President Trump has selected Retired Four-Star General John Abizaid to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
An experienced military leader who retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after 34 years of service, Gen. Abizaid was head of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). At the time of his retirement, Abizaid was the longest serving commander of U.S. Central Command, from July 2003 and March 2007.
Gen. Abizaid is Lebanese-American and speaks Arabic, having learned the language while serving the U.S. armed forces in the Middle East. He is a graduate of West Point, and has a M.A. from Harvard.
As Politico notes, the role of U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia “is a sensitive one even in the calmest of times” but in recent months, the U.S.-Saudi relationship has been unusually turbulent.
Gen. Abizaid must be confirmed by Congress, which will open up Gen. Abizaid to questioning from lawmakers in advance of his confirmation vote.