Caretaker PM Says Presence of US Troops Will Be At Iraq's Request

Caretaker PM Says Presence of US Troops Will Be At Iraq's Request

Caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said Monday (January 6) that US forces will leave Iraq on the basis of a request from Baghdad, the same way that their presence was authorized in the first place.

Following a meeting with the Chinese ambassador, Abdul Mahdi said Iraq would protect its sovereignty and prevent it from becoming a battlefield in a conflict between foreign countries.

“It is in the interest of the United States to strengthen Iraq and we, as Iraqis, will not accept our country becoming a proxy for another country in that war,” he added.

He also said that the federal government would work to develop its relations with China in the future and expected that Beijing would support Iraq in international matters.

The Council of Representatives voted on Sunday to approve a resolution calling for the end of the presence of the foreign troops in Iraq after the US killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a strike at the Baghdad airport on Friday.

The decision brought international concern. The US State Department said the US was disappointed in the decision.

“While we await further clarification on the legal nature and impact of today’s resolution, 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,” spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to leave and it was not done on a friendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”