U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq Must Be 'Moral and Responsible': Iraqi Lawmaker
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "We must ensure that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is moral and responsible," a prominent Iraqi lawmaker told the Sub-Committee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Government Oversight of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. Dr. Saleh Mutlaq, Secretary General of Iraq's National Dialogue Front, visiting Washington, DC, to meet with officials at the White House, the State Department, and House and Senate members, told the Sub-Committee, "Let us work together to insure that the current withdrawal from Iraq, for which we have continuously called, will go forward with proper planning so as to avoid the previous missteps." "Iraq is my country, and I understand and believe that Iraqis are the ones who should fix and make it a better place. But, unfortunately, Iraq is not a sovereign state where Iraqis can decide their own fate. Even if the U.S. ends its occupation, Iraq's sovereignty is still breached by Iran," cautioned the Iraqi legislator. "The United States can work together with Iraqis in the next two years to 1) Press for genuine Iraqi reconciliation, 2) Rebuild the Iraqi armed forces on a professional and non-sectarian basis and 3) End U.S. support for sectarian politics in Iraq," Dr. Mutlaq added. He added that a responsible drawdown should include withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq, rectifying the major mistakes of the past six years in Iraq and compensating Iraq and Iraqis. Today, Dr. Mutlaq addressed the United States Institute for Peace, where he described "The creeping influence of our neighbor to the east, the regime in Iran, and the intimidation and fraud to which the Iraqi government has resorted," as the two main threats to the future of an independent and democratic Iraq. Noting that the 2010 elections would mark a turning point for Iraq, Dr. Mutlaq warned, "Either Iraq will emerge out of this election as a democratic and unified country or, as we fear through election fraud and lack of participation, it will slip into chaos and violence." He said that to avoid such an outcome, the United States can play a constructive role to ensure that the elections were free and fair by engaging the United Nations and Non-governmental organizations to monitor the vote robustly because he did not believe the current Iraqi electoral commission was impartial and independent. SOURCE Near East Human Rights Initiative Contact: S. Sajadi, Near East Human Rights Initiative, +1-913-402-1912