http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-ma...ressappoints-1st-ambassador-to-syria-in-years HONOLULU -(Dow Jones)- President Barack Obama sidestepped Congress and appointed Robert Stephen Ford to be ambassador to Syria, the first high-ranking diplomat in about six years to be charged with formalizing relations with the troubled Middle Eastern country. Ford, who has held diplomatic posts in Iraq and Algeria, will be the first U.S. ambassador to Syria since former President George W. Bush pulled the ambassador in 2005, after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The U.N. found a strong likelihood that Syria was officially involved in the assassination. Mr. Obama also said he intended to appoint five others to various ambassadorships and other positions, according to a White House press release Wednesday. The appointments will slip through while Congress is in recess, giving the nominees temporary cover from often contentious Senate confirmation hearings. Mr. Obama will appoint James M. Cole as deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. Cole has been a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP since 1995. He was also a member of former President Bill Clinton's transition team in 1992. Cole's appointment had been blocked by Republicans amid concerns over his role as an independent monitor at American International Group Ltd. (AIG), the insurance giant the government bailed out. Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D., Vt.) decried in a statement Republicans' earlier moves to block the appointment. "Despite repeated requests, for more than five months, Senate Republicans refused to debate the nomination of Jim Cole to be the Deputy Attorney General," he said. "The delays in considering his nomination were unnecessary and wrong. I am glad that he will now finally begin this important work to protect the American people."