Brett McGurk, President Obama's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning.
McGurk has extensive experience in Iraq. He served as an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during the Bush administration and as a special assistant on Iraq and Afghanistan to President Obama. He also led negotiations with the Iraqi government on the Security Framework Agreements which defined the U.S. role in Iraq once American combat forces withdrew from the country in 2011.
If approved, McGurk would replace outgoing ambassador James F. Jeffrey.
While McGurk is expected to be approved by the committee, he has critics in Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), both of whom serve on the Armed Services Cmte. Sen. McCain blames the recent political violence in Baghdad on McGurk's failure to negotiate a peace-keeping role for American troops in Iraq.
Other nominations were considered during the hearing. Michele Jeanne Sison is up for ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and to serve concurrently as Ambassador to the Republic of Maldives, and Susan Marsh Elliott to be ambassador to the Republic of Tajikistan.