Iraq parliament passes resolution to expel US-led coalition troops from country

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Members of the Iraqi parliament are seen at the parliament in Baghdad, Iraq January 5, 2020. Iraqi parliament media office/handout via Reuters
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Agencies

Iraq’s parliament passed on Sunday a resolution calling on the government to end all foreign troop presence in Iraq as a backlash grew after the killing of a top Iranian military commander and an Iraqi militia leader in a US strike in Baghdad.

“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.”

The resolution’s main aim is to get the United States to withdraw some its approximately 5,000 troops present in different parts of Iraq.

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.

Speaking at the beginning of the session, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said he recommended parliament take urgent measures to remove foreign troops, a move he said was in the interest of both Iraq and the United States, Reuters reported.

“Despite the internal and external difficulties that we might face, it remains best for Iraq on principle and practically,” Abdul Mahdi told parliament in a speech.

Abdul Mahdi called the US killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis a political assassination, according to Reuters.

The resolution before the parliament on Sunday specifically calls for ending an agreement in which Washington sent troops to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The resolution is backed by most Shiite members of parliament, who hold a majority of seats.

The request was put forward Sunday by the largest bloc in the legislature, known as Fatah. That bloc includes leaders associated with the Iran-backed paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units, which were a major force in the fight against IS.

Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.

At the start of the session, 180 legislators of the 329-member parliament were present.

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