20:36 GMT29 January 2020
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    Though Washington has claimed American troops’ presence is necessary in Iraq to fight terror, experts tell Sputnik that argument is null and may result in backlash from Baghdad if the US continues to dismiss the sovereignty of the Iraqi government.

    Author, journalist and anti-war activist Mazda Majidi and Dan Kovalik, a human rights and labor lawyer who is the author of the book, “The Plot to Attack Iran: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Iran,” joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Friday to discuss the Iraqi government’s recent demands of US forces and provide their predictions of what’s to come in the area. 

    Majidi argued to hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that it will be “increasingly difficult for Trump and his administration to justify the continued presence” of US troops in Iraq following the Iraqi parliament’s call for them to be removed from the region and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s Thursday phone call with US Secretary of State to Mike Pompeo. 

    In a statement issued the same day by Pompeo’s office, it was asserted the Iraqi prime minister requested the State Department “send delegates to put in place the tools to carry out the parliament’s decision,” reported Reuters

    Additionally, Majidi pointed out, US President Donald Trump claimed in his Wednesday morning press conference that he had defeated “100% of [Daesh] and its territorial caliphate” and claimed responsibility for the late October death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

    If that’s the case, Majidi said, then the US’ supposed “mission in Iraq to train Iraqi forces to fight against” Daesh is complete. However, Washington’s actions following the Iraqi parliament’s vote show “how little respect the US has for Iraqi jurisdiction and sovereignty,” he said. 

    Commenting on an unsigned, draft letter delivered to Iraqi government officials implying the movement of American troops, US Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted Monday that troop withdrawal is “not what's happening.” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reinforced this position the same day and said, "There's been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq. Period."

    “The US believes it has dominion over the entire globe,” Kovalik told the hosts, agreeing with Majidi’s comments on Washington’s disrespect toward Baghdad’s sovereignty. “And that’s just how it justifies alleged acts of self-defense, even when they happen halfway around the world.” 

    However, given the escalated tensions in the region and the Iraqi lawmakers’ orders, there is a strong possibility that Iraq may begin to turn against US troops in the country and attack them. 

    “What justification is going to be given to the American people for American troops dying in a country that doesn’t want us anymore?” Kovalik asked. 

    While some may believe the possibility of additional conflict has calmed for the time being, as Iran has concluded its strikes in response to the killing of Quds Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Majidi called attention to the fact that Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, was killed alongside Soleimani on January 3. Furthermore, the Kata'ib Hezbollah militia in Iraq lost 25 members and dozens of others were left injured due to US strikes carried out by F-15 fighter jets in late December. 

    “Even though in the US media we always hear, ‘Oh, they’re clients of Iran; they’re proxies of Iran,’ they’re independent forces,” he argued, “and they have just finished years of a spirited fight against [Daesh] … and it certainly wasn’t Trump or US forces that were the main factors that pushed out [Daesh].”

    “They may take operations against US forces,” Majidi warned, highlighting that Iraqi forces may “have something to say” and issue their own response. 

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    US troop withdrawal, troop withdrawal, Iraqi Parliament, US military, US military, US troops, Popular mobilization forces, Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, General Soleimani, Qasem Soleimani, Donald Trump, Mark Milley, Middle East, Iraq, Iran
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