Nikita Wozniak ‘20, Circulation Manager
On Jan. 3, the United States launched a drone strike on a convoy traveling near Baghdad International Airport, killing Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Following the attack on Jan. 5, Iraqi lawmakers approved a resolution calling the U.S. to expel troops from the country.
More than four years ago, Washington D.C. made an agreement with Iraq to send forces to help in the fight against the Islamic State terror group. The new resolution asks the Iraqi government to end this agreement, supposedly sending these troops back to the United States.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halboosi said in an address to lawmakers before the vote, “The Iraqi government has an obligation to end the presence of all foreign forces on Iraqi soil and prevent it from using Iraqi lands, waters, and airspace or any other reason.” The majority of the 180 legislators present voted in favor of the resolution, backed up by mostly the Shitte members who hold the greater number of the seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, which their reason was later revealed as they oppose abolishing the deal.
This vote is non-binding, which means that the US troops do not have to leave immediately. The 5,000 U.S. troops that are in Iraq are there at the invitation of the country’s executive branch, the Prime Minister’s office — not Parliament. This means it is now up to the Iraq’s Prime Minister whether or not the troops will be expelled.
Since the purpose of these American troops in Iraq is to help fight against the terrorist group ISIS, the possible expulsion could greatly harm the country. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus voiced her opinion on this issue, stating, “The United States is disappointed by the action taken today in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. While we await further clarification on the legal nature and impact of today’s resolution, 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.” Ortagus continued, “We believe it is in the shared interests of the United States and Iraq to continue fighting ISIS together. This administration remains committed to a sovereign, stable, and prosperous Iraq.”
Even with the rising tension and fear of war, civilians are asked to stand by and let the governments of these countries solve the situation and come to an agreement. The only thing to do now is wait and hope that said governments’ problems are solved with minimal damage.
Photo courtesy of CNBC.com