Trump agrees US-Iraq 'security partnership' despite calls for troop withdrawal

Trump agrees US-Iraq 'security partnership' despite calls for troop withdrawal
More than 5,000 US troops are based in Iraq.
2 min read
22 January, 2020
Iraq's parliament had called for the withdrawal of US troops from the country [Getty]
US President Donald Trump and his Iraqi counterpart Barham Saleh agreed Wednesday on the need for a continued US military role in the country, the White House said.

The two leaders met in Davos, Switzerland, their first meeting since Iraq's parliament called for the expulsion of US troops following the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

"The two leaders agreed on the importance of continuing the United States-Iraq economic and security partnership, including the fight against ISIS," the White House said. "President Trump reaffirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to a sovereign, stable, and prosperous Iraq."

Furious at the US hit, Iraq's parliament voted on January 5 to oust all foreign troops, including some 5,200 American soldiers deployed alongside local forces.

While non-binding, the parliamentary resolution was also reflected in threats from Iran-backed militias in Iraq who have pledged revenge against US troops for the killing of Soleimani.

Following the vote, caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with formulating the withdrawal of US troops from the country. The request was refused by the US.

The meeting between Trump and Saleh took place on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which this year is focusing heavily on climate emergency and social inequality.

Saleh met with Trump despite threats from a Tehran-linked militia. 

"We stress the need for Barham Saleh to not meet Trump and his vicious mob. If he meets with them then Iraqis will take a stand against him," Abu Ali Al Askari, a high-ranking security official in Kataeb Hezbollah, posted on Twitter.

The US president also met with Nechirvan Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, while in Davos.

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