WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate logjam over confirming top diplomatic envoys risks hampering U.S. efforts to contain an expanding Islamist urgency in Iraq, with several of President Barack Obama's nominees for the volatile Middle East unsure when they can get to work.
Obama announced his choice of a new ambassador to Iraq last month. He also recently nominated envoys to key regional players Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey.
But a distracted Senate is moving slowly to put the new Mideast team in place.
The prolonged transition in embassies across the region could compound the difficulty facing the United States as it attempts to stem the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The al-Qaida splinter group has expanded from its base in Syria, taking Iraq's second-largest city and threatening Baghdad.