Senate Democrats

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP CALLS ON IRAQ PRIME MINISTER TO CLARIFY VIEWS ON HEZBOLLAH TERRORISM IN ADVANCE OF ADDRESS TO CONGRESS

Washington, DC — The Senate Democratic Leadership today demanded Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki clarify his position with regard to Hezbollah’s aggression against Israel. Published reports suggest that the new Prime Minister has condemned Israel, yet failed to denounce Hezbollah’s role in perpetuating the current crisis in Lebanon and Israel.

In a letter sent to the Iraqi leader, the Senators expressed their deep concern:

“Your statements are very troubling. Your failure to condemn Hezbollah’s aggression and recognize Israel’s right to defend itself raise serious questions about whether Iraq under your leadership can play a constructive role in resolving the current crisis and bringing stability to the Middle East.”

With America making such great sacrifices to attempt to create a just and free Iraq, the Democratic Leaders called on the Iraqi leader to clarify his position on the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

“As you know, the American people have given so much in the name of fighting global terror and helping build a better future for the people of Iraq. In that effort, over 2,500 Americans have lost their lives in Iraq, over 18,000 have been wounded, and over $300 billion in taxpayer funds have been expended. Americans deserve to know whether Iraq is an ally in these fights.”

The full text of the letter is attached below.

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July 24, 2006

Honorable Nuri Kamal al-Maliki

Prime Minister

Republic of Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Recent press accounts indicate that you forcefully denounced Israel’s actions in Lebanon, saying, “I condemn these aggressions…[and] call on the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression.” These same reports also indicate that you failed to denounce Hezbollah’s role in precipitating the current crisis by undertaking acts of terror against Israeli troops and citizens, as it has against Americans in the past.

Your statements are very troubling. Your failure to condemn Hezbollah’s aggression and recognize Israel’s right to defend itself raise serious questions about whether Iraq under your leadership can play a constructive role in resolving the current crisis and bringing stability to the Middle East.

In advance of your scheduled appearance before a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, we believe it is essential that you clarify your position with respect to Hezbollah and its provocative incursions into Israel. Specifically, it is imperative that the U.S. Congress and the world know immediately whether you support or condemn Hezbollah’s acts of terrorism.

As you know, the American people have given so much in the name of fighting global terror and helping build a better future for the people of Iraq. In that effort, over 2,500 Americans have lost their lives in Iraq, over 18,000 have been wounded, and over $300 billion in taxpayer funds have been expended. Americans deserve to know whether Iraq is an ally in these fights.

Sincerely,

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid

Assistant Democratic Leader Richard Durbin

Senator Charles Schumer

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