KRG Minister of Peshmerga Affairs had ‘very successful’ visit to Washington
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – Shoresh Ismail, Minister of Peshmerga Affairs, led a delegation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to Washington last week. The visit took place on the eighth anniversary of the start of the US-led military campaign against ISIS, as the terrorist group burst out of Syria and then occupied one-third of Iraq, imperiling Baghdad and Erbil.
Only the Peshmerga held the line, as the US bombing campaign began on August 9, 2014. As a senator, President Barack Obama, had opposed the 2003 US-led war that ousted Saddam Hussein. As president, Obama was keen to withdraw US forces but less than three years later he was obliged to return them in order to block ISIS’s swift and stunning conquest.
KRG Delegation in Washington: “Very Successful”
The interagency visit last week “led by Minister Shoresh Ismail was very successful,” Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, KRG Representative to the United States, told Kurdistan 24.
“The delegation met with high level American officials and members of Congress and was able to reiterate the Kurdistan Region’s commitment to the strategic partnership with the United States,” Abdul Rahman affirmed.
“I’m pleased to say that the visit and the way the delegation was received by our American friends once again illustrated the depth and strength of our partnership,” she concluded.
More than any previous US administration, the Biden administration has affirmed the importance of the relationship between Washington and Erbil. Indeed, soon after taking office, in May 2021, it defined that relationship as a “strategic partnership.”
Dana Stroul, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, is among those officials with whom the KRG delegation met in Washington. Asked for comment on that meeting, the Pentagon’s Public Affairs office told Kurdistan 24 that the meeting had “focused on the shared objective of the enduring defeat of ISIS.”
The @KRG_USA hosted a reception in honor of Kurdistan's peshmerga forces and partnership with America— KRG-USA (@KRG_USA) August 8, 2022
Minister @IsmailShoresh, @dstroul, DAS of @DeptofDefense for ME, @IraqinUSA Chargé D'Affaires @Sinjaree & Rep. @BayanRahman delivered remarks
The Public Affairs office also cited Stroul’s remarks at a reception held for the KRG delegation at the end of its visit to Washington and hosted by the KRG Representation in Washington, along with the US Kurdistan Business Council.
The US-Kurdish Partnership
“The partnership between our armed forces and indeed our two people, is both longstanding and essential,” Stroul said, as she addressed the reception for the KRG delegation at Washington’s historic Willard Hote.
“For decades, the US military has worked closely with the Peshmerga in support of the security and stability of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the broader Middle East,” she continued. “The importance and the longevity of this partnership are based on a shared commitment to security achievements for both of our people, for the Middle East, for the dignity of humanity.”
The @KRG_MOPE Minister @IsmailShoresh and the delegation from Kurdistan had a warm and cordial meeting with @Brett_mcgurk at the @WhiteHouse. Both sides reiterated their commitment to the U.S. #Kurdistan partnership and to the enduring defeat of ISIS pic.twitter.com/LtTEHKRkW6— KRG-USA (@KRG_USA) August 5, 2022
In addition to their meeting at the Pentagon, the KRG delegation also visited the White House where they met with Brett McGurk, National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. They held a “warm and cordial meeting,” the KRG tweeted, adding “both sides reiterated their commitment to the US-Kurdistan partnership and to the enduring defeat of ISIS.”
Peshmerga Minister @IsmailShoresh and the @Kurdistan delegation had a warm and wide-ranging discussion with @StateDept_NEA DAS Jennifer Gavito on the security, political and economic developments in #Kurdistan and #Iraq. pic.twitter.com/60LeF9Rdv4— KRG-USA (@KRG_USA) August 5, 2022
At the State Department, the delegation met with Jennifer Gavito, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. They had “a warm and wide-ranging discussion” on “security, political and economic developments in Kurdistan and Iraq,” the KRG Representation tweeted.
“It’s important to remember that ISIS remains a threat in Iraq and Syria,” Abdul Rahman advised Kurdistan 24, “and the work of the Peshmerga, the Iraqi military, and US-led Coalition is not yet finished.
“We all must remain focused on ensuring a resurgence of ISIS or other terrorist groups doesn’t happen,” she stated, “while also staying vigilant with regards to other threats to our stability and mutual interests.”