The Slatest

Iraqi Lawmakers Vote to Expel U.S. Troops as Anti-ISIS Coalition Suspends Operations

Iraqis carry a poster depicting Iran's Major General Qasem Soleimani (R) and senior Iraqi military figure Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis as they march in a symbolic funeral procession in the southern city of Basra, on January 5, 2020.
Iraqis carry a poster depicting Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani (R) and senior Iraqi military figure Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis as they march in a symbolic funeral procession in the southern city of Basra, on January 5, 2020.
HUSSEIN FALEH/Getty Images

Iraq’s Parliament voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the government to end the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops in the country, in the latest clear backlash against President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani. “The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, air space or water for any reason,” the resolution reads.

The resolution is non-binding but Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was the one who drafted the bill and earlier gave a speech to lawmakers in which he called for Parliament to vote in favor of ending the presence of foreign troops in the country. In his speech, Abdul Mahdi said that ending the presence of foreign troops in the country was necessary “for the sake of our national sovereignty.” The vote was approved by most Shiite lawmakers, who hold a majority of seats in Parliament. Many of the Kurdish and Sunni legislators did not attend the session and did not vote as some expressed fears that kicking out foreign troops would leave Iraqis vulnerable to attacks.

When asked whether the United States would comply with a request from the Iraqi government for U.S. troops to leave, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not give a straight answer. “It is the United States that is prepared to help the Iraqi people get what it is they deserve and continue our mission there to take down terrorism from ISIS and others in the region,” Pompeo said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Despite Pompeo’s words though it seems that after Soleimani’s killing, the ISIS fight is taking a bit of a backseat. The resolution, which gives no timetable for the end of the presence of foreign troops, was approved on the same day as the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria announced that it was halting its campaign against ISIS in order to protect bases and troops from any retaliation for Soleimani’s killing. The coalition is pausing its training missions due to “repeated rocket attacks over the last two months” that require troops to refocus their energies on protecting bases from attack. “We remain resolute as partners of the government of Iraq and the Iraqi people that have welcomed us into their country to help defeat ISIS,” the statement said. “We remain ready to return our full attention and efforts back to our shared goal of ensuring the lasting defeat of Daesh.”