US President Barack Obama on 23 October 2015 designated veteran Iraq expert Brett McGurk as Special Presidential Envoy to the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS). President Obama described McGurk as one of his most trusted advisers on Iraq.
He succeeded General John Allen who will retire from the post on 12 November 2015. Allen played a key role in trying to hold together the disparate 65-member coalition and steps down after a year marked by setbacks, policy reversals and increasing regional chaos.
Comment & Analysis
This appointment of McGurk signals that US is rethinking its policy on Iraq. Earlier, Obama had scrapped a 600 million dollar mission to train Syrian opposition fighters to take on Islamic State. The group controls swathes of northern Syria and is within striking distance of Baghdad.
The task has become more complex since Russia and Iran have intervened to prop up the Syrian government and deepen ties with Baghdad.
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Who: Brett McGurk
When: 23 October 2015