Lawmakers want Trump commitment to help Iraq post-ISIS

Lawmakers want Trump commitment to help Iraq post-ISIS
© Getty Images

A bipartisan group of senators is urging President Trump to continue U.S. support in Iraq following a “forthcoming” ousting of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from the country. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerBob CorkerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Iran nuclear deal still under threat — US must keep its end of the bargain Senate heads to new healthcare vote with no clear plan MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben CardinBen CardinSunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief Oil concerns hold up Russia sanctions push Compounds’ fate raised after Trump-Putin talk MORE (D-Md.) penned a letter Monday asking Trump to “continue working with Iraq’s leaders to preserve their country’s unity and ensure its stability.”

The letter comes following Trump’s first meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“We write to you united in our desire to see the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi people seize the opportunity of the forthcoming defeat of ISIS on the battlefield,” the lawmakers write. “Pushing ISIS out of Iraq has united its people around a common cause. Now, that sense of unity must turn to rebuilding the country.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Iraqi forces are in the midst of a battle for Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, where ISIS has held ground for nearly three years. A defensive to retake the city was launched in October with support from the U.S.

Many have questioned what will happen to Iraq and its government once ISIS is pushed out.

A stable Iraq “requires a plan for decentralizing some functions of the government, disbanding Iranian-aligned militias, addressing the humanitarian needs of Iraq’s community, and committing to a program of reconciliation,” the letter states.

"We should be ready to support Prime Minister Al-Abadi as he moves forward with a plan to reassure all Iraqis of their inclusion in a unified, federal Iraq," the senators write. "In order to provide this assurance, we should be prepared to assist Iraq in a program of decentralization, reconciliation, and security sector reform."

The lawmakers ask Trump to “take the lead in building greater public support for our strategic objectives in Iraq,” as well as “continue supporting Iraq’s security forces so that they can partner with U.S. forces on counterterrorism.”

Furthermore, the senators ask for an immediate response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq by committing “significant energy and resources to stabilize and secure areas liberated from ISIS, and assist Iraq’s displaced communities in returning to their homes.” 

ISIS or other extremist groups could return to Iraq if the displaced communities are not helped, the lawmakers add.

Fourteen additional lawmakers signed the letter, including Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJack ReedArmed Services leaders appoint strategy panel members Senators ask for Syria policy study in defense bill Overnight Defense: Senate confirms Pentagon No. 2 | Uncertain future for Iran deal | Trump to visit Pentagon Thursday | Key general opposes military space corps MORE (D-R.I.), and Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioBush ethics lawyer: Congress must tell Trump not to fire Mueller The private alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program  Cruz offers bill to weaken labor board's power MORE (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: Trump gets briefing at Pentagon on ISIS, Afghanistan | Senate panel approves five defense picks | Senators want Syria study in defense bill Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Senators ask for Syria policy study in defense bill MORE (D-N.H.), Chris MurphyChris MurphySenate Dems question admin over funding anti-ObamaCare effort Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump Administration briefs Senate on progress against ISIS MORE (D-Conn.), and Tim KaineTim Kaine40 million fewer people expected to vote in 2018, study finds Al Gore warns Democrats about accusing Trump of treason Administration briefs Senate on progress against ISIS MORE (D-Va.).