Thursday, July 28, 2016

Face of Defense: Airman Deploys to Ethiopia > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article View


By Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Hicks621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

July 26, 2016 — Two years ago, when Air Force Airman 1st Class Dylan Wisuri joined the Air Force, he never imagined that he would be waking up surrounded by a rain forest preparing to close down a joint task force port opening.

Airman 1st Class Dylan Wisuri, 921st Contingency Response Squadron, poses for a photo at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., July 14, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford)

Airman 1st Class Dylan Wisuri, 921st Contingency Response Squadron, poses for a photo at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., July 14, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford)
A JTF-PO is a robust combination of the Air Force's swift airbase opening capability and the Army's critical overland cargo movement, tracking and distribution capabilities.
Additionally, JTF-PO integrates a Defense Logistics Agency Deployment Support Team to provide expeditionary contracting, warehousing and sustainment equipment and services for U.S. and coalition forces.
The 921st Contingency Response Squadron spent more than a month closing down a JTF-PO in Ethiopia after their sister squadron, the 821st CRS, opened it months earlier.
“Since joining the 621st Contingency Response Wing, I have had the opportunity to travel all over and participate in real-world missions as well as exercises,” Wisuri said. “[Out of] all of the places I have been, I really enjoyed Ethiopia the most.”
Experiencing Local Culture
“Going to Ethiopia and really experiencing their culture and seeing how they live was definitely a different experience for me,” he said. “Also, the people in the local community were really nice and accommodating to us all.”
The community wasn’t the only thing Wisuri said he enjoyed while he was in Ethiopia.
“Waking up every morning to the beautiful backdrop of the area was nothing short of amazing,” he said. “The landscape was nice and green, to go along with their nice views; it was a real cool experience.
Though the trip was a great experience for Wisuri, he said he took more pride in helping his comrades.
“Coming to close the JTF-PO meant a lot,” the airman said. “I played a part in getting airmen back home to their families and loved ones. I felt like I was serving a bigger mission than just closing down the base.”
Contingency response airmen attend all types of exercises to ensure they are properly trained and stay proficient, Wisuri explained, adding that the training exercises prepared him for his trip to Ethiopia.
“Exercises I have attended helped a lot,” he said. “During the exercise you are able to really get an idea of how things work, so when it’s the real deal you’re able to pay attention to those small details and know everything you are doing is meaningful to the mission.”
Coming out of technical school, Wisuri swapped assignments with a classmate that sent him here, and he’s been performing the contingency response mission ever since.
“Growing up, when you think of the military it’s not usually humanitarian aid, but warfare,” he said. “But in the [contingency response wing] we are performing that humanitarian aid mission set as well as doing everything that we can for our country and doing a swell job at it.”
Since his first day in the contingency response wing, Wisuri hit the ground running and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Dylan has been a go-getter since arriving in the [contingency response wing],” Said 1st Lt. Denver Barrows, 921st Aerial Port Flight commander. “Airmen entering directly from technical training must balance the traditional upgrade requirements as an aerial transporter and begin to execute the [contingency response] mission worldwide.
“Dylan is part of a strong cohort of young airmen who have done just that,” Barrows continued. “When selected for a tasking, we know what we are getting: a top-notch transporter who has demonstrated superb maturity and judgment.”
Contingency response units are self-sufficient and can deploy with all the personnel, equipment and supplies they need to execute their mission, officials said. As an Air Force Global Reach Laydown force, the 621st CRW bridges the gap between seizure forces and follow-on sustainment forces. The CRW is prepared to execute their mission for up to 45 days, and once redeployed home, are reconstituted within 72 hours and ready to once again answer the nation’s call.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

