Iraq's prime minister starts process to boot out US troops after airstrike kills militia leader

The prime minister said the U.S.-led coalition forces, which are dedicated to preventing the resurgence of ISIS, must leave "after the justifications for its existence have ended."

Published: January 8, 2024 10:19am

Updated: January 8, 2024 10:22am

Iraq is starting the process to kick the U.S.-led international military coalition forces out of the country, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's office said after an American airstrike in the capital of Baghdad killed a high-ranking leader of a U.S.-designated terror group.

The Iraqi government is organizing a "bilateral committee to make arrangements to permanently end the presence of international coalition forces in Iraq," the prime minister's office said Friday, as translated. The office was relaying highlights from al-Sudani's speech that he gave on the fourth anniversary of the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

The U.S. has about 2,500 troops stationed in Iraq to assist local forces in preventing the Islamic State from resurging after the organization seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

During his speech, al-Sudani said he is committed to "ending the existence of the international coalition after the justifications for its existence have ended."

Al-Sudani also said the "heinous" U.S. strike that killed Soleimani also killed Iraqi military commanders Jamal Jaafar Al Ibrahim and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis of the Popular Mobilization Force, a group of militias that Iraq's military nominally controls.

Last week, Popular Mobilization Force leader Mushtaq Taleb al-Saidi died when a U.S. airstrike hit a car carrying him and othermembers of Harakat al-Nujaba, a militia that the U.S. has designated as a terror group.

Additionally, al-Sudani said that the Popular Mobilization forces are an "integral part" of Iraq's armed forces, and "no one can infringe on Iraq’s sovereignty."

He also said the security situation in the country has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas invaded Israel, killing about 1,200 people and kidnapping 240 others. "The continuation of brutal practices in Gaza will have serious repercussions on the region and the world," al-Sudani warned. 

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