Just in: Senate Foreign Relations Comm. Chair Bob Menendez going to floor at 5:20pm today to request unanimous consent for 30 national security appointments critically needed for Afghanistan & Haiti post-earthquake relief efforts. Confirmation was previously blocked by Senate GOP
Recently wrote how broken the confirmation process is and how it hobbles efforts on Afghanistan diplomatic.substack.com/p/afghan-crisi…
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) raises the issue of how many senior State Dept posts do not have their Senate confirmed people, mostly because of a block by Sen. Ted Cruz.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Ca) pointing out on 1st page of Feb 2020 agreement the Trump admin signed with the Taliban it says the US commits to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan within 14 months, and withdraw all their forces from 5 bases sooner. Lieu calls it "a surrender document"
Lieu going through how much of the withdrawal was already agreed and executed by Trump admin before Biden got there: Trump executed this surrender agreement and left you all with only 2,500 US troops...Donald Trump let out 5000 prisoners
Update: Senate confirmed 3 of the State Dept nominees Menendez urged be confirmed today, incl. Donald Lu to be Ass. Sec for South & Central Asia; Brian Nichols A/S West. Hem.; Brett Holmgren A/S INR. Ted Cruz blocked unanimous consent motion for a 4th nominee to be USAID ass. adm

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More from @lrozen

13 Sep
Pennsylvania Republican Scott Perry is asking Blinken about documents about Hunter Biden at a House foreign affairs committee hearing about Afghanistan. Blinken seems unaware what he's talking about. Then Perry asks about Senate testimony last year when Blinken was not in office
Before he ran out of time, Perry asked Blinken if his testimony had changed since he testified to the Senate last year. Blinken wasn't in office last year. Any idea what Perry was talking about, or who he's confusing Blinken with?
Rep. Brian Mast (R-Flor.) seems to be pursuing a right wing theme alleging that the Biden admin manipulated the intelligence on Afghanistan, and that is why it all went wrong. Then says he doesn't want to hear from Blinken. (Why would they have manipulated intel to look inept?)
Read 6 tweets
12 Sep
Baqeri, a former Jalili deputy & more recently foreign policy advisor to Raisi, reportedly expected to be appointed dep FM for political affairs, and de facto nuclear negotiator, “informed sources” in Iran tell Amwaj.
Baqeri had been heading Raisi foreign ministry transition team. During p5+1 Iran nuclear negotiations 2011-2012, in which Baqeri was Jalili’s deputy, negotiations went nowhere, and even regime insiders like Velayati subsequently portrayed Jalili as an inept negotiator.
While the p5+1 talks with Iran under Jalili/baqeri went nowhere, Khamenei sent other Iranian officials to pursue bilateral meetings with Bill Burns team which made way, after Rouhani election, for Iran interim nuclear deal in 2013 and jcpoa in 2015.
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
State's Ned Price on Iran: Collectively the P5+1 certainly the US would like to see a resumption of indirect negotiations in Vienna as soon as possible. Continue to believe JCPOA is the most effective means...Rob Malley had good & productive discussions w Russia, soon in Paris
where he'll meet with some of European counterparts.
We have heard various statements from Iran about what may be the time frame on their end. Not up to us to characterize those statements. US would like to see those negotiations restart ASAP to see if mutual return possible
Continue to believe JCPOA is most effective means to achieve objective. But advantages JCPOA convey will continue to be eroded the longer this goes on. Continue to see concerning reports from IAEA, when comes to nclr safeguards, Iran compiance w NPT
Read 6 tweets
3 Sep
SecState Blinken: want to thank the many veterans of the war in Afghanistan for their efforts to help afghans who helped them. State Dept officials conferred with veteran groups, along with VA Sec Denis McDonough, who are using their voices, networks, resources to do all they can
to help their friends & comrades. We will partner with them. They have ideas we will incorporate. We have a relocation task force that is up & running now. Ideas from vet community being put to use.
Shared gratitude to them for their incredibly important,passionate advocacy
Blinken said when the Biden admin took office, there was a backlog of 17,000 SIV applicants from Afghanistan, and there had not been a single interview of a SIV applicant in Kabul under the Trump admin in 9 months. "Program was in a dead stall."
Read 6 tweets
3 Sep
🧵”The conference may have produced more interesting results on the bilateral level, between delegations—including some that have been at odds—than on the multilateral level. There were meetings on the sidelines between the leaders of Egypt & Qatar, Iran & Kuwait,
“Qatar & the UAE, a ‘walk and talk’ chat between Iran’s foreign minister & Egyptian Pres. Al-Sisi, & news that archrivals Iran & Saudi Arabia will hold yet another round of talks facilitated by Baghdad after Iran’s new president completes the formation of his cabinet.”
“These bilateral discussions have the potential to reduce tensions between regional rivals down the road. But in the meantime, it remains unclear whether these actors will refrain from abusing their power in Iraq for their own self-interest.”
Read 4 tweets
2 Sep
🧵New from me: US diplomat: US prepared to try to quickly conclude Iran deal talks and ‘turn the page’ on escalation and failed maximum pressure policy. Iran has to decide if it wants the same.

“We are prepared to continue the negotiations…& try to conclude quickly in order to turn the page on a period of escalation & a failed maximum pressure campaign,” US diplomat tells me. “Iran is going to have to decide if they are committed to the same,” diplomatic.substack.com/p/us-diplomat-…
“If not, we will have to choose a different path as well,” the diplomat said.

Read 7 tweets

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