Iraqi Parliament Votes to Expel US Troops - Awaits Government Approval
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Jan 05, 2020)
The Iraqi parliament has voted for a resolution to ask the government to end the agreement to host US troops in Iraq. The move would essentially oust US troops and all other foreign troops from Iraq.

In an extraordinary session, lawmakers voted for a resolution to ask the government to end an agreement with Washington to station 5,200 troops in Iraq.

The resolution specifically calls for ending a 2014 agreement that allowed Washington to send troops to Iraq to help in the fight against the "Islamic State" group.

"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."

What does the resolution mean?

The resolution is non-binding, but it is likely to be heeded by the government as caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi supports the measures.

The resolution was passed two days after the US killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iraq by airstrikes.

"The parliament has voted to commit the Iraqi government to cancel its request to the international coalition for help to fight IS," parliament speaker Mohammed Halbusi announced.

Populist Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr called for a more substantial response to the killing. "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 aloud by a supporter.

Iraq summons US envoy, complains to UN

Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi also told parliament that Soleimani was due to meet him the day he was killed and deliver a response from the Iranians to a Saudi message which could have led to a de-escalation of tensions in the region, according to Reuters news agency.

Iraqi officials have also summoned the US envoy to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, over the airstrikes.

"[The airstrikes] were a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty," the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement, and "contradict the agreed-upon missions of the international coalition."

Iraq's foreign ministry also lodged an official complaint with the UN Secretary General and Security Council over the US air strikes on Sunday.

The complaint is about "American attacks and aggression on Iraqi military positions and the assassination of Iraqi and allied high level military commanders on Iraqi soil," according to the foreign ministry.

Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi, who was in attendance in parliament on Sunday, urged parliament to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.

"Despite the internal and external difficulties that we might face, it remains best for Iraq on principle and practically," he told MPs.

Abdul-Mahdi, who resigned on December 1 but has remained in place as caretaker prime minister, also urged lawmakers to vote for a new prime minister and government as soon as possible.

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