US Senate approves Petraeus role
General Petraeus is seen as a rising star in the US
The US Senate has approved the appointment of General David Petraeus as head of US Central Command.
When he takes up the post in September he will have responsibility for US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as dealing with Iran and Pakistan.
As the US general currently in charge of Iraq, he has been credited with helping restore security to some parts of the country.
He takes over from Adm William Fallon, who stood down in March.
The resignation followed reports that Adm Fallon opposed the White House policy towards Iran.
In April the administration recommended that he should be succeeded by Gen Petraeus. The nomination needed approval by the Senate.
The BBC's Jane O'Brien in Washington says Gen Petraeus is a safe and trusted pair of hands for an administration trying to cope with new tensions across the Middle East.
Our correspondent adds that rising violence in Afghanistan is of major concern to Congress and lawmakers want that to be a top priority for the commander.
Sen John Warner, a Virginia Republican, said on Thursday: "We all share a concern about the worsening situation in Afghanistan."
"We're fortunate that [Gen Petraeus] is eminently qualified, having studied the culture of the region, having understood the complexity, the geopolitical situation with regard to Pakistan and Iran," he added.
The 55-year-old has overseen since last year the "surge" of an additional 30,000 US troops in Iraq, which has been credited widely with improving security and helping reduce violence.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said the general would not leave Iraq immediately, in order to ensure he had enough time for a proper handover.
Gen Petraeus will be replaced in Iraq by Lt-Gen Raymond Odierno, whose appointment was also overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.