Iraqi government to go into parliamentary session to expel US troops from Iraq

Iraqi lawmakers coming together for a session on Sunday following the US drone strike on prominent Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani

In a statement given to Reuters by the lawmakers of Iraq, they said that the Iraqi parliament is grouping for a session on Sunday for pushing a resolution which would push for the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq. The session is coming after the US drone strike killed the Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

"There is no need for the presence of American forces after defeating Daesh (Islamic State)," said Ammar al-Shibli, a Shi'ite lawmaker and member of the parliamentary legal committee.

"We have our own armed forces which are capable of protecting the country," he said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (representational image) Reuters

Despite decades of enmity between Iran and the United States, Iran-backed militia and US troops fought side by side during Iraq's 2014-2017 war against Islamic State militants.

Around 5,000 US troops remain in Iraq, most of them in an advisory capacity.

The militia were incorporated into government forces under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilisation Forces which Muhandis led.

Many Iraqis, including opponents of Soleimani, have expressed anger at Washington for killing the two men on Iraqi soil and possibly dragging their country into another conflict.

Since the killings, rival Shi'ite political leaders have called for US troops to be expelled from Iraq in an unusual show of unity among factions that have squabbled for months.

Hadi al-Amiri, the top candidate to succeed Muhandis, repeated his call for US troops to leave Iraq on Saturday during an elaborate funeral procession for those killed in the attack.

A vote to expel US troops would need parliament to pass a law obliging the Iraqi government to ask US troops to leave.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is now caretaker prime minister after resigning in November under pressure from street protests, on Friday called for parliament to convene an extraordinary session to take legislative steps to protect Iraq's sovereignty.

(With inputs from Reuters)