Iraq on Wednesday rejected any long-term presence of US troops in his country after their withdrawal from neighboring Syria. Baghdad said American forces crossing into Iraq could only be there in transit.
“it’s not surprising that the government of Iraq would make a decision not wanting American troops to be positioned within Iraq,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“We have to consider that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and there was a very bloody war took place…so the Iraqis certainly are not anxious to have American troops return to Iraq,” Preston told Press TV on Thursday.
“Also there’s been civil unrest in Iraq in recent times; there may be concerns that the Americans may try to foment civil unrest within Iraq because of the fact that the Iraqi government has moved closer to Iran,” he added.
US forces leaving Syria not allowed to stay in Iraq: PMIraq’s Abdul-Mahdi says American forces withdrawing from Syria don’t have permission to stay in his country and Baghdad is taking legal action to address the issue.
US forces have been deeply unpopular in much of Iraq since their 2003-2011 occupation of the country.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said after a meeting with visiting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday that the American forces were not allowed to remain in Iraq and his government was taking “all international legal measures” to address the issue.
“We have (already) issued an official statement saying that, and we are taking all international legal measures. We ask the international community and the United Nations to perform their roles in this matter,” he said.
He asserted that any foreign troop presence on Iraqi soil must be authorized by the government first and should end upon Baghdad’s request.
Esper had initially told reporters that troops leaving Syria would go to western Iraq for further operations against scattered Daesh terrorists and “help defend Iraq”. But he backtracked on Tuesday, saying Washington aimed to eventually bring the troops home.
In a major U-turn in the US military policy, the White House announced on October 6 that the US would be withdrawing its forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the path for an expected Turkish incursion into the region.
Three days later, Turkey launched the offensive with the aim of purging the northern Syrian regions near its border of US-backed Kurdish militants, whom it views as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).