Obama nominates Stephen Beecroft for Iraq envoy

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President Obama on Monday formally nominated Robert Stephen Beecroft to be US Ambassador to Iraq.

Beecroft, the Charge d’Affaires in Iraq since 2011, has served as de facto acting ambassador since the departure of US Ambassador James Jeffrey in May.

Beecroft, a career Foreign Service officer, previously served as executive assistant to two Secretaries of State and as US Ambassador to Jordan.

Beecroft’s nomination comes as Iraq’s government spokesman Ali Aldabbagh warned in an interview with Al-Monitor Monday of growing sectarian tensions in the country. Aldabbagh, a close advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, also charged that Iraqi’s fugitive Sunni Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi has “direct” ties to groups committing terrorism in Iraq.

A Baghdad court on Sunday convicted al-Hashemi in absentia of terrorism charges and sentenced him to death. “Hours after the verdict was announced on Sunday, insurgents launched fierce bombings against mostly Shiite neighborhoods in the capital, killing 92 and wounding over 360 in one of Iraq’s deadliest days this year,” the Associated Press’ Lara Jakes reported.

Al-Hashemi, currently in Turkey, has vehemently denied the accussations.

Obama’s previous nominee for the Iraq envoy job, Brett McGurk, withdrew his nomination in June amid personal attacks on him and his wife.

(Photo: Department of State.)

 

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