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  • U.S. soldiers attached to the Golden Lions forces patrol a street in the city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad July 20, 2011.

    U.S. soldiers attached to the Golden Lions forces patrol a street in the city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad July 20, 2011. | Photo: Reuters file.

Published 7 January 2019

Iraqi lawmakers rejected the visit of U.S. Marine General Austin Renforth to the Mutanabi Cultural Center in Baghdad and asked parliament to draw a vote to expel U.S. troops from Iraqi soil. 

The Sairuun parliamentary block voiced its stark opposition to U.S. forces remaining in Iraq and some within the group called for a vote on the decision to expel the troops from the country, Sunday.

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This reflects an ongoing sentiment among Iraqi politicians who demand a cessation of U.S. military presence on Iraqi soil.

“Parliament must clearly and urgently express its view about the ongoing American violations of Iraqi sovereignty,” said Salam al-Shimiri, a lawmaker with the Moqtada al-Sadr party, back in December.

However, the latest reaction was triggered by a visit of a U.S. Marine General Austin Renforth who is the director of Joint Operations of the Combined Task Force in Iraq, to the Mutanabi Cultural Center in Baghdad, where the official was photographed next to Iraqi General Jalil Rubaie, while being “serenaded” by a local musician.

“What happened Saturday is a clear violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and independence, which showcases Washington’s agenda,” said Hamdallah Rikabi, a spokesman for Sairuun.

In 2011, the United States withdrew its military forces from Iraq only to return in 2014.

There is a reason for concern within the country that there will be some type of increase of troops on Iraqi soil because the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria came with an announcement of an escalation of troops in Iraq.

“With the increasing number of foreign forces in Iraq particularly after the US decision to relocate its forces from Syria to the western and northern parts of Iraq and establish further bases there, more and more parliamentarian fractions are inclined towards urging the government to ouster foreign forces including those of the US from our country,” Iraqi MP for the Coalition for Reforms and Construction Mohammed al-Baldawi told the Fars news agency.

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