Trump Nominates John Abizaid as New Ambassador to Saudi Arabia


Trump Nominates John Abizaid as New Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

US President Donald Trump has named a former army general with long experience in the Middle East as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a post that has been vacant since Joseph Westphal left in January 2017.

John Abizaid, a retired four-star army general of Lebanese Christian descent, is prominent for his stint as the longest-chief of US Central Command – of which the Middle East is part – starting shortly after the Iraq war in 2003 all the way through to 2007.

He graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, after which he earned a scholarship to go study Arabic in Jordan, a language he did not speak as a child.

Abizaid also attended Harvard University where he obtained a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies. His thesis focused on Saudi Arabia’s weapons procurement policy.

The 67-year-old’s appointment, which will have to be approved by the Senate, comes at a time when relations between the longstanding allies are being put to the test following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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