Robert Ford was in line to become the next ambassador to Egypt. But the nomination was killed when officials of the interim government in Cairo rejected it.
Another Obama failure in what is now a laundry list of daily disasters. Egypt refused Obama’s pick for Ambassador because of his ties to al Qaeda elements in the Syrian jihad against Assad.
“Robert Ford, almost ambassador for Egypt,” By Al Kamen, Washington Post, February 4, 2014
The White House’s point man for Syria, Robert Ford, has told friends he is likely to leave the State Department this year, our colleague Anne Gearan reports.
On paper, Ford is still the ambassador to Syria, but his job has been to lead the U.S. policy of supporting the Syrian opposition since the embassy in Damascus closed two years ago.
A career Foreign Service officer, fluent Arabic speaker and well-regarded diplomat, Ford was in line to become the next ambassador to Egypt. The nomination died before it was born, however, when officials of the military-backed interim government in Cairo nixed it, according to several people familiar with the decision.
Ford was an indirect casualty of the coup that deposed the Muslim Brotherhood-backed elected president, Mohamed Morsi, last summer. Though Ford is widely liked by many Egyptian officials, his vocal support for the Syrian opposition movement and close ties to Persian Gulf nations made him suspect to the Egyptian military, which has held de facto power since July, current and former U.S. officials said. Egypt’s opposition was first reported by Foreign Policy magazine.
Ordinarily, career officers named to major posts in friendly capitals have no trouble winning “agreement,” the diplomatic term for the acceptance of one country’s choice for ambassador. But the Egyptian military, which has long considered the Muslim Brotherhood a political enemy, feared that Ford was too close to Islamist political movements across the Middle East, U.S. and Arab officials said.
Ford’s nomination had been planned for January, U.S. and other officials said. The officials all spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither Ford nor the White House has talked publicly about the doomed plan. Instead, the deputy chief of mission, Marc J. Sievers, was promoted to charge d’affaires on Jan. 21.
“Robert Ford has not been nominated for a new position. Beyond that, we don’t have any comment on personnel,” said Bernadette Meehan, a National Security Council spokeswoman.
Pamela Geller is the Editor of PamelaGeller.com