13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27
Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood and Special Envoy for Libya Richard Norland visited Libya May 18 and underscored U.S. support for Libya’s December 2021 elections. This is the highest level diplomatic visit to Tripoli since 2014. Acting Assistant Secretary Hood and Ambassador Norland met with Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba, Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush, Head of the Presidential Council Mohamed Menfi, and President of the High National Electoral Commission Dr. Emad al-Sayah and also discussed areas of mutual interest, including a Libyan-led, inclusive, and negotiated political solution to the conflict, facilitated through the UN and full implementation of the October 23 Libyan ceasefire agreement.
— U.S. Embassy – Libya (@USAEmbassyLibya) May 18, 2021
— حكومة الوحدة الوطنية (@GovernmentLY) May 18, 2021
(U) In the event of a natural disaster, political instability, or other security threats, the Department of State (Department) may decide to evacuate an embassy and establish operations in a separate location known as a “remote mission,” often in another country, for an indefinite period of time. Remote missions include the Yemen Affairs Unit (YAU), which is operating remotely from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; the Venezuela Affairs Unit (VAU), which is operating remotely from the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia; and Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia, which began operating remotely from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, but now mostly operates from the Mogadishu International Airport in Somalia.
To ensure the safety of mission personnel during natural disasters, political instability, or other security threats, the Department may evacuate an embassy or consulate and establish operations in a separate location. Often the new location is in another country, where missionessential functions continue, and the embassy effectively operates as a “remote mission.” Missions that have operated remotely include the Yemen Affairs Unit, the Venezuela Affairs Unit, and Embassy Mogadishu.1
(U) Yemen Affairs Unit (Remote Mission Site: U.S. Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) – In February 2015, the Department suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, due to deteriorating security conditions resulting from the Houthis’ takeover of the government.2 One month later, the Department established the YAU remote mission at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, under the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.3 On October 24, 2018, the YAU relocated from Jeddah to the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
(U) Venezuela Affairs Unit (Remote Mission Site: U.S. Embassy Bogota, Colombia) – In March 2019, the Department suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, due to security concerns and the deteriorating political situation in the country. On August 5, 2019, the Department established the VAU remote mission atthe U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, under the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.
(U) U.S. Embassy Mogadishu, Somalia (Remote Mission Site: U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya) – On September 8, 2015, after years of turmoil following the collapse of Somalia’s central government in 1991, the Department formally established the U.S. Mission to Somalia, based at Embassy Nairobi, Kenya. In December 2018, the Department designated a facility at the Mogadishu International Airport as a U.S. diplomatic facility under the Bureau of African Affairs, though some support staff continue to be based at Embassy Nairobi.
(U) Personnel at embassies and consulates usually include a combination of direct hires— that is, U.S. citizens who are Civil Service or Foreign Service employees—and LE staff. LE staff are typically citizens of the host country and are employed under the authority of the Chief of Mission. Following an evacuation or suspension of operations, LE staff may remain in the host country and continue to work, depending on the mission’s needs.4 For example, since 2015, LE staff based in Yemen have worked to support the YAU now located at U.S Embassy Riyadh. Similarly, since 2019, LE staff based in Venezuela have worked to support the VAU located at U.S. Embassy Bogota. Moreover, in some instances, after an embassy’s closure, LE staff may perform their duties while working remotely or teleworking from their homes in the host country. For both the YAU and VAU, some of the LE staff have been either working remotely or teleworking from their homes due to the closure of the U.S. embassies in both Yemen and Venezuela.
A message from Ambassador Christopher Henzel on U.S. COVAX assistance in Yemen. pic.twitter.com/PzUehZroN6
— US Embassy to Yemen السفارة الأمريكية في اليمن (@USEmbassyYemen) April 22, 2021
Aló Embajador, 29 de abril de 2021 https://t.co/nzguuhxNUM
— Embajador James “Jimmy” Story (@usembassyve) April 29, 2021
— Mohamed Abdirizak (@MinisterMOFA) December 2, 2020
Marcia Bernicat, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as the Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment and as Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the Department of State. Previously, she was the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea Bissau, and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Human Resources at the State Department. She also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Barbados and Malawi and as Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca, Morocco. Bernicat earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service Degree at Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s Degree at Lafayette College. Her foreign languages are French, Hindi and Russian and she is a recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award.
