Al-Khazali: al-Sudani's Washington visit is not a success unless foreign troops leave Iraq

Al-Khazali: al-Sudani's Washington visit is not a success unless foreign troops leave Iraq

Shafaq News/ Iraqi Shiite cleric, Qais al-Khazali, on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani's visit to Washington is not a success unless he ends the "illegal and illegitimate" presence of foreign troops in the country .

AL-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq movement, made those remarks during Eid al-Fitr prayers in Baghdad, earlier today.

"The withdrawal of foreign troops, particularly American forces, is a fundamental strategic issue that cannot be subject to compromise," he said.

He also criticized some Iraqi politicians who defend the foreign presence, stating they "do not represent the Iraqi people." Al-Khazali said Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani, the Coordination Framework, and the Iraqi Rsistance groups agree on "rejecting the continued presence of these forces."

"There is no justification for these forces to remain," the cleric said, directing his message towards the foreign troops. "If they fail to learn and understand this message, then all means, including military operations, become legitimate to resist this illegal and illegitimate presence."

Currently, there are about 2,500 US troops still deployed in Iraq as part of the coalition that was formed in 2014 to help the Iraqi government defeat ISIS.

The US says its aims to set up a committee to negotiate the terms of the mission's end were first discussed last year.

Israel's war on Gaza ramps up, US forces in Iraq and Syria have faced frequent attacks by Iran-allied groups, resulting in US retaliatory attacks and Iraqi complaints of US "aggression" against its territory.

Since ISIS lost its hold on Iraq, officials have called for the withdrawal of coalition forces, especially after a US air strike in January 2020 killed Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis outside Baghdad airport.

Iraqi officials have complained that the US attacks violate its sovereignty.

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