Iraqi Parliament demands U.S. troops leave the country

Iraqi lawmakers have unanimously approved a bill demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

The move follows the assassination of Iran’s top military commander, General Qassem Soleimani, and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Parliament also called for a formal complaint to be made at the UN about U.S. “violations” of Iraqi sovereignty.

Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against ISIS.

Parliament resolutions are non-binding and the move would require new legislation to cancel the existing agreement.

On Sundayla, lawmakers singed a five-point bill as follows: “Firstly, the central government in Baghdad is obliged to cancel its request to the U.S.-led military coalition, which was purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorists on the grounds now that military operations have ended in the country, and victory over Daesh has been achieved. The Iraqi government should therefore put an end to the presence of any foreign troops and prevent the use of the Iraqi airspace.

“Secondly, the government and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces must announce the number of foreign trainers they need, along with their locations, responsibilities, and duration of their contracts.

“Thirdly, the Iraqi foreign minister, on behalf of the government, must turn to the United Nations and the Security Council to file a complaint against the United States for violations of the Iraqi sovereignty and security.

“Fourthly, the Iraqi government has been required to conduct a thorough investigation into the recent U.S. airstrike in Baghdad and inform the Parliament of its results within seven days from the date of the approval of this bill. Finally, the plan comes into force once it obtains the parliamentary approval.”

Commenting on the resolution, Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr said the move fell short of an appropriate response to recent developments in Iraq.

“I consider this a weak response insufficient against American violation of Iraqi sovereignty and regional escalation,” said al-Sadr, who leads the Sairoon bloc, the largest in Parliament.

Al-Sadr listed a number of demands including the immediate cancellation of the security agreement with the U.S., the closure of the U.S. embassy, the expulsion of U.S. troops in a “humiliating manner,” and criminalising communication with the U.S. government.

“Finally, I call specifically on the Iraqi resistance groups and the groups outside Iraq more generally to meet immediately and announce the formation of the International Resistance Legions,” he said.

The U.S., backed by the United Kingdom, invaded Iraq in 2003 claiming that the former regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons, however, were ever found.

The invaders withdrew from Iraq, after nearly nine years of a military campaign that cost tens of thousands or more of Iraqi lives.

Leading a new coalition of its allies, the United States returned to Iraq in 2014, when ISIS unleashed a campaign of destruction in the Arab country.

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