US Central Command (CENTCOM) has confirmed the deployment of new Patriot missile systems to Iraq amid calls for the withdrawal of American troops from the Arab country.
In a statement on Thursday, Bill Urban, spokesman for CENTCOM confirmed the deployment, saying the US military would not provide further status updates on its ongoing movement of Patriot missile systems into Iraq for security reasons.
“The US military continues to coordinate the effort with its Iraqi partners,” he said, adding, “The Iraqi Government is well aware of our collective need for air defense protection of service members within Iraq”.
Also, Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said Thursday that “for operational security reasons, we are not providing status updates as those systems come online.”
The deployment comes as Iraq has called for an immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.
Karim Alawi, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, has strongly condemned the deployment of Patriot missile systems at the bases hosting US troops in Iraq as a breach of the Arab country’s sovereignty, urging senior government officials to detail any agreement pertaining to the US move.
He noted, “According to the available information, the US-built Patriot missile was installed in three military bases where American forces are stationed. This runs counter to the sovereignty of Iraq.”
The US deployed Patriot missile systems to Iraq last week, apparently as a precaution against possible rocket attacks.
However, Iraqi resistance groups are on high alert for any possible false-flag operation by the US forces, which are supposed to leave the Arab country.
Meanwhile, the US-led military has started pulling out of several bases in Iraq, redeploying its forces to other positions in the Arab country.
The coalition has already said that the transfer of US-led military forces had nothing to do with the missile attacks against Iraqi bases hosting the coalition forces, or the outbreak of COVID-19 – the disease caused by the highly contagious new coronavirus, in Iraq.
Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Hashd al-Sha’abi, and their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport two days earlier.
Later on January 9, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the former Iraqi prime minister, called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.
The 78-year-old politician said Iraq rejects any violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the assassination airstrike.
-US Central Command