Two leading Shia political blocs renew call for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
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Two leading Shia political blocs renew call for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

On Monday, a delegation from Sairoon bloc, led by Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, held talks with members of Fatah alliance, headed by secretary general of the Badr Organization Hadi al-Ameri. At a press conference following the meeting, Nasser al-Rabie, the head of the Sairoon delegation, stressed that the two political parties share a common stance on the pullout of foreign troops from the Iraqi territory. Ameri, for his part, said that the continuation of the American forces’ presence in Iraq is not possible in the current form and requires a new agreement. The Americans, he added, were thrown out from Iraq in 2011, but they once again entered the country in 2014 under the pretext of fighting against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. The two political alliances had a few days ago expressed their objection to the US military presence in Iraq. Calls have grown in Iraq for the US exit since last December, when President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to al-Asad Air Base in the western Anbar Province. The trip sparked a wave of condemnations from Iraqi political leaders, with some of them demanding the swift expulsion of American forces. Recently, Trump ordered to withdraw all American troops from Syria and half from Afghanistan, but said he had no similar plans for Iraq. The US, backed by the UK, invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that the former regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons, however, were ever found in the country, and the invaders withdrew from Iraq, after nearly nine years of a military campaign that cost tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Leading a new coalition of its allies, the US returned to Iraq in 2014, when the Takfiri Daesh terror group unleashed a campaign of destruction in the Arab country. Widespread reports, however, said the Washington-led operations largely spared the terrorists and led, instead, to civilian deaths and inflicted damage on Iraqi infrastructure. Iraq’s armed forces, backed by mainly Shia volunteer forces, managed to liberate all Daesh-held areas thanks to military advisory assistance from neighboring Iran. Baghdad declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign in late 2017.

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