Iraq: shiite parties plan law on withdrawal of us troops

Al-Asad Airbase, Irak. Foto (von 2005): US Navy / gemeinfrei

President Trump stressed in December that the USA wants to stay in Iraq

U.S. President Trump’s surprise visit shortly after Christmas to troops stationed at al-Asad military airfield in Anbar province caused trouble in Baghdad. A clear sign of this was the cancellation of a meeting between Trump and Iraq’s new prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

The result of these disagreements is that a bill is being worked on in the Iraqi parliament that would require U.S. troops to leave the country. According to information from al-Monitor, the law is to affect all foreign troops, and the time frame is said to be six to 12 months.

The law was quite hit the Middle East strategy of the U.S. U.S. President Trump ared soldiers at the al-Asad airbase in late December that there were no plans at all to leave Iraq. At the time, his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, announced just a few days earlier, caused a major stir. The consequence of an enforced withdrawal from Iraq, if the withdrawal from Syria were to be maintained, would be that U.S. troops would no longer be present in precisely those two countries where they were particularly wary "Iranian activities" warns. Apart from this, Syria and Iraq are strategically important countries in the Middle East.

The effect of such a law, as planned by members of the Fatah alliance, would be considerable. The alliance, which is one of the largest and most influential blocs in the Iraqi parliament, includes the leaders of the Shiite militias (PMU), the alliance of Muktada as-Sadr and parts of the coalition of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. According to al-Monitor, the Sunni parties would not oppose the law, but might delay the vote.

Currently, about 5.000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. Although an agreement on troop deployment between Iraq and the U.S. had been rescinded once before, the threat of IS caused the Iraqi prime minister to ask the U.S. for help.