Retired general confirmed as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has voted overwhelmingly to confirm a retired four-star general as the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

John Abizaid (AB’-ih-zayd) will fill a post that’s been vacant for more than two years. He won confirmation by a 92-7 vote.

Abizaid was the longest-serving commander of U.S. Central Command, holding that post from 2003 until he retired in 2007. He served in Grenada, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

U.S.-Saudi relations have been rocked by the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee), a Washington Post columnist killed by kingdom agents in October while he was in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who had written critically of the crown prince.

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