The U.S. presence in Iraq violates the nation's sovereignty, lawmakers said.
The presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is an arrogant violation of the nation’s sovereignty, Iraqi lawmakers said Thursday, condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s unexpected arrival on Wednesday.
"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.
The 5,200 military personnel have united Iraqi parliamentarians in a call to expel the troops with promises to schedule an extraordinary session to put the motion to a vote.
“Trump’s visit is a flagrant and clear violation of diplomatic norms and shows his disdain and hostility in his dealings with the Iraqi government,” said a statement from the Bina bloc, which is led by Iran-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri.
Abdul Mahdi’s office said in a statement that U.S. authorities had informed Iraq’s leadership of the president’s visit ahead of time. The statement said the Iraqi prime minister and U.S. president talked by telephone due to a “disagreement over how to conduct the meeting.”
Iraqi lawmakers told Reuters that the pair had disagreed over where their planned meeting should take place: Trump had asked to meet at the Ain al-Asad military base, an offer which Abdul Mahdi declined.
Bina said Trump’s visit “places many question marks on the nature of the U.S. military presence and its real objectives, and what these objectives could pose to the security of Iraq.”
During the Wednesday meeting in Iraq, Trump said he had no plans to withdraw the U.S. troops.
The soldiers were first introduced as part of a coalition against the Islamic state in 2014 when the Iraqi government invited the United States to help combat jihadist rebels.
However, over the last five years, the 5,200 troops in Iraq have been more focused on training and advising Iraqi troops to ensure that Islamic State does not re-emerge, the U.S. said.