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Archive for the tag “Foreign Relations”

US: State Department plan shelving Special Envoys to the Great Lakes, South Sudan and Sudan!

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as part of the Trump Administration has clearly been working hard. Since the revamp of the Department of State, the Secretary has letter explaining cuts in the Department to the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations at the United States Congress, Bob Corker. The United States government has clearly shifted their foreign policy and care for former allies. Their engagement are moving, but not as ready-made policy!

Tillerson wrote in his letter about this shift in African diplomacy or foreign relations:

The titles for following positions will be removed and the functions and staff assumed by the Bureau of African Affairs (AF):

U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa & Democratic Republic of Congo. The Special Envoy position currently is organized in AF, however the authorized staff positions and associated funding are currently in the Office of the Secretary and will be reprogrammed to AF. This will involve realigning 4 positions and $957,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of African Affairs (AF).

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. This will involve realigning 6 positions and $4,408,000 in support costs within D&CP from the Office of the Secretary to the Bureau of African Affairs (AF). We intend to request that Congress repeal the statutory provision for this special envoy position, since a deputy assistant secretary in AF already fulfills the responsibilities” (Rex Tillerson to Bob Corker on ‘Special Envoys and Special Representatives’).

So the Department of State will remove the Special Envoys to the Great Lakes and Democratic Republic Congo, also to the Sudan and South Sudan. These are all nations where the United States has been involved and been important part of the development. Their sanctions and acts within these republics has been vital. That is why the opposition in the DRC has asked for stronger sanctions and travel bans on the Kabila government.

The others are the South Sudan, where the US are parts of the Troika, who is also major donors to the South Sudanese government. The newly independent republic, that got massive help from the Americans for their independence from Khartoum and Sudan. The Sudan has also been important for the Americans as they have tried to solve the crisis in Darfur and it has also worked well with them for their oil. The reasons for why usually the Americans has involved itself in foreign countries.

The US now clearly doesn’t see the value in Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the other countries of Great Lakes. These are now undervalued, as the Special Envoys and their functions are now moved to others. The African Affairs staff gets more functions, as the Special Envoys will not create relationship it used to have.

The Envoy will have the same close work with Burundi, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Sudan. All of these Republic will not be represented in a fashion that the United States has done before. This proves that the American government doesn’t care about the state of affairs or wanting to engage in the conflicts, the internal problems and the totalitarian governments. The US neglects its place and purpose in these republics.

So when the United States comes to the crisis in South Sudan and other places. They will not have the same connections or understanding of the republics. This will second-sourced information, instead of getting it directly.

The United States are downgrading their diplomatic leadership to all these nations, as the Special Envoys will be shelved by the force of the State Department. The Americans are clearly not caring or bothered by the conflict, the refugee crisis or the oppressive behavior against opposition. The United States are now distant and not engaged there. They will be far away and only there when it fits their interests. Peace.

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Kenya: Potential U.S. Military sale to Kenya in support of the fight against terrorism (18.02.2017)

us-kenya-18-02-2017

U.S. House Representatives wants to block the January Arms trade sold to the Kenyan Government!

tedd-budd-quote

“The arms trade – an intricate web of networks between the formal and shadow worlds, between government, commerce and criminality – often makes us poorer, not richer, less not more safe, and governed not in our own interests but for the benefit of a small, self-serving elite, seemingly above the law, protected by the secrecy of national security and accountable to no one.”

Andrew Feinstein

As of today there two United States Representatives from the Republican Party Ted Budd of North Carolina and Duncan Duane Hunter from California that for their own reasons to stop sales of U.S. arms to Kenya, this they have forwarded a joint resolution. This was first from Ted Budd, but Duncan Hunter became his co-sponsor of the bill. Of today it has been transmitted to the Committee at the House Foreign Affairs that will work on it, before initial voting.

“That the issuance of a letter of offer with respect to any of the following proposed sales to the Government of Kenya (described in the certification Transmittal No. 16–79, sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate pursuant to section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776(b)(1))) on January 19, 2017, is hereby prohibited:

(1) Twelve Air Tractor AT–802L.

(2) Two AT–504 trainer aircraft.

(3) Weapons package, technical support and program management” (Budd & Hunter, 2017).

It is not long ago since this was sanctioned to the Kenya Defense Force and their missions, as this was a supplement to the on-going missions that the Kenya contingent in Somalia and might even be used as blue-helmets inside South Sudan. Still, the U.S. Representatives think these will be misguided and not well used arms for their ally in East Africa. This is the double-standard and double moral from the U.S. counterparts that easily has dropped and sold this sort of weapons to others, but has to all of sudden sanction Kenya for buying the same thing.

Just take a look at the timing of the deal between the U.S. and Kenyan earlier in 2017:

“The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible sale on 19 January and disclosed the potential sale on 23 January” (…) “The DSCA said Kenya had requested the sale of up to twelve Air Tractor AT-802L and two AT-504 trainer aircraft, weapons, technical support and programme management worth $418 million” (…) “This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a strong regional partner who is a regional security leader undertaking critical operations against al-Shabaab and troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM),” the DSCA said” (…) “The proposed sale provides a needed capability in the ongoing efforts to counter al-Shabaab. The platform maximizes the Kenyan Defense Force’s Close Air Support (CAS) ability because it is a short-field aircraft capable of using precision munitions and cost effective logistics and maintenance.” (DefenceWeb, 2017).

So a purchase accepted in January is now in question in February, as the new Trump Administration will not care for the allies and friends as such before. The DSCA sanctioned the sale on the 23rd January 2017 and now on the 14th February 2017 the U.S. Representatives questions the sale. So the AMISOM mission and their allies who fights in it doesn’t matter as much, as that was the destination for the arms and technical weaponry in this transaction. That the sales of close worth over $400m that suddenly goes into the wind!

We will see if the Foreign Affairs Committee at the House of Representatives will work with this and see if this will go for voting in the House or Senate to sufficiently go forward with joint communique of Ted Budd and Duncan Hunter. That then will become legislation as the deal will not happen as the Committee will put forward a motion or legislation that the stops the arms agreement and trade between the DSCA and the Government of Kenya. Therefore the U.S. Arms trade to the Kenyan Defense Force.

This story is certainly not over. Peace.

Reference:

DefenceWeb – ‘US approves possible Air Tractor, weapons sale to Kenya’ (24.01.2017) link: http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46563:us-approves-possible-air-tractor-weapons-sale-to-kenya&catid=35:Aerospace&Itemid=107

Representative Ted Budd (R-North Carolina) & Representative Duncan Duane Hunter (R-California) – ‘H.J.Res. 72: Relating to the disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the Government of Kenya of Air Tractor aircraft with weapons, and related support’ (14.02.2017)

GoU – ‘Banning the Recruitment and Deployment of Domestic Workers to Saudi Arabia and Other Countries (22.01.2016)

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