Kerry, Lugar urge immediate Senate confirmation of ambassador to Iraq

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Obama nominated Beecroft last week after his first pick, Brett McGurk, withdrew from consideration after his racy emails with a reporter were made public. 

Beecroft served as ambassador to Jordan from 2008 to 2011 before being named deputy chief of mission in Iraq since July 2011 and chargé d'affaires since June 2012. If confirmed, he will replace James Jeffrey, who stepped down in June to retire.

The Baghdad Embassy is America's largest in the world, but Beecroft testified that the United States is shrinking its footprint in the country. He acknowledged lawmakers' growing concern about providing foreign aid to the unstable Middle East following last week's anti-American protests that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead in Libya.

“We have already made significant cuts in our staffing and contractor support and will further reduce our footprint without compromising our mission and security,” Beecroft said in his written testimony.

He also vowed to convey Kerry's message that U.S. assistance could be endangered if Iraq continues to collaborate with Iran, including reports that Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's government is allowing Iranians to use Iraqi airspace to send arms to Syria.

“They're working against our interests so overtly,” Kerry said. “There's a lot of anxiety around here with places that are trying to have it both ways.”

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