Veteran American diplomat David Satterfield is expected to become the new acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs beginning next month, replacing Stuart Jones, who is leaving the department, senior State Department officials confirmed to CNN.
Satterfield has vast experience in the Middle East, serving in a number of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia. He was a senior adviser to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and served as the State Department’s coordinator for Iraq, which is expected to become one of his primary responsibilities in his new role.
Satterfield also has worked on Israeli-Arab relations as director general of the multi-national force in the Sinai, which helps maintain the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. Most recently, he was a special adviser on Libya.
Officials said is unclear how long Satterfield will serve in the acting role and if President Donald Trump will ultimately nominate him for the position. He assumes responsibility for a region in turmoil, from the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to civil wars in Syria and Yemen and a deepening rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors.
Satterfield’s appointment was first reported by The Associated Press.