The Trump administration attempted to thwart the efforts of the Iraqi parliament to expel foreign military forces from the country in the wake of the killing of a top Iranian military commander and an Iraqi militia leader by US forces inside Iraqi territories, Axios reported on Sunday, citing two unnamed US officials and an Iraqi official.
The three officials told Axios that the Trump administration tried to convince the Iraqi government to block its parliament from passing the resolution, which will force the US military out of Iraq. One US official reportedly said that the exit of US troops from the country would “be catastrophic for Iraq”.
“It's our concern that Iraq would take a short-term decision that would have catastrophic long-term implications for the country and its security. But it's also what would happen to them financially if they allowed Iran to take advantage of their economy to such an extent that they would fall under the sanctions that are on Iran,” the official reportedly said. “We don't want to see that. We're trying very hard to work to have that not happen.”
Axios also cited an unnamed senior Iraqi official who claimed that many Kurdish and Sunni members of the Iraqi parliament, who are supporting the US presence in Iraq, did not attend the parliament vote on expelling all foreign military forces, including US-led international coalition, from Iraqi territories.
“This is a temporary victory for the parties which are pro-Iranian, but it's also a clear message from the Sunnis and from the Kurds [who didn't vote] and from some Iraqi Shia, for the Americans to tell them we want you to stay in Iraq,” the Iraqi official said, according to the website.
Earlier in the day, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, following a US airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Abu Mahdi Muhandis, a senior member of Iraq's Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Forces, on Friday.