Tuesday, December 24, 2013

US Spokesperson re attacks US Amb Ricciardone

The following comment can be used on-the-record attributable to Jen Psaki, U.S. State Department Spokesperson:

“We find the continued baseless attacks by some elements of the Turkish media against our Ambassador, other senior U.S. officials, international media representatives, and private American citizens and groups, to be deeply disturbing.  We have made known to Turkish authorities our concerns about such allegations regarding American officials.  Turkish officials have assured us that they do not credit such false accusations against individual American officials, including Ambassador Ricciardone.  For further questions about the Turkish government’s views, I refer you to the Government of Turkey.”

Monday, December 23, 2013

US State Dept. Responds Some Turkish Media

Some pro-goverment media in Turkey have been accusing Amb Ricciardone for giving a speech to EU ambassadors, and telling them his prediction for Halk Bank is being collapsed, on the 17th of December, when the graft and corruption revelations began. SInce then, several of pro-AKP newspaper launched a campaign to declare Amb. Ricciardone "persona non grata." 

Turkish PM Erdogan also accused "some foreign envoys" of provocative actions, in reality, he was clearly referring to the US Ambassador. Erdogan, told supporters in the Black Sea province Samsun: "These recent days, very strangely, ambassadors get involved in some provocative acts. I am calling on them from here, do your job, if you leave your area of duty, this could extend into our government's area of jurisdiction. We do not have to keep you in our country."

When asked, an official from the US State Department commented regarding to these recent accusations about the US Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone.

US State official said: “We find the continued false and slanderous attacks by some elements of the Turkish media against our Ambassador, other senior U.S. officials, international media representatives, and private American citizens and groups, to be deeply disturbing."

Official also stated what US government expects from the Turkish government for these media accusations or attacks against Americans. It's quiet interesting for the US administration to tell the Turkish government to disavow these accusations "to separate vitally important relationship" between the countries. US official said: "We hope that the Turkish government will disavow and condemn such attacks and to separate our vitally important relationship from partisan political efforts.”

US State Department official, who didn't want to give a name, also responded the following when asked about US' reaction to the ongoing graft and corruption scandal:

“We have seen these reports and are following the issue.  We have no comment on the specifics of these cases, but we would reiterate that we expect Turkey to meet the highest standards for transparency, timeliness, and fairness in its judicial system.

We refer you to the Turkish government for further details.”

Friday, December 20, 2013

Questions about the Gulen-Erdogan fight

Do you consider these events more significant than the Gezi Park protests this past summer in terms of being able to erode Erdogan's grasp on power?

Yes, I do consider these allegations more significant as it seems Erdogan is going to remove half of his cabinet shortly. His most visible ministers are falling, and nobody knows how deep these allegations will penetrate. We are truly in uncharted waters and still yet to see what kind of a counter move will Erdogan take. He already removed over 100 police chiefs, but I expect something big in the works against the Gulen Movement, and its perceived allies within the state institutions. Meanwhile, his party's image is eroding by corruption accusations, he seems vulnerable.

Do you think Erdogan is mismanaging his response to the arrests by dismissing police officers and bring back this fight against the deep state, which he now appears to see as the Gulen movement?

I do believe he is making a huge mistake, but I am not surprised to see he is taking this course of actions. We just saw how his administration handled the Gezi protests with uncompromising attitude last summer. His administration stayed mostly on the offensive against the mass protests after first week of the protests. Instead of meeting their demands, Erdogan kept organizing rallies and continued accusing the protestors by wild accusations. Erdogan appears to be considering these corruption revelations directly targeting him, and instead of letting prosecutors and TNP to go after the claims, he decided to remove hundreds of chiefs. Can he stop these revelations and corruption case? We don't know because, as serious the claims are, we can't know where will they lead. Though important to note, Erdogan’s government was able to stop the “lighthouse charity” corruption scandal before. However, the perception is that by removing all those security and judiciary figures, including who launched these corruption cases, he tries to cover up the investigations. We still have about 3 months to go to the local elections, but venture to guess that his preferred course of action will damage his electoral appeal.

How long has this battle between Erdogan and Gulen been brewing, arguably it's been years?

First, these two pious-conservative blocks never liked or approved each other's approaches and ways of doing things, a.k.a. service to Islam. However, there was a common enemy for both, the military, and as soon as that threat was effectively ended, I think the fight began brewing. If we had to start with an event, I think, Mr. Gulen's criticism towards Erdogan regarding Mavi Marmara was the beginning, which means mid-2010. However, February 7th of 2012, when MIT's head was summoned by a prosecutor shook the partnership deeply. Since then, MIT is said to have been purging Gulen followers in the state institutions aggressively and the Gulen Movement has been looking for an opening to strike back.

