Jul 25, 2021 16:32 UTC
  • No need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil: Prime Minister Kadhimi

Iraq’s prime minister says there is no need for the US-led or any other foreign combat troops to be present on Iraqi soil in light of the capability of the Iraqi security forces and army to defend the country on their own.

“There is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil,” Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in an interview with the Associated Press, noting that any withdrawal schedule for foreign forces would be based on the needs of Iraqi forces, who have shown themselves capable in the last year of conducting independent missions against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

“The war against [Daesh] and the readiness of our forces require a special timetable, and this depends on the negotiations that we will conduct in Washington,” Kadhimi said, ahead of a planned trip to Washington for the fourth round of strategic talks between the two countries.

Kadhimi is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden on Monday to push for a concrete timetable for the withdrawal of US troops.

Currently, there are approximately 2,500 US troops in Iraq.

“What we want from the US presence in Iraq is to support our forces in training and developing their efficiency and capabilities, and in security cooperation,” Kadhimi said.

Iraq has a set of American weapons that require maintenance and training, he added. “We will ask the American side to continue to support our forces and develop our capabilities.”

Parliamentarians oppose US military’s advisory role in Iraq

Ahead of the premier's Washington visit, Iraqi lawmakers and political figures have indicated their opposition to the presence of the US military in their country, even in the capacity of advisors.

Muhammad al-Baldawi, a member of parliament, said on Sunday that the continuation of the US military presence in Iraq is in support of terrorism and will lead to problems inside the Arab country.

“The parliament has underscored the need for US troops to leave Iraq,” said Baldawi, a member of Iraqi al-Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, according to Iraqi media.

“Iraq is facing many problems due to US interventions, especially in the field of electricity and support for terrorism. [Iraqi] governments have failed to boost services in the past because of US interventions.”

Nasr al-Shammari, a spokesman for Iraq's al-Nujaba Movement, said Iraq is in no need of American forces, neither for training nor for an advisory role.

“Americans' training and advisory [role] is an insult to Iraqi forces. We do not tolerate the presence of foreign forces on Iraqi soil.”

Shammari also warned that Iraqi resistance forces will target foreign forces, including NATO forces, in the country.

Hassan Salem, another member of al-Fatah Alliance, said Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein was implementing the United States’ demands in Iraq, adding that it was about time Hussein resigned.