Dr. Karen Donfried currently serves as President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Before assuming this position in April 2014, Donfried was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. Prior to that, she served as the National Intelligence Officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council. She first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service. When she was at GMF from 2005 to 2010, she first served as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president. From 2003-2005, she worked in the Policy Planning office at the U.S. Department of State, handling the Europe portfolio. Donfried has written and spoken extensively on German foreign policy, European integration, and transatlantic relations. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. The King of the Belgians awarded the Commander of the Order of the Crown to her in 2020 and she became an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2018. Additionally, she received the Cross of the Order of Merit from the German Government in 2011 and a Superior Service Medal from the National Intelligence Community in 2014. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany. Donfried has a Ph.D. and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a Magister from the University of Munich, Germany and holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University. She is fluent in German.
Barbara A. Leaf is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa Affairs on the National Security Council. Prior to this, she was the Ruth and Sid Lapidus Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Director of the Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics. She previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Arabian Peninsula in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq at the State Department. She directed the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Basrah, Iraq and was the Department’s first Director of the Office of Iranian Affairs. Leaf also has served in Rome, Sarajevo, Paris, Cairo, Tunis, Jerusalem and Port-au-Prince. She speaks Arabic, French, Italian and Serbo-Croatian. Leaf has a Bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia.
Mary Catherine Phee, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, currently serves as Principal Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the State Department. She was U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan from 2015 to 2017. Previously, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. She also was the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and Deputy Security Council Coordinator at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, handling UN engagement in Africa for both portfolios. Earlier in her career, Phee served as Director for Iraq at the National Security Council and as Senior Civilian Representative of the Coalition Provisional Authority to Maysan Province, Iraq. She began her career in Amman, Jordan and also worked at U.S. Embassies in Cairo, Egypt and Kuwait City, Kuwait. She received the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for conflict resolution and peacemaking, the James A. Baker, III-C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Order of the British Empire Award, and a Presidential Rank Award. She speaks Arabic. A native of Chicago, she is a graduate of Indiana University and holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Michele Jeanne Sison, a five-time Ambassador, has extensive experience in advancing U.S. interests through multilateral diplomacy. Sison has served as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti since 2018. She also served as Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations (with the rank of Ambassador) from 2014 to 2018, where she helped build global coalitions to counter transnational threats to peace and security and advocated for a more effective, efficient, and accountable UN and multilateral system. She also has long experience with UN peacekeeping and the UN entities responsible for development, humanitarian relief, and human rights in the field. Previously, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Assistant Chief of Mission in Iraq, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan. Her earlier tours include India, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Haiti, and Washington. Sison received a B.A. from Wellesley College and is the recipient of numerous State Department awards, including the Distinguished Service Award and the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Service. She holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service.
Gentry O. Smith leads The Gentry Group, LLC, a security consulting firm. A former career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, he served as the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Countermeasures in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the Director of Physical Security Programs in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the State Department. Other State Department postings include assignments as Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, Deputy Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, Burma. Smith also served as a Special Agent in the Criminal Investigative Liaison Division, Special Agent on the Secretary of State Protection Detail, and Assistant Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. He earned a B.A. in political science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Anne A. Witkowsky most recently served as the Co-Director of the Task Force on U.S. Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism, a partnership of Freedom House, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the McCain Institute. She has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon and as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Coordinator, and Deputy Assistant Coordinator, in the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism. Witkowsky was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC and earlier served as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council Staff at the White House. She earned a Master in Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree from Yale. She has been recognized with a number of awards including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service.
On June 24, 2020, the Department of State authorized the departure of non-emergency U.S. personnel and family members from the U.S. Mission to Saudi Arabia, which is comprised of the Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulates General in Jeddah and Dhahran, due to current conditions in Saudi Arabia associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
QUESTION: Great. I was hoping you could give a little bit more clarification on the situation in Peru. I thought I heard you say that the last flight out would be on Monday but that you were going to continue to try to make arrangements for charter flights. So I was wondering if you could expand on that a little bit. And also, if you are aware of any countries where the last flights out are looming. Thank you.
MR BROWNLEE: Yeah, thank you, Carol. The situation in Peru is this. We had a hiatus yesterday, April 2nd. We had – were a number of flights up through April 1st. We had a hiatus yesterday. Flights resume today, April 3rd. We have several coming out today. We will have several running through the weekend and through Monday. We are talking to the Peruvian Government about getting permissions for subsequent flights if needed. And that’s an important caveat at this point, because we are finding that demand particularly in Peru seems to be fluctuating. I’ve mentioned to you guys before that we’ve had people show up at the airport literally with suitcases in hand and then decide to stay. As we put out calls saying is anybody else out there, we find new people coming in even now saying, “Well, yeah, I thought I’d bring myself forward.” It remains a somewhat dynamic number as to how many want to come out of Peru, and if need be, we will continue.
