News & Politics

Divided Iraqi Parliament Votes to Expel All U.S. Troops

(Image from Wikipedia)

At the urging of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, the Iraqi parliament voted 170-0 to expel all coalition troops from Iraq.

But Sunni and Kurdish members did not attend the session, revealing a sharp divide in opinion over the issue.

New York Times:

The vote is not final until Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq signs the draft bill. But since he drafted the language and submitted the bill to Parliament, there was little doubt he would sign it. Mr. Abdul Mahdi had urged lawmakers to oust the United States-led coalition after President Trump ordered a fatal drone strike against General Suleimani in the Baghdad airport.

Members of Iraq’s Parliament were divided on the demands to expel American troops. While factions that grew out of Shiite militia organizations have pushed hard for the expulsion, Sunni Muslim factions and the Kurds wanted the United States to stay.

The reaction to Suleimani’s death shows just how far Iranian influence has penetrated the upper levels of the Iraqi government. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis poured into the streets to mourn Suleimani’s killing. Was it really a violation of Iraq’s “sovereignty” if the government is just an extension of the power of the Iranian mullahs? Where does Iraq begin and Iran end in that country?

“Sovereignty,” indeed.

No matter. The Europeans are rushing to show Iran that they’re on the side of the mullahs. The EU’s foreign minister invited Iran’s Javad Zarif for talks and Germany has indicated it wants direct talks with Iran.

The European outreach came as the United States and its NATO allies suspended training Iraqi forces for security reasons after the killing of General Suleimani.

Germany’s defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said in a statement: “Iraq cannot be allowed to sink into chaos, and certainly not under the control of extremists. Therefore, it is important not to let up now in the fight against Islamic State.”

In general, the Europeans did not specifically criticize Mr. Trump for his decision, and generally share the American view that Iran has been a destabilizing force in the Middle East and a supporter of terrorism. At the same time, no European government praised the killing of General Suleimani, emphasizing instead the increased risks to their citizens, troops and interests.

If the Iraqis want to act stupidly and give in to the Shia bloc’s anti-American fanaticism, they should be allowed to do so. The Iraqi government is a mess, as evidenced by the bloody protests that broke out last month over non-existent public services and government corruption. The U.S. can’t fix that and shouldn’t try. And if they don’t want our help to protect them from ISIS or attacks from Iran, we should bid them farewell and adieu.