BAGHDAD – A leader in Iraq’s Badr Organization said US forces have transferred Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists from Syria into Iraq amid Washington’s attempts to reinforce the American presence in the Arab country.
“Eyewitnesses living along the border with Syria have informed security officials that American forces are conducting extensive airborne transfers of Daesh terrorists from Syria to Iraq,” Mohammad Mahdi al-Bayati told al-Maalomah news agency on Sunday.
The terrorists entered Iraq via the borders near the Kurdistan region, Bayati said, adding that the new deployment is aimed at stepping up terrorist attacks in Iraq in order to justify the presence of American forces in the country.
The US has not only defied calls to withdraw from Iraq but has also reinforced its military presence by deploying more troops and military equipment. The United States has recently started evacuating its occupation forces from a number of military bases in Iraq under a new redeployment plan.
Iraqis believe the move is a military tactic amid reports that Washington is drawing up plans to target members of Hashd al-Sha’abi or Popular Mobilization Forces. On Saturday, Hashd al-Sha’abi thwarted an attempt by Daesh militants to infiltrate into the Iraqi province of Anbar from Syria.
The presence of US forces presents a serious quandary for new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. On Saturday, he met US Ambassador Matthew Tueller in Baghdad, reiterating that Iraq would not be a ground for settling accounts and launching attacks on any neighboring or friendly country.
Around 5,000 US troops are in Iraq under the pretext of supporting Iraqi forces in the battle against Daesh even as Baghdad has declared the fight against the terrorists over a long time ago. Following a cabinet meeting Saturday, Kadhimi said a strategic agreement with the US will be reviewed.
Iraq and the US signed the Strategic Framework Agreement in 2008 based on a relationship of friendship and cooperation between the two nations. However, relations nosedived following the US assassination and airstrikes on popular counterterror forces which prompted the Iraqi parliament to vote for the withdrawal of American troops.
Speaking to Baghdad Today news website on Wednesday, Kadhimi said he was “serious” about ending any manifestation of the illegal presence of foreign forces in Iraq. He said Baghdad would discuss with Washington the nature of its presence on Iraqi soil in the near future.
Some Iraqi political groups have said they had set action on the parliament’s withdrawal vote as a condition for endorsing Kadhimi as prime minister. On Friday, a senior Iraqi cleric said that American forces do not intend to leave the Middle East region and have to be consequentially expelled forcibly by means of resistance.
“The Americans have to be ousted because they do not intend to leave by themselves. Only resistance can expel them,” Baghdad Friday prayers leader Sayed Yasin al-Mousavi said.
Iraqi resistance groups have also pledged to take up arms against US forces if Washington fails to comply with the parliamentary order.