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White House eyes former NSC official Brett McGurk for Iraq envoy

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Former NSC Iraq official Brett McGurk (C-Span)

The White House is expected to nominate Brett McGurk to be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq, an Iraqi diplomat and a former U.S. official who worked on Iraq told Yahoo News Monday. Both requested to speak anonymously since the post has not yet been announced.

McGurk previously worked for the National Security Council under both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. An early proponent of the "surge" of U.S. forces to Iraq, McGurk helped lead negotiations for the 2008 security agreement between Iraq and the United States, which called for the phased withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country by the end of last year. A fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2010, McGurk was enlisted this past summer by the Obama administration to assist in negotiations on a possible U.S. follow-up force in Iraq—where the U.S. would keep a number of troops in the country after 2011—but an agreement could not be reached.

Current U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Jim Jeffrey reportedly informed the State Department earlier this year of his desire to hand over the post overseeing the largest U.S. embassy in the world. He is among the U.S. ambassadors in town for the annual State Department chiefs of mission conference taking place in Washington this week.

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