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article imageOp-Ed: US deadline to withdraw transiting troops from Iraq is 4 weeks

By Ken Hanly     Oct 24, 2019 in Politics
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper was in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, on Wednesday where he met with top Iraq officials. No doubt the talks involved damage control after the US deployed troops from Syria into western Iraq without asking Iraq's permission.
Iraqi officials had been publicly very unhappy happy with the US troops just showing up in western Iraq without even having asked permission apparently. Prime Minister Adi Abdul Mahdi had said that Iraq intended to take "all international legal measures" over the matter, and called on the international community and the UN to perform their roles with regard to the matter. This may not be necessary as Mark Esper seems to have worked out a deal with the Iraqi Defense Minister.
Iraqi Defense Minister announces troop withdrawal within 4 weeks
The Iraqi Defense Minister Najah Shammari
made the announcement after his meeting with Esper: "US troops withdrawing from northeastern Syria to Iraq are “transiting” and will leave the country within four weeks, Iraq’s defense minister said Wednesday. Najah al-Shammari made the remarks to the Associated Press following a meeting in Baghdad with visiting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who arrived as Iraqi leaders chafed over reports the US may want to increase the number of troops based in Iraq, at least temporarily."
Even four weeks may be regarded as too long by some critics
There were only 700 troops in all moved from Syria to western Iraq. It is not clear why it will take four weeks to remove them. There appears to be no apology for the US action and the US seems to be taking its time in removing the troops. The Iraqi government is already having trouble containing opposition annoyance at the US presence in Iraq. The US actions may result in a resolution passing the Iraqi parliament demanding that all US troops be removed from the country. The important Shi'ite faction of Muqtada al-Sadr is already demanding all the US troops withdraw from Iraq.
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
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