Biden’s Nominee for Iraq Ambassador Says Iran ‘Remains a Malign Actor’

Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department
Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department
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Biden’s Nominee for Iraq Ambassador Says Iran ‘Remains a Malign Actor’

Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department
Tracy Jacobson was the US Ambassador to Ehtiopia in 2022. Photo: State Department

Tracy Jacobson, US President Joe Biden's nominee for Ambassador to Iraq, has surprised Iraqi officials with unconventional statements about Iranian influence and Tehran-backed militias.

In her opening statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Jacobson thanked the President and the Secretary of State “for their confidence.”

“Our military provides vital support in an advise, assist, and enable role to the Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Ten years after our troops returned to Iraq at the government’s invitation to fight ISIS – and five years after ISIS’s territorial defeat – it is time for our military to transition to a new role,” she said.

“If confirmed, I will ensure any transition from Operation Inherent Resolve to a bilateral security arrangement will be geared toward the defeat of ISIS and Iraq's security,” Jacobson told the Committee.

In her statement, Jacobson warned that Iran “remains a malign actor and a destabilizing influence in the region that threatens to undo all of Iraq’s achievements. We recognize that the primary threat to Iraq’s stability and sovereignty are the Iran-aligned militias.”

She said it was important for Iraq to strengthen its ties with many of its neighbors and “Prime Minister (Mohammed Shia) Sudani has taken positive steps in that direction.”

Earlier this year, Sudani's office said the Iraqi government was beginning the process to remove the US-led international military coalition from the country.

Yassin al-Bakri, Professor of Political Science at the University of Nahrain, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new ambassador's mission will be to arrange the security transition.



Italy Sends Humanitarian Flight with Aid for Gaza Population

Palestinians inspect the destroyed home of the Muheisen family following an Israeli airstrike in the Al Zwaida neighbourhood in the central Gaza Strip, 18 July 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
Palestinians inspect the destroyed home of the Muheisen family following an Israeli airstrike in the Al Zwaida neighbourhood in the central Gaza Strip, 18 July 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
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Italy Sends Humanitarian Flight with Aid for Gaza Population

Palestinians inspect the destroyed home of the Muheisen family following an Israeli airstrike in the Al Zwaida neighbourhood in the central Gaza Strip, 18 July 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
Palestinians inspect the destroyed home of the Muheisen family following an Israeli airstrike in the Al Zwaida neighbourhood in the central Gaza Strip, 18 July 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

Italy has sent food supplies and health equipment for the Gaza population aboard a humanitarian flight that landed in Jordan, a statement said on Thursday, as part of Rome's "Food for Gaza" initiative to help civilians there.
Aid includes over 60 tons of food, hygiene kits and sanitary equipment, along with 150 tents. The flight, which departed from the southern city of Brindisi, has landed in the Jordan capital of Amman from where the materials will be delivered to Gaza.
"With this operation we give a tangible demonstration of the attention that the Italian government is dedicating to the humanitarian situation in the Strip," Reuters quoted Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani as saying.
He added Italy was committed "to do everything possible to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian population in Gaza."
The Food for Gaza initiative is led by Italy together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food program (WFP) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
On Wednesday, the US military announced that its mission to install and operate a temporary, floating pier off the coast of Gaza was complete, formally ending an effort to bring humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
Italy said in May it would allocate 30 million euros ($32.8 million) in the Food for Gaza plan, as it resumed funding for the United Nations' Palestinian relief organization UNRWA.

UNRWA faced criticism over allegations that some of its staff were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that triggered the Gaza war.