What a kind of truth is there to these corruption charges?

So far the allegations, leaked parts of indictments, photos, phone conversations are appalling. However, many of the evidence leaked during Ergenekon and OdaTV cases later on proved to be inaccurate. So far though, the allegations extremely significant and damning. We have to wait more to see whether these allegations will be proved in the court of law. However, even at this stage, Erdogan is already wounded.

Who are among Erdogan's remaining allies and what kind of power do they wield?

PM Erdogan and his administration has been ruling Turkey for over a decade. Therefore they apparently think, by now, they have enough of their own allies to fill ranks of the state institutions and replace the purged security and bureaucrats believed to be Gulen's followers. According to one informed source, many of the nationalist leaning bureaucrats, even if not coming from the AKP base,  have been filling the ranks that are emptied. Erdogan also now wields influence over vast segments of the Turkish media. Though, we see that now secular segments of the media bosses, which have been submitted to PM Erdogan in recent years by either tax fines or lucrative tenders, are going after the corruption accusations aggressively. So, safe to say most of Erdogan's coalition partners of the last decades, in this current fight, alienated, including liberals. He is operating by leaning on his core base (conservatives, Islamists)

What is the real extension of Fethullah Gülen influence in Turkish society? Polls say his movement has little electoral appeal, I read rumors (in The New York Times too) that he’s trying to split the AKP and finance a rival party. Do you think it is a realistic scenario?

I believe that Mr. Gulen's influence in the Turkish society is significant. Newspaper that has the largest circulation in Turkey is pro-Gulen. Also the movement has TV-news channels, magazines, radio stations and what not. Therefore, his influence is not limited to his followers, but this vast media networks that can influence the society. Financing a rival party is not realistic, but surely this media and social media campaign sharply criticizing AKP, considering will continue months to come, will make a big dent among Erdogan's electoral base. And today is only the fouth day of the revelations. Much rumors indicate we yet to see the full extent of the accusations.

Seen from a foreign country, for a long period of time the fight for power in Turkey seemed an Edrogan-Gül affair, prime minister vs. president. Even last summer during the Gezi park riots Gül was a more prominent figure than mr. Gülen. What is the role of Abdullah Gül in this context?

Mr. Gül and Mr. Erdogan always have been able to keep their differences or disagreements in private. Yes, Mr. Gül's approach was softer during Gezi protests, but Pres Gül is always known for his smooth talk. However, as the corruption and bribery scandal continues, Mr.Gül might indeed end up being the ultimate winner out of this saga for the next presidential elections. He hasn't ruled out for running the second term yet, and everyday these revelations continue, his biggest rival for the presidential spot, Mr. Erdogan loses and he wins.

What about the secular elite? The whole affair seems an intra-religious matter. What do the entrepreneurial and urban class think?

Secular elite is, in essence, is watching the whole episode, with a smile on their face. In recent years, their political reps have been ineffective and appeared weak, fragmented. The largest secular media conglomerates, one by one, lost their influence and submitted to the AKP government. Some of them became submissive with massive tax fines by the government, others got cozy with the AKP by large public tenders and/or winning energy bids, mega construction projects. That's why, practically, the Gulen Movement is left as the last safeguard that is not submissive to the AKP government. Now we are watching whether PM Erdogan can beat his last enemy, the final check on his power.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ABD'nin İran Ambargoları Çarı Türkiye'ye Gidiyor

ABD Hazine Bakanlığı'nın Terörizm ve Finansal İstihbaratından sorumlu bakan yardımcısı David S. Cohen bu hafta Türkiye'yi ziyaret edecek. 

Ilhan Tanir

ABD Hazine Bakanlığı Sözcüsü John Sullivan Posta212'ye verdiği demeçte, İran'a ambargoların mimarı olarak bilinen Cohen'in Türkiye'ye bu hafta bir ziyarette bulunacağını ifade etti. Bugün Bakanlık tarafından da daha sonraki saatlerde anons edilen ziyaret sırasında Cohen'in 'illegal finans, bu bağlamda İran'a olan ekonomik ambargoların uygulanması' konularının görüşüleceği belirtildi.

