Trump and Pompeo Responses Differ on Iraq Parliament Resolution for U.S. Troop Withdrawal
Jan. 6, 2019 (EIRNS)—It is not clear, at this point, what will happen now that the Iraqi Parliament has voted up a resolution calling for the expulsion of U.S. and all foreign troops from Iraq. U.S. President Donald Trump, was quoted by Associated Press as telling reporters aboard Air Force One as he was returning to Washington from Florida yesterday:
“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame. If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.”
AP further quoted the President, as stating, “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shrugged off the vote which was reportedly urged by Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi—who is heading a caretaker government after having been forced to resign in November—as that of a merely “acting” prime minister “under enormous threats from the very Iranian leadership that we are pushing back against. We are confident that the Iraqi people want the United States to continue to be there to fight the counter-terror campaign,” he told on Fox News Sunday.
“While we await further clarification on the legal nature and impact of today’s resolution, we strongly urge Iraqi leaders to reconsider the importance of the ongoing economic and security relationship between the two countries and the continued presence of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
The Washington Post today highlighted Pompeo’s role and included the following: “Pompeo first spoke with Trump about killing Soleimani months ago, said a senior U.S. official, but neither the President nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation.”
If the cited official’s report is true, Pompeo’s proposal to kill Soleimani would have been made in the time frame in which the destabilization in Iraq began, just after Abdul-Mahdi returned from Beijing, where he had begun arrangements for an “oil for reconstruction” deal with China.