After the killing of Iranian general Qassem Solemani, the international coalition that has been fighting the Islamic State has suspended all its activities in order to concentrate of protecting US, UK and other troops at bases in Iraq. This comes on the same day as the Iraqi Parliament passed a motion that decreed the removal of all US troops from Iraq.
This decision accompanies increased tensions between the two countries after the assassination of the Iranian general and the leader of Iraq’s Hezbollah militia by the US just outside Baghdad airport. After repeated rocket attacks at its bases, the US-led coalition has announced its commitment to protecting its bases.
After the assassination of Gen Solemani, there have been warnings that the coalitions efforts to tackle ISIS are in jeopardy. The presence of 6,000 military personnel from the US who were training the Iraqi military has become untenable. The unauthorised airstrike by Donald Trump has upset a lot of people in Iraq.
The resolution passed by the Iraqi parliament called for a long-standing agreement with the US regarding the presence of US troops on Iraqi soil to be revoked. In a statement, the UK government said that the resolution by the parliament was only indicative to the wishes of the people and that only the government has the right to order the removal of foreign troops.
In related news, President Donald Trump on January 5 threatened sanctions against Baghdad after Iraq Parliament called on US troops to leave the country. Trump also vowed 'major retaliation' if Tehran launched attacks to avenge the killing of Qassem Soleimani. The US President further said that if troops did leave the country, Baghdad would have to pay Washington for the cost of the airbase there.
In an interview with an international media outlet, Trump said that the US has extraordinarily expensive airbase which cost billions of dollars to build. He further added that the US won't leave unless Iraq pays back. Trump also said that the US will charge Iraq with sanctions like they've never seen before if they asked US forces to leave and if it was not done on a friendly basis.