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Iraqi parliament approves measure ending foreign troop presence

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on January 5, 2020 - Duration: 01:49s

Iraqi parliament approves measure ending foreign troop presence

Iraq's parliament on Sunday called on all foreign troops to be ordered out after the United States killed a top Iranian military commander and an Iraqi militia leader in Baghdad.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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Iraqi parliament approves measure ending foreign troop presence

Iraq's parliament on Sunday (January 5) called for U.S. and other foreign military forces to leave the country after an American airstrike killed a top Iranian commander and an Iraqi militia leader.

The airstrike last week provoked a backlash against the U.S. in Iraq, unifying squabbling political parties and sparking street protests by Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups.

In a special session on Sunday the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling on the government to end all foreign troop presence.

Parliamentary resolutions, unlike laws, are non-binding to the government.

But this one is likely to be heeded: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who heads a Shi'ite-led government, had earlier called on parliament to end foreign troop presence as soon as possible.

A day earlier (January 4) Abdul Mahdi was seen in a crowd of mourners, as part of a funeral procession for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani and an Iraqi paramilitary commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Soleimani commanded an elite unit in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The U.S. blames him for plotting attacks against American troops in Iraq and American allies across the region.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was a deputy in Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, an umbrella group of predominately Shiite militia fighters with close ties to Tehran.

The U.S. accused factions of the PMF of recent rocket attacks against American bases in Iraq that killed a U.S. contractor.

Iran condemned the American airstrike as an "assassination" and an "act of terrorism," and vowed to retaliate.

Some 5,000 American forces remain in Iraq, mostly in an advisory role.

On Sunday a Pentagon official said the U.S.-led coalition battling the remnants of Islamic State had halted most of its operations for now in favor of protecting its forces amid soaring tensions with Iran.

Qassem Soleimani had worked hard to get American forces out of Iraq, and pull Baghdad closer under Iranian influence.

Sunday's vote suggests he might achieve one more objective in death.

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