US Marines seen during a training excercise with the Royal Army of Oman (not seen) at Senoor Beach, Oman, on February 15, 2017 [Gunnery Sgt. Robert B. Brown Jr. / US Marine Corps]
December 29, 2018 at 10:53 am
Iraqi MPs have condemned the surprise visit of US President Donald Trump to American troops stationed in the country, calling for them to leave.
MPs from the two largest parliamentarian blocs condemned Trump’s visit, which was not arranged with the Iraqi government, considering it a “violation of Iraq’s sovereignty”. They also set a date to discuss the evacuation of US troops from Iraq, Arab48 reported yesterday.
Saleh Al-Saadi, head of one of these blocs, said that “Trump has to know his limits. The American occupation of Iraq has ended,” adding: “Trump infiltrated Iraq as if it is one of the American states.”
During his visit on Wednesday, Trump spent three hours inside a US military base without speaking to any Iraqi officials, talking only with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi on the phone. Trump stressed that he did not have any plans to withdraw the 5,200 US troops stationed in the country.
This topic has been hotly debated since May, when supporters of Shia leader Muqtada Al-Sadr won the largest number of seats in the Iraqi parliament. Al-Sadr has called for the withdrawal of US troops from the country, as well as for limiting Iran’s role in Iraq’s internal affairs. Other Iraqi politicians also began calling for the evacuation of US troops after the defeat of Daesh.
American forces invaded Iraq in 2003, toppling its President Saddam Hussein and since supporting the Shia sect in the country. Though US forces left in 2011, they returned in 2014 at the request of the country’s then pro-US government in order to fight Daesh.