US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has turned down Iraqi Prime Minister’s request to begin plans to remove US military troops from Iraq following the US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on US soil.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi made the request in a telephone call with Mike Pompeo on Thursday night, Abdul’s office said in a statement.
According to the statement, he also told Pompeo that U.S. strikes in Iraq were an unacceptable breach of Iraqi sovereignty and a violation of the security agreements between both nations.
The Prime Minister in the call asked Pompeo to ‘send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament´s resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq,’
Trump has threatened to place economic sanctions on Iraq if the US troops are forced to leave Iraq, saying billions of dollars have been spent in protecting the region.
The Iraqi parliament early this week passed a resolution calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq while Iran has called for the removal of US troops in the Middle East region following the killing of Soleimani by the US last week Friday.
But Trump believes the absence of US troops in the Middle East will only embolden Iran in its destabilizing effects around the region while also increasing the risk of ISIS resurgence in the region.
‘The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements,’ the statement added.
Even though the prime minister stopped short of asking for immediate troops removal, he suggested that the US should draw a framework to begin graduated removal of troops.
US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo reiterated the United States’ condemnation of the Iranian missile strikes on the two bases and underscored that President Donald Trump ‘has said the United States will do whatever it takes to protect the American and Iraqi people and defend our collective interests.’