David Satterfield, a veteran U.S. diplomat with experience in the Middle East, will become acting assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs.
Satterfield will take the position on Sept. 5, replacing Stu Jones, who will retire on Aug. 11, a State Department official told JTA. His appointment was first reported by The Associated Press.
Satterfield has served in diplomatic positions in several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia. He also served as senior adviser to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the George W. Bush administration and served as the State Department’s coordinator for Iraq.
For about five years, starting in 2009, he was director general of the multinational force in the Sinai, which helps maintain the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. He returned to the State Department in 2014 to be a special adviser on Libya.
Satterfield in his new post is expected to focus on Iraq.
It is not known if President Donald Trump will appoint Satterfield to the position permanently.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro in a tweet called the naming of Satterfield “Good news. David Satterfield is a pro’s pro. He brings knowledge, judgment, and creativity to the post, pending a confirmed nominee. “
Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute, a D.C. think tank, said the temporary appointment was a “wise choice.” He added that the U.S. government “has few more experienced, savvy officials, w/broad background across #Mideast, than David Satterfield.”