NEWS
05/01/2020 15:07 GMT | Updated 05/01/2020 15:32 GMT

Iraqi MPs Call On Government To Expel Foreign Troops

The resolution was passed following the Trump-authorised killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Handout . / Reuters
Members of the Iraqi parliament are seen at the parliament in Baghdad, Iraq.

Iraqi MPs have passed a resolution telling the government to expel foreign troops from the country after the US assassinated top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Parliament in Baghdad has also asked for the government to ensure that overseas forces are not able to use its land, airspace or waters for any reason. 

“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.”

Parliament resolutions, unlike laws, are non-binding to the government, but Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had earlier called on parliament to end foreign troop presence. 

“Despite the internal and external difficulties that we might face, it remains best for Iraq on principle and practically,” Abdul Mahdi said.

The special session was called after a US drone strike on Friday on a convoy at Baghdad airport that killed both Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Since the killings, rival Shi’ite political leaders have called for US troops to be expelled from Iraq in an unusual show of unity among factions that have squabbled for months.

“There is no need for the presence of American forces after defeating Daesh (Islamic State),” said Ammar al-Shibli, a Shi’ite lawmaker and member of the parliamentary legal committee, before the parliamentary meeting.

“We have our own armed forces which are capable of protecting the country,” he told Reuters.

Despite decades of enmity between Iran and the United States, Iran-backed militia and US troops fought side by side during Iraq’s 2014-2017 war against Islamic State militants.

Around 5,000 US troops remain in Iraq, most of them in an advisory capacity.

Abdul Mahdi, who holds the post in a caretaker role after resigning in November amid street protests, called on Friday for parliament to convene the extraordinary session to take legislative steps to protect Iraq’s sovereignty.

Hadi al-Amiri, the top candidate to succeed Muhandis, repeated his call for US troops to leave Iraq on Saturday during a funeral procession for those killed in the attack.

Many Iraqis, including opponents of Soleimani, have expressed anger at Washington for killing him and Muhandis on Iraqi soil and potentially dragging their country into another conflict.