In response to expulsion vote, Iraqi politician and militia leader calls for US ‘humiliation’
It appears some in Iraq are not content with the non-binding resolution to expel foreign forces from the country, notably a militia leader who, in the wake of Soleimani’s assassination, called for dormant anti-US military groups to prepare “to protect Iraq”. Reuters reports:
Populist Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution calling on the government to end foreign troop presence did not go far enough and called on local and foreign militia groups to unite.
“I consider this a weak response insufficient against American violation of Iraqi sovereignty and regional escalation,” Sadr, who leads the largest bloc in parliament, said in a letter to the assembly read out by a supporter.
Sadr said a security agreement with the United States should be cancelled immediately, the US embassy should be closed down, US troops must be expelled in a humiliating manner, and communication with the US government should be criminalised.
And in perhaps the most significant sign of the longstanding tensions Donald Trump has exacerbated, the militia leader continues:
“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.
Iraq votes to expel foreign troops
At an emergency parliamentary session, Iraqi politicians have voted in favour of a resolution telling the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, and ensure they not use its land, air, and waters for any reason.
“The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory,” the resolution read.
“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.”
Parliament resolutions, unlike laws, are non-binding to the government, but Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had earlier called on parliament to end foreign troop presence.
Some 5,200 US troops are reported to be stationed in Iraq, with America announcing the deployment of an additional 3,000 to the region following the killing of Soleimani.
Yesterday, Nato suspended its operations in Iraq, where it had been assisting Iraqi troops in preventing the resurgence of Isis.