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Intel: How US diplomatic attrition is hurting Middle East policy

People enter the State Department Building in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC1D48272C00

In a congressionally mandated report released today, the US Government Accountability Office said that 18% of the State Department’s foreign service posts in the Middle East are unfilled. The shortage was found to be particularly acute “representing regions with heightened security risks that could threaten US foreign policy interests.”

Why it matters: While the Donald Trump administration is working on an ambitious Middle East agenda — including an Arab-Israeli peace plan led by his son in law Jared Kushner, a Gulf alliance to counter Iran’s proxies such as Lebanese Hezbollah and UN-backed deals to make peace in Syria and Yemen — few diplomats are present at the working level to help out.

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