BAGHDAD – A senior member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense commission warned that the US plot to prolong the presence of its soldiers in the country under the cover of NATO is against the legislative body’s approval which calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces.
“The parliament will stand against any agreement or negotiations between Baghdad and the US on delivering the US forces’ mission to the NATO and such approaches and agreements with the US are against the bill approved by the Iraqi lawmakers about the expulsion of foreign military forces from the country,” Karim al-Mahmadawi told the Arabic-language al-Ma’aloumeh news website on Tuesday.
He added that the parliament’s approval is crystal clear and underlines the necessity for the withdrawal of all foreign forces, noting that there is no need for other agreements. Mahmadawi said that there is no need for the presence of 5,000 US forces “for training purposes” in Iraq as claimed by Washington.
During their meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels, the defense ministers of the NATO countries approved the transfer of some coalition activities to the NATO mission, with the mission being strengthened by troops from the alliance’s member states.
NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, announced on Thursday that the number of troops to be transferred from the coalition to the NATO force, and the details of training activities to be resumed by the mission, will be discussed during a meeting of the international coalition on Friday in Munich, on the sidelines of the security conference.
The Iraqi parliament called on the government in January to work to end all foreign troop presence as a backlash grew after the killing of a top Iranian military commander and an Iraqi militia leader in a US drone strike in Baghdad. A resolution passed by a special session of parliament said the government should cancel its request for assistance from a US-led coalition.