The call for the expulsion of US troops started in parliament when parliamentarians passed a resolution following escalated Iran-US tensions. The unusual parliamentary session which happened on Sunday is as a result of killing Iranian military commander through a US strike in Baghdad.
The parliamentarians called on the Iraq government to end the US troop’s assistance which came to help drive out the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). They fear the country may be used as a fighting ground with Iran if the tension turns to something else. The call for Expulsion of US troops comes at the time when Sino-Iraqi cooperation is intensifying which is a signal of reducing collaboration with the US.
When the U.S. drone hit Quds Commander Qassem Soleimani, it accelerated the ouster of the US from Iraq. Mr. Qassem was the Quds force commander and the architect of Iran’s drive to continue Gulf influence.
As the parliament put pressure on the government to kick US troops out of the country, there are those who fear things might get worse. For instance, Muslim lawmakers Mr. Sunni Arab together with Kurdish minorities do not support the idea of U.S. led coalition leaving the country as that might open doors for the insurgency, undermine security and give Iranian backed Shiite militias an upper hand.
When the debate was going on about the expulsion of the United States troops in Iraq, the majority of Kurdish and Sunni lawmakers boycotted the parliament session, however, the present number was beyond the quorum.
The killing of Soleimani and Muhandis angered many Iraqis including those who were his opponents. They were not happy that the killing happened in Iraq soil, as it may drag the country into another conflict with Iran.
The lawmakers claim that they no longer need American forces after the defeat of the Islamic State. One Shi’ite lawmaker said that Iraq has well trained armed forces capable of protecting the country from any external conflict. The fight against (Islamic State Militants) from 2014 to 2017, both the American forces and Tehran Iranian backed militias worked together to drive them out. But after the war, about 5, 000 American forces still remain in Iraq working in an advisory capacity.
The recent parliament session focused on one argument and that is to have U.S. troops end their presence in Iraq to avoid Iran starting another conflict for allowing the foreign army to continue with their operation. One influential and agitated cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who at one time in the past has fought the U.S. troops together with his militia, said the push of the government for expulsion is not enough. Sadr, also with the largest bloc in parliament argued in a letter to the assembly, any agreement abiding American troops with Iraq should be canceled with immediate effect, have their embassy shut, and kicked out of Iraq in an embarrassing manner.
The cleric continued to say that both Iran and the U.S. should not be allowed to interfere with the affairs of Iraq anymore. He went on to propose the Iraq resistance groups and those living outside the country to have a meeting aimed at creating a formation of the International Resistance Legions. In fact, one Iranian backed Nujaba militia responded by saying was ready to join the resistance alliance.
The idea to drive the American troops from Iraq is a hot subject that has divided Iraqi people for some support the idea while others oppose it. Sunni and Kurdish representatives argued that the presence of U.S. soldiers in Iraq was as a result of the government request. Therefore, the government together with the American government can resolve the matter even though they breached their agreement.
Only time will tell if the Iraq parliament call for repulsion of the American troops will be supported by the Iraq government.