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SEPTEMBER 2020

Trump Threatens Iraq with “Very Big Sanctions” If US Troops Are Expelled

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Trump Threatens Iraq with "Very Big Sanctions" If US Troops Are Expelled

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On January 5th, US President Donald Trump threatened Iraq with “very big sanctions” if its parliament voted to expel all US troops from the country.

Trump said if Iraq asked US forces to leave and it was not done on a friendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive airbase that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build, long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” Trump said.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told lawmakers that a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops, including those from the U.S., was required “for the sake of our national sovereignty.”

On the same day, the Iraqi parliament voted a non-binding resolution to end a 2014 agreement that allows Washington to send troops to Iraq to help in the fight against ISIS.

“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 resolution read.

“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.”

Immediately following the decision, the US State Department released a statement on the matter:

“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,” it read.

“We believe it is in the shared interests of the United States and Iraq to continue fighting ISIS together,” and that the US is still “committed to a sovereign, stable, and prosperous Iraq.”

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a more substantial response to the killing.

“I consider this a weak response, insufficient against American violation of Iraqi sovereignty and regional escalation,” said al-Sadr.

The US ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller was summoned by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

“[The airstrikes] were a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. They “contradict the agreed-upon missions of the international coalition.”

In addition, the Foreign Ministry lodged an official complaint in the UN.

The complaint mentions “American attacks and aggression on Iraqi military positions and the assassination of Iraqi and allied high-level military commanders on Iraqi soil.”

The current US presence in Iraq numbers approximately 5,200 troops, which the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel, it now all depends on whether the government ratifies the decision and puts it into force.

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