Iraqi parliament votes to expel US troops — awaits government approval

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The Iraqi parliament has voted to ask the government to end the agreement to host US troops in Iraq. The move would essentially oust US troops from Iraq.

The Iraqi parliament voted on Sunday to remove US troops from Iraq.

In an extraordinary session, lawmakers voted for a resolution to ask the government to end an agreement with Washington to station 5,200 troops in Iraq. 

The resolution specifically calls for ending a 2014 agreement that allowed Washington to send troops to Iraq to help in the fight against the “Islamic State” group.

Read more: Pressure mounts in Iraq to boot out US troops

“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 resolution was passed two days after the US killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iraq by airstrikes on Friday.

“The parliament has voted to commit the Iraqi government to cancel its request to the international coalition for help to fight IS,” parliament speaker Mohammed Halbusi announced.

A resolution is non-binding, but it is likely to be heeded by the government as they support the measures.

Populist Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada Sadr described the response as “weak.”

“I consider this a weak response insufficient against American violation of Iraqi sovereignty and regional escalation,” Sadr, who leads the largest bloc in parliament, said in a letter to the assembly read out by a supporter.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in Baghdad (Reuters/K. al-Mousily)Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi

Iraq summons US envoy, complains to UN

Iraqi officials have also summoned the US envoy to Iraq Matthew Tueller over the airstrikes.

“[The airstrikes] were a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement, and “contradict the agreed-upon missions of the international coalition.”

Iraq’s foreign ministry also lodged an official complaint with the UN Secretary General and Security Council over the US air strikes on Sunday.

Read more: Who was Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s Quds Force leader?

The complaint is about “American attacks and aggression on Iraqi military positions and the assassination of Iraqi and allied high level military commanders on Iraqi soil,” according to the foreign ministry.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who was in attendance in parliament on Sunday, urged parliament to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.

“Despite the internal and external difficulties that we might face, it remains best for Iraq on principle and practically,” he told MPs.

Abdul Mahdi, who resigned on December 1 but has remained in place as caretaker prime minister, also urged lawmakers to vote for a new prime minister and government as soon as possible.

 

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