U.S. Congressman Michael Turner today met with Farhan Ftaikhan Al-Farhan, Mayor of Al Qaim, Iraq, at his office on Capitol Hill. They discussed U.S. – Iraq relations, current security conditions in the Al Anbar province, and reconstruction efforts in the region. Following their meeting, Congressman Turner then gave Mayor Al-Farhan a tour of the U.S. Capitol, the House floor, and the recently-opened Capitol Visitors Center.
Congressman Turner’s meeting today developed following his previous visit with elected officials in the Al Anbar province. Congressman Turner, ranking member on the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, toured the province during an August 2008 Congressional Delegation visit to Iraq.
Congressman Turner and Mayor Al-Farhan shared their experiences as local officials. Turner served as mayor of Dayton, Ohio prior to his election to the U.S. Congress in 2003. Al-Farhan was elected Al Qaim mayor in 2006 and has been instrumental in developing a strong civil government in Al Qaim.
With a population of 230,000, Al Qaim is situated along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border and 200 miles northwest of Baghdad. Al Qaim is the third largest city in the Al Anbar governorate, Iraq’s largest geographic province. Early in the Iraq War, Al Qaim was a hotbed of attacks by Iraqi insurgents against U.S. military personnel. However, through the leadership of local officials like Mayor Al-Farhan, attacks have dramatically decreased and the region is becoming safer for both Iraqi citizens and U.S. military personnel.
“Mayor Al-Farhan’s visit to the United States provides him with firsthand knowledge of the inner-workings of the U.S. democratic system,” said Congressman Turner. “As Iraq continues to advance toward a path of independence and sovereignty, I welcome Mayor Al-Farhan to the U.S. and look forward to working with him to strengthen U.S. – Iraqi relations and security efforts in the Al Anbar province.”
Mayor Al-Farhan’s visit to the United States was arranged by the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. His itinerary is tailored to provide him with a valuable prospective on Western government and culture and broaden his commitment to democracy. An objective of Mayor Al-Farhan’s visit is to learn more about the inner workings of municipalities and gain a better understanding of the overall system of government and the balance of power in the United States.