China's Response to the South China Sea Arbitration Ruling

Netanyahu's Africa Trip Draws Israel and Egypt Closer,


The Egyptian foreign minister’s visit to Jerusalem marks cooperation on issues from the peace process with the Palestinians to Ethiopia’s controversial Nile dam project.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L), flanked by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (2nd L) and military officials, during his visit to State House in Nairobi on July 5, 2016.Simon Maina, AFP
In visiting Israel, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry doesn’t only break the nine-year stretch of no Egyptian foreign minister coming to Israel. It’s also important that the foreign minister, not the intelligence minister, was sent by President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.
Ex-President Hosni Mubarak would send Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman or the latter’s aides to discuss military and intelligence cooperation and the peace process with the Palestinians, or to consult over policy vis-a-vis Hamas.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, July 10, 2016.AP / Dan Balilty
The decision to send the foreign minister shows a new level of ties closer to political normalization. At the press conference, Shoukry, a seasoned diplomat who was Egypt’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2012, focused on the peace process and reiterated that a two-state solution was attainable.
But it was what he didn’t say that was interesting. Shoukry didn’t offer a peace initiative, parameters for relaunching negotiations, or a timetable. He didn’t even present Egypt as an official mediator; he simply mentioned his June 29 meetings with the Palestinian leaders and Egypt’s intentions to complete the Ramallah talks with the Israeli side.
Sissi has apparently decided to open a public political channel with Israel that could eventually result in a presidential invitation to the prime minister to visit Cairo. Egypt and Israel have common interests only some of which are security related. Security and intelligence cooperation doesn’t require discussions at the foreign-minister level.
Israel has already agreed for Egypt to break the Camp David Accords by bringing ground troops and air support into Sinai. Israel has also agreed to Egypt’s transfer of sovereignty over the Sanafir and Tiran islands to the Saudis, with the kingdom pledging to uphold an agreement to which it’s not a signatory. All these agreements were concluded by emissaries in secret talks with no fanfare.
An Egyptian farmer squats on cracked soil of a farm previously irrigated by the Nile river, June 5, 2013.Reuters
But for Egypt there are key issues that require it to go public with Israel. One is its concern about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Nile. The first part of the dam is expected to be completed next year, and Egypt says it stands to lose between 11 billion and 19 billion cubic meters of water annually.
That will reduce Egypt’s electricity output by some 25 to 40 percent. The dam is considered such a threat that deposed President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood had threatened to destroy it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) walks alongside Rwandan President Paul Kagame as he inspects a guard of honor upon arriving at the airport in Kigali, Rwanda, July 6, 2016.Stringer, Reuters
Egypt believes, quite rightly, that Israel has leverage in Ethiopia, and if it can’t prevent the building of the dam, it can at least persuade Ethiopia to coordinate water-sharing with Cairo so Egypt’s economy doesn’t suffer.
That might be the reason for the timing of Shoukry’s visit, right after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return from Africa, to hear whether he had any good news for the Egyptians. Egypt needs this information to prepare for the conference of Nile Valley foreign ministers on Thursday in Uganda. Egypt also needs Israel’s support to counter any American intention to take the international peacekeepers out of Sinai, a step Egypt regards as surrendering to terror.
Cairo is also very interested in the renewed ties between Turkey and Israel, mainly in the clause that lets Turkey be a major supplier of consumer goods and construction materials to Gaza. Turkey’s entrance puts Egypt in an uncomfortable position at best, in which it, with Israel, continues to impose a formal closure on Gaza while Turkey becomes an ally of Hamas, this time with an Israeli “permit.”
To change this equation, Egypt will have to coordinate its civilian policy on Gaza with Israel and promote a reconciliation agreement soon between Hamas and Fatah so it can open the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
These are all weighty matters that a lightning visit to Israel by an Egyptian foreign minister can’t resolve. But the widening of the Israeli-Egyptian map of political interests, with an economic bonus in the background in the realm of natural gas, is a key development. It requires flexible and wise Israeli policy, with confidence-building measures toward the Palestinians that, this time, have strategic value in ties with Egypt and other Arab countries.

Ethiopia supports China's stand on South China Sea | Shanghai Daily

 "Ethiopia supports China's stand on South China Sea
Jul 12,2016
ADDIS ABABA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Tuesday issued a statement supporting China's stand on the South China Sea.

Ethiopia has noted the recent situation pertaining to the South China Sea and China's position on this issue, said the statement.

