Occupation? U.S. Rejects Iraqi Request To Discuss An American Troop Withdrawal
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s order to assassinate Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, the Iraqi parliament voted to demand that U.S. forces withdraw from the country, but according to Agence France-Presse, the United States has formally rejected their wishes.
Iraqi leaders were infuriated by the drone strike at Baghdad’s airport last week that killed Soleimani and on Sunday held a vote to revoke the invitation to maintain U.S. troops in the country.
But State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Friday that a request from Iraq's caretaker prime minister that the U.S. send a delegation to prepare for withdrawal of the 5,2000 American troops would not be considered.
"At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership -- not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East," Ortagus said in a statement.
"America is a force for good in the Middle East,” she said, adding: "We want to be a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous and stable Iraq.”
The office of Caretaker prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said he "requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement parliament's decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq,” AFP reported.
If the U.S. continues its military presence in Iraq against the country’s wishes and without invitation, the United States would effectively become an occupying force in Iraq.