ABD Hazine Bakanlığının 'İran Ambargoları Çarı' olarak da bilinen Cohen ve bağlı bulunduğu birim, mesaisinin büyük bir bölümünü İran'a karşı konan ambargoların global olarak yerine getirilip, getirilmediğini takip ediyor. Bu görev dahilinde de birim, dünyada hangi ülke ve uluslararası şirketlerin ABD ve BMGK ambargolarını uymadığını kontrol ediyor.

Halk Bankası Soruşturması İlintili mi?
Türkiye'de Salı günü erken saatlerden beri başlayan gözaltılarda Halk Bankası önemli bir yer tutuyor. Halk Bankası Genel Müdürü Süleyman Aslan'ın gözaltına alınması, ayrıca Reza Zarrab başta olmak üzere, diğer birçok gözaltında da İran'la yapılan altın ihracının önemli rol oynadığı sanıldığı basına yansımıştı.

Halk Bankasının Türkiye ve İran arasındaki finansal ilişkilerde eskiden beri çok önemli bir yer tutuyor. Geçtiğimiz yıllarda Halk Bankası ile ilgili şikayetler sıkça Amerikan tarafından da dile getirilmişti. Geçtiğimiz Nisan ayında da Amerikan Kongre'sinden 50'ye yakın milletvekili imzalarıyla, Halk Bankası doğrudan hedef alınmıştı. Mektup hem Dışişleri Bakanlığına hem de David Cohen'in bağlı bulunduğu Hazine Bakanlığına gönderilmiş ve Halkbank'ın İran'a yaptığı altın ihracının incelenmesi istenmişti. Bu talebin de İran'a uygulanan ambargoları sıkılaştırmak ve ayrıca terörist aktivitelerin finansını durdurmak için yapılması gerektiği kaydedilmişti. Cohen'in Türkiye'nin yanısıra bu hafta İngiltere, Almanya ve İsrail'i de ziyaret etmesi bekleniyor. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu Beyaz Saray Görüşmesi

CHP Genel Başkanı Pazartesi günü, Brookings düşünce kuruluşunda konuşmadan önce, Beyaz Saray Mİlli Güvenlik Konseyi Avrupa İşlerinden Sorumlu Karen Donfried ile bir görüşme yaptı. Görüşmeyle ilgili sorulara şu cevapları verdi:

Beyaz Saray'daki Görüşmeniz Nasıl Geçti?
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu: Son derece güzel ve başarılı bir görüşme oldu. 

Hangi yönde sorular geldi?
KK: Dış politika konusunda sorular soruldu. İsrail, Mısır, Irak ve Suriye konuları. Ekonomi konusunda CHP'nin görüşleri soruldu. O konuda düşüncelerimizi kendilerine aktardık.

Seçimlerle ilgili herhangi bir soru geldi mi?
KK: Hayır, seçimlerle ilgili bir soru gelmedi.

Size aktarılan yorumlar, görüşler oldu mu?
Mutlaka oldu. Dediğim gibi verimli, sağlıklı, güzel, görüşmeler yaptık. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey + 9 countries get a new waiver for oil purchase from Iran

Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release                                                                                       November 29, 2013


Regarding Significant Reductions of Iranian Crude Oil Purchases

As President Obama has made clear, the United States will continue to vigorously implement our existing sanctions on Iran as the P5+1 seeks to negotiate a comprehensive deal with Iran that will resolve the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. 

That is why I am pleased to announce that, based on additional significant reductions in the volume of their purchases of Iranian crude oil, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Taiwan have again qualified for an exception to sanctions outlined in Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012. 

These additional reductions were determined based on an analysis of these economies’ purchasing activity over the previous six months.

Additionally, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, and Sri Lanka have also qualified again for the NDAA exception because they no longer purchase crude oil from Iran. 

As a result, I will report to the Congress that exceptions to sanctions pursuant to Section 1245 of the NDAA for certain transactions will apply to the financial institutions based in these countries for a potentially renewable period of 180 days. 

This is the fourth time that these nine economies have qualified for an NDAA exception as a result of their continued significant reductions in the volume of crude oil purchases from Iran or their end to such purchases.   

The effectiveness of the international sanctions regime has proven essential in bringing Iran to the table to negotiate and agree to the Joint Action Plan that, for the first time in nearly a decade, halts the progress of the Iranian nuclear program and rolls it back in key areas. 

