WASHINGTON D.C – The US military has announced preparation for “movement out of Iraq,” after the country’s parliament voted to oust foreign troops.
Brigadier General William Seely, who oversees US Task Force Iraq, sent a letter to the head of Iraq’s joint operations command on Monday, less than week after the US assassinated Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani, various news agencies reported.
“In order to conduct this task, Coalition Forces are required to take certain measures to ensure that the movement out of Iraq is conducted in a safe and efficient manner,” read the letter.
It added that the forces would “be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement.”
Helicopters were supposedly being used in and around Baghdad’s Green Zone as part of the preparations.
Today’s statement represents a critical turning point in the history of Iraq, as it has inched towards regaining its sovereignty following more than 15 years of nearly uninterrupted U.S military occupation.
These military-to-military announcements are of an official nature, yet these conflict with the public statements made by Trump administration officials. Trump for his part threatened ‘sanctions like they’ve never seen’ if Iraq evicts U.S. forces.
At the present time, FRN cannot reconcile these two apparently conflicting moving parts other than the U.S intends to leave but not if forced to leave.
It would appear that the official military statement made is in keeping with Iraq’s vote that U.S forces are to leave. It would furthermore be difficult for the U.S to consider the legislation of Iraq to be invalid even by its own neocolonial standards, given that the U.S authored the Iraqi constitution following the invasion in 2003.
There is some difference in legal opinion as to whether the present Iraqi PM, Abdul-Mahdi has the authority to enact new legislation. On 29 November 2019, after weeks of violent protests, Mahdi announced that he would resign his post. The Iraqi parliament approved his resignation on December 1st 2019. He presently occupies the position pending a replacement approved by the parliament.
Recall that the previous Obama administration in the U.S on at least one occasion, announced a withdrawal from Iraq which on paper occurred in late 2011. In reality, the occupation did not end and less than three years later, the same Obama ordered a re-occupation of Iraq under the pretext of fighting the very ISIL/ISIS which US intelligence programs had co-created.
It is also possible that the U.S does not intend to leave this time either, and is waiting for a more concrete provocation – real or fabricated – to justify a continued presence.