White House WMD czar short list

Share

Gary Samore, who is heading to Harvard to become executive director of the Belfer Center,  had his last day at the White House on Friday, after serving four years as President Obama’s “WMD czar.”

The White House said no final decision has been made on who will succeed him. Arms control experts said there has been a closely-held short list of three or so prospective candidates under consideration, that narrowed further in recent weeks.

Among the names the Back Channel hears is on the short list is Samore's top deputy, Laura Holgate. Several diplomatic and arms control expert sources, speaking not for attribution, told the Back Channel they understood that Mark Fitzpatrick, a former State non-proliferation official now in London, may also have been under consideration. He declined to comment. A couple other people mentioned as prospective candidates, contacted by the Back Channel, denied they were in the running and said they were staying put in their current jobs.  Continue reading

Kurdistan’s man in Washington prepares for new role back home

Qubad Talabani, the longtime Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) envoy to Washington, will move to Kurdistan this summer after a twelve-year run representing Iraqi Kurdistan here that has seen the US invasion and withdrawal from Iraq.

Talabani, 34, the son of Iraq’s president Jalal Talabani, will head up a new strategic policy coordinating body reporting to the Kurdistan region’s prime minister, Talabani told me in an interview Tuesday. He will be based in the provincial capital of Erbil, and accompanied by his family– his wife Sherri Kraham, a managing director in the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) policy department, and their two year old son, Ari.

“Clearly, professionally, this is a step in the right direction for me,” Talabani said. “After twelve years of being here, I am sad to leave this great city but excited to start a new challenge.”

Given Talabani’s ancestral pedigree, however, it’s hard not to wonder if he’s being groomed to assume a future political leadership role.: Read the full piece here.