Withdrawal of US troops from Iraq: cacophony of opinions

Withdrawal of US troops from Iraq: cacophony of opinions

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 16

By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:

The Iraqi Parliament is currently working over a draft law on the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country. It is clear that this refers primarily to the US military.

Is the withdrawal of American troops beneficial for Iraq? Who and why insists on this?

The question should be viewed considering two factors, which, however, are strongly interlinked. An internal factor is inter-Iraqi turf war, while the external one is the US-Iran face-off.

The Shiite political and military elite has been feeling comfortable since the Sunnis ' deprivation of dominance in the country after Saddam Hussein's departure, as well as after the expulsion of the Kurds from the disputed territories in October 2017, and the return of control over the oil fields of Kirkuk.

The re-consolidation of the Sunni community, as well as the return of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to the disputed territories will be a challenge for the Shiite majority – it will be necessary to share power and wealth.

Who can really help the knocked-out Sunnis to rise again from their knees and declare themselves? Who can help the return of the Peshmerga troops to the disputed territory?

Americans can. Why would they need to? The reason is their confrontation with Iran.

If it were not for the strongest Iranian influence on the Iraqi Shiites, the Americans, most likely, would have nothing against their dominance in Iraq.

The latest example of strong Iranian influence in Iraq is assassination of a well-known Iraqi novelist, Alaa Mashzoub, reportedly because of his harsh criticism of Iran. Also, as regional media reported, the commander of the Iranian elite Al-Quds forces, Qasim Suleimani, mediated between Iraqi Shiite leaders to select a candidate for the post of Iraqi interior minister, which was vacant after the country's new government had been formed.

Close ties between the Iraqi Shiite authorities and Iran make the US look for a counterweight.

This, in turn, makes the Shiite MPs and the leading Shiite parties with their military branches stand together for enactment of the law and the early withdrawal of the US troops from the country.

The response of Shiite leaders ranges from a mild diplomatic statement made by the Shiite spiritual leader of Iraq, Ali al-Sistani, to open threats voiced by one of the leaders of the Shiite people's militia Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, Kais Hazali to force the US military out of the country.

However, there are also those who consider the withdrawal of the US troops premature and unreasonable.

The speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Mohammed al-Halbusi said that his country still needs foreign forces to fight terrorism. He believes that Iraq will not be able to counter terrorism without the assistance of the international community: "Iraq still needs foreign forces to fight terrorism, and the international community must remain committed to providing military assistance to Iraq."

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim also said that the US military presence in Iraq is consistent with the strategic agreement reached at the time between Baghdad and Washington.

Speaking about the withdrawal of foreign troops, the parties obviously refer to the threat posed by the "Islamic State" (IS).

Iraq announced the defeat of IS at the end of 2017. Since then, however, terrorists have continued to attack security forces and civilians throughout the country.

The top US general in the Middle East, Joseph Votel, warned that in Iraq and Syria there are still "tens of thousands" of the IS militants. "They are fragmented and scattered, but there is a leadership, there are militants, there are assistants," he said.

The Saudi newspaper Okaz noted that Iraqi intelligence has information from the arrested IS leaders that the group plans to return to the northern Iraq, especially the areas around Mosul.

In the meantime, during a meeting with acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan in Baghdad this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi reportedly asked for assistance in protecting the plains of Nineveh in the northern Iraq, as there was a risk of the revival of IS there.

Leaders of the Iraqi Shiite militia have a different point of view. They believe that the fight against the "Islamic State" in Iraq has been successfully completed, and the threat is over. Therefore, they say, there is no need for further stay of American troops in the country.

Some Shiite leaders were more outspoken in their comments, saying that Baghdad would not allow any foreign state to use Iraq to attack Iran.

It can be seen that opinions around the withdrawal of troops are different: Pro-Iranian forces require the adoption of the law, while there are those who do not want things to rush.

At the end of January, the former chief of staff of the Iraqi United Forces, Babakr Zebari, warned about the possibility of the revival of IS or the emergence of other terrorist groups in Iraq, if the root causes of their occurrence are not tackled. Representation of all components, including Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, according to him, is one of the most important steps that must be taken to prevent a new boom of extremism in the country.

Perhaps this is the best solution to ensure the early withdrawal of US troops from Iraq?

So until then, the Americans have a strong argument to prevent the adoption of this law in the Iraqi Parliament: Okaz newspaper reported that Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi asked Washington to extend sanctions waivers for Baghdad’s trade with Iran – a thing which is crucial for Iraq.

