Trump taps career diplomat as ambassador to Libya

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE on Tuesday nominated career diplomat Richard Norland to be the next ambassador to Libya, seeking to fill a key State Department posting in a country still reeling from the aftermath of the Arab Spring. 

Norland has worked as the foreign policy adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since 2016 and previously served as the ambassador to Uzbekistan and Ukraine. He has two Master’s degrees, from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the National War College, and is the recipient of a Presidential Distinguished Service Award. 

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The U.S. does not currently have an ambassador in Libya, though Peter Bodde serves as the Chargé d’Affaires to the Libya External Office in Tunis. Bodde previously served as ambassador to Libya until the end of 2017.

Libya has struggled to clamp down on violence since the Arab Spring rocked the country in 2011 after dictator Muammar Qaddafi used the military to crush anti-government demonstrations. Rebel groups eventually captured and killed Qaddafi later that year, though the new government has struggled to regain control of vast swaths of territory.

The State Department’s mission in Benghazi was the site of a 2011 terror attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador John Stevens.

Libya is currently torn between a United Nations and U.S.-backed government in Tripoli and another movement headed by General Khalifa Haftar that is based in the eastern part of the country. 

The State Department says on its website it is committed to providing “targeted assistance” to Libya to help with “political reconciliation” and “securing Libya’s territory,” among other goals.