A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

US Said to Be Sending Ambassador to Syria

CNN is reporting that the US will name an Ambassador to Syria soon. That, I think, is good news, and perhaps the first fruit of George Mitchell's mission, (though I'm sure neither he nor his senior staffers are among the "senior Administration officials" leaking the news). The US recalled its previous ambassador, Margaret Scobey (now Ambassador to Egypt) in 2005 after the Hariri assassination. The Embassy has been headed by a chargé ever since, though Syria kept Ambassador-level representation in Washington.

While expressing US outrage over the Hariri assassination made sense, the idea that George Mitchell is supposed to be negotiating with Syria and Israel when we don't have an Ambassadorial-rank representative in Damascus full time does not. It will be interesting to see whether the designee is a professional Foreign Service Officer or someone else; there've been rumors that one of Mitchell's people might get the job.

No comments: