02:41 GMT +317 November 2019
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    US Marines wave goodbye as they leave the military headquarters in Najaf in central Iraq, 23 September 2003

    Iraqi Militia Leader Says US Military Forces Should Go Home - Report

    © AFP 2019 / Thomas COEX
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    The head of a powerful Shia militia group says he is “certain and confident” Iraqi lawmakers will vote on a resolution demanding the withdrawal of US military forces from the oil-rich nation, according to a new report.

    "I think more than half the members of Parliament reject the presence of American military forces as a matter of principle," said Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asaib al-Haq (League of the Righteous), in an interview with the Associated Press.

    "If the United States wants to impose its presence by force, and to bypass the Iraqi constitution and Parliament, Iraq can treat it the same way and drive it out by force… But the first phase is political," said Khazali.

    Daesh* forces have been scraped out of Iraq, removing the US military's pretense for remaining there. "If the main purpose for their presence is to confront the military danger posed by Daesh, then this threat is eliminated," Khazali noted, asking, "So what is the justification for keeping this number [of troops] now?"

    He envisions a small group of US advisers staying behind to help with logistics, the report says. "Anything other than that will be considered an infringement on sovereignty by the Iraqi parliament, the Iraqi people and political factions, including ours, and we will not allow it."

    Approximately 24 million Iraqis were reported to be eligible to vote in Iraq's first parliamentary elections last May since the country's government declared victory over ISIS. Some 10.7 million people voted, including many Iraqi women who voted for the first time, Sputnik News reported.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.


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