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article imageOp-Ed: Iraqi military officials cautioned not to seek US help

By Ken Hanly     Feb 7, 2020 in Politics
Tensions may have eased a bit since the US carried out the assassination of Qaseem Soleimani a top Iranian commander along with an Iraqi deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization forces in a drone strike near the Baghdad International Airport.
Tensions still high
Iran in retaliation
for the US assassinations attacked two US bases in Iraq with missiles. While no one appears to have been killed 64 in all are said to have had brain injuries. The Iraq parliament passed a resolution asking that all foreign troops leave Iraq 170 to 0 some time ago. The Iraqi government asked that the US discuss the withdrawal of US troops but the US refused to do so,
The tension continues as Iraqi military officials claim they have been ordered not to seek help from the US or coalition forces in any operations against the Islamic State (ISIS). However, the whole point of the US being in Iraq is to counter ISIS. ISIS is now so weakened that it is basically in survival mode. It does not have permanent control of virtually any territory in Iraq now. Iraq does not really need the US to control any threat from ISIS. Nevertheless the US would like to stay in Iraq to counter the increasing influence of Iran on the Iraqi government.
So far Iraq has failed to expel US troops
In spite of being asked to leave by the Iraqi government and facing protests and even attacks on their bases the US shows no sign of leaving. Indeed, Trump has threatened Iraq with severe sanctions should it try to force the US out. However, at least by not cooperating with the US in joint military operations it is signalling its autonomy and desire to be independent of US forces.
Tensions after the US assassination performed without permission of the Iraqi government led to a brief suspension of joint operations. The US announced late last week they would be resumed but it seems clear that Iraq is not interested in doing so certainly not to the scale as was happening earlier. The US is anxious to resume operations to make it appear that the US is still needed and carrying out its mission in Iraq. However, it is clear that the US is no longer welcome.
An anonymous senior military official said: “After the killing of Soleimani, the Iraqi government decided to inform us formally not to cooperate and not to seek assistance from the U.S.-led international coalition in any operation. Until now, we have not asked the Americans to provide assistance, we rely on our capabilities to pursue IS elements. The presence of the Americans in the joint operations is only formal."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about US Iraq relations, Iraq, US in Iraq
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