Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) went on CNN to discuss the protests at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and current situation between the U.S., Iraq, and Iran.
On Friday, a U.S. defense contractor was killed and four U.S. servicemembers and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces were injured in a rocket attack on a joint US-Iraq military compound near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. The U.S. believes the attacks came from Kataib Hezbollah (KH), a militia group backed by Iran. On Sunday, the U.S. responded with airstrikes against five facilities in Iraq and Syria tied to KH. This morning, protesters, mostly composed of KH members, surrounded and stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, putting the embassy on lockdown.
When asked if the retaliatory air strikes from the U.S. was a proper response to the attack by KH that left an American contractor dead, Rep. Cisneros said, “We need to protect American citizens. We need to protect our American military…We need to get that information from the Department of Defense, from the Secretary of Defense as to why they decided to respond at five targets. But I know our number one priority should always be to protect American citizens throughout the world against any type of attack, and we need to be able to respond when they’re attacked.”
Later in the interview, when asked whether Iran was behind the protests at the U.S. embassy, Rep. Cisneros said, “We know Iran is no ally of us. They’re really going out there trying to push our buttons and see how far they can get. This time, I think they might have pushed a little farther than they wanted. And they got that kind of response.”
At the end of the interview, when asked about his Christmas trip to the Middle East and about the morale of our troops, Rep. Cisneros said, “I was able to visit some of my constituents that were stationed over in Kuwait and Qatar. And they were in good spirits. And they know they are doing their duty and it’s part of their job. But they want to get home as soon as they can, and I hope to see them here when they are back in the country.”
Rep. Cisneros is a former Navy veteran and a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
This article was released by the Office of Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.