As part of the Joint Action Plan agreed to by the P5+1 and Iran, we will pause for six months our efforts to further reduce Iran's crude oil sales.  However, the Joint Action Plan does not offer relief from sanctions with respect to any increases in Iranian crude oil purchases by existing customers or any purchases by new customers. 

We will continue to aggressively enforce our sanctions over the next six months, as we work to determine whether there is a comprehensive solution that gives us confidence that the Iranian nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dersanelerin Kapatılmasına İtirazını Belirtmiş AKParti MVekilleri

Kasım 26 İtibariyle Dersane Kapatılmasına Açıkça İtirazlarını, Şüphelerini Belirten AKParti MVekilleri

1-Kütahya Mvekili İdris Bal
2-Bursa Mvekili Hüseyin Şahin 
3-Burdur MVekili Hami Yıldırım 
4-Manisa MVekili Muzaffer Yurttaş 
5-Istanbul Mvekili Hakan Şükür 
6-Muş MV Muzaffer Çakar 
7-İzmir MV İlhan İşbilen 
8-Kayseri MV Ahmet Öksüzkaya 
9-Ertuğrul Günay (İzmir) 
10-Yüksel Özden (Muğla) 
11-Emrullah İşler (Ankara) 
12-Mevlüt Akgün (Karaman) 
13-Nimet Bas
14-Abdulkadir Aksu (İstanbul)
15-Faruk Celik
16-Cemil Cicek
17-Ugur Aydemir
18-Bülent Arınç

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Qs and As w/State Dept Spox Psaki on Turkey & Syria

My Qs and As w/State Dept Spox Psaki on Turkey & Syria 

November 19, Tuesday, Washington


QUESTION:  Yesterday’s meetings, after Foreign Minister Davutoglu met, he said that about Chinese missile defense that --

MS. PSAKI:  Mm-hmm.

QUESTION:  -- he stated that U.S. is not troubled at all by this.  This discussion was part of the discussions, but he said that there is no trouble, basically.  Would you be able to confirm on that?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, I can convey that during his visit – as you know, they discussed a range of issues and had a lengthy press avail yesterday.  But Secretary Kerry reiterated our concerns and the importance of procuring a NATO interoperable system, which has long been a concern we’ve expressed to Turkey.  And that was how he conveyed it during the meeting yesterday.

QUESTION:  Foreign Minister Davutoglu also said that these discussions regarding the Chinese missile defense system started in 2009.  This is quote:  “For four years, nobody raised any concerns.  Nobody said this is not good for NATO.”  Would you – I mean, he’s – basically is that you have been quiet for years, and after Turkey makes its decision --

MS. PSAKI:  Well, I’d have to check on that.  It’s hard to believe we wouldn’t have concerns about an agreement with a – on a system, a potential agreement on a system that’s not interoperable with NATO and with a company that has U.S. sanctions against it.  So – but in terms of the timing, I don’t have any details on that.


QUESTION:  This question was asked before as well, but under the latest circumstances it looks like the Syrian regime, the Assad regime, has been taking many towns and cities, especially at least six, seven cities in Aleppo or towns in Aleppo and also western Damascus, and these fights in the western Damascus mostly led by Hezbollah fighters.  Under latest circumstances, last couple of weeks, given the regime’s taking many towns, would you now confirm that the Assad regime is indeed gaining ground and the balance of power on the ground?

MS. PSAKI:  We’ve talked about this a bit in the past.  I’m not in any position to give a battleground update from the podium.  Obviously, we’ve said – and the Secretary has said – that there would be ups and downs on the ground game.  This is one of the reasons why we’re pressing so hard to move towards a political resolution, towards a Geneva conference to be the vehicle for doing that.  But beyond that, I don’t have any independent confirmation of specific towns or success on the battlefield.

QUESTION:  Secretary Kerry also said that his main game plan basically on Syria to make sure that Assad knows he won’t be able to win on the ground, on the battleground.  And after almost a year, would you be able to confirm that basically U.S. policy over Syria within the last year has failed?

MS. PSAKI:  No, I would not. 

Do we have any more on Syria?

QUESTION:  How it is that?  I mean, the goal was stated very clearly by Secretary.  A year later now, we are seeing opposite effect.  How is that you can argue it is not a failed --

MS. PSAKI:  Well, the Secretary wasn’t even the Secretary a year ago.  But I’m happy --

QUESTION:  Almost a year ago.

MS. PSAKI:  Okay.  I’m happy to look at what comments you’re referring to.  Obviously, he’s made many comments on Syria.  One that’s most common, I should say, is that we – there’s no military solution on either side.  That’s why we need to have a political solution, and that’s what our focus is on.

