Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the withdrawal of US troops from the country in the wake of the assassination of Iran’s Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
According to a statement released by the Iraqi premier’s office on Friday, Abdul-Mahdi “requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament’s decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq” in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late on Thursday.
The prime minister said Iraq rejects violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the airstrike that assassinated Soleimani last week.
Abdul-Mahdi asked Pompeo to “send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament’s resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq,” the statement said.
“The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements,” the statement added.
On January 5, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.
Later in the day, Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution to end the presence of foreign troops in the country had not gone far enough, calling on local and foreign resistance groups to unite.
“I consider this a weak response, insufficient against American violation of Iraqi sovereignty and regional escalation,” Sadr, who leads the largest bloc in parliament, was quoted by Reuters as saying in a letter to the parliament.