US Senators urge Obama tell Maliki to cut ties with Iran, halt attacks on Camp Ashraf residents

The letter to President Obama was signed by: Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Carl Levin (D-MI), James Inhofe (R-OK), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

NCRI – President Barack Obama must use a meeting with Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki at the White House this week to urge him halt the persecution of minorities in his country and resist being used as a pawn of the Iranian regime, US senators have demanded.

They also condemned the recent massacre of 52 Iranian dissidents members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) at Camp Ashraf, adding “Prime Minister Maliki must understand that actions such as these need to stop.” Al-Maliki must also be told to stop giving safe haven to al-Qaeda, which is using Iraq to mount terrorist attacks in the region.

The demands were made in a strongly-worded letter to President Obama by a group of cross-party senators led by republican John McCain.

It said: “We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Iraq. As Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visits Washington this week, we urge you to press him to formulate a comprehensive political and security strategy that can stabilize the country, enable Iraq to realize its vast potential, and help to safeguard our nation’s enduring national security interests in Iraq.

“Security conditions in Iraq have dramatically worsened over the past two years. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has returned with a vengeance: It has regenerated the manpower, terrorist infrastructure, resources, and safe havens to sustain and increase the tempo and intensity of attacks and to penetrate deeper into all parts of Iraq than at any time in recent years.

“The deteriorating conflict in Syria has enabled al-Qaeda in Iraq to transform into the larger and more lethal Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which now has a major base for operations spanning both Iraq and Syria.

“We are deeply concerned that Al-Qaeda could use its new safe haven in Iraq and Syria to launch attacks against US interests and those of our friends and allies.”

The senators also accused al-Maliki of pursuing a ‘sectarian and authoritarian’ agenda against Iraqi Kurds, and driving disenfranchised Sunni Muslims into the arms of al-Qaeda.

They urged Mr Obama to use al-Maliki visit to re-engage the American people with the idea of the continuing strategic importance of Iraq, and the need for it to become a sovereign, stable, and democratic nation.

The added: “We urge you to make clear to Prime Minister Maliki that the extent of Iran’s malign influence in the Iraqi government is a serious problem in our bilateral relationship.

“We encourage you to step up our counter-terrorism support for Iraq. It is in our national security interest to enhance the effectiveness of Iraq’s security forces, especially through greater intelligence sharing.”

“Furthermore, attacks against the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq are reprehensible, especially because the Iraqi government pledged to protect these people.”

Al-Maliki must also be told that if implements a real governance strategy for Iraq, the United States is ready to provide the appropriate support to help that strategy succeed.

The letter added: “Iraq’s challenges will never be solved through security operations alone. Indeed, as the United States learned through its own hard experience in Iraq, applying security solutions to political problems will only make those problems worse.

“It is essential that you urge Prime Minister Maliki to adopt a strategy to address Iraq’s serious problems of governance. Such a strategy should unite Iraqis of every sect and ethnicity in a reformed constitutional order, based on the rule of law, which can give Iraqis a real stake in their nation’s progress, marginalize Al-Qaeda in Iraq and other violent extremists, and bring lasting peace to the country.

“To be effective, an Iraqi political strategy should involve sharing greater national power and revenue with Sunni Iraqis, reconciling with Sunni leaders, and ending de-Baathification and other policies of blanket retribution.

“If Prime Minister Maliki continues to marginalize the Kurds, alienate many Shia, and treat large numbers of Sunnis as terrorists, no amount of security assistance will be able to bring stability and security to Iraq. That is not a legacy we want for Prime Minister Maliki, and that is not an outcome that would serve America’s national interests.”

The letter was signed by: Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Carl Levin (D-MI), James Inhofe (R-OK), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
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