QUESTION:  Well, maybe the question is best asked this way:  The Secretary, when he came in 10 months ago, or almost 11 months ago, said that the goal was to get – was to change Assad’s calculation.

MS. PSAKI:  Mm-hmm.

QUESTION:  Do you believe that you have changed or that the policy has changed President Assad’s calculation?

MS. PSAKI:  Obviously, Matt --

QUESTION:  Not yet.

MS. PSAKI:  -- this is a complicated situation on the ground. 

QUESTION:  Well, that’s the answer to his question then.

MS. PSAKI:  It’s – we remain committed to working toward it.

QUESTION:  But – so it has not yet changed the calculation?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, Assad is still in power --


MS. PSAKI:  -- I think we all know. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ABD Bşk Yrd Biden, Barzani ile Türkiye'yi konuştu

Başbakan Erdoğan'ın haftasonu KRG Cbaşkanı Barzani ile Diyarbakır'da planlanan görüşmesinden önce, ABD Başkan yardımcısının Barzani'yi telefonla aradığı açıklandı. 
Geçtiğmiz yıllarda Irak ile ilgili işlerde birinci dereceden mesul olarak tayin edilen başkan yardımcısı Joe Biden'ın Barzani ile yaptığı telefon görüşmesinde, Irak'ın güvenliği ve Erbil ile Bağdat'ın terörist örgütlere karşı işbirliği konularının görüşüldüğü kaydedildi. Beyaz Saray'ın yaptığı açıklamaya göre, Biden bu konuların yanısıra KRG'nin komşuları ile ilişkilerinin geliştirmesi konusunu da görüştü. Beyaz Saray'dan yapılan açıklamada, komşular arasında sadece Türkiye'nin açıklamada yer alması dikkat çekti. Beyaz Saray'dan yapılan açıklama aşağıda:

Readout of Vice President Biden's Call with Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani

Vice President Biden spoke today with President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani.  The two discussed Iraq’s security challenges and the need for close coordination between Erbil and Baghdad to isolate terrorist networks.  The Vice President affirmed the United States’ commitment to partner with Iraq against al Qaeda.  Vice President Biden congratulated President Barzani on the recent passage of a law to govern Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary elections.   The two also discussed Iraq’s important progress in building relations with its neighbors, including Turkey.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hakan Fidan'ın Hedefe Oturtulması Neden?

Türkiye’nin MIT Müsteşarı Hakan Fidan hakkında, geçen hafta Wall Street Journal ve Washington Times’da çıkan yazılardan sonra bugün de, Beyaz Saray ve CIA’ye yakınlığıyla bilinen David Ignatius’un bir yazısı Washington Post’da yayınlandı. (link burada)

Türkiye’nin Perşembe ve sonraki günlerde tartışacağı bu yazıda, oldukça önemli bir suçlama var. Buna göre, Başbakan Erdoğan’ın oluru ve Hakan Fidan’ın yönlendirmesiyle Türkiye, İsrail için ajanlık yapan 10 İranlının bilgilerini İran’a vererek hem İsrail ve ABD çıkarlarına büyük bir darbe indirdi hem de İran’ın nükleer hedeflerine ilerlemesinde yardımcı oldu.

Diğer taraftan, 2012’nin başlarında olduğu söylenen bu haberden bir yıl kadar sonra ABD Başkanı Obama’nın, bizzat uğraşısıyla İsrail Başbakanı Netanyahu’nun Başbakan Erdoğan’dan özür diledğini unutmamak gerekir. 

Başka bir nokta ise, bu haberlerin özellikle ABD’nin son zamanlardaki İran açılımı sırasında gelmesi. Obama’nın bir anlamda kollarını açarak İran’a yaklaştığı bir dönemde, MIT’in şefi Hakan Fidan’ı, İranlılara yakın durmuş veya geçmiş yıllarda yardım etmiş olması iddialarinin üzerine şimdi neden gidilir? 

Üç gazete analizinin, aynı hafta içinde Fidan’ı hedefe oturtmasını şansa bağlamak güç. Beyaz Saray Milli Güvenlik Konseyinde direktörlük yapmış Mike Doran’ın attığı twite göre, bu ‘’CIA’in Hakan’a Fidan’a bir darbe yapmasına benziyor.’’

