The Iraqi parliament voted on Sunday to expel all U.S. troops from the country and filed a complaint with the United Nations against the United States for violating the country. This is the latest of the ever-expanding fallout from an attack that killed a top Iranian military leader at the Baghdad airport.
As CNBC reported, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling on the government to end the presence of all foreign troops in the country, asking that the formal request for assistance from a U.S.-led coalition be canceled. The request had been made in the fight against the Islamic State, but the latest resolution showed that the Iraqi government is ready for the arrangement to come to an end.
“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 read.
The resolution is not binding, but it comes after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had urged parliament to take action to end foreign troop occupation. He said that kicked-out troops would be “best for Iraq on principle and practically.”
In the wake of the attack at the Baghdad airport that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the United States announced that it was deploying an additional 3,500 troops to the Middle East, including an undisclosed number headed to Iraq. Iran had vowed retribution in the wake of the attack, and experts believed that Iran could strike against U.S. allies or even target American civilians.
Experts said the attack also put Iraq in a difficult place, caught between the United States — which has had a military presence there for nearly 20 years — and its powerful neighbor in Iran. The resolution this weekend did seem to show that Iraq would not be working with the United States in any future actions against Iran.
Iraq’s prime minster on Saturday attended a funeral procession for Soleimani, which went to a Shiite shrine in Baghdad. As NDTV reported, thousands of mourners joined the procession, with chants of “Death to America” breaking out among the crowd. The procession then moved toward Baghdad’s Green Zone, where many government officials and foreign embassies are located. That included the American embassy that came under attack last week, leading Donald Trump to authorize the strike against Iran.
It was not clear if Iraq would take more formal steps to expel American troops, or if the United States could scale back its plans to send additional troops there in the wake of the attack against Iran.