Take that, President Trump. Iraq’s parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end the presence of foreign troop presence in Iraq. Not only is the resolution non-binding, but the caretaker prime minister isn’t legally authorized to sign the bill into law. Not only that, there apparently is no timetable attached to the resolution.
Not only that, the Iraqi parliament that passed the resolution was barely able to muster a quorum. Only 173 of the 329 Iraqi lawmakers participated. Nearly all of those who did are Shiite representatives. Kurd and Sunni legislators wanted nothing to do with the resolution.
The Kurds and the Sunnis presumably would like U.S. forces to remain in Iraq. Many Shiites probably would as well. Otherwise, they would have passed something stronger than a non-binding resolution with no timetable.
Shiite cleric and longtime U.S. nemesis Muqtada Sadr aptly described the resolution as “feeble.” He called for the immediate closure of the “American embassy of evil” and of U.S. bases in the country.
Even the Shiite legislators didn’t want to go that far, and for good reason. Iran has worn out its welcome in Iraq even among large segments of the Shiite population. The attacks by Shiite protesters on Iranian diplomatic outposts in the south of Iraq demonstrate this. I assume that disgust with Iran also explains why the resolution isn’t directed only at America, but instead encompasses all foreign forces.
For his part, President Trump would like to remove all U.S. forces from Iraq. But that was never a good short-term option, and it’s a terrible one now that we’re in a direct confrontation with Iran. Handing Iran the kind of victory a U.S. withdrawal would represent is unthinkable at this moment, or should be.
Accordingly, Secretary of State Pompeo promptly blew off the idea of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. On Fox News Sunday, he stated:
We are confident that the Iraqi people want the United States to continue to be there to fight the counterterror campaign. And we’ll continue to do all the things we need to do to keep America safe.
Given the weakness of the withdrawal of troops resolution, continuing to do these things will not violate Iraqi law.