Rep. Lee Zeldin Spends Christmas with U.S. Troops in Iraq and Kuwait | Congressman Lee Zeldin

Rep. Lee Zeldin Spends Christmas with U.S. Troops in Iraq and Kuwait

December 27, 2015
Press Release

Patchogue, NY - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, C - NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, returned Saturday, December 26, from a bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL) visit that he led to the Middle East. Also participating in Congressman Zeldin’s CODEL were Congressmen David G. Valadao (R - CA-21) and David Cicilline (D – RI-1). During the visit, Congressman Zeldin made stops in Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar. 

Congressman Zeldin said, "I was honored to lead a bipartisan CODEL to the Middle East over Christmas. The briefings with top military and diplomatic leadership, who are front in center in the fight against ISIS, served to update me on the latest developments in the coalition's efforts. I also had an opportunity to personally thank many of our service members in Iraq and Kuwait who are currently deployed and missing Christmas away from their families this holiday season."

"It is great to be back home from the Middle East," Congressman Zeldin continued. "The briefings were so informative. The good news is that things are moving a little better in Iraq now and there is a plan being executed in a positive direction. It is very tenuous though and could turn in the opposite direction quickly. The bad news is that things are a lot worse in Syria and Libya and there really isn't much of a plan at all." 

Congressman Zeldin concluded, "I'll be looking forward to spending the next 24 hours digesting the detailed info from the various discussions, reflecting on the entire trip and reporting back on what I can. It is a complicated map in the Middle East, and unfortunately believing that none of it has anything to do with us is absolutely not an option. Naivety, weakness and a lack of leadership would prove very costly with the road ahead. The next step forward in American foreign policy must be the right move and it must be a move that plans from victory backwards and considers what moves six, seven and eight down the road should look like. There sure is quite a lot for me to think about the rest of this weekend and beyond. It's not as easy as the U.S. just 'mowing the grass' and killing everyone and it's also not as easy as doing nothing and letting them all kill each other."

Pictures from the CODEL are below.

Congressman Zeldin speaking to 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers in Iraq just following their Christmas morning run:

Congressmen Zeldin and Valadao in Amman, Jordan:

Congressmen Zeldin and Valadao meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait with U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Douglas Silliman:

Congressman Zeldin speaking with Army Colonels about military operations in Iraq and Syria:

Congressman Zeldin speaking with LTG Sean McFarland (Commanding General of Combined Joint Task Force- Operation Inherent Resolve), Deputy Chief of Mission Jonathan Cohen (Office of the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq), and MG Richard Clark (Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division) about military operations in Iraq and Syria: