The Honorable Nuri al-Maliki
The Republic of Iraq
Dear Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki,
We write to express our serious concern over reports that Iranian flights continue to use Iraqi airspace to transport weapons to Assad's forces in Syria. We are increasingly troubled over recent reports that in addition to the Iranian's use of civilian aircraft to transport military personnel and weapons caches to Syria over Iraq, truckloads of weapons are also making their way via overland routes to Syria through Iraq.
Last year, U.S. officials urged your government to ground and inspect Iranian flights attempting to access Iraqi airspace; yet it appears that after only a short period of compliance, these flights have resumed.
We are greatly disturbed that as the international community works to bring peace to Syria, the Iraqi government is not doing everything in its power to prevent the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians.
The situation in Syria is growing more and more dangerous by the day. Over 70,000 Syrians have now lost their lives in the two years since the uprising began. This exceedingly deadly conflict threatens to destabilize the entire region, as over one million refugees have crossed Syria's borders into Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. We understand Iraq is now sheltering over 115,000 Syrian refugees.
Bashar al-Assad continues to show no willingness to put an end to the violence and seek a negotiated peace. It has been well documented that Assad's forces are receiving money, weapons and training from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Many reports have indicated that Iranian forces are fighting on the ground in Syria alongside Hezbollah militants. The transfer of Iranian arms to Syria is a direct violation of the U.N. arms embargo on Iran, specifically, the ban on Iranian arms exports contained in UN Security Council Resolution 1747.
This violence must end. We strongly urge your government to ground and inspect every Iranian flight through Iraq's airspace and to put an immediate end to overland weapons shipments through Iraq.
Members of Congress