May 05, 2005

Baghdad Embassy Update

I mentioned in an earlier post that confirmation hearings for Zalmay Khalilzad as the new Ambassador to Baghdad had not been scheduled in the Foreign Relations Committee. That observation is still true but, apparently, unfair to the Committee. Khalilzad's name does not appear among the nominations submitted to the Senate by the President in April.

The President's intent to nominate him was announced on April 5. I have no explanation for the delay. It should be noted that former Ambassador Negroponte presented his credentials in Baghdad fully six weeks after his confirmation by the Senate. So at the very least it looks as if we will be without an Ambassador to Iraq for some considerable time. Surely the disadvantages of this situation are evident enough not to require comment.

Congress being in recess until next Monday, President Bush could make Khalilzad a recess appointment. This would allow him to serve until the current session of Congress ends this fall. I would not suggest this step if the need were less pressing, but Khalilzad is well known to the Senate and an arrangement to appoint him permanently, with the normal confirmation procedures, later in the year could be made.

Posted by at May 5, 2005 09:59 PM | TrackBack (3)
Comments

fine with me. this delay is inexplicable. what about the afghan ambassador?

Posted by: praktike at May 6, 2005 03:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The President says that he wants to nurture democracy in Iraq, yet he is dragging his feet about sending a new ambassador to them.

This doesn't pass the giggle test.

Posted by: Joel at May 6, 2005 01:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Khalilzad is still Ambassador to Afghanistan. It is possible -- I have no inside information -- that developments there are part of the reason for the delay in submitting his nomination to the Senate. Frankly, I've always thought Afghanistan was where someone with Khalilzad's background and experience could be of greatest use. But a prolonged vacancy in the Baghdad embassy at this time cannot be helpful to anything we are trying to do in Iraq.

Posted by: JEB at May 6, 2005 07:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

But a prolonged vacancy in the Baghdad embassy at this time cannot be helpful to anything we are trying to do in Iraq.

given the Bush administration's records so far, this is not such a bad thing....

My guess is that Bushco doesn't really want an ambassador, because its not really interested in "normal" diplomatic relations with Iraq. There are doubtless numerous little Boltonoids in the administration, all of whom are trying to manipulate the situation in Iraq --- an ambassador would make it far more difficult for these guys to operate.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 6, 2005 10:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak said:
There are doubtless numerous little Boltonoids in the administration, all of whom are trying to manipulate the situation in Iraq --- an ambassador would make it far more difficult for these guys to operate.

This "analysis" doesn't pass the smell test; An Ambassador would not be much of an impediment to manipulations by Washington. In this day and age of instant communications and management, ambassadors are more like Maitre De's and office managers than anything else.

Posted by: Chris at May 7, 2005 08:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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