Abdul Mahdi warns of unauthorized strikes by US in Iraq

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi speaks during a symbolic funeral ceremony of Major General Ali al-Lami, who commands the Iraqi Federal Police's Fourth Division, who was killed in Salahuddin, in Baghdad, Iraq October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

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SULAIMANI — Caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said on Monday (March 30) that any attack that the US makes on Iraqi soil without authorization is a violation of the country’s sovereignty.

In a statement, Abdul Mahdi condemned attacks on foreign troops by groups within Iraq, saying that the government was working to pursue and bring the perpetrators to justice.

However, he also warned against “the consequences of conducting condemned and unauthorized hostilities” by its foreign partners.

“We consider this a threat to the security of citizens and a violation of sovereignty and the supreme interests of the country,” he added.

In his statement, Abdul Mahdi did not specify any country in particular, but, in the context of recent events, the inference that he was referring to the US was clear.

Over the weekend, several US media outlets reported that the Trump administration was considering whether to ramp up its campaign against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, in particular Kaitib Hezbollah, which it blamed for several recent and deadly rocket attacks on bases hosting US troops.

On March 16, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US would respond if it was attacked in Iraq.

Following an attack on the Taji military base north of Baghdad on March 11 that killed two US and one British servicemembers, the US responded by striking several targets it said belonged to Kaitib Hezbollah.

Following the assassination by the US of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Sulaimani and Iraqi militia Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January, the Council of Representatives held an indicative vote expressing a desire to see the US withdraw its troops from Iraq, although the vote was only supported by Shia parties.

US forces are deployed in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government in order to fight Islamic State and train the Iraqi security forces.

(NRT Digital Media)