Martha knows that a stable Middle East is critical to ensuring the development of freedom and civil rights for those living in the region and for the security of America. The war in Iraq, continued violence in Israel and Palestine, and Iran's nuclear ambitions, are serious problems. As Senator, Martha will dedicate herself to keeping America safe and developing ways for the people of the Middle East to live peacefully and prosper.
Israel is one of our most important allies. Martha has traveled to Israel and has seen firsthand how important this democratic nation is in the region. In Washington, Martha will work to make sure Israel's safety and security remain our priority.
Martha supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Martha knows that a safe and secure Israel is part of the foundation of a stable Middle East, and thus America's national security. In Washington, Martha will help continue the ongoing and gravely important work of developing a workable two-state solution so we all finally know peace in that region.
Ending the War in Iraq
Over 130,000 American troops remain in Iraq. Since the war began, over 4,300 American soldiers have died. Martha supports President Obama's plan to fully withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011. Had Martha been in the Senate at the time, she would have voted against the Iraq invasion.
The situation in Iraq remains dire. There are 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in bordering countries, and inside Iraq there are almost 3 million displaced people. Most Iraqis still lack access to clean water and sanitation, health care, and ample nutrition. The war has claimed somewhere between 130,000 and 230,000 Iraqi lives. Given such hardship and the many roadblocks to productive American involvement on the ground, it is now crucial that American troops leave the country in order for Iraq to effectively rebuild.
Sectarian strife between Arab Shias and Arab Sunnis, and between Arabs and Kurds, is a grave threat to the security and cohesiveness of the country. Baghdad is struggling with its relationship to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region because of conflicts over control of oil. Such conflicts will likely grow in magnitude as oil production -- a key to Iraq's self-sustaining prosperity -- continues to increase.
In Washington, Martha will support measures meant to ensure the prosperity of Iraq, both for its sake and the broader, fundamental goal of a stable Middle East. In Washington, Martha will work for solutions that ensure Iraq continues to move towards full sovereignty.
Responding to the Threat of a Nuclear Iran
Martha takes seriously the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear state. Martha understands that a nuclear Iran threatens the security of America and the entire Middle East.
In Washington, Martha will do everything in her power to ensure that Iran does not, under any circumstances, develop nuclear weapons. Martha knows that America and our allies must remain vigilant against a nuclear Iran. Iran must have a transparent civilian nuclear program that allows for inspections and appropriate safeguards. In Washington, Martha will push for continued international cooperation in holding Iran accountable to its promises to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In order for America to ensure its own safety and security, we must be able to connect directly with the country. As Senator, Martha will support bilateral talks with Iran and work to forge ongoing diplomatic engagement. While Martha supports direct negotiations with Iran, she supports appropriate sanctions against Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
As Massachusetts Attorney General and the chief law enforcement officer in the Commonwealth, Martha's foremost concern has been the safety and security of its residents. In Washington, Martha will never lose sight of how crucial a stable Middle East is to America's security. She will support initiatives that have the dual effect of creating peace and helping those in the region live healthy, prosperous lives.
Remarks by Attorney General Martha Coakley, "On the Occasion of Israel's Independence Day" (Tuesday, April 28, 2009)