Lawmakers want Trump commitment to help Iraq post-ISIS

Lawmakers want Trump commitment to help Iraq post-ISIS
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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 CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFormer Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report McConnell 'almost certain' GOP will pass tax reform Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' Dems put hold on McFarland nomination over contradictory testimony: report 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.”

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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 ReedJohn (Jack) Raymond ReedSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Army leader on waiver report: 'There's been no change in standards' 15 Dems urge FEC to adopt new rules for online political ads MORE (D-R.I.), and Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress The Hill Interview: GOP chairman says ‘red flags’ surround Russian cyber firm Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ MORE (D-N.H.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory Dem senator compares GOP tax bill to unicorns, Tupac conspiracy theories MORE (D-Conn.), and Tim KaineTimothy Michael KaineDemocrats turn on Al Franken Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D-Va.).