Saturday, 06 June, 2020

USA dismisses Iraq's troop withdrawal request - latest updates

'Tehran-Baghdad banking ties to improve after U.S. leaves Iraq' Iraqi prime minister asks US for plans to pull troops out of Iraq. State Department says no.
Deanna Wagner | 12 January, 2020, 07:56

Stressing that the ongoing conflict within Iraq would likely intensify in the coming period, Uygur said if the US hit 52 targets within Iran as Trump had previously announced, the conflict risked spreading to third countries.

The United States government is flexing its muscles to Iraq over the country's threats to oust some 5,300 USA troops from the country.

Published Friday, the Iraqi readout said Mahdi asked Pompeo to send a US delegation to Baghdad to negotiate the withdrawal of USA troops after Iraq's parliament passed a resolution Sunday that called for all foreign forces to leave the country.

But the Iraqi leader has to push back on the American presence to save face with Iran-backed militias, the source said, hiding the USA footprint while still getting the support needed for the Islamic State (IS) fight.

The Iraqi parliament voted, last Sunday, on a resolution calling on the government to end the foreign military presence in the country.

"Our military presence in Iraq is to continue the fight against ISIS and as the Secretary has said, we are committed to protecting Americans, Iraqis, and our coalition partners". On Tuesday, in retaliation, Iran fired missiles at military facilities in Iraq, which were housing USA troops.

Iraqis feel furious and helpless at being caught in the middle of the fighting.

Trump said the US had sustained no military casualties from the strike, signaling no additional USA military action, though he promised additional "punishing" sanctions on Iran while Washington "evaluates options in response to Iranian aggression".

The request was flatly rejected by the U.S. state department. Iraqi lawmakers, incensed by the attack and the lack of any notification by the US, voted unanimously two days later to demand American troops leave.

Pompeo said on Friday Washington had specific information about an imminent Iranian threat including to USA embassies, adding: "American lives were at risk".

IED explosion kills two United States soldiers in Kandahar
Earlier, Nato and Afghan officials confirmed a roadside bomb hit a United States army vehicle, without mentioning casualties. A NATO Resolute Support spokesman in southern Afghanistan confirmed the incident and said the situation was being assessed.

'Our mission set there is very clear.

Though Washington has claimed American troops' presence is necessary in Iraq to fight terror, experts tell Sputnik that argument is null and may result in backlash from Baghdad if the U.S. continues to dismiss the sovereignty of the Iraqi government.

The United States is working on getting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to commit more resources to the Middle East and is focused on continuing the important missions, protecting and defending the American people, reducing costs, and keeping troops safe, Pompeo added.

"Any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership, not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East", said Ortagus.

U.S. -Iraqi relations have been strained since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani outside of Baghdad International Airport on January 3, almost setting off a hot war before both sides backed down. The nonbinding vote put the responsibility on the government to formally request a withdrawal.

Amid Abdul-Mahdi's support for the troop expulsion, United States officials also reportedly warned the prime minister in a call on Wednesday of the potential fallout with the New York Fed and ensuing economic damage.

In its initial readout of the call, the State Department made no mention of Abdul-Mahdi's request on the troops.

The request to facilitate a troop withdrawal comes after President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened sanctions on Iraq should USA troops be expelled from the country. Furthermore, the Kata'ib Hezbollah militia in Iraq lost 25 members and dozens of others were left injured due to USA strikes carried out by F-15 fighter jets in late December.

In an apparent dampening of tensions following Iran's missile strike, U.S. President Donald Trump had told reporters: "Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned, and a very good thing for the world".

IS gloated in its first comments on Soleimani's slaying, saying his death "pleased the hearts of believers", in an editorial in the group's al-Nabaa online newspaper.