Iraq Parliament votes to expel US military
The Iraqi parliament has voted to remove US troops from Iraq. In an extraordinary session, lawmakers backed a resolution to ask the government to end an agreement with Washington to station 5,200 troops in Iraq. on 5 January 2020 resolution specifically calls for ending a 2014 agreement that allows Washington to send troops to Iraq to help in the fight against the "Islamic State" group. The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting 'Islamic State' due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory, the resolution read.
- The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason. The move provoked a swift response from Washington, as it expressed its disappointment with the decision.
- We strongly urge Iraqi leaders to reconsider the importance of the ongoing economic and security relationship between the two countries and the continued presence of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, said a State Department spokesperson.
- President Donald Trump has threatened Iraq with debilitating sanctions, should the Middle Eastern country force US troops to leave.
- The decision to expel forces from the country also includes representations from other nations, among them Germany. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his concern over the increasing tensions in the Middle East, but also iterated that the Iraqi government's position must be respected.
- The German government said that its military presence in Iran would "only remain if the Iraqi government wanted that."
- Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq's caretaker prime minister, said officials are preparing a memo for legal and procedural steps to implement parliament's resolution. He also said that if US troops remains then they will be considered an occupying force.
- The resolution is nonbinding, but it is likely to be heeded by the government as Abdul-Mahdi supports the measures.
- The resolution was passed two days after the killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad by US airstrikes.
- Populist Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a more substantial response to the killing.
- Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi also told parliament that Soleimani was due to meet with him the day he was killed and deliver a response from the Iranians to a Saudi message that could have led to a de-escalation of tensions in the region, according to the Reuters news agency.
- The Foreign Ministry has also lodged an official complaint with the UN secretary-general and the Security Council over the US airstrikes.
- The Iraqi resolution specifically calls for ending an agreement in which Washington sent troops to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.
- The resolution was backed by most Shiite members of parliament, who hold a majority of seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.