Jan. 4, 2007— -- ABC News has learned that President Bush will nominate Zalmay Khalilzad to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Khalilzad is currently the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The announcement may come as soon as tomorrow.
Khalilzad's departure from Baghdad will happen as soon as he is confirmed as U.N. ambassador.
Ryan Crocker, currently the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, will be nominated to replace Khalilzad in Baghdad.
Khalilzad has been U.S. ambassador to Iraq since June 2005. He is the highest ranking Muslim in the U.S. government and one of the few officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad fluent in Arabic.
A consummate dealmaker, Khalilzad played an active role trying to push the Iraqi government toward political reconciliation. Khalilzad's efforts aliented some in the Shia-dominated Iraqi government who complained that Khalilzad was biased in favor of Iraq's Sunnis. Khalilzad is a Sunni Muslim.
Before becoming U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Khalilzad served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Prior to that, he served as a Special Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large for the Free Iraqis.
Khalilzad has a bachelor's and a master's degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.