[pjw] BREAKING NEWS: Iraq calls for US troops to leave after killing of Iranian commander - Reuters 1/5

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sun Jan 5 15:20:50 EST 2020

At the PPRC rally on Friday, I made the point that the best thing that can 
come out of the US attack on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani is that Iraq 
might finally tell the US to get out of their country after 17 years of 
occupation. The parliament voted a few hours ago to do just that.

Important point from the article:
    While such resolutions are not binding on the government, this one is
    likely to be heeded: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdihad earlier called
    on parliament to end foreign troop presence as soon as possible.

Unfortunate side note:
    The parliamentary resolution was passed by overwhelmingly Shi'ite
    lawmakers, as the special session was boycotted by most Sunni Muslim
    and Kurdish lawmakers.

Sorry for the second email in a row, I thought this was pretty pressing 

--dan h

    January 5, 2020 / 10:01 AM / Updated 8 minutes ago
Iraq calls for foreign troops to leave after U.S. killing of Iranian
    [25]Ahmed Rasheed, [26]Ahmed Aboulenein

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament called on Sunday for U.S. and
    other foreign troops to leave amid a growing backlash against the U.S.
    killing of a top Iranian military commander that has heightened fears
    of a wider Middle East conflict.

    In a war of words between Iran and the United States, U.S. Secretary of
    State Mike Pompeo said Washington would target any Iranian
    decision-makers it chose if there were further attacks on U.S.
    interests by Iranian forces or their proxies.

    Qassem Soleimani was killed on Friday in a U.S. drone strike on his
    convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that carried U.S.-Iranian
    hostilities into uncharted waters and stoked concern about a major

    As Washington and Tehran, longtime foes, traded threats and
    counter-threats, the European Union, Britain and Oman urged them to
    make diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis.

    The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for an end to all
    foreign troop presence, reflecting the fears of many in Iraq that the
    strike could engulf them in another war between two bigger powers long
    at odds in Iraq and across the region.

    "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," it said.

    While such resolutions are not binding on the government, this one is
    likely to be heeded: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdihad earlier called
    on parliament to end foreign troop presence as soon as possible.

    Pompeo told CBS's "Face the Nation" that Washington was watching very
    closely what took place in the Iraqi parliament. He did not say whether
    the United States would remove its troops from Iraq if requested by the
    Iraqi government.

    "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 (Islamic State militants) and others in the region,"
    Pompeo said in the interview. "That is in defense of the Iraqi people
    and is good for America, too."

    Some 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, most in an advisory role.

    Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani told
    state television the Iraqi parliament's vote means the U.S. military
    presence in Iraq is considered an occupation.

    Despite decades of U.S.-Iran enmity, Iranian-backed militia and U.S.
    troops fought side by side during Iraq's 2014-17 war against Islamic
    State, their common enemy. Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis
    was also killed in Friday's strike.

    The parliamentary resolution was passed by overwhelmingly Shi'ite
    lawmakers, as the special session was boycotted by most Sunni Muslim
    and Kurdish lawmakers.

    One Sunni member of parliament told Reuters both groups feared that
    kicking out U.S.-led forces would leave Iraq vulnerable to insurgents,
    undermine security and heighten the power of Iranian-backed Shi'ite

    In his first comments on the killing of Soleimani, British Prime
    Minister Boris Johnson said he spoke on Sunday with his French, U.S.
    and German counterparts, and that London was in close contact with all
    sides to encourage de-escalation.

    Johnson said he would not lament the death of someone who played a
    leading role in actions that led to the deaths of thousands of innocent
    civilians and Western personnel, but that "calls for retaliation or
    reprisals will simply lead to more violence in the region and they are
    in no one's interest."


    Earlier on Sunday, Iran lambasted Trump after the U.S. president
    threatened to hit 52 Iranian sites, including targets important to
    Iranian culture, if Tehran attacks Americans or U.S. assets in
    retaliation for Soleimani's death.

    "Like ISIS, Like Hitler, Like Genghis! They all hate cultures. Trump is
    a terrorist in a suit. He will learn history very soon that NOBODY can
    defeat `the Great Iranian Nation & Culture'," Information and
    Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi wrote on

    In remarks to Fox News on Sunday, Pompeo said Trump had not threatened
    to target Iranian cultural sites.

    Soleimani masterminded Iran's clandestine and military operations
    abroad as head of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, creating an arc
    of Shi'ite power with the help of proxy militias confronting the
    regional might of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    Hundreds of thousands of mourners, many chanting, beating their chests
    and wailing in grief, turned out across Iran to show their respects
    after Soleimani's body was returned to a hero's welcome.

    Pompeo rejected suggestions that the U.S. intelligence that led to the
    strike on the general was thin.

    "The intelligence assessment made clear that no action - allowing
    Soleimani to continue his plotting and his planning, his terror
    campaign - created more risk than taking the action that we took last
    week," he said on ABC's "This Week" show.

    Democratic critics of the Republican president have said Trump was
    reckless in authorising the strike.

    Heightened fears of war drove Gulf stocks sharply lower on Sunday.

    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Iran's foreign minister by
    phone to work to de-escalate the situation and invited him to Brussels
    to discuss ways of preserving world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with

    It was Trump's withdrawal of the United States from the deal in 2018
    and reimposition of sanctions on Iran that touched off a new spiral of
    tensions after a brief thaw following the accord.

    On Sunday, Iran further distanced itself from the deal, saying it will
    continue to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog but will respect
    no limits to its uranium enrichment work.

    This meant "there will be no limitations in enrichment capacity, level
    of enrichment and research and development and ... it will be based on
    Iran's technical needs," state TV said, quoting a government statement.
    It said the roll-back of its nuclear commitments could be reversed if
    the United States lifted sanctions on Tehran.

    Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Ahmed Aboulenein; Additional reporting
    by Kylie MacLellan in London, Parisa Hafezi and Babak Dehghanpisheh in
    Dubai, Francesco Guarascio in Brussels, Tom Perry in Beirut, Daphne
    Psaledakis and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru;
    Writing by Mark Heinrich and Daniel Wallis; Editing by Frances Kerry
    and Lisa Shumaker

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