The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, is the leading candidate to be the next American ambassador to the United Nations, three Bush administration officials told CNN Thursday.
However, two of the sources indicated that President Bush was not yet prepared to make an announcement of the appointment.
Ryan Crocker, a veteran Middle East diplomat who is the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, is expected to be nominated by Bush to replace Khalilzad in Baghdad, two senior administration officials told CNN.
If nominated for the U.N. job, Khalilzad would replace John Bolton, whose recess appointment to the post ended Thursday.
Despite nearly two years of trying, Republican leaders could not push his permanent confirmation through the Senate.
Khalilzad, 55, a native of Afghanistan and a Sunni Muslim, has been the U.S. ambassador to Iraq since June 2005.
He was previously U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
Crocker, 57, has previously served as U.S. ambassador in three countries bordering Iraq -- Lebanon, Kuwait and Syria.
In 2003, he was also a high-ranking official in the Coalition Provision Authority, which governed Iraq after the U.S. invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.
Normally you'd pick someone who was associated with success. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are not nations we've had good luck motivating to act along with our interests (or their own), and the transitional Authority? Granted many of the bad decisions were made in Washington, but still. Well at least this one will maybe make the Democrats feel warm and fuzzy while nothing gets accomplished in the UN.