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 CorkerSenators move to rein in Trump with new ISIS war bill Is Trump's White House headed into troubled waters? Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben CardinBen CardinWorries mount about vacancies in Trump's State Department Pence marks Armed Forces Day with vow to rebuild military Trump's steps on Iran show cooperation with Congress is possible 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 ReedTaking the easy layup: Why brain cancer patients depend on it Intel chief quiet on whether Trump asked him to deny Russia evidence Dem senators push for probe of Sessions over Comey firing MORE (D-R.I.), and Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioMcConnell on Trump: 'We could do with a little less drama' Taking the easy layup: Why brain cancer patients depend on it Rubio: 'All options should be on table' if Flynn refuses new subpoenas MORE (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDem senator: 'One of our closest allies' expressed concern about intelligence sharing Sessions postpones Senate testimony on DOJ funding McConnell promises women can take part in healthcare meetings MORE (D-N.H.), Chris MurphyChris MurphyDem rep jokes ‘body slammed’ reporter lucky GOP healthcare plan isn’t in place yet GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Chris Murphy on Infowars' White House press credentials: 'I want to throw up' MORE (D-Conn.), and Tim KaineTim KaineSenators move to rein in Trump with new ISIS war bill Kaine: ‘Broken promises’ in Trump budget Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens MORE (D-Va.).