Iraqi command denied reports of the US withdrawal from 15 bases

Information from a number of media outlets about the start of the withdrawal of the US troops from 15 bases in Iraq is untrue, Rakhi Novosti official spokesman for the Joint Command of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Tahsin al-Hafaji.

Baghdadtoday news portal reported on Monday, citing a member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, Ali al-Ghanemi, that the withdrawal of the US troops stationed in Iraq from 15 military bases has begun. Al-Ghanemi noted that the US contingent is still fully deployed at two sites – Ain al-Assad base in the northern province of Anbar and another in the province of Erbil in the west of the country. According to him, “the Americans intend to stay at these bases”.

“There are reports of the allegedly begun withdrawal of the US troops from 15 bases, they are not true. There have never been so many American bases in Iraq”, – al-Khafaji said.

He also denied reports that France, Germany and Australia had sent a request to the Iraqi authorities to develop a schedule for the withdrawal of their troops from the country.

“These countries did not submit such a request”, – al-Hafaji said. He also stressed that at the moment, coalition forces are not participating in joint military operations with the Iraqi side.

INA News Agency reported on Monday, citing a spokesman for the Iraqi Security and Defense Committee, Badr al-Ziyadi, that the three countries that are part of the international coalition against terrorism – France, Germany and Australia – have contacted the operational headquarters of the Iraqi Armed Forces command requesting a timetable for the withdrawal of their troops from Iraq.

On January 5, the Iraqi Parliament voted by a majority vote for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, and also called for the termination of cooperation with the forces of the international coalition to combat terrorist groups. These measures were a response to the US operation in the area of ​​Baghdad’s international airport, which killed the Iranian general, the commander of the special forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Iraqi Shiite militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. In Washington, they are considered involved in organizing the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on December 31, 2019.

Acting Prime Minister of Iraq Adel Abd al-Mahdi said in January that he was in talks to implement a parliamentary decision to withdraw foreign troops from the country.

Over the past few months, military bases in Iraq, where the US military is stationed, regularly become the target of mortar and rocket attacks. Such incidents became more frequent after the operation to eliminate Soleimani.

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