US Troops Preparing to Leave Iraq After Vote to Expel American Forces
Letters sent by Top U.S. commander in Iraq, Brigadier Gen. William Seely
The Iraqi Joint operations command has been informed by the United States military that it is "repositioning" troops after the vote to remove American forces following the drone killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Top U.S. commander in Iraq, Brigadier Gen. William Seely, stated in a letter Monday:
"Sir, in due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement."
The letter's authenticity, images of which were not signed by Seely, was confirmed to the Washington Post by a U.S. military source along with Iraqi military sources to Reuters and Agence France-Press.
Army Public Affairs Officer, Rick Dickson, said on Twitter:
"This document is confirmed as official and accurate by Task Force Iraq Public Affairs. There are lots of people saying it is fake. It is not."
Tensions between the US and Iraq have heightened as thousands of Iranian-backed militants surrounded the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, chanting "Death to America," protesting the airstrikes on Iranian-back facilities in the country.
Seely added tha troops would conduct removal operations during darkness and that "Coalition Forces will take appropriate measures to minimize and mitigate the disturbance to the public."
BREAKING: The US military sends a letter to the Iraqi military announcing the “onward movement” of US troops “in due deference to the sovereignty of Iraq & as requested by the Iraqi Parliament & the Iraqi PM”. It’s a withdrawal. pic.twitter.com/tQHSsHTtez— Liz Sly (@LizSly) January 6, 2020
On Sunday, Iraqi MPs passed a resolution that called