WASHINGTON—House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX); Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA); and Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) today made the following joint statement:
“After years of American and Iraqi citizens struggling and sacrificing side by side, the United States must remain committed to supporting a sovereign and democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors and safe for its citizens, regardless of their religion, sect, or ethnicity. Continued American engagement will be essential to ensuring future stability and security for Iraq.
“At the request of the Iraqi government, American trainers and advisors have helped lay the groundwork for a safe, democratic Iraq, including the training of more than 89,000 soldiers of the Iraqi Army and the Regional Guard Brigades. But we need to make sure this stability is sustainable. The Administration should continue these joint efforts, such as training and replenishing Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service after the punishing counter-ISIS battles. These and other initiatives will allow Iraq to defend itself and provide security for its people and will prevent Americans from fighting the same battles of the past.
“Beyond security assistance, the United States should continue efforts to help nearly two million internally displaced persons to safely and voluntarily return home. That will require closer coordination with international NGOs and multilateral partners including the UN, European allies, and Arab Gulf countries. The Administration’s commitment of nearly $340 million to help Iraq’s religious and ethnic component communities recover from the ISIS genocide is a good step. But all of Iraq’s people, including Iraq’s Sunni population, will need assistance to guarantee the defeat of ISIS and return to full participation in civic life.
“The United States must also help promote new opportunities for Iraqi trade and investment. Unemployment is high and the infrastructure degraded, but Iraq has a strong workforce teeming with potential and ability. Only through ongoing diplomatic engagement, in Baghdad and beyond, can we help Iraq meet these political and developmental challenges.
“At this critical point, it would be a mistake to pull back from Iraq as it seeks to preserve its sovereignty from both internal and external threats and grow into a thriving, vibrant democracy. We call on the Administration to continue to engage with Congress to ensure a stable future for the Iraqi people.”