Detroit/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 19, 2024
Iraqi Prime Minister Visits Michigan to Engage with Middle Eastern Community Amid Regional UnrestSource: المكتب الاعلامي لرئاسة الوزراء, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Amid mounting tensions in the Middle East, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani touched down in Michigan Thursday, engaging the region's sizable Middle Eastern community post his sit-down with President Joe Biden. Al-Sudani's meetings, which unfolded against a backdrop of growing concern over the recent Iran-backed aerial strikes on Israel, sought to address both geopolitical issues and the economic relations between the United States and Iraq.

Michigan, home to over 90,000 individuals of Iraqi descent according to the latest U.S. Census figures, played host to Al-Sudani’s itinerary, including a visit to a mosque in Dearborn Heights where security was dialed up with over fifty police patrol vehicles on site, as reported by Fox 2 Detroit. “This is unique because, amid all the wars and everything going on back in the Middle East, we feel like this is a very important step,” Mohammed Ali, a resident, told Fox 2 Detroit.

When Al-Sudani met with local officials before traveling to the mosque, his agenda highlighted the urgency of discussing the ramifications of the Middle East's upheaval on the Iraqi diaspora. Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Deputy Wayne County Executive Assad I. Turfe were among the leaders in attendance as Al-Sudani updated the community on the outcomes of his talks with Biden, CBS News Detroit detailed.

The Iraqi Prime Minister also planned to connect with local members of the Iraqi diaspora at the Islamic Institute of America mosque in Dearborn Heights and the Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield. The visits, though not widely publicized, signified the political clout of Metro Detroit's Middle Eastern community and their influence on international relations. "His visit is particularly significant because Wayne County is home to a vibrant Iraqi-American community," Wayne County Executive Warren Evans stated, as per The Detroit News.

Fears about the expansion of Middle Eastern conflict have risen following Iran's assault and the question of the two-decade American military presence in Iraq lingers. A U.S. Patriot battery in Irbil managed to intercept at least one Iranian ballistic missile, which is a part of the broader missile defense efforts by U.S. forces in the tumultuous region, as reported by CBS News Detroit.