CDS Calls on Obama to Confront Al-Maliki Over Meddling in Syria

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Iraqi Government Has Offered Both Direct and Indirect Support for the Assad Regime

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While the international community may hesitate to take more assertive action, using diplomatic and economic leverage on Iraq seems to be an obvious step to take to undermine the Assad regime.

The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) calls on President Obama to confront Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki over his support for the Assad regime when Prime Minister Maliki visits the White House on Friday, November 1. Prime Minister Maliki's government in Baghdad has offered both direct and indirect support for the Assad regime's war against the Syrian people.

The CDS calls on President Obama to use all of America's diplomatic and economic leverage to Mr. Maliki to live up to his fine words in the New York Times and stop his support for the criminal Assad regime and its Iranian sponsor (New York Times, 10/30/2013).

Syrian American activists will join other pro-democracy activists to protest Mr. Maliki's White House visit. CDS calls on all supporters of freedom and democracy to join with these activists to make sure the President and Mr. Maliki hear their message.

"Mr. Maliki's government has a well-documented history of collusion with the Islamic republic and of pursuing a regional sectarian agenda," said Mohammed Alaa Ghanem Director of Government Relations for the Syrian American Council. In addition to permitting the Iranian regime to use Iraqi airspace to transport military assistance to the Assad regime in Syria, the Baghdad government has also tacitly permitted sectarian brigades to be recruited and trained in Iraq, for eventual combat in Syria (The Guardian, 3/24/2013; Reuters, 10/16/2013).

Continuing this increasing involvement in Syria on the side of the Assad regime and Iran, Iraqi army troops recently clashed with Free Syrian Army brigades at the al-Yarubiya border crossing (Sky News Arabic, 10/26/2013).

Senators McCain, Levin, Inhofe, Menendez, Corker, and Graham outlined these and other problems in an open letter to President Obama earlier this week. CDS echoes their call to President Obama to hold Mr. Maliki to his word and encourage his government to adopt policies that will reduce inter-communal tensions and promote a negotiated political settlement to the conflict in Syria.

"President Obama and the international community must make it clear to Prime Minister Maliki that he cannot continue to meddle in Syria's internal affairs. He must further insist that Mr. Maliki order all Iraqi militias withdrawn from Syria, take steps to prevent future militia deployments to Syria, and stop allowing Iranian resupply planes from flying through Iraqi airspace," said Mr. Ghanem. "While the international community may hesitate to take more assertive action, using diplomatic and economic leverage on Iraq seems to be an obvious step to take to undermine the Assad regime."

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[For more information, contact: Laila Barakat; 646-535-6526, laila.barakat(at)sacouncil(dot)com].

About the Coalition for a Democratic Syria

The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a group of Syrian-American non-profit organizations working together to bring about a swift end to the conflict and support the establishment of peace, freedom, and democracy in Syria. The CDS is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, non-partisan organization. The CDS includes: Syrian Emergency Task Force, Syrian American Council, United for Free Syria, Syrian American Alliance, Syrian Christians for Peace, Syrian Christians for Democracy, and the Association of Free Syrians.

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Laila Barakat
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