We are also – and Hugo might be able to shed more light on this – we are talking to the commercial carriers about resuming direct bill operations into Peru in lieu of the State Department chartered flights. The bottom line: Got flights through Monday, talking about more, we might want to – we might go the commercial option. Hugo, do you want to say anything on that score?
MR YON: Absolutely. This is Hugo. Yes, in Peru that is correct. It is actually the Peruvian Government has – after we’ve done a number of these charter flights from the State Department, the Peruvian government has softened and are willing to let some limited commercial rescue flights go in, so we are in discussions actively now with our U.S. airlines to provide that lift in future days.
Let me also just give the number that Matt had asked about in terms of the commercial rescue flights, how many number. The number we’ve gotten from our airlines collectively is 166 flights that carried the over 17,000, and each day that does grow – 166 flights. Over.
QUESTION: Hey, thanks for doing this. Just a couple quick questions. First of all, Ian, when you say that you weren’t tracking the flight from Russia, that’s because it was a commercial flight, correct? And are you now going to have to start looking into different options to get Americans out?
Do you have an update to the total number of Americans still overseas who are asking for help, and then specifically on Peru, there are a lot of Americans in remote areas. Are you still doing busing or other ways of getting them to Lima or Cusco to get them out, and are you considering outside contractors to do some of that work, like Warrior Angel Rescue.
MR BROWNLEE: Sure. Let me go back to the Russia question. You’re absolutely correct, we were not tracking – I was not tracking that flight, but I’ve received an email since I was asked that question saying yes, it was a commercial plane. We don’t know – at this point know why it was literally on the tarmac taxiing when it was denied permission to take off. We don’t know why that would be. The Russian Government apparently denied it permission to take off. We will look at other options for helping U.S. citizens return from Russia now that that last commercial flight has been pulled down.
The total number we’re looking at overseas at this point is – and bear with me a moment – we are tracking approximately – we’re looking at about 22,000 overseas still. The greatest number of those – certainly the plurality of those – are in South and Central Asia, many of them in India. We’re also looking at a large number of people still in the Western Hemisphere – in WHA – and Africa. It’s really those three regions are the bulk of people who are overseas, but the total number we’re tracking is about 22,000.
In – with regard to Peru, yes, we’re still running what we call sweeper operations to bring people in from remote areas. In some cases this is by bus, in some cases we’re using the INL, the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement plane. It’s a 15-passenger plane, so we’ve sent that out to a number of remote areas to bring people into Lima for repatriation. Other people are being brought in, as you say, by NGOs such as Angel Warrior. But we’re running a pretty effective operation, I think, pulling people out of the remoter areas. Over.
U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for violence and kidnapping. Numerous terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq and regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq. Attacks by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occur in many areas of the country, including Baghdad.
On March 25, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of designated U.S. government employees from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the Baghdad Diplomatic support Center, and the U.S. Consulate General in Erbil due to security conditions and restricted travel options as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On December 31, 2019, the Embassy suspended public consular services, until further notice, as a result of damage done by Iranian-backed terrorist attacks on the Embassy compound. U.S. Consulate General Erbil remains open and continues to provide consular services. On October 18, 2018, the Department of State ordered the suspension of operations at the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah. That institution has not reopened. Due to security concerns, U.S. Embassy personnel in Baghdad have been instructed not to use Baghdad International Airport.
U.S. citizens should not travel through Iraq to Syria to engage in armed conflict, where they would face extreme personal risks (kidnapping, injury, or death) and legal risks (arrest, fines, and expulsion). The Kurdistan Regional Government stated that it will impose prison sentences of up to ten years on individuals who illegally cross the border. Additionally, fighting on behalf of, or supporting designated terrorist organizations, is a crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines in the United States.
In between Netflix binges, take some time to read our 7⃣th SitRep on COVID-19 in #Iraq 🇮🇶.
