4 years and 3 days ago, the Iraqi Parliament passed a binding resolution to expel all United States military and security personnel from the country after former President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian Maj. General Qassim Soleimani.
Now, following another US drone strike—this time on a local militia commander who was at least nominally under the command of the Iraqi Government, the Prime Minister has claimed that the official process to remove the US military “permanently” has begun.
“We are setting the date for the start of the bilateral committee to put arrangements to end the presence of the international coalition forces in Iraq permanently,” PM Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a statement, translated on Antiwar.
The Pentagon has carried out several manned and unmanned air strikes on Iraqi irregulars known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, who have claimed responsibility for over 100 separate attacks on US garrisons like the al-Asad Airbase since the start of Israeli’s slaughter of the Palestinians in October.
The most recent US retaliation killed a deputy commander of the PMF, which al-Sudani described as “no different from a terrorist act”.
“The Popular Mobilization Forces represent an official presence affiliated with the state, subject to it, and an integral part of our armed forces,” al-Sudani said in his statement. “We condemn the attacks targeting our security forces, which go beyond the spirit and letter of the mandate that created the international coalition”.
Along with the al-Asad Airbase, the US maintains the largest diplomatic mission on Earth in Baghdad, which commands a section of the ancient city known today as the “Green Zone”. The sprawling complex houses over 3,000 people including a personal security detail provided by the Marine Corps.
Four years ago, following the resolution from the Iraqi Parliament, then-Prime Minister of Iraq Adel Abdul Mahdi wrote the US State Department with a request for information about how to formally proceed with the implementation of the Parliament’s demands. State ignored him and responded by saying that maintaining US bases and troops in the country was “appropriate”. President Trump threatened extensive sanctions if such a demand were repeated, and his second-to-last Defense Sect. Mark Esper said no discussions were ever had about leaving.
Mohammed al-Sudani is more favorable to the PMF than his two predecessors, and any chance of actually expelling the US presence from his country will probably stand to be higher under his leadership than theirs. Furthermore, the belli-political landscape occupied by the US under President Biden has changed extensively since Trump left office.
He is also part of a new wave of hybrid, ISIS-era politicians who work closely with the PMF, and maintain good relations with Iran, unlike the preceding regimes of Hussein and the post-invasion military junta. WaL
PICTURED ABOVE: Secretary of State Antony Blinken Meets with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. PC: State Department.