President Barack Obama’s pick for ambassador to Iraq has come under fire for his ties to Islamist parties, as well as his failure to negotiate for continued U.S. troop presence in the country. According to the Hill:
Obama's pick, Brett McGurk, led the failed negotiations to extend the U.S. troop presence past the end of 2011. The political situation in Iraq has deteriorated since then, prompting hawkish senators such as John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to lambast the White House. …
When his nomination was first announced, the main opposition coalition declared that it would have nothing to do with him because of his alleged close ties to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The self-described nonsectarian Iraqiya List has accused Maliki of a power grab… .
"I would like to inform you that al-Iraqiya bloc and the liberal trend will not deal with new assigned ambassador to Iraq Mr. Brett McGurk for his loyalty and bounds with the Islamic party," the Washington representative of former Prime Minister Ayed Allawi, a leader of the coalition, wrote to lawmakers in March.
The embassy in Iraq is America’s largest in the world. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take up McGurk’s nomination on Wednesday.