— OCHA Iraq (@OCHAIraq) March 24, 2020
— RFI English (@RFI_En) March 26, 2020
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a reduction for training from the Iraqi Security Forces and a pause in the Coalition and NATO training missions in Iraq. The Ministry of Defence has decided to redeploy some of its personnel back to the UK. https://t.co/3F7S3GC4ZN pic.twitter.com/ZOyrPVta7q
— British Army (@BritishArmy) March 19, 2020
— U.S. Embassy Morocco (@USEmbMorocco) January 23, 2020
“U.S.- Morocco relations are historic, strategic, and growing. I look forward to strengthening our partnership to enhance the prosperity and security of 🇲🇦 and 🇺🇸.” Ambassador David Fischer presented his credentials to Foreign Minister #nasserbourita @MarocDiplomatie
— U.S. Embassy Morocco (@USEmbMorocco) January 22, 2020
— NEA Press Office (@NEAPressOffice) January 17, 2020
SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)
POST: Kingdom of Morocco
CANDIDATE: David T. Fischer
David T. Fischer, a prominent businessman and community leader in Michigan, has been involved in his family automotive dealership group and related entities since 1967. He became President and CEO in 1975, and principal owner in 1978. In 2017, his title was changed to Chairman & CEO. Known today as “The Suburban Collection,” Mr. Fischer’s organization has become one of the largest privately held automotive dealership groups in the United States. It represents most automotive manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, including over 90 active, automotive related entities. This organization also operates state-of-the-art collision centers, accessories distribution centers, fleet management and retrofitting services throughout the United States and Canada. Recognized for his leadership, problem solving and fiscal management, Mr. Fischer has forged and managed a large organization of highly talented and loyal personnel, while dedicating time and resources to the welfare of his community, the arts and education through the support of 80 charities in the past 24 months alone.
In addition to leading The Suburban Collection, Mr. Fischer has been Chairman Emeritus, North American International Auto Show, Detroit (1990-Present), Co-Chairman, North American International Auto Show, Detroit, (1988-1989), Board of Directors, GMRC Holdings, Limited, Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados (2008-2013), Director, North Metro Board of Directors, Michigan National Bank, Troy, Michigan (Mid-to-late 1980s), Board of Trustees, Oakland University, including two terms as Vice-Chairman and one term as Chairman (1992-2008), and Director, Regional Board of Directors, Michigan National Bank, Troy, Michigan (Mid-to-late 1980s). He has held ownership stakes in more than a dozen additional companies. Serving local government, Mr. Fischer has been a Member of the Judicial Tenure Commission in Detroit (2012-2017). Highlighting his community service, Mr. Fischer has joined the Boards of numerous academic, cultural and social welfare institutions and foundations.
Mr. Fischer earned a B.A. at Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, in 1967 and participated in the CEO President’s Seminar at Harvard College, 2015-2017.
New from @margarettalev: "Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, people familiar with the situation tell Axios." https://t.co/nYnwaREf8U
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) January 18, 2020
The top Russia expert on Trump’s National Security Council has left his post, escorted out of the White House on Friday. Andrew Peek is the third departure from the position in less than a year.https://t.co/baSyRDYZ0v
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) January 19, 2020
Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian Affairs at the National Security Council, is now on administrative leave, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN https://t.co/q6saF6rKQR
— CNN (@CNN) January 20, 2020
Background on Peek, who sounds more political than expert. https://t.co/iejPKwDAOp
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) January 19, 2020
Not one of you knows why Andrew Peek was kicked out and it is dumb to speculate. My point is that he was a Russia desk guy with no Russia experience, and he was escorted out after two months on the job. Also, that everything Trump touches dies. https://t.co/wIPJfucXAU
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) January 19, 2020
On June 5, the U.S. Senate confirmed David Schenker, of New Jersey, to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). He was confirmed by Yea-Nay Vote. 83 – 11.
Below via the Washington Institute:
David Schenker was the Aufzien fellow and director of the Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute, a position he held until being confirmed as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in June 2019. Previously, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Levant country director, the Pentagon’s top policy aide on the Arab countries of the Levant. In that capacity, he was responsible for advising the secretary and other senior Pentagon leadership on the military and political affairs of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories. He was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2005.
Prior to joining the government, Mr. Schenker was a research fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Arab governance issues and a project coordinator a Bethesda-based contractor of large, centrally-funded USAID projects in Egypt and Jordan. In addition, he authored two Institute books: Dancing with Saddam: The Strategic Tango of Jordanian-Iraqi Relations (copublished with Lexington Books, 2003) and Palestinian Democracy and Governance: An Appraisal of the Legislative Council (2001). More recently, he published a chapter on U.S.-Lebanese relations in Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave, 2009), and Egypt’s Enduring Challenges (2011), a monograph focusing on post-Mubarak Egypt. His writings on Arab affairs have also appeared in a number of prominent scholarly journals and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Jerusalem Post.
M.A., University of Michigan; Certificate, Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), American University in Cairo; B.A., University of Vermont. Fluent in Arabic.
Mr. Schenker succeeds Ambassador Anne Woods Patterson who served as bureau chief from 2013–2017. He takes over from Ambassador David Satterfield who has been Acting Assistant Secretary for NEA since September 2017. Ambassador Satterfield was announced as the President’s pick to be Ambassador to Turkey in February 2019. His nomination was placed on the Senate Executive Calendar on May 2, 2019, and he is currently waiting for a full Senate vote.