After the US strike in Baghdad, Iraq's government vows to end coalition presence

After the US strike in Baghdad, Iraq's government vows to end coalition presence
"This trajectory compels the Iraqi government more than ever to terminate the mission of this coalition," Yahya Rasool, Iraq's military spokesperson, said.
3 min read
08 February, 2024
According to Iraqi outlets al-Saadi was responsible for Kataib Hezbollah's logistical support, and missile unit. [Reuters]

The Iraqi government, on Thursday, asserted that continued US airstrikes targeting Iraqi security forces could compel them to terminate the US-led coalition's mission within the nation. Concurrently, the Iraqi parliament plans to convene on Saturday to vote on a decisive resolution mandating the expulsion of all foreign military forces from the country.

The developments came after a US drone strike late on Wednesday killed Abu Baqir al-Saadi, a top commander from the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah in eastern Baghdad.

"The American forces have conducted a blatant assassination through an airstrike in the heart of a residential neighbourhood in the capital, Baghdad, showing no regard for civilian lives or international laws," Yahya Rasool, the military spokesperson of Iraq's prime minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani on Thursday said in a statement. "This trajectory compels the Iraqi government more than ever to terminate the mission of this coalition, which has become a factor for instability and threatens to entangle Iraq in the cycle of conflict."

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He also threatened that the Iraqi armed forces "cannot neglect their constitutional duties and responsibilities, which demand safeguarding the security of Iraqis and the land of Iraq from all threats."

The US Army's Central Command (CENTCOM), in a statement, confirmed the attack, labelling it a defensive measure in response to the attacks on US service members.  

According to the CENTCOM, the airstrike "killed a Kataib Hezbollah commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on US forces in the region. The US vowed to continue its strikes against anyone who "threatens our forces' safety."

According to Iraqi outlets, al-Saadi was responsible for Kataib Hezbollah's logistical support and missile unit.  

Following the assassination, telegram channels of pro-Iran militias urged people to storm the US embassy located in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. As of late Thursday, intensive US military helicopters were hovering over the US embassy in Baghdad. 

Iraq's national security advisor Qasim al-Aeraji, while participating in the funeral of al-Saadi, told Iraq's state media that the Iraqi government has decided to end the mission of the US-led coalition in Iraq. 

On the other hand, the Iraqi parliament is scheduled to hold a session on Saturday to discuss the US assaults on Iraq's sovereignty. 

On Thursday, the ruling Coordination Framework, an umbrella body for all Shia parties and groups in Iraq, met with PM Sudani.

They stressed the need for the Iraqi government to continue with its efforts to end the anti-ISIS global coalition in Iraq. 

Since the start of Israel's war on Gaza, Iran-backed militias in Iraq have conducted hundreds of attacks on US forces in both Iraq and Syria over Washington's unwavering support for Tel Aviv in its brutal onslaught on the enclave.

US and allied troops have been attacked more than 165 times in the Middle East since mid-October in a campaign waged by Iran-backed armed groups angered by US support for Israel in the war in Gaza.

The attack came days after three American troops were killed in a drone strike on a US base in northeastern Jordan, which Washington the Islamic Resistance in Iraq- a shadow name for Iran proxies in Iraq and Syria.

The United States and Iraq opened talks on the future of the US-led troop presence in January, following a request by the Iraqi prime minister for a timetable for their withdrawal.

Washington has some 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq as part of an international coalition against the Islamic State group.

Its troops in Iraq are deployed at the invitation of Baghdad, but those in Syria are located in areas outside Syrian government control.