PM Abdul Mahdi to be called on to explain continued US presence: Bina MP

Undated photo of the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdulmahdi (File Photo)

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SULAIMANI – A lawmaker from the al-Bina parliamentary bloc said on Thursday (February 21) that it would invite Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi to an upcoming legislative session to explain his government’s stance toward the continued presence of US forces in the country.

State of Law MP Mansour al-Baaiji said in a statement that al-Bina, along with several other parties that oppose having US troops stationed in Iraq, wants to debate the issue and have the prime minister present to explain his government's plans.

“Abdul Mahdi should make it clear that he has asked for US forces to stay in Iraq, especially after the US ambassador to Iraq announced their forces are in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government. Therefore, their departure would come at the request of the government,” Baaji said.

“The government should take into consideration our rejection of US forces staying, implement it, and deliver it to the Americans so that they leave Iraq without conditions.”

“If the government is unable to expel the US army, we would take issue and resort to any procedures to remove the remainder of those forces in Iraq,” he added

There are currently an estimated 5,000 US soldiers in Iraq, working mostly in a training capacity. Their presence is opposed by a number of parties in parliament and the issue is expected to be debated extensively in the next parliamentary term.

Al-Bina (Construction) bloc, consists of Hadi al-Amiri’s Fath Alliance and Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Alliance. It is seen as being close to Tehran.

Its major rival is the Islah (Reform) bloc led by Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon List, Haider al-Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) Alliance, Ammar Hakim’s National Wisdom Movement (Hikma), and Iyad Allawi’s al-Wataniya Alliance. The New Generation Movement is also a member of the Islah bloc.

Sadr ran in the election on a nationalist platform, opposing both US and Iranian influence.

(NRT Digital Media)