Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) has sent a letter to President Joe Biden (D) demanding that he “end the unacceptable treatment of Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)” by Iran-aligned elements in Iraq.
Despite being cited as a “reliable partner” in the Middle East, Rep. Waltz noted that the KRG is facing massive threats from Iran and “Iran-backed elements in Baghdad.”
“You are well aware of the role the US played in supporting the Iraqi people as they developed a constitution in 2005 that established the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has served as one of the United States’ most reliable partners in the Middle East, yet is being economically strangled, politically and legally pressured, including reportedly by Faiq Zaydan, President of the Supreme Judicial Council in Iraq, and militarily threatened by Iran and Iran-backed elements in Baghdad,” penned Rep. Waltz.
He would go on to mention that KRG has seen a significant reduction in its revenue due to the closing of the Iraq-Turkiye pipeline (ITP).
“It is encouraging that Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani’s Council of Ministers reportedly agreed to loan the KRG 2.1 trillion Iraqi dinars to help pay civil servants’ salaries and other expenses through November. However, and far more significantly, the closure of the Iraq-Türkiye pipeline (ITP) has cut off the KRG from the majority of its revenue. This comes at a time when oil prices are rising and Iran is able to export oil with seeming impunity, despite U.S. sanctions. In an August 15 letter, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken noted the importance of the ITP and that the State Department has ‘engaged on this issue in Baghdad, Ankara, and Erbil.’ He also stated that, ‘our partnership with the KRG remains a cornerstone of our broader relationship with Iraq,’” wrote Waltz.
He would conclude with the notion that Secretary Blinken’s efforts have not been successful, and that “a new Iraq strategy is necessary.”
“It is clear that the engagements Secretary Blinken cited have not contributed to a successful resolution to the crisis in Iraq and reopening of the ITP. A new Iraq strategy is necessary. We urge you to raise this issue with Prime Minister Sudani at your meeting at the UN General Assembly. We further ask to be informed of the specific, new steps you and Secretary Blinken intend to take to address this crisis,” stated Waltz.
Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) signed the letter as well.