Trump administration tried to stop Iraqi parliament's vote on expelling US troops: report

The Trump administration tried to stop an Iraqi vote to expel the U.S. military from the country after an American airstrike killed top Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Axios reported Sunday. 

Two U.S. officials and an Iraqi government official familiar with the situation told Axios that the Trump administration tried to persuade top Iraqi officials to kill the parliamentary effort.

Iraq's parliament reportedly voted Sunday to approve of the expulsion of the U.S. military following last week’s attack that killed Soleimani. 


A U.S. official familiar with the effort told Axios that expelling the U.S. military from Iraq "would be inconvenient for us, but it would be catastrophic for Iraq."

"It's our concern that Iraq would take a short-term decision that would have catastrophic long-term implications for the country and its security," the official told Axios.

"But it's also what would happen to them financially if they allowed Iran to take advantage of their economy to such an extent that they would fall under the sanctions that are on Iran," the official added. "We don't want to see that. We're trying very hard to work to have that not happen."

A senior Iraqi official told Axios that many Kurdish and Sunni members of parliament, who tend to be more supportive of the U.S. presence in Iraq, did not attend the vote to expel the U.S. presence. 

"This is a temporary victory for the parties which are pro-Iranian," the official told Axios. "But it's also a clear message from the Sunnis and from the Kurds [who didn't vote] and from some Iraqi Shia for the Americans to tell them we want you to stay in Iraq."

A spokesperson for the White House was not immediately available for comment.