SENATORS MURKOWSKI AND CASEY CALL FOR A CIVILIAN AND DIPLOMATIC SURGE IN IRAQ
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today joined Senator Casey of Pennsylvania in introducing an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Act calling for a civilian and diplomatic surge in Iraq.
“Military progress alone will not provide for the conditions for a stable and secure Iraq,” said Senator Murkowski. “We need a civilian and diplomatic surge to go with the military surge. I am pleased to join Senator Casey to urge the Administration to place a greater emphasis on these areas to achieve stability within Iraq.”
“A diplomatic surge is necessary if we want to change course and redeploy our combat forces from Iraq,” said Senator Casey. “If we are going to have sustainable success in Iraq, we must engage in diplomatic outreach to ensure that Iraq’s neighbors are properly invested in its future. I’m pleased Senator Murkowski has joined me in introducing this important amendment and I hope that the Senate will send a message to the President that now is the time for diplomacy.”
The amendment highlights the need to implement a civilian surge to ensure that all components of the U.S. government are contributing to assist the Iraqi government to strengthen its capabilities to provide essential government services.
“The entire U.S. government must be involved in the reconstruction process in Iraq – not just the Department of Defense and State Department,” said Senator Murkowski. “There is expertise in the other departments that needs to be tapped and utilized. As General Petraeus noted before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the issue, ‘Certain elements of our government are at war…but not all of the others. We can use help in those areas.’”
The amendment also reflects a key recommendation of the Iraq Study Group which called upon the United States to “embark on a robust diplomatic effort to establish an international support structure intended to stabilize Iraq and ease tensions in other countries in the region.”
The amendment calls for the following steps, among others:
• The United States Government should re-allocate civilian expertise to help governmental entities in Iraq strengthen their ability to provide essential government services to the people of Iraq;
• The United States should take the lead in organizing a comprehensive diplomatic offensive, consisting of bilateral, regional, and international initiatives, to assist the Government of Iraq in achieving national reconciliation and meeting security, political, and economic benchmarks;
• The United States should more directly press Iraq’s neighbors to open fully operating embassies in Baghdad and establish inclusive diplomatic relations with Iraq so that the Iraqi government is viewed as legitimate throughout the region; and
• The United States should strongly urge the governments of those countries that have previously pledged debt forgiveness and economic assistance to the Government of Iraq to fully carry through on their commitments on an expedited basis.