Posts Tagged ‘orzag’

h1

Daily International News 07.14.10

July 14, 2010

Daily International News
July 14, 2010

Northeast Asia/Pacific
NKorea, US-led UN Command to meet Thursday
[AP]
Japan voters want troubled PM to stay: polls
[AFP]
Vatican, China OK new bishop as relations warm
[AP]
Argentina/China sign 18 agreements; discussions to solve soy-oil dispute
[MercoPress]
26 killed, 38 missing as typhoon hits Philippines
[AP]

South/Central Asia
Afghan attacks kill 8 US soldiers in 24 hours
[AP]
Petraeus pushes to designate Haqqani network
[NYT]
Indian FM to press Pakistan on Mumbai probe in talks
[Reuters]
Kyrgyz Police Abusing Ethnic Uzbeks, Group Says
[NYT]

Middle East
Iran Scientist Heads to Tehran
[WSJ]
Russia seeks to soothe Iran with energy pact
[Reuters]
Turkey Presses For Israel’s Apology
[WSJ]
Averting showdown, Gaza-bound ship changes course
[AP]
Iraq: US hands over Tariq Aziz, other detainees
[AP]
Gunmen attack two southern Yemen security offices
[BBC]

Africa
South Africa to make 2020 Olympic bid
[BBC]
NGOs slam EU-Brazil plans to develop biofuels in Africa
[EU Observer]
Rwandan opposition politician found dead
[BBC]
Nigeria: 4 die in new religious violence
[AP]
Somalia’s spreading war
[LAT]

Europe/UK
Credit Suisse offices raided by tax officials
[BBC]
Gen Sir David Richards new head of British armed forces
[BBC]
Children involved in Northern Ireland riots, councillor says
[Guardian]
Former MI6 worker pleads guilty over selling official secrets
[Guardian]
David Cameron defends NHS plans at PMQs
[Guardian]
Boris Johnson wants London spared from the coalition’s spending cuts
[Guardian]

Domestic
Jack Lew, Surplus-Seasoned Budget Chief, Tackles Obama Deficit
[Bloomberg]
Philip Morris Is Said to Benefit From Child Labor
[NYT]
U.S. deports alleged 12th Russian spy
[WaPo]
NAACP Passes Tea Party Racism Resolution
[CBS]

Americas
Large protest held ahead of Argentine same-sex marriage vote
[CNN]
Venezuela hands over alleged Colombian drug lord to US
[BBC]
Venezuela alleges Dutch violation of airspace
[Miami Herald]

Advertisements
h1

At State, Holbrooke Says New US Afghan Team Strong

July 13, 2010

Fifteen months ago, the world had never heard the term ‘SRAP.’ In the city with the self-proclaimed worst acronyms, from MANPADS (man portable air defense system) to MINUSTAH (English translation: UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti), SRAP, or Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, took some time to catch on. But now, in addition to the US’s venerable (or wounded, however you look at it) Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, there are now 35 international SRAP counterparts. This development over the past year and a half not only calls to attention the increased focus on the Civ-Mil cooperative efforts in the region, but also to the resurgent, and I argue, continually strong diplomat position of Ambassador Holbrooke.

Although recently described as a “wounded animal” in the obviously contentious Rolling Stone piece documenting 10-days with then ISAF and US Forces-Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the forever strong-willed, if not tired, Amb. Holbrooke painted a picture of a newly strengthened US team working on Afghanistan and Pakistan. After first playfully catching State Department Spokesman and Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley for his “AfPak” faux pas, Holbrooke set out to laud his current and past team associates. On newly minted ISAF commander Petraeus, he said that “David Petraeus is one of the most extraordinary people to wear a uniform that I’ve ever known” and that his transition into the position has been “seamless.” He also pointed out that General Petraeus is just as committed to the Civilian-Military cooperative effort at General McChrystal was, all without even evoking the former Commander’s name.

On derogatory comments made by current JFCOM and future CENTCOM Commander General Mattis on Afghan people, Holbrooke’s first response was, “He’s a Marine, right?” Later, when asked to remind the press what was said in the RS article, Holbrooke joked to the premier AP reporter at State, “Don’t you have to be accredited to be here?”

The only point on which Holbrooke seemed to call into question the strength of the current team is in the recent loss of Jack Lew, current Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources slated to take over the OMB from Peter Orzag. On this point, Holbrooke stated that his leaving “leaves enormous shoes to fill” but reiterated that his new role at OMB will allow him to place a heavier emphasis on the region’s need in the overall budget.

The combination of friendly derision and a strong handle on the crowd is the reason why this reporter always enjoys a stateside visit from the US SRAP. And although the strength of his position has been questioned in the past, I will agree with other colleagues in that it seems as though now, at least, he and his partners are a good position to go forward.