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Congressman Zeldin Visits Troops in Middle East on Christmas

Congressman Lee Zeldin of Shirley, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and representative of Eastern Long Island, returned Saturday from a bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL) visit that he led to the Middle East. Also participating were Congressmen David G. Valadao of California and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. During the visit, Zeldin made stops in Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar.

“I was honored to lead a bipartisan CODEL to the Middle East over Christmas,” Zeldin said. “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,” he 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 speaking to 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers in Iraq just following their Christmas morning run. Photo credit: Courtesy Office of Congressman Zeldin
Congressman Zeldin speaking to 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers in Iraq just following their Christmas morning run. Photo credit: Courtesy Office of Congressman Zeldin

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.”

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