By Dana Taib Menmy for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Abdul Mahdi urges Kurds to help rid Iraq of US troops
Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi arrived Jan. 11 in Erbil — his first official visit to the Kurdistan region since taking office — to discuss the country’s stability and the need for Kurdistan to cooperate with a push to expel US forces.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted Jan. 8 that Iran will “kick all US forces out of the region” in response to the Jan. 3 killing by US forces of Qasem Soleimani, chief commander of the Quds Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units.
By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Foreign troops’ future in Iraq uncertain as clashes continue
For the security of its personnel, NATO has temporarily suspended its training activities in Iraq, given the recent violence there. Iraqis seem divided over what that will mean for their safety.
The United States on Jan. 3 assassinated Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a drone attack near the Baghdad airport.
Iran retaliated by firing missiles at military bases in Iraq where US troops are stationed. There are also mass protests taking place in Iran and Iraq.
The Trump administration has reportedly threatened to block Iraq’s access to its funds in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York if Iraq expels US troops from the country.
The Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed Iraqi officials as saying that the US State Department warning came after the Iraqi parliament voted in favour of a resolution demanding the removal of American forces from Iraq.
Iraq uses the account to deposit its oil sale revenues and pay government salaries and contracts.
According to the most recent financial statement from the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), the Federal Reserve held about $3 billion in overnight deposits at the end of 2018.
By Jack Detsch for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Iraq’s caretaker prime minister privately does not want US troops to withdraw, several sources familiar with the situation told Al-Monitor, though Adel Abdul Mahdi publicly backed a recent parliamentary vote that urged the Donald Trump administration to exit the war-torn country.
Despite calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send an American delegation to Iraq to negotiate the withdrawal of US troops in a readout of a Friday call, Abdul Mahdi is trying to find a way to keep an American presence in the country while attempting to placate Iran-backed militia leaders who want to force 5,200 US troops out, a source familiar with the situation on the ground said.