Trump's ambassador to Saudi nominee a familiar face for Turkey - DW

U.S. President Donald Trump new nominee for the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, is a face not unfamiliar to Turkey due to the role he played in shaping the Iraq war, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Abizaid, whose nomination arrives as the U.S. is weighing its response to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, visited Turkey in January of 2005 as the commander of the U.S. Central Command, Deutsche Welle said.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who contributed to the Washington Post, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate building in İstanbul on Oct. 2 and Turkish officials claim he was killed by a 15-member assassination squad sent from Riyadh on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi government.

At that time of his 2005 visit, the retired general, who also served in wars in Grenada, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, requested that the United States further utilise its İncirlik Air Base in Turkey’s southern province of Adana, it said. 

The United States has been using the strategically important base in the air campaign against the Islamic State.

Abizaid in 2007 raised eyebrows when he said ‘’There are ways we can live with a nuclear Iran,’’ at a time when the U.S was exerting efforts to prevent Iran from nuclear armament. 

The candidacy of Abizaid, the longest-serving commander of the US Central Command, was announced on Tuesday.

The post has been empty since former ambassador Joseph Westphal left in January 2017.

Abizaid’s nomination must be confirmed by the Senate.