WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both issued statements today condemning the Iraqi attack on Kirkuk. Their statements follow a similar one issued by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Franks noted reports “that Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units (i.e. militia groups) —predominantly the Hashd al-Shaabi—have openly engaged Kurdish defense forces, battling in Kirkuk.”
“The Hashd al-Shaabi has shown its true colors,” his statement read. “They are a pawn of the corrupt regime in Tehran, committed to affecting a ‘[Shia] Crescent’ to continue funneling money and arms to designated terrorist groups like Hezbollah.”
A long-time friend of the Kurds, Franks said, “I echo the sentiments of my previous statements when I say that the American government must end its indifference to our loyal allies, the Kurds.”
“We must respect the desire of our steadfast friends to determine their own destiny” and “support the Kurds’ bid for independence, as doing so is clearly in our national interest.”
Franks urged “Iraqi Prime Minister [Haider] al-Abadi to fulfill his pledge to prevent any external or internal attacks against the Kurds.”
Sen. Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, also called for a halt to the violence. “Every ounce of energy and resources the Iraqi government and the Kurdish Peshmerga spend fighting each other should instead be spent fighting [Islamic State (IS)] terrorism in the region.”
“This is especially true when those resources are sent by the United States,” the Senator added. “I urge the administration to immediately initiate a dialogue between the two sides to ensure a peaceful resolution between the Iraqi government and [the] Kurds that doesn’t jeopardize the ongoing fight against [IS], put at risk the gains made to date, and determines the best way to accommodate the legitimate aspirations” of the Kurds.
Rep. Franks concluded his statement with a challenge to Abadi to “prove Baghdad is not the puppet of Tehran,” and warning, “otherwise, the US will have no other choice but to pull funding, as it cannot in good conscience send money to an Iranian patsy working to subvert American interests.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany