Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) today welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and a delegation of senior Iraqi officials to the Capitol. After the meeting, Leader McCarthy issued the following statement:
“The United States has a tremendous stake in partnering with Iraq to defeat ISIL, but as I have long said, the effort to defeat this enemy in Iraq and Syria will almost certainly require more forces than President Obama has thus far been willing to employ.
“We must win the battle against ISIL, but we also need to win the war for Iraq’s future. That will require a strategy to achieve an enduring peace in Iraq and a government that protects the rights of all of Iraq’s communities. I am encouraged by Prime Minister Abadi’s words—and by the ethnic and sectarian diversity of his cabinet.
“However, I am profoundly concerned by the growing influence in Iraq of armed groups loyal to Tehran. The very same leaders of Iranian-backed groups responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans are now deeply involved in the fight against ISIL on Iraqi soil. It is imperative that the Iraqi Security Forces—including Sunni forces and Kurdish Peshmerga—play the decisive role against ISIL. It would be a tragedy for Iraq’s people if ISIL’s defeat simply ushers in an era of greater Iranian control in Iraq.
“I call yet again for President Obama to present a strategy to not only defeat ISIL, but also to address the underlying conflicts in the region that have given rise to such radical extremism and have allowed Iran to exert its growing and malign influence in Iraq, Syria, and beyond.”