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GOP Lawmakers Criticize Biden for Hosting Iraqi Prime Minister Amid Middle East Conflict

Iraqi Prime Minister (Credits: Asharq Al-Awsat)

A group of Senate and House Republicans are voicing deep concerns about President Biden‘s upcoming one-on-one meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, opposing the gathering due to Iranian influence in Iraq.

The GOP lawmakers also criticized the scheduled meeting, slated for April 15, arguing that it undermines U.S. support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s fight against Iranian-backed Hamas.

“In your attempt to appease Iran, you’ve put American national security at risk and weakened our alliances,” the lawmakers stated in a letter to Biden sent late last month.

President of the US (Credits: The Hill)

Senators Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) spearheaded the letter, which six other Republican colleagues signed. Iraq stands as a critical battleground amid the fallout from Hamas’s October 7 assault on Israel.

U.S. troops stationed in Iraq have faced attacks from Iranian-backed militias—some integrated into Iraq’s armed forces—while these factions have also targeted Kurdish allies of the U.S..

Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen have also launched attacks against American forces throughout the region. The Pentagon suspects that Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-supported militia in Iraq, was responsible for an attack in Jordan that claimed the lives of three U.S. service members.

“These militias have launched over 180 attacks on Americans and the Kurdistan region since October 7, 2023, resulting in three U.S. service member fatalities and over 100 injuries,” the lawmakers emphasized.

The legislators outlined a series of conditions for a visit by the Iraqi prime minister, focusing on bolstering support for the Kurdistan region of Iraq and cutting off funding for Iranian-backed militias in the country.

Iraqi Prime Minister Amid (Credits: ABC News)

“As a prerequisite for Prime Minister al-Sudani’s visit, you should demand the immediate reopening of the Iraq-Turkey Pipeline to enable the Kurdistan Region to export oil without threats to U.S. public and private financing from Tehran’s sway in Baghdad,” the lawmakers asserted.

“You should also insist on the Iraqi government resuming funding for the Kurdistan Region, the prompt sale of Kurdistan crude already at the Ceyhan port, and a complete cycle of oil sales and payments to Kurdistan and its oil investors.

Additionally, you should halt further U.S. dollar transfers to Iraq until the Treasury Department certifies that such transfers do not benefit the Iranian regime or its proxies.”

Other signatories to the letter include Senators Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), as well as Representatives Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), French Hill (R-Ark.), Mike Turner (R-Ohio), and Mike Waltz (R-Fla.).

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