Senate confirms Barbara Leaf to lead State Department’s Middle East bureau

Barbara Leaf, the Biden administration’s pick to head the State Department’s Middle East bureau, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday after more than a year of being blocked by Republican lawmakers.

US President Joe Biden nominated Leaf, currently the White House Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa Affairs, to be the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs in April 2021.

But political bickering and Republican opposition to Biden’s early foreign policy blunders put her confirmation on hold.

Despite Leaf being a veteran diplomat, Republican Senator Ted Cruz put a blanket hold on all Biden foreign policy nominees because he disagreed with how the Iran nuclear deal was being approached and what was seen as initial appeasement of Russia by the administration.

Leaf was previously the US ambassador to the UAE and held several other senior positions at the State Department, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Arabian Peninsula and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq.

She was also the State Department’s first Director of the Office of Iranian Affairs.

Related Articles

Back to top button