February 11, 2016

US Congresswoman delivers speech on House floor in support of Peshmerga

Washington DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – Washington, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – ‘I rise today to recognize the important efforts made by the Kurds and the Peshmerga in the fight against ISIS… We need to do more to combat ISIS on the ground and also to help our allies who are willing to join us in this effort,’ said US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. unnamed (6)

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen highlighted the courage of the Peshmerga in their daily struggle against the terror group ISIS, despite the economic troubles that hamper Kurdistan.

The Peshmerga are engaged across a 650-mile front with ISIS, and repel frequent suicide and mortar attacks by the terror group. They have also liberated over 14,000 square miles, including strategic locations on three sides of Mosul and the city of Shingal (Sinjar).

These victories have come at a high price. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said, ‘1,600 Peshmerga forces have died in this fight and thousands more wounded. We are thankful all of the members of the Peshmerga, who are fighting to eradicate the evil of ISIS.’

Following the speech, KRG Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman said, ‘America is a critical partner for the Kurdistan Region in our fight against ISIS. We appreciate that Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and other members of Congress recognize the sacrifices of the Peshmerga, and we thanks them for their support. It is important to all of us in Kurdistan that the morale of our Peshmerga remains high and I am sure that Congresswoman Ros-Lehtine’s speech has helped to do that.’

In her speech, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen referred to comments by US Secertary of Defense Ash Carter who described the Peshmerga as being the kind of effective fighting force the United States needed.

She pointed out that the dire financial crisis in Kurdistan has made the KRG unable to provide regular salaries to the Peshmerga. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said, ’The burden of the war and the responsibility of caring for 1.8 million additional people have pushed the Kurdistan Region’s economy to the brink of collapse.’

Since 2012, Kurdistan has welcomed over 1.8 million Syrian refugees and internally displaced Iraqis, marking a 30 per cent increase in the region’s population. In January 2015 the World Bank estimated that the KRG will require $1.4 billion -$2.4 billion in infrastructure investments to stabilize Kurdistan’s economy.

As the refugee and IDP crisis drags on, international funding for humanitarian operations have lagged behind their requirements; 2015 saw a 25 per cent funding gap, causing cuts in critical health and food aid programs.

At the conclusion of her speech, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said, For these reasons, I will soon be introducing a Resolution honoring the brave men and women of the Peshmerga and their families who are fighting bravely against a brutal evil of ISIS; and, to stand with the Kurdish people, as they continue to endure great hardships during this war.

–>You can watch a film of her speech here…

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