Germany has decided to withdraw some of its troops from Iraq in the latest fallout from the US airstrike that killed Iranian general Soleimani. Around 30 german soldiers that were stationed in Baghdad and Taji as a part of the US-led anti-IS coalition will be moved to Jordan and Kuwait.
According to a German defence spokesperson, the evacuation will begin shortly. Germany has in total 415 soldiers deployed as a part of the anti-IS coalition and 120 of them are stationed in Iraq. Germany's decision to withdraw troops comes after the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution that asked the government to end its agreement with the United States-led coalition.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday said that the only reason Germany was in Iraq because it had the mandate to be there from the Iraqi government and its parliament. And if that mandate was no longer present then Germany no longer has a reason to be in Iraq and that point should be immediately clarified with those in charge in Bagdad.
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, France's President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a joint statement on Sunday urging Iraq not to jeopardise the coalitions battle against Islamic State. In related news, top Pentagon leaders on Monday that the United States has no plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, despite a draft letter from a senior military officer that appeared to suggest plans for withdrawal were underway. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the US is “moving forces around” Iraq and neighbouring Kuwait. He said a draft letter circulated internally by a US Marine commander was a “poorly written” honest mistake that should never have gotten out.
The draft letter appeared to suggest the US was preparing to pull troops out of Iraq in response to a vote by the Iraqi Parliament over the weekend. The draft said troops would be “repositioning over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement." and warned of an increase in helicopter travel around the Green Zone. It added, “We respect your sovereignty decision to order our departure.”