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article imageOp-Ed: Iraqi parliament likely to pass bill evicting US troops from Iraq

By Ken Hanly     May 18, 2019 in Politics
US troops have been in Iraq for most of the last sixteen years. Often relations of the Iraqi government to the troops have been defined by increases in US hostility to neighboring Iran.
Iraq government relations worsening with the US
The Iraq government was already angry at the US because it has been talking of remaining in Iraq, with Trump saying that the US would stay there to keep an eye on Iran. The recent moves to send naval and other forces to the area has simply exacerbated the tensions. Iran is influential in Iraq especially among Shiites. The result is the Iraqi parliament has taken action.
Today the Iraqi parliament will vote on a bill to expel all foreign troops from Iraq, and it singles out US troops specifically as being required to leave. The bill is supported by the top two Shiite blocs and should pass easily.
Will the US leave if the bill passes
The bill will be a test of Iraq sovereignty if it passes. The US sees the parliament as in the hands of "pro-Iran factions" and may not comply with the terms of the bill. The US has given no indication that it considers whether its military remains in Iraq or not is up to the Iraqi government. It may possibly consider the Iraqi parliament a proxy of Iran and consider the act another Iranian threat.
While the Iraqi Prime Minister is warning the US against launching a war against Iran from Iraq, the US is complaining about pro-government Shiite militia it claims are allied with Iran. The US appears to be doing everything it can to provoke conflict against the US within Iraq that it can then claim to be caused by Iran. The US may make sure to create conditions that will likely provoke a reaction that it can then use as a basis to justify conflict with Iran.
The US escalation and splits within the Trump administration
The US has sent an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the region to counter what they claim is an imminent threat from Iran. Today they issued a warning to civilian aircraft flying over the area. Trump has also order non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq claiming there are threats from armed groups.
There are reports of infighting within the Trump administration as to how much pressure should be put on Iran. Apparently John Bolton Trump's very hawkish national security adviser is pushing a hard line while others are resisting.
The Trump administration has been under pressure to show evidence for the threat that is the stated reason for the huge buildup and fiery rhetoric of the last two weeks. Eight important legislators have been briefed with the rest slated to be briefed next week as reported in a recent Digital Journal article.
Coalition partners in Iraq had suggested earlier this week that the threat level had not risen significantly. Members of the US Congress have demanded more information that would justify the US apparent preparation for possible conflict. If the Iraqi bill to evict the US troops passes and the US refuses this could very well prompt some Shiite militia to launch attacks on US troops.
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 DigitalJournal.com
More about Iran US relations, US troops in Iraq, Iraq US relations
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