- "If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it on a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions as they’ve never seen before ever."
- The U.S. State Department strongly urged Iraqi lawmakers to reconsider their decision.
- Although the resolution is not actually binding, the Iraqi government will take relevant measures with the support of Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi.
The Iraqi parliament has voted to pass a resolution calling for foreign troops to withdraw from Iraq, including US and German troops. U.S. President Donald Trump also threatened the Iraqi government with sanctions for the first time. The resolution was passed by lawmakers, asking the government to terminate the agreement reached with Washington in 2014. The agreement allowed the United States to deploy 5,200 soldiers in Iraq.
Trump responded immediately, expressing disappointment with the resolution. “If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it on a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions as they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Sunday. “If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq,” Trump added. “We have a very extraordinarily expensive airbase that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time,” Trump said. “We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
A US State Department spokesman also said “the United States is disappointed by the action taken today in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. While we await further clarification on the legal nature and impact of today’s resolution, we strongly urge Iraqi leaders to reconsider the importance of the ongoing economic and security relationship between the two countries and the continued presence of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” Morgan Ortagus said.
The Iraqi parliament said in a resolution:
“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 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.”
Germany Hopes for Iraqi “Stability and Unity”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his opinion on Iraq’s decision to expel foreign troops, including the German army. He emphasized respect for Iraq’s decision. The German government said on Sunday evening that “only the Iraqi government will keep its troops stationed in Iraq.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said officials are preparing a memorandum to make legal and procedural preparations to implement the parliamentary resolution. He also said that if the U.S. military did not leave, it would be considered an occupying force. He told parliament, “despite the internal and external difficulties that we might face, it remains best for Iraq on principle and practically.”
Although the resolution is not actually binding, the Iraqi government will take relevant measures with the support of Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi. Iraq’s populist Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, believes that a withdrawal alone is not enough to resist US infringement on Iraq’s sovereignty and deal with the escalating situation in the Middle East.
Iraq Moves Expresses Dissatisfaction
Iraqi officials summoned U.S. envoy to Iraq Matthew Tueller on the US airstrike on Iran. The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also filed a formal complaint with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Security Council regarding the United States airstrike. Iran’s foreign ministry said the complaint alleges that the United States “attacked and invaded Iraqi military positions, and assassinated Iraqi and allied senior military commanders on Iraqi soil.”