffle?

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Biden Taps Campaign Co-Chair and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti For US Mission India

Thank you to over 500 readers and supporters who made our continued operation possible this year. Raising funds for a small outlet that is already open and free for all to read has often been the most challenging part of running  this blog. We are grateful for your continued support and well wishes. Gracias — DS

 

On July 9. 2021, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Eric Garcetti to be the next U.S. Ambassador to India. Garcetti is the current Mayor of Los Angeles and served as Co-chair for Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. The WH released the following bio:

Eric M. Garcetti, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of India

Eric M. Garcetti has been the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles since 2013, following 12 years as a member of the City Council, including six as Council President.  As Mayor, Garcetti oversees the busiest container port in the Western Hemisphere, the largest municipal utility in the country, and one of the busiest airports in the world.  He led LA’s successful bid to return the summer Olympic Games to American soil for the first time in three decades.  He currently chairs LA Metro, the country’s second-busiest transit agency, which is building or extending 15 new transit lines, and shifting to an all-electric fleet.

Garcetti co-founded Climate Mayors and led more than 400 U.S. mayors to adopt the Paris Climate agreement.  He is the current Chair of C40 Cities – a network of 97 of the world’s biggest cities taking bold climate action and has led the organization’s engagement and expansion in India as well as C40’s global response to the COVID pandemic through the sharing of best practices and resources.

During 12 years as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve Component, Garcetti served under the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Defense Intelligence Agency, retiring in 2017 as a Lieutenant.  A Rhodes Scholar, he studied at Queen’s College, Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Garcetti was selected as an inaugural Asia 21 Fellow of the Asia Society, and taught at Occidental College’s Department of Diplomacy and World Affairs, as well as at the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations.  He has lived and conducted field work on nationalism, ethnicity, and human rights in Southeast Asia and Northeast Africa.  He is the founding Chair of the Latino Alliance of Mayors at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, serves on the Board of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and speaks fluent Spanish. Garcetti earned a B.A. and M.A. at Columbia University, where he was a John Jay Scholar.

If confirmed. Mayor Garcetti would succeed Kenneth I. Juster who served from November 2017 to January 2021 as Trump’s Ambassador to India. Like Finland and Costa Rica, appointees to US Mission India have been 68.4% (or 13 out of 19) political appointees since 1960. Previous appointees to this position includes John Kenneth Galbraith (1961-1963); Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1973-1975); John Gunther Dean (1985-1988); Thomas Reeve Pickering (1992-1993) to name a few.

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Bathsheba Nell Crocker: Ex-IO Asst Secretary to be @USMissionGeneva Ambassador

Thank you to over 500 readers and supporters who made our continued operation possible this year. Raising funds for a small outlet that is already open and free for all to read has often been the most challenging part of running  this blog. We are grateful for your continued support and well wishes. Gracias — DS

 

 

President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Bathsheba Nell Crocker for Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador. The WH released the following brief bio:

Bathsheba Nell Crocker, Nominee for Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador

Bathsheba Nell Crocker is currently a Senior Advisor at the Department of State and served on the Biden-Harris Transition team.  From 2017-2020, she was a Vice President covering humanitarian issues at CARE USA.  Ms. Crocker was the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 2014-2017.  She previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State, as the Principal Deputy Director in the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, and as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State.  Earlier in her career, Ms. Crocker was an Attorney-Adviser in the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser; Deputy U.S. Special Representative for Southeast Europe Affairs; and Executive Assistant to the Deputy National Security Advisor at the White House.  She also held senior roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations, the UN Development Program, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.   Ms. Crocker served as a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and the Brookings Institution; at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; and at the Council on Foreign Relations, as an International Affairs Fellow.  She taught at Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and American University.  A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Crocker received a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

 

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