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Rubio Tours Middle East, Warns of ISIS Threat

May 20, 2016 | News

Marco Rubio, who sits on  the Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, is in the Middle East this week, weighing in on military operations  as Islamic State (ISIS) terrorism continues to upend the region. 

Rubio went to Qatar which he praised as a “key U.S. partner” on Wednesday. He also visited with members of the Armed Forces as he toured Iraq.

“Iraq remains in a precarious political situation that threatens to further destabilize the country and the broader region, and disrupt efforts to destroy ISIS,” Rubio said.

“I stressed to Iraqi officials my grave concerns about ‎the ongoing sectarian rivalries and political turmoil that are taking the focus off of ISIS and threaten not only Iraq’s stability but that of the entire world. We discussed efforts to ensure Iraqi political institutions are functioning and governing in an inclusive manner that benefits all Iraqis.

“ISIS cannot be allowed to continue to control vast swaths of land in which they not only commit barbarities but also train and plan attacks against the U.S. and our allies,” Rubio added.

“As long as Iraq’s political institutions are ravaged by bitter Sunni vs. Shia infighting, sectarian reprisals and no sense of urgency about the existential threat to Iraq that all of this poses, our shared goal of defeating ISIS becomes harder. ‎I also was able to thank Kurdish officials for their assistance in the fight against ISIS.

“In recent days, we’ve been reminded of America’s increasing on the ground engagement in the fight against ISIS,” Rubio continued.

“I was also able to spend some time with our brave soldiers, intelligence professionals, and diplomats and thank them for their sacrifice on behalf of our country. They are carrying out essential work to keep Americans safe and they need our continued support and prayers.”

Rubio also met with Catholic and Orthodox bishops while he was in Iraq to talk about ISIS’ efforts against Christians in the region and religious freedom in general. 

“It was very important to me to show all Christians in the Middle‎ East that I stand in solidarity with them, and will continue praying for their safety and working on their behalf in the Senate,” Rubio said on Wednesday. “I was inspired by these brave individuals of faith who refuse to be silenced by intolerant and hateful barbarians like ISIS. This visit has renewed my commitment to them and religious freedom everywhere around the world.”

Rubio has fought since 2014 for ISIS to be classified by the State Department as committing genocide against Christians and other religious groups in the Middle East. 
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