WASHINGTON-U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, released the following statement regarding reports that the U.S. plans to fully withdraw diplomatic forces from its embassy in Baghdad:
"We stand with the State Department in its efforts to protect American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. However, we are extremely concerned that the implications of fully withdrawing our already limited diplomatic teams from the Baghdad Embassy could serve to undermine U.S.-Iraqi relations to the benefit of malign Iranian influence, cause our allies to also withdraw their diplomats from Baghdad, and undercut missions to train Iraqi security forces. As Iraq attempts to counter excessive Iranian influence and prevent a resurgence of ISIS, they also face myriad political, humanitarian, and economic challenges ranging from tackling corruption to the COVID-19 pandemic to the sharp drop in oil prices. Now is a critical time for the relationship between the United States and Iraq. The United States must conduct policy in a manner that supports Iraq's efforts to achieve a secure, democratic and prosperous future and become a stabilizing force in the region. We urge the Administration to provide a briefing to the Senate as soon as possible to explain the nature of the threats to our Embassy personnel, steps the State Department is taking to mitigate the threats in coordination with our Iraqi partners, and any consequence we would expect if the U.S. does vacate the Baghdad Embassy."