October 19, 2017

Duckworth: Escalation of Hostilities in Kirkuk “Undermines Our Goals Across the Region and Must Be Reversed”


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator and combat Veteran Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today issued the following statement regarding recent fighting in Kirkuk, Iraq:

"Recent clashes between the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces in Kirkuk are not only tragic, but they run counter to our nation's strategic interests as well as those of the Iraqi and Kurdish people. This escalation of hostilities threatens to undermine our goals across the region and must be reversed. Prime Minister Abadi and the Kurdish Regional Government must de-escalate military tensions and the United States can and should play a leadership role. We must press both the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to engage in honest dialogue aimed at resolving Baghdad's and Erbil's differences and restoring peace.

"The events of recent days also lay bare the need for a swift and thorough review of the military assistance and training our Armed Forces provide to foreign fighters. We cannot afford to waste taxpayer dollars and we must also protect our national security interests. The United States has helped train and arm both the Iraqis and the Kurdish forces, who now appear to have used that expertise and weaponry against each other. Worse still, some of those weapons reportedly ended up in the hands of Iranian-backed militias. That is simply unacceptable and, if there continues to be this misuse of American equipment, we must ensure accountability."