SALT LAKE CITY — A Utahn who serves as the U.S. ambassador to Yemen is in line to assume the same post in Iraq.
President Donald Trump intends to nominate Matthew H. Tueller to serve as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Tueller has served in Yemen since May 2014 and has been based in Saudi Arabia since the closure of the embassy there in February 2015 due to civil war.
The U.S. has backed Saudi Arabia in the war against the Houthis, an Islamic sect that seized the Yemeni capital of Sanaa and other parts of the country more than three years ago. Tueller expressed support for the Saudi-led coalition in an interview on NPR in March.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has repeatedly called for the removal of U.S. forces in the fighting between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi movement in Yemen. He reiterated that call after Saudi Arabia admitted to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Tueller, 62, is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. He also served as U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, deputy chief of mission in Egypt and political minister counseler at the embassy in Iraq. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Tueller would replace Douglas Silliman, who has been the top U.S. diplomat in Baghdad since 2016. His appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.