President Obama announced his decision to nominate career diplomat Robert Ford as Ambassador to Syria, the first since the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Currently deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Baghdad, Ford (a fluent speaker of Arabic) was previously Ambassador to Algeria (2006-8) and deputy chief of mission to Bahrain (2001-4).
Ford's mission in Syria will be to further strengthen growing bilateral ties, move Damascus away from Iran to further stigmatize that nation, and to engage the Syrian government anew in the Israel-Palestine peace process to help move beyond the current impasse, all while encouraging the Syrians to renounce support for Hezbollah.
Ford's nomination now awaits Senate confirmation.
- Amy Greene
(photo credit: US Department of State)