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In Focus-Middle East MIDDLE EAST

Iraq’s Parliament to Vote for the Expulsion of All US Troops From Iraq

Only two days after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the killing of both General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s Commander in Chief of the elite Quds Force and Abu Mahdi Al Mohandis, deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Units (Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi) Iraq’s Parliament is set to vote on the immediate withdrawal of all American troops in Iraq in an extraordinary session.

 

Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi denounced Friday the U.S. airstrike as an “act of aggression against Iraq” that would “light the fuse of war.” He further noted that Washington’s decision violated not only Iraq’s sovereignty but the terms of America’s military agreement with Iraq. He called on Friday an emergency parliamentary session to “take the appropriate legislative measures in a manner that preserves the dignity, security and sovereignty of Iraq.”

 

Under the Status of Force Agreement signed between the United States and Iraq, U.S. troops’ role is confined to training Iraqi troops against ISIS and providing military expertise – it does not constitute a free military pass and it does not make any provision for any U.S-led military strike within Iraq’s borders. In the face of President Trump blatant disregard for the rule of law and international norms both Iraqi officials and politicians are calling for an end to any further extension, and or legal immunity for U.S. troops in Iraq. 

 

As of January 2020 there is an estimated 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq – which number is likely to swell by a few thousands as President Trump called for re-inforcement.

 

Caretaker Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi who only a few weeks ago championed an ongoing military cooperation with the United States in “the context of a continuation of collaboration against Daesh [ISIS], to persuade Daesh’s remnant and Iraq stability,” squarely demanded of all parliamentarians to vote America out of Iraq immediately.

 

“There is no need for the presence of American forces after defeating Daesh (Islamic State),” said  Iraqi lawmaker and member of the parliamentary legal committee, Ammar al-Shibli with the Dawa Party.  “We have our own armed forces which are capable of protecting the country,” he added. 

Across the many political coalitions which formed Iraq’s Shia blocks, all parties have echoed the same sentiment, sending them on a crash course with Iraq’s Kurdish and Sunni blocks.

Since 2003, the principle of multi-party consensus has defined Iraq’s political system. This formula relies on the existence of broad sectarian and ethnic coalitions — Shia, Kurds and Sunnis 

The 329-member parliament is set to meet at 1:00pm local time (1000 GMT) and while no agenda has been published, many lawmakers are pushing for a vote on the foreign troops.

“We either vote on the occupation forces leaving, or we remain subservient, robbed of our will and dignity,” said Fatah MP Ahmad al-Kinany. “Any parliamentarian absent for the vote on the departure of the occupier will have betrayed his country,” he said.

At the time of publication both the Sunni and Kurdish blocks are dragging their feet, concerned that such a direct rejection of America’s military presence in Iraq will spell yet another war – with all the destruction and suffering it entails.

Regardless of what parliamentarians will decide today, America’s presence in the Middle East has become unattainable and more importantly still, unjustifiable. War is what President Trump is likely to sow over the coming days and weeks.

 

War actually has become inevitable … On Friday, over the holy city of Qom (Iran) the red flag was flown over the mosque of Jamkaran, upon it was itched the promise of revenge. A red flag over Jamkaran signifies a call for global war – never in the history of Iran and Shia Islam has the flag been raised before. 

Screenshot 2020 01 04 at 23.19.51

Red Flag hoisted over Jamkaran Mosque (Iran)

Judging from the cries let out by millions of Iraqis and Iranians in the streets today, that they shall never let the flag fall, President Trump overstepped his station by quite a few miles … if only his advisers had cared to educate themselves on the region. Iran became an enemy of the U.S. for Washington made it so.

President Trump now turned Iraq into an enemy as well. Speaking to Parliament caretaker Prime Minister Mahdi just denounced America’s military presence, saying U.S. troops have been forcibly imposed onto the Iraqi nation in violation of international norms and Iraq’s sovereign rights.

Never before has Iraq spoken so openly against the United States … never before has the region been so united in its condemnation of the United States of America.

 

 

 

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Catherine Shakdam

Catherine is a geopolitical analyst and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen and the Gulf countries. She has been published across several prominent media outlets including: The Huffington Post, Sputnik, Citizen Truth, Press TV, The New Eastern Outlook, RT, MintPress, Ayatollah Khameini’s website, Open Democracy, the Foreign Policy Journal, The Duran, The American Herald Tribune, Katehon, and many more. Educated in both the UK and France, Catherine’s expertise and research on Yemen have been quoted by the UN Security Council on several occasions since 2011.

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