State Dept refuses Iraq PM formal request to leave Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Friday that he asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send delegates to devise a plan for the safe withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

Mahdi announced in a Facebook post that he had spoken to Pompeo over the phone on Thursday, during which he asked that the U.S. respect the Iraqi parliament’s resolution approving the expulsion of foreign forces from the country. Pompeo promised to follow up on the request, according to Mahdi.

The past week has seen a major rise in hostilities with Iran thanks to President Donald Trump’s strike on a top Iranian military leader, and the chaos has been further complicated by the Trump administration’s fumbling response to Iraq’s decision to have foreign troops removed.

After Iraqi parliament passed its resolution on Sunday, President Donald Trump threatened to slap Iraq with “very big sanctions.”

But the next day, the Pentagon sent a letter to Iraq’s Ministry of Defense saying the U.S. would leave Iraq — then Defense Department leaders walked back the letter and told the media there was “no decision whatsoever” to leave the country.

However, the Iraqi officials said on Tuesday that they expect the U.S. to follow through with its notice anyway.

“As a state, we deal with the official letters that we receive, and we will act in accordance with this letter,” an official told the Washington Post.

Author: Alexander Massaad

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