15 ve 16 Ekim günlerinde New York’da ABD ve İran’ın, P5 plus 1 çerçevesinde İran’ın nükleer programı üzerinde verimli tartışmaların yapıldıği zamanlarda, İran’a o veya bu şekilde yardım ettiğinden dolayı Fidan’ın (Erdoğan'ın) suçlanmasının zamanlaması ilginç.

Bu sorular, Ignatius’un yazısının yayımlandığı saatlerden hemen sonra soruluyor ve önümüzdeki günler ne gibi noktalar gün ışığına çıkar bilinmez. 

Bu aşamada, Lübnan, Suriye ve Hizbullah çalışmaları ile tanınan Tony Badran’ın teorisi bana en ilginç ve mantıklı görünen. O teori de şu: İran’a yaklaşan ABD, Suriye işlerini İran’a ve Rusya’ya bırakma karşılığında, İran’la yaptığı nükleer müzakerelerde ciddi ve görülebilir tavizler almak peşinde.

Bir diğer anlatımla, Suriye’deki silahlı muhaliflere en ciddi yardımı yapmaya devam eden ve Esad’ın gidişini ön koşul olarak gören komşu ülkelerin başında gelen Türkiye ve Türkiye’nin Milli İstihbarat Şefi Fidan’ın üzerine bu şekilde gidilmesi, Suriye’deki muhalefete yapılan askeri ve silahlı yardımların önünün kesilmesini hedefliyor. Muhaliflere gidecek yardımların kesilmesi de, Esad rejimini en kuvvetli şekilde destekleyen İran ve Rusya'nın işlerini kolaylaştıracak. Karşılığında ise İran’dan nükleer programı ile ilgili somut tavizler koparma peşinde olabilir Beyaz Saray.

Kimyasal silahını bırakıp, Şam’da hükümferma olmaya devam etmesine izin çıkan Esad’dan sonra, nükleer silahını bırakıp, bölgede hükümranlığına devam etmesine izin verilecek bir İran anlaşmasına giderken, yoldaki çakıltaşları temizlenme gayreti olabilir mi? Sormakta yarar var.

US Government Re-Opens

Statement from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget

"Now that the bill has passed the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, the President plans to sign it tonight and employees should expect to return to work in the morning. Employees should be checking the news and OPM's website for further updates."

Monday, September 30, 2013

Shutdown of the Federal government:


Due to the failure of Congress to enact appropriations for fiscal year 2014, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell tonight issued the following guidance to agencies directing them to execute their plans for an orderly shutdown of the Federal government:

                                                               September 30, 2013



FROM:            Sylvia M. Burwell

SUBJECT:      Update on Status of Operations

This memorandum follows the September 17, 2013, Memorandum M-13-22, and provides an update on the potential lapse of appropriations.

Appropriations provided under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6) expire at 11:59 pm tonight. Unfortunately, we do not have a clear indication that Congress will act in time for the President to sign a Continuing Resolution before the end of the day tomorrowOctober 1, 2013. Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations. We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.
Agencies should continue to closely monitor developments, and OMB will provide further guidance as appropriate. We greatly appreciate your cooperation and the work you and your agencies do on behalf of the American people.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

