Obama nominates new US ambassador for Iraq

(AFP) 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama nominated a career diplomat as the new US ambassador to Iraq on Monday, after the previous candidate withdrew amid allegations of sexual impropriety.

The White House said it was nominating Robert Stephen Beecroft, who has served at the US embassy in Baghdad since July 2011, first as the deputy chief of mission and since June as the charge d'affaires.

Earlier he was the US ambassador to Jordan between 2008 and 2011, and has held positions at US embassies in Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Beecroft must still be confirmed in the post by the US Senate, where Democrats have a simple majority but opposition Republicans have enough strength to block the nomination.

In mid-June Obama's original pick for the job, Brett McGurk, withdrew his candidacy after the revelation of racy emails sent in 2008 between the married diplomat, who was stationed in Baghdad, and reporter Gina Chon.

McGurk is now married to Chon.

At the time, six Republican senators urged Obama to pull McGurk's name, saying he lacked sufficient managerial experience and that the emails raised questions about his judgment.