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Patriot missile system deployment breach of Iraqi sovereignty: Legislator

A member of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee has strongly condemned the deployment of Patriot missile systems at the bases hosting US troops in Iraq as a breach of the Arab country’s sovereignty, urging senior government officials to detail any agreement pertaining to the US move.

“The decision about the withdrawal of foreign forces, including US troops, is not reversible as it represents the Iraqi nation’s will to respond to Washington’s crimes in Iraq, its flagrant intervention in the country’s domestic affairs in addition to its repeated targeting of Hashd al-Sha’abi forces (Popular Mobilization Units) and its leaders,” Karim Alawi told Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

He noted, “According to the available information, the US-built Patriot missile was installed in three military bases where American forces are stationed. This runs counter to the sovereignty of Iraq.”

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News reports suggest the US deployed Patriot missile systems to Iraqi military bases to purportedly protect American troops against potential missile attacks. One of the Patriot batteries was reportedly deployed to the Ain al-Asad facility in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.

Last week, the New York Times reported that the Pentagon had ordered a secret directive, which called on US military commanders to prepare a campaign against Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is part of Hashd al-Sha’abi.

But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive.

Lieutenant General Robert P. White wrote in a blunt memo that a new military campaign would also require that thousands more American troops be sent to Iraq and divert resources from the so-called fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

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Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Hashd al-Sha’abi, and their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport two days earlier.

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Later on January 9, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the former Iraqi prime minister, called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

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The 78-year-old politician said Iraq rejects any violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the assassination airstrike.

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