Middle East again: Passing law to end US troops’ stay in Iraq ‘difficult:’ senior Iraqi lawmaker

The head of the Iraqi parliamentary faction led by former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday expressed doubt at the possibility of parliament voting in favor of ending the presence of US troops in the country, citing Iraq’s fragile security situation.

Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi recently told Kurdistan 24 that the legislative body had received a proposal that aims to determine the tasks of the US troops stationed in Iraq and the timetable for their stay.

The US military presence, as explained by Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim, in a recent interview with Kurdistan 24, does not involve combat troops, but “only military advisors and trainers, who are helping our army.”

“So, I wonder why some people in Iraq want to make this subject a big issue,” he said.

“We believe that the presence of US troops is within the framework of the International Coalition for the fight against Da’esh [Islamic State],” Adnan al-Zurfi, the head of parliament’s Victory alliance, part of Sadr’s Reform bloc, said in an interview with Kurdistan 24.

Head of the Victory faction in the Iraqi Parliament Adnan al-Zarfi on Feb. 10, 2019. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

Still, Iraqi lawmakers, including those from the two leading blocs – one of which is led by popular cleric Muqtada al-Sadr while pro-Iranian Shia militia commander Hadi al-Amiri leads the other – are increasingly campaigning in favor of a vote to end American military presence in the country.

However, Zarfi, pointing to the “worrying” security situation in Iraq, warned the legislature against “rushing” to pass such a law, but reassured that it would be “difficult” to do so.

Despite Iraq’s declaration of defeat in late 2017, the Islamic State continues to carry out insurgency-style attacks and ambushes, targeting security forces and civilians alike.

US troops in Iraq – recently numbered at around 6,000 by Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi – have been and continue to provide training and counseling to Iraq’s security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga in the fight against the terrorist organization.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

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