US President Joe Biden hosted Iraqi Prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House on Monday. In a joint statement released after their talks, officials indicated that Washington agreed to remove all combat troops from Iraq by 31 December 2021, with remaining forces to engage only in a training, advisory and intelligence-sharing capacity.
Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, a Shi’ite paramilitary group that’s part of the Baghdad government-allied Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias, has expressed dissatisfaction with the Iraq-US agreement on troop withdrawals, and insisted that all US forces must leave the country, including all components of its air force.
The pullout must include the “criminal” US Air Force which controls Iraq’s airspace, al-Shammari said, blaming US air power for a range of crimes he said were committed inside the country.
Al-Shammari went on to allege that the US did nothing to stop the rise of the Daesh (ISIS)* terrorist group, which al-Nujaba and other PMF members fought between 2014 and 2017, and to suggest that Washington played no real role in the terrorists’ defeat.
The spokesman complained that at present, some factions inside Iraq are seeking to use the US troop presence to prop themselves up. “Who can guarantee that American forces in Iraq will not be reinforced while being called ‘advisors’?” he asked. Al-Shammari stressed that a majority of Iraq’s parliament representing a majority of Iraqis had voted to expel…