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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

US military presence in Iraq aimed at protecting Israel's security, interests: PMU leader

Iran Press TV

Monday, 25 May 2020 3:20 PM

A high-ranking official with Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha'abi, has strongly denounced US military presence in his country, saying such a deployment is meant to safeguard the security and interests of the Israeli regime.

"There is a national and courageous will, which rejects the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil. There have been talks of US intentions to withdraw from Iraq, but we doubt them," Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of the PMU, was quoted as saying by Iraq's Arabic-language al-Ahad TV network on Monday.

He added, "The US [military] presence in Iraq is meant to protect the security and interests of the Israeli regime. Neither are we warlords nor thirsty for blood, but rather patriots looking for the dignity and sovereignty of the Iraqi nation."

"If the withdrawal [of US troops] does not take place, the foreign occupier must know that Iraqis will not accept the presence of its forces. The Americans, who will open negotiations [on the extension of their presence] in June, must remember the centenary of the Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920 against British forces," Khazali pointed out.

He also praised the sacrifices made by Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of PMU, who were assassinated along with their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport early on January 3.

Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill two days later, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country following the targeted killings.

Later on January 9, former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

The 78-year-old politician said Iraq rejected any violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military's violation of Iraqi airspace in the assassination airstrike.

Iraqi MP urges roadmap for withdrawal of US forces

Meanwhile, a member of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee has stressed the need for drawing up a roadmap aimed at the pullout of US military forces.

"American forces view Iraq and its military bases from a strategic perspective, which best serves their interests in the entire Middle East region. There have also been remarks by a number of US officials to increase the number of American troops in Iraq within the coming days. This is further proof that the US military deployment has a wide and varied agenda," Karim Allawi said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language Baghdad Today news website on Monday.

He noted that "the exit of US troops [from Iraq] is impossible without pressure from multiple sides."

"There must be a roadmap in order to get them out, the first stage of which is to lodge a complaint to the United Nations, reiterate the fact that Iraq is in a situation that does not need the presence of any foreign forces, and that the threat of Daesh is restricted to certain areas, which security forces can confront and defeat," Allawi pointed out.

"A complaint should also be filed with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Meetings should be held as well with [officials from] Arab and regional countries to expedite the pullout of US forces, and people should be supported at the same time to express themselves through massive peaceful demonstrations," the Iraqi legislator commented.

"If American forces do not take heed of peaceful means with regards to their withdrawal from Iraq, we will resort to resistance. This is a legal and legitimate right, which no one opposes. The Iraqi nation will not accept the presence of any foreign troops against its will," Allawi underlined.

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