Ethiopia supports the position that any disputes over the South China Sea should be peacefully resolved through direct consultations and negotiations in accordance with bilateral agreements and regional consensus, the statement said.

Ethiopia maintains that the international community should play a constructive role in supporting all efforts aimed at safeguarding peace and stability in the region, which is in the interests of all parties."

Monday, July 4, 2016

Israel's Netanyahu in Entebbe to mark hostage-rescue anniversary - BBC News

Benjamin Netanyahu and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at Entebbe airport (04/07/16)Image copyrightAP
Image captionMr Netanyahu was greeted by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at Entebbe airport

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has visited the scene of the 1976 Entebbe hostage rescue in Uganda, in which his brother, who led the raid, was killed.
Israeli commandos freed more than 100 hostages held for a week at an airport terminal, in a daring operation. They returned to Israel on 4 July 1976.
Mr Netanyahu is also scheduled to visit Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
He has said the trip symbolises "dramatic changes" in the relationship between Israel and Africa.
He is the first Israeli prime minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since Yitzhak Shamir in 1987.
Monday's ceremony at the scene of the raid was attended by some of the rescued hostages and Israeli special forces who carried out the operation.
Mr Netanyahu said: "Exactly 40 years ago Israeli soldiers carried out the historic mission in Entebbe. Forty years ago they landed in the dead of night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists. Today we landed in broad daylight to be welcomed by a president who fights terrorism."
His elder brother, Jonathan, was shot dead as he led the operation to free hostages, who had been taken captive on an Air France flight by Palestinian and German militants.

Jonathan NetanyahuImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionJonathan Netanyahu led the rescue operation but died in action

Four hostages, at least seven hostage-takers and 20 Ugandan troops who were guarding the old terminal were also killed.
Almost all those freed were Israeli and non-Israeli Jews who had been separated from other passengers by the gunmen. The Air France captain and his 12-strong crew were also rescued.
The non-Jewish passengers had been released by the hostage-takers earlier in the week.
Mr Netanyahu had previously called the operation "dramatic national experience" and one that had "great personal consequence" for his family.
In Entebbe, the prime minister said: "I learned from my brother that you need two things to defeat the terrorists: clarity and courage."
"When terrorism succeeds in one place it spreads to other places, and when terrorism is defeated anywhere it is weakened everywhere. This is why Entebbe... was a victory for all humanity."

Analysis: 'Return to Africa', by Jonathan Marcus, BBC diplomatic correspondent

The death of his brother who commanded Israel's hostage rescue mission at Entebbe changed the course of Benjamin Netanyahu's life and set him on a trajectory that was ultimately to make him prime minister.
But this is much more than a personal pilgrimage or the commemoration of a bold military operation. Mr Netanyahu's swing through Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia is intended to mark Israel's "return to Africa", a region that is figuring more and more prominently on the international stage.
Israel's ties with sub-Saharan Africa were strong during the early 1960s but withered under pressure from the oil power of the Arab states.
Israel's security links with apartheid South Africa also didn't help.
But now there are mutual benefits for both sides with African states eager to develop economic and security ties and Israel keen to make new friends and develop ties in a region where Islamist extremism is on the march.

The Israeli leader earlier said the trip was part of an effort to "return to Africa in a big way".
Israel has launched a $13m (£9.8m) aid package to strengthen ties with African countries, including providing training in security and health.
It hopes greater engagement will see it gain more support from African countries at the UN and other international bodies, where it is regularly condemned over its occupation of the West Bank and blockade of the Gaza Strip.

A statue in Uganda of Benjamin Netanyahu's brother Jonathan, who was killed in the Entebbe raidImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA statue in Uganda of Benjamin Netanyahu's brother Jonathan, who was killed in the Entebbe raid

However, Palestinian government spokesman Jamal Dajani said he believed Israel's attempt to gain influence would fail.
African states would see through Netanyahu's "propaganda" because Africans and the Palestinians shared a history of "occupations and colonialism", he told AP news agency.