Iraqi legislator called presence of US troops as a “form of occupation”

An Iraqi legislator has denounced the continued presence of US troops in Iraq as a “form of occupation,” calling on the Baghdad government to inform the parliament about the number of the US forces and their function.

“The deployment of any foreign forces must be approved by the government given the fact that Iraq is a sovereign country. The failure of the United States to comply with the parliamentary resolution concerning the withdrawal of its troops from the Iraqi territory is a form of occupation of Iraqi territories,” Thamer al-Zaiban, a member of the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, told Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

“US President Donald Trump has depicted himself as a protector of Iraq and its people. This is rejected by us,” he added.

Iraqi legislator 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 Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s 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 caretaker 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.

On April 14, Sa’ad al-Sa’adi, a senior member of the Fatah parliamentary coalition, told Arabic-language Baghdad Today news website that the country’s political parties have conditioned approving Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s cabinet on the evacuation of US-led military forces.

“Now that Mustafa al-Kadhimi has secured the parliament’s vote of confidence [that enabled his nomination as the premier], one of his most important duties is to implement the law ratified by the parliament, based on which all foreign forces should be evacuated from Iraq,” Sa’adi said at the time.

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