Middle East/North Africa

Following Trump visit, Iraqi lawmakers demand US troop withdrawal

Iraqi lawmakers demanded one day after President Trump made a surprise visit that the U.S. remove its troops from the country. 

Politicians on Thursday slammed Trump’s visit as arrogant and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and called for a vote to expel any U.S. military presence, according to The Associated Press.

{mosads}“Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty,” said Salam al-Shimiri. The lawmaker, who is loyal to the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, built a platform on curbing U.S. and Iranian involvement in Iraqi affairs, the AP noted.

Trump’s visit “violated several diplomatic norms,” he added.

Trump said during his visit on Wednesday that he has no intentions of withdrawing the 5,200 American military personnel from Iraq, even as U.S. troops in Syria prepare to pull out of the country.

Restricting foreign involvement in Iraq became a central issue in May’s Iraqi elections, with al-Sadr supporters winning a plurality of the vote.

The U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003 and withdrew in 2011, but returned at the request of the government in Baghdad in 2014 to combat ISIS, which had taken large swaths of land.

However, after defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in several of its more urban strongholds, Iraqi lawmakers and militia leaders have called on the U.S. to leave.

Qais Khazali, the head of an Iran-backed militia that fought against ISIS, said the parliament would either vote to expel the U.S. troops or his militia and others would push them out by “other means,” according to the AP. His militia is represented in parliament by a voting bloc that supports many Iranian policies in the region, the news service added.

During his visit to Iraq, Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, saying ISIS had been defeated, but was unable to meet with Iraqi lawmakers for scheduling and security reasons, according to the White House. He spoke to Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi by phone. 

However, Abdul-Mahdi’s office told the AP that “differences in points of view” over arrangements caused an in-person meeting to be canceled.

Tags Donald Trump Iraq Syria troop withdrawal
See all Hill.TV See all Video