Iraqi prime minister repeats call for US troops to get out

Baghdad, Iraq - Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani on Thursday repeated his call for a US-led international coalition to depart his country amid soaring regional tensions over Israel's war on Gaza.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani wants the US-led coalition of forces to leave his country as soon as possible.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani wants the US-led coalition of forces to leave his country as soon as possible.  © LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

"The end of the international coalition mission is a necessity for the security and stability of Iraq," he said during a televised event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"It is also a necessity for preserving constructive bilateral relations between Iraq and the coalition countries."

Sudani has repeatedly said in recent weeks he would like to see foreign troops leave Iraq.

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His remarks came after the US carried out strikes on pro-Iran groups in response to attacks since mid-October on American and other coalition forces, which have been deployed in Iraq since 2014 in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

At least 130 attacks, including 53 in Iraq and 77 in Syria, were recorded between October 17 and January 11, according to the Pentagon.

Most of the drone or rocket attacks targeting foreign troops have been claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-linked armed groups that oppose US support for Israel's assault on Gaza.

US-led coalition no longer needed, Sudani says

The US assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Harakat al-Nujaba militant group.
The US assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Harakat al-Nujaba militant group.  © Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

A US drone strike in early January killed a military commander and another member of Harakat al-Nujaba, a faction of Hashed al-Shaabi.

The Hashed is a collection of mainly pro-Iranian former paramilitary units now integrated into the Iraqi armed forces.

In his remarks on Thursday, Sudani said it was also necessary to "immediately begin a dialogue, to reach an understanding and a timetable regarding the end of the mission of international advisers."

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The US has about 2,500 soldiers in Iraq and nearly 900 in Syria supporting the anti-ISIS coalition, which Sudani insisted was no longer needed.

"Today, according to the analysis of all specialists in Iraq and among our friends, ISIS does not represent a threat to the Iraqi state," he said.

Cover photo: LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

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