Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk in Iraq

Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk visited Iraq from June 18-21. Accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones, Mr. McGurk met with senior government and security officials, including Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi, COR Speaker Jabouri, Anbar Governor Rawi, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Barzani and KRG DPM Talabani.

In his meetings in Baghdad, Presidential Envoy McGurk praised the Iraqi Security Forces on their recent success in Fallujah. He noted the difficult challenges ahead in clearing the remainder of the city, including the extensive booby traps laid by Da’esh, and pledged ongoing support from the coalition. He also commended the Iraqi Security Forces for the tremendous accomplishments they have made over the last six months in Anbar province, retaking major population and transit centers such as Ramadi, Haditha, Hit, and Rutbah, essentially clearing Daesh from the Euphrates Valley. He also commended the courage of over 20,000 tribal fighters from Anbar who have supported these operations through Iraq’s popular mobilization program. Throughout, he emphasized continued U.S. support for Iraqi Security Forces, through training, logistics, and air support, including ongoing operations to retake Qayarrah, which will further isolate Mosul and set the stage for its full liberation. ‎

Given the rapid progress by Iraqi forces in liberating areas from Daesh and the need to help those displaced return home as soon as possible, Presidential Envoy McGurk called on the International Coalition to increase their contributions to these humanitarian efforts. He stressed our responsibility to respond to the humanitarian situation in Fallujah as thousands of IDPs remain in desperate need of food, shelter, and aid. The United Stated remains the number one contributor of humanitarian assistance to Iraq, contributing nearly $800 million in aid since 2014, and we are looking to further increase these contributions. ‎ The United States and coalition partners are also supporting the work of the de-mining company JANUS, in Ramadi, which successfully cleared its first sector of mines, paving the way for immediate stabilization projects and the eventual safe return of the population to their homes.

Presidential Envoy McGurk also commended Prime Minister Abadi on reaching agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a three-year, $5.4 billion Stand-by Arrangement, which is expected to leverage an additional $12 billion in international economic support for Iraq and establish a macroeconomic framework that will enable Iraq’s economic stabilization and growth. The U.S. was proud to support Iraq by helping to organize the $3.6 billion in financial assistance in support of Iraq’s IMF program, announced at the recent G-7 Summit in Japan.

While in Erbil, Presidential Envoy McGurk, Ambassador Jones, and CG Mitman joined a meeting between Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi National Security Advisor Falah al-Fayyad to discuss joint coordination and planning for upcoming operations to retake Mosul from Da’esh terrorists. Mr. McGurk pledged that the coalition will support these efforts throughout operations to liberate Mosul and the post-liberation stabilization phase.