US adm consultations w/allies re Syria since Aug. 21

BUILDING THE CASE: The White House last night released this list of administration phone consultations with the international community since the Aug. 21 chemical attacks in Syria:
--President Obama: Tue.: Canadian PM Harper, UK PM Cameron … Mon.: Australian PM Rudd … Sun.: French President Hollande … Sat.: UK PM Cameron
--Vice President Biden: Tue.: UK Deputy PM Clegg
--Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: Tue.: UK DefMin Hammond … French DefMin Le Drian
--Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: UK Gen. Sir John Nicholas, Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces … French Adm. Edouard Guillaud, Chief of Defence Staff of the French Armed Forces … Israeli Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, Israeli Defence Forces Chief of Staff
--Secretary of State John Kerry: Tue.: Russian FM Lavrov (twice) … Moroccan FM El Othmani … EU HighRep Ashton … UK Foreign Secretary Hague … Arab League SYG al-Araby … Mon.: Arab League SYG al-Araby (twice) … UK FS Hague … Jordanian FM Judeh (twice) … Qatari FM al-Attiyah … NATO SYG Rasmussen … Saudi FM Saud … Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed … Turkish FM Davutoglu … Egyptian FM Fahmy … EU High Rep Ashton … U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon … Sun.: Turkish FM Davutoglu … UK FS Hague … Canadian FM Baird … French FM Fabius … Russian FM Lavrov … Sat.: Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed … Saudi FM Saud … Jordanian FM Judeh (twice) … Turkish FM Davutoglu … Arab League SYG al-Araby … Fri.: Egyptian FM Fahmy … Italian FM Bonino … UK FS Hague … German FM Westerwelle … Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed … Thu.: EU High Rep Ashton … Turkish FM Davutoglu … Qatari FM al-Attiyah … Jordanian FM Judeh … French FM Fabius … UNSYG Ban … Syrian Opposition Coalition President Jarba … UK FS Hague … Syrian FM Muallim … Russian FM Lavrov … Wed.: Saudi National Security Advisor Prince Bandar (twice)
--U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power: Tue.: Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan, Agshin Mehdiyev … Permanent Representative of China, Liu Jieyi … Permanent Representative of the UK, Mark Lyall Grant … Permanent Representative of Australia, Gary Quinlan … Deputy Permanent Representative of France, Alexis Lamek … UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Elaisson  … Acting Head of the UN Department of Safety and Security, Kevin Kennedy  … UN Under Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman … Mon.: Permanent Representative of the UK, Mark Lyall Grant … Permanent Representative of Germany, Peter Wittig … Permanent Representative of Togo, Kodjo Menan … Permanent Representative of Rwanda, Eugéne-Richard Gasana … Permanent Representative of Pakistan, Masood Khan … Permanent Representative of Argentina, Maria Cristina Perceval … Permanent Representative of South Africa, Kingsley Mamabolo … Deputy Permanent Representative of France, Alexis Lamek  … Sun.: Permanent Representative of Australia, Gary Quinlan … Permanent Representative of Luxembourg, Sylvie Lucas … Permanent Representative of South Korea, Kim Sook … Permanent Representative of Morocco, Mohammed Loulichki … Deputy Permanent Representative of the UK, Philip Parham … Deputy Permanent Representative of France, Alexis Lamek … UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Elaisson  … UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon … Sat.: Permanent Representative of South Korea, Kim Sook … Deputy Permanent Representative of the UK, Philip Parham … Deputy Permanent Representative of France, Alexis Lamek … UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson … UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon … Thu.: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Qs and As w/State dept spox Psaki on US #CW Redline, Dempsey remarks August 21, 2013

US Redline re the CW usage in Syria

QUESTION:  -- the White House statement didn’t mention the redline that the President drew in the past.  Is the redline still there? 

MS. PSAKI:  Well, I think we talked about the redline and how it had been crossed a couple of months ago.  Now we’re focused on, obviously, new reports here.  I’m not – been in this business long enough not to draw new redlines, so I’m certainly not going to do that today, but our focus is on, as I’ve stated a couple of times, pushing for, calling for, encouraging in public and private conversations, access for the UN investigative team to look at all credible reports. 

QUESTION:  And why do you think the White House didn’t mention the redline?

MS. PSAKI:  Because they’ve talked about it – they talked about it a couple of months ago.  I’d refer you to them on that specifically. 

QUESTION:  Just to follow up on this particular issue, I have couple of questions.

MS. PSAKI:  Okay.

QUESTION:  One of them is just to follow up previous question about this redline.  So every time there is a alleged use of chemical weapon, that means that the Assad regime crosses this redline again?  Or do you have any --

MS. PSAKI:  Again, I’m not talking about redlines.  I’m not having a debate or conversation about redlines or I’m not setting redlines.  Let’s talk – not talk about red today.  (Laughter.)  I am talking – we’re – we’ve talked about that, we’ve litigated that, the White House has made announcements about that a couple of months ago.  What our focus is on now is looking at all reports, making sure – pushing for the UN investigative team to have access.  That’s what we think the appropriate step is.

QUESTION:  Speaking of redline actually, a year ago – (laughter) – President Obama talk about the redline for the first time  When you look at back year, for a year, do you think U.S. has been able to use its deterrence, or have the U.S. deterrence dealt a heavy blow by basically not backing what President Obama promised to do?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, clearly, when we announced a couple of months ago that that had been crossed, we made announcements about an expansion of the scale and scope of aid and also reiterated the fact that additional assistance, additional – all options remained on the table.  That discussion is ongoing.  And we’re looking at events on the ground every single day, just like we look at events in countries around the world. 


QUESTION:  In this particular White House statement, there is no reference to the Syrian Government responsibility.  So does it mean that you basically don’t know who did it and it could be the opposition or the regime?

MS. PSAKI:  Actually, there is.  I’m happy to read it to you.  “For the UN’s efforts to be credible, they must have immediate access to witnesses and affected individuals, and have the ability to examine and collect physical evidence without any interference or manipulation from the Syrian Government.”

QUESTION:  But not – you’re not blaming the Syrian Government.  I just wanted to make --

MS. PSAKI:  I’m just referencing exactly how it was used in the statement.  The onus is on them to provide unfettered access to the UN investigative team.


QUESTION:  Just one single question --

MS. PSAKI:  Okay.

QUESTION:  -- on the redline.  The reason I am asking – (laughter) – and many people are asking out there, and sincerely curious, that – if the U.S. still has the same assessment on the redline, that is going to take a game-changing step?  Or, since it has been a year, if the U.S. has now a new assessment and it doesn’t consider --

MS. PSAKI:  The announcement we made a couple of months ago still stands.  That’s why we expanded our scale and scope of aid, why we’ve continued to discuss additional options, why all options remain on the table, aside from boots on the ground.  So your --

QUESTION:  But you are not following through your promise, then.  That’s what --

MS. PSAKI:  That’s not true at all.  I’m not going to --

QUESTION:  But you are not changing the balance on the ground.

MS. PSAKI:  Let me finish.  Let me finish.  I’m not going to outline for you what – a laundry list of what we’re doing.  But we’ve talked about it in the past, we’ve talked about why we can’t talk about it in the past.  In terms of – our focus remains on strengthening the opposition, whether that’s the opposition on the ground or the political opposition.  We feel that we have made some progress and more work needs to be done, but we’re clearly working to move forward on Geneva.  We continue to remain in close contact with the SMC.  I think you’re combining a bunch of things and not actually asking questions about the reality of what the situation is on the ground and what we’re working on.

QUESTION:  Actually, it’s pretty clear what I am asking.  I’m just asking --

MS. PSAKI:  It’s not clear, but try again.  Go ahead.

QUESTION:  -- it’s just a game-changing step that means the – changing the balance of the power in favor of the opposition?  And whatever you have been referencing here for months, they have not the factors or things that are changing the balance of power, and is it not the promise that President Obama or this Administration given?  This is my question, and I don’t get the answer, because the factors you have been giving are not things that change the balance.

MS. PSAKI:  Well, as we announced a couple of months ago, the decisions we made to expand the scale and scope of aid, which, again, I’m not going to outline, was made in part because of the redline being crossed, and certainly the situation on the ground.  Our efforts every single day are focused on how we can strengthen the opposition, the moderate opposition, whether that’s working with the SMC or working with the political leaders in the opposition.  We know in recent months they’ve elected leadership.  We’re working with them to encourage them to have appropriate representation at a Geneva conference.  That’s where our focus remains.  All options still remain on the table aside from boots on the ground, and those discussions are ongoing.


General Dempsey remarks re "if the Syrian opposition would win agains the Assad regime, they wouldnt back the US interests" 

QUESTION:  The earlier questions about the General Dempsey – in those remarks, General Dempsey also said that Syrian rebels wouldn’t back U.S. interests if they replace the Assad regime.  Is this your assessment right now?

MS. PSAKI:  I’m just – I don’t want to do any more analysis.  I would refer you to the Department of Defense for what he meant by his comments --

QUESTION:  Sure.  Let me ask --

MS. PSAKI:  -- and what he was trying to convey.

QUESTION:  Let me ask this way, then.

MS. PSAKI:  Mm-hmm.

QUESTION:  Do you think that if the Syrian rebels would win, that would be for the U.S. interests?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, clearly, we’ve supported the opposition – the moderate opposition – and we think that it’s best for the Syrian people for Assad to go.  That has not changed.  So our position has been the same.


QUESTION:  But Jen, on that, like one of the – the premise for Geneva is that both sides can sit down together and the political opposition will be there ready to represent themselves --

MS. PSAKI:  Uh-huh.  Yep, you’re right.

QUESTION:  -- and their interests.  So you can’t comment on what General Dempsey is thinking, but clearly, he disagrees with the assessment of this building, which is that the opposition is ready to even move forward with Geneva.  If they can’t represent themselves and their own interests, how could they possibly attend a peace conference?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, what I will say about that is that we continue to work with the opposition to make sure they have a strong, viable representation to attend Geneva.  That’s part of our conversation with them.  It’s certainly part of what would need to happen and be determined before we would have a conference

PS. Reds by other reporters.