Iraqi politicians were none too pleased with President Donald Trump’s unannounced visit to U.S. troops in their country on Wednesday, prompting lawmakers from both blocs of Iraq’s divided legislature to call for a vote on expelling the U.S. military.
According to the Associated Press, the parliament has promised to schedule a debate on the issue.
“Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty,” said Salam al-Shimiri, a lawmaker loyal to the populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Trump, making his first presidential visit to troops in a troubled region Wednesday, said he has no plans to withdraw the 5,200 U.S. forces in the country.
After the U.S. withdrew its military presence in Iraq in 2011, American troops returned in 2014 to assist in the fight against the Islamic State — but now that ISIS has been defeated in the country, Iraqi politicians and militia leaders have called for the U.S. to once again return its troops home.
Qais Khazali, the head of the Iran-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia that fought key battles against IS in north Iraq, promised on Twitter that Parliament would vote to expel U.S. forces from Iraq, or the militia and others would force them out by “other means.”
Trump met with no Iraqi officials during his surprise trip on Wednesday but spoke by phone with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the AP noted.
The prime minister’s office said in a statement after Trump’s visit that “differences in points of view” over arrangements led to a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders to be scrapped.
Al-Shimiri said Trump’s visit “violated several diplomatic norms.”