Iraqi Parliament to Vote on Bill Banning US Military Presence
(May 17, 2019) — The Iraqi parliament is set to vote on a draft bill that would ban the United States-led military presence in Iraq, a report says.
The draft bill, which stipulates the expulsion of all foreign forces from Iraq but which focuses specifically on dislodging American forces, is scheduled for a vote on Saturday, Iraq’s al-Ma’lomah news website reported on Thursday.
The US invaded Iraq in 2003, claiming that then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and sought to use them against the US. Combat forces pulled out of the country in 2011, nominally ending the war. However, thousands of American and other troops remain in the country to allegedly provide logistics and training to Iraqi forces.
Many politicians across Iraq’s political landscape have questioned the foreign military presence in the country over the years. Calls for a withdrawal of foreign forces have grown following the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq in 2018.
Speaking about the draft bill due for a vote, Karim Alivi, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s national security and defense committee, said on Thursday that the country’s two biggest parliamentary factions — the Sairoon bloc, led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Fatah alliance, headed by secretary general of the Badr Organization, Hadi al-Ameri — supported the document.
The Iraqi lawmaker predicted that the draft text would gain the required majority needed for it to become law, given the two parliamentary blocs’ support.
More recently, as speculation grew about potential US military aggression against Iran, Iraqi figures, including Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, emphasized that US forces would not be allowed to use Iraqi territory to launch any attacks on Iran if a war did break out.
Iraqi Parliament Poised to Evict US Troops
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
US talk of attacking Iran has many Iraqi officials keen to get rid of US military (May 17, 2019) — Iraq has spent the better share of the last 16 years under US military occupation. Despite this, time and again US-Iraqi relations have come to be defined by US hostility toward neighboring Iran, and Iraq’s desire to not get mixed up in that.
So while Iraq’s parliament was already bristling under Pentagon talk of staying in Iraq, and Trump saying that the US was staying in Iraq to “keep an eye on Iran,” the recent escalation of US rhetoric about a war against Iran has sparked action within parliament.
On Saturday, Iraq will be voting on a bill that would aim to expel all foreign troops from Iraqi soil, and singles out US troops in particular as needing to leave. The bill is endorsed by Iraq’s top two Shi’ite blocs, and is expected to pass fairly easily.
What happens then is the real question. Iraq’s parliament is already being spun as “pro-Iran factions,” and it’s been a long time since US officials, Pentagon or otherwise, gave any indication that they thought staying in Iraq was up to the Iraqi government.
So while the Iraqi Prime Minister is warning the US that they can’t use Iraq to launch a war on Iran, the US is browbeating Iraq over its government-aligned Shi’ite militias, and doing everything they can to try to portray that Shi’ite-dominated Iraqi government as effectively in league with the Iranians, and subsequently a threat to US interests. No matter what happens, it seems certain US-Iraqi ties will suffer for it.
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