Iraq moves to end U.S.-led coalition's mission following airstrike
The Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, is taking steps to permanently end the U.S.-led international coalition's mission in Iraq.
This development, announced by al-Sudani's office on Friday, follows a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad that killed a militia leader and sparked demands from Iran-aligned groups for the coalition's departure.
The Prime Minister's office stated, "The government is setting a date to start a bilateral committee tasked with arranging the end of the international coalition forces' presence in Iraq." The committee will include representatives from both the military coalition and the Iraqi government.
This decision came in the wake of Thursday's U.S. military strike, which the Pentagon described as a response to recent attacks on U.S. personnel. The United States currently maintains 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq. Their mission, according to U.S. officials, is to advise and assist local forces in preventing a resurgence of Islamic State. The extremist group had seized large parts of both countries in 2014 before being driven back.
Iran-aligned militia groups in Iraq and Syria, opposing Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip, partly hold the U.S. responsible for regional tensions. Al-Sudani, who required the support of some Iran-backed factions to gain power a year ago, now faces the challenge of managing a powerful bloc within his governing coalition that demands an end to the coalition's presence.
"We stress our firm position in ending the existence of the international coalition after the justifications for its existence have ended," Sudani stated.
Meanwhile, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for two explosions in Iran that occurred on Thursday. These attacks, targeting a memorial for top commander Qassem Soleimani, resulted in nearly 100 deaths and left scores wounded.