Background Briefing on the Report Required To Rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism Status (State)

Cuba

This transcript contains the full background briefing on American-Cuban Relations in regards to the pending review of Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism. Read the full briefing here.

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Strengthening the Strategic Partnership of the United States and Afghanistan (State and FP)

Featured Image -- 917“During the historic visit to Washington of President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah from March 22 to 25, 2015, U.S. and Afghan officials have reviewed the achievements of the last 13 years and discussed the actions each country needs to take to ensure that the social, economic, security, and human rights gains made over that period are sustained and advanced. Secretary of State John Kerry — joined by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and other senior U.S. officials — held strategic dialogue sessions at Camp David with President Ghani and the Afghan delegation on March 23 to discuss a broad range of bilateral issues.” (State)

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday, March 24, that he would slow the rate at which U.S. troops leave Afghanistan over the next two years, but will stick with his plan of having almost all of them out of the country by 2017.

Under the new timeline, 9,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of this year. Obama’s previous plan had called for drawing down to 5,500 troops by the end of 2015. The new plan allows the United States to keep control of two key bases in Kandahar and Jalalabad, where the Taliban threat is close by. With more troops staying in the war zone, U.S. casualties could rise still higher. Since the start of the war, America’s longest conflict, the military has suffered 2,215 deaths and 20,000 wounded.” (FP)

Thus, the U.S. will continue to have troops in Afghanistan until at least 2017.

Relocation of U.S. Personnel From Yemen (State)

Yemen

“Due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the U.S. Government has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen. We have informed President Hadi of this step as part of our close coordination with the Yemeni government. We will continue to engage the Yemeni people and the international community to strongly support Yemen’s political transition. We also continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and have capabilities postured in the area to address them. As we have in the past, we will take action to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.”

See the full press release here.

Hillary Clinton E-Mail Scandal

Clinton

Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, may have breached OPSEC.

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.”

See the full reports:

AP: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/clinton-ran-own-computer-system-for-her-official-emails/2015/03/04/083c624c-c269-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d_story.html

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/us/politics/hillary-clintons-use-of-private-email-at-state-department-raises-flags.html?smid=tw-bna&_r=3

WaPo: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/03/04/the-hillary-clinton-email-story-just-keeps-getting-worse-for-her/

Seizing the Post-ISIL Opportunity for Democracy and Inclusion (State)

Remarks

Tom Malinowski
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Middle East Research Institute
Erbil, Iraq
February 11, 2015
“Now, it’s often said that war brings out both the worst in people, but also the best in people. And here is an example of the very best, the overwhelming, amazing generosity of the Kurdish people to all of the people who have had to flee from Daeesh in the last few months. You have already hosted over 200,000 refugees from Syria, from that nightmare. And now you have taken in so many, many more. Over half of all the IDPs in Iraq are here, maybe a quarter of the population of Kurdistan. And I know what this means for everyday life, people opening their homes to strangers who need help, schools having to open up a second and a third shift to accommodate the children, so that they will have something to do, something to develop their minds, while they wait to be able to go home.”
See the full release here.

Condemnation of Attacks on Somalia Central Hotel (State)

Press Statement

Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 20, 2015

“The United States strongly condemns al-Shabaab’s terrorist attack on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu today. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the attack, and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

This murderous attack, targeting government ministers and Members of Parliament, once again highlights that al-Shabaab stands only for death and destruction, and is firmly opposed to the Somali people’s efforts to build a secure and prosperous future.

The United States will continue to support the Somali people and their government as they rebuild their country. Those who stand in the way of Somalia’s progress will not succeed.”

See the article at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/02/237728.htm#