“The United States remains committed to working with the government of Iraq to strengthen and deepen our long-term, whole of government partnership in pursuit of a secure, stable, and sovereign Iraq,” said Ambassador Robert Wood, U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations.
Unfortunately, Iran-aligned militia groups threaten to undermine Iraq’s hard-fought gains since the territorial defeat of ISIS seven years ago, said Ambassador Wood.
“Since October 2023, these groups have attacked U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan over 165 times. Tragically, three U.S. soldiers were killed and dozens more injured on January 28 when Iran-aligned militia groups attacked U.S. forces stationed in Jordan to take part in the fight against ISIS,” he said. “This loss is devastating. This is unacceptable. And attacks like it cannot continue.”
Many similar attacks in Iraq on U.S. and Coalition forces hosted on Iraqi bases have resulted in casualties, including among Iraqi partners who have the lead in the shared fight against ISIS, said Ambassador Wood:
“Armed groups operating outside of state control represent a significant challenge to the Iraqi government’s authority and for the Iraqi people, threatening to upend the stability that Iraqis have fought too hard to achieve.”
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, or UNAMI, still has important work to do, stressed Ambassador Wood:
“UNAMI has already provided invaluable assistance across the spectrum of social and economic challenges, including on elections, promoting and safeguarding human rights, combatting climate change, and governance reform, just to name a few. A highlight: Iraq held provincial council elections on December 18 that were generally orderly and peaceful, thanks in part to UNAMI-trained election staff and equipment available at polling stations.”
The U.S. encourages UNAMI to help Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission prepare for the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s parliamentary elections later this spring without further delay. The U.S. also encourages UNAMI’s support to the Government of Iraq in its efforts to protect human rights and combat impunity for violations.
As a partner in the region, the United States looks forward to continuing to work with the government of Iraq toward stability and peace.