Under Iran’s mounting pressure, the Iraqi Parliament has taken a land marking decision that can worsen its relations with the US. After the US’ invasion of Iraq to end the IS reign that have long threatened the lives of the Iraqis, both the countries initiated strategic partnership, following a mutual, deep-rooted relationship.
But Iraqi lawmakers’ vote to end the foreign military presence in the country might bring complications in its existing partnership with the US.
As of now, nearly 5,200 US troops are deployed in Iraq to fight the IS extremists, but wouldn’t their displacement return the IS threats in the region? It appears that the Iraqi Parliament is failing to understand the gravity of the move.
Though the bill is subject to approval by the Iraqi government, it has the backing of outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, who stated that urgent measures should be taken to remove foreign forces from the country.
On Saturday, Mahdi attended the funeral service of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, killed in the US drone strike. He also told the Iraqi parliament that the US strike on Soleimani and his Deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was a “political assassination”, linking it with the ongoing US-Iran feud.
Mahdi said that the US seized the opportunity of killing the Iranian general, while he was in Iraq to negotiate and de-escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia, overturning Iran’s Middle East policy.
Iran has a controversial history with the US, since the latter withdrew from the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal. The death of the Iranian general by the US military mounted further tensions, as Iran announced that it will no longer abide by the limits contained in the 2015 nuclear deal. How ironic!
In the first place, Iran never abided by the rules of the nuclear deal, which aimed at eliminating Iran’s stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and reducing its nuclear facilities to lift the US imposed economic sanctions. The failure to follow the deal was stated as a major reason for withdrawal by the US.
The only difference is that, earlier Iran denied breaking the norms of the deal, despite conducting nuclear practices, but now it has openly announced to overlook the rules. Well, the critics believe that such a decision might act as a disadvantage for the US and bring Iran closer to building an atomic bomb.
Considering the growing aggression over Soleimani’s death, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that the country would no longer observe the nuclear deal’s restrictions, freeing the country of all the existing limitations.
Iran’s decision was condemned by the leaders of Germany, France and Britain, which together issued a joint statement on Sunday, calling it to switch back to the guidelines of the deal.
US troops’ withdrawal from Iraq could further bring back the looming IS terrors that have long destroyed the Iraqi civilization, and plunged its economy.
In all, the withdrawal move would not only hinder the Middle Eastern peace, making it far more dangerous and unstable, but also pose a huge threat to the US’ influence and its interests in the region. IS militants in Iraq would also try to take revenge against the US forces, who have in the past, killed their leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Against the Iraqi parliament’s decision, President Trump threatened to demand billions of dollars in compensation from Iraq that the US had invested in Iraq’s military advancements or instead impose “sanctions like they’ve never seen before”, if it goes through with the decision of expelling the US troops.
But will the threats of sanctions really alter Iraq’s decision at a time when it is totally influenced with Iran? If not, then what the US troops deployed in Iraq would do about it? Surely, none of the countries involved would want to move towards a third Gulf war.