Erdogan reveals stricter COVID-19 measures in Turkey during Ramadan
Erdogan reveals stricter COVID-19 measures in Turkey during Ramadan
Southern Gas Corridor increases liquidity in European gas markets
Southern Gas Corridor increases liquidity in European gas markets
German gov't approves uniform nationwide COVID-19 response measures
German gov't approves uniform nationwide COVID-19 response measures
Loading Bars
Latest
Erdogan reveals stricter COVID-19 measures in Turkey during Ramadan
Iran's annual iron ore concentrate output nears 50mn tons
Deputy Finance Minister: Georgia ranks first in Europe with economic growth rate according to IMF
Southern Gas Corridor increases liquidity in European gas markets
Uzbekistan-India trade grows to record high in 2020
Azerbaijan plans to organize personal account system for auditors
China's 2M2021 import of Azerbaijani products surges in value
Exchange of all data necessary to conduct effective demining is required - OSCE MG
Baku to host international gymnastics competitions again
German gov't approves uniform nationwide COVID-19 response measures
Russia's daily COVID-19 cases record lowest in months
Iran to start 60% enrichment tonight: Nuclear spokesman
Israel to allow vaccinated tourists in starting late May
Biden confirms invitation to Putin to take part in climate summit
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Belarus have informal meeting
IMF unveils forecast on Azerbaijan's oil export for 2021-2022
Azerbaijani FM, Romanian ambassador stress high level of development of bilateral political relations (PHOTO)
Special equipment of Belarus assembled in Azerbaijan may be exported to Turkey
Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry responds to Armenia's statement on War Trophy Park
President of Belarus pays working visit to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Moscow, Tehran attach great importance to North-South Corridor – Russian FM
Azerbaijani president gives weighty answer to Armenia’s disinformation campaign - Official (VIDEO)
Belarus reveals plans for oil purchases from Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan’s FlyArystan launching direct flights to Georgia
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy printed materials
Azerbaijan's Aghdam needs to be fully rebuilt - German historian (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's PM meets with BP's regional president
Ukraine may take part in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
President Ilham Aliyev: Pakistan was among countries that openly supported Azerbaijan from first days of confrontation
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Sudan due to send first delegation to Israel next week
Liabilities of Bank Melli Iran’s Baku branch increase
Armenia obligated under int'l law to provide mine maps to Azerbaijan - Matthew Bryza
Footage from Azerbaijani Jabrayil's Sadi village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan, Ukraine discuss full resumption of mutual flights
Oil exports via Barents Sea in Lukoil system increased
Hydrometeorology in Azerbaijan needs young experts for technologies - ministry
Azerbaijan shares latest data on mine clearance work carried out on liberated lands
Co-op between Iran, Russia to be effective in activating nuclear deal – Rouhani
2021 demand for OPEC crude to be higher than in 2020
Assets of Iranian Bank Melli's branch in Azerbaijan increase
On Independence Day eve Israel's population over 9.3m
Iran still waiting for S.Korea to provide solution, release its blocked assets
Azerbaijan issues data on number of COVID-19 vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,457 more COVID-19 cases, 2,002 recoveries
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2021 liquids supply
Rosatom can take part in developing green energy in Azerbaijan - expert
Repairing of last well in Iran's Naft Shahr field launched
Iran in favor of strengthening relations with Russia – President Rouhani
Azerbaijan Railways builds co-op on transiting additional goods
IMF talks forecast of money supply growth in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022
European Hydrogen Backbone’s updated cost revealed
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's oil, non-oil GDP
Cargo movements in Iran’s Qeshm port down
Azerbaijan expects tourism sector to recover by summer
Plan on budget revenues surpassed in Kazakhstan
Scotland to ease some COVID-19 restrictions early
Around 70% of European infrastructure to start transporting hydrogen
U.S. will base 500 additional troops in Germany
Russia documents 8,173 coronavirus cases in past day, lowest figure since September 28
Kazakhstan names value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
Iran's mobile phone imports increase
Azerbaijani president signs order on hosting European Football Championship matches in Baku
Kazakhstan drafts pricing rules for exported crude oil, gas condensate
Retail trade indicators decrease in Kazakhstan
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan records decrease in oil output
Belarusian IT company keen to expand its activities in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company announces its production plan
Uzbekistan building modern wastewater treatment facility at Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy engines
Russian, Azerbaijani military discuss Iskander-M missile debris in Karabakh region - Russian official
Greece can take slightly more than 1 mcm/d via TAP
President Ilham Aliyev: Liberation of territories will be additional opportunities
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenians did it deliberately in order to erase legacy of Azerbaijani culture in order to erase these territories from our memories
Together with Russian president, we discussed issue about Iskander-M missile – Azerbaijani president
TAP supplies to Greece cause contraction in LNG imports
Kazakhstan attracts investments to develop national parks in Almaty region
European Commission makes statement on TAP
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency allows flights from Irkutsk to 3 countries
President Ilham Aliyev: I had a strong feeling during negotiations that Armenia doesn’t want a solution
President Ilham Aliyev: I think we need to be more active in order to try to build bridges
ADB focuses on renewable energy projects in Georgia
US eyes to continue negotiations on direct flights with Georgia
Bank of Georgia discusses revised outlook for country’s economic growth in 2021
Anabechdi company plans to produce textile in Georgia
Georgia to receive significant funds from IMF
Azerbaijan reveals 2M2021 data lending to energy, chemistry, natural resources sector
Georgian E-Space company looks to export its software
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 65,000
Amount of Georgian bonds held by foreign investors up
JSC "Georgian Railway" reveals financial indicators for 2020
Uzbekistan, Russia discussing joint projects on aircraft construction
Iran's propane gas exports shrink
Armenia committed ecological terror during occupation of Azerbaijani lands - Ecology ministry
India, EU reiterate commitment to democracy, freedom and respect for human rights
Bangladesh: Multinational military exercise 'Shantir Ogroshena 2021' concludes
All news