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 CorkerFreed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela Former US prisoner Josh Holt returns from Venezuela Hatch, Trump say American held in Venezuela returning to US MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDem sen: No military option in North Korea ‘without extreme risks’ Deregulating firearms exports risks putting guns in the wrong hands Senate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation 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) Francis ReedSenate panel again looks to force Trump’s hand on cyber warfare strategy Overnight Defense: Pompeo lays out new Iran terms | Pentagon hints at more aggressive posture against Iran | House, Senate move on defense bill Defense bill moves forward with lawmakers thinking about McCain MORE (D-R.I.), and Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump appears to confirm deal on Chinese firm ZTE Hillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Putting pressure on Trump, House passes bill barring government from doing business with ZTE MORE (R-Fla.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenHillicon Valley: Sweeping new data rules take effect | Facebook, Google already hit with complaints | Schumer slams reported ZTE deal | Senators look to save cyber post | Dem wants answers about Trump's phone security Senate panel targets Turkey's participation in F-35 program Judd Gregg: 'Medicare for all' means rationing for everyone MORE (D-N.H.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyFive takeaways on the canceled Trump summit with Kim Dem senator: I support 'real' Second Amendment, not 'imaginary' one Frustrated Trump wants action on border wall, immigration MORE (D-Conn.), and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineParent of middle school students amid shooting: ‘This happens in high school, not here’ Kaine demands answers on Pentagon missions in Africa Lawmakers push for House floor debate on war authorization MORE (D-Va.).