Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani declared on Thursday that the Iraqi government is actively working to terminate the presence of foreign troops from the US-led coalition against ISIS. The announcement comes amid an uptick in tensions, with recent air strikes targeting militia bases in central Iraq, leading to casualties. The Iraqi government has denounced these attacks as acts of terrorism, emphasizing the infringement on Iraqi sovereignty by the US strikes.
The ongoing conflict involves Iran-backed Shiite militias launching frequent drone and missile attacks against US troops, prompting retaliatory air strikes from the US military. While American forces initially stayed in Iraq after ISIS's defeat to assist in eradicating sleeper cells, the situation has escalated. Prime Minister Al Sudani emphasized the need to reorganize the relationship with the international coalition forces, expressing Iraq's commitment to legal authorizations for their presence.
The US insists that its troops in Iraq serve in a non-combat capacity, focusing on supporting Iraqi security forces through training, consultancy, and intelligence gathering. Al Sudani stressed the importance of adhering to the legal mandate granted by previous governments, emphasizing that any military engagement exceeding the limits would be considered a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
President Joe Biden defended recent US air strikes as a response to protect personnel in Iraq, citing authorization for the use of military force. He asserted that the strikes aimed to deter future attacks while minimizing the risk of escalation and civilian casualties. The evolving situation underscores the challenges in balancing security concerns with respect for Iraqi sovereignty.