Iraq remains a mess and maybe President Obama is now relying on a lawyer to help clean it up.
The President announced Friday that retired Marine Gen. John Allen was being replaced by lawyer and diplomat Brett McGurk as his special envoy to Syria and Iraq. McGurk had earlier worked as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Willian Rehnquist.
But the job “special envoy” carries with it a broad brief encompassing the holding together of the anti-ISIS coalition.
McGurk, 42, has been serving as Allen’s deputy as well as holding down the job of deputy assistant secretary of State for Iraq and Iran.
Military.com report that Allen had clashed with the military over the now-defunct $500 million effort to create an army of Syrian volunteers, was departing after 13 months as special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, another name for the terrorist group.
In a statement, Obama offered his “profound gratitude” to Allen for his efforts to build from the start “a robust international coalition that would undertake a wide range of political, diplomatic, military, economic and other efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”
Word that Allen, 61, the former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, was leaving leaked in September as Russia prepared to enter Syria, Syrian refugees flooded Europe and the U.S. plan to vet, train and equip a force of 5,000 Syrian fighters was falling apart.
Allen was expected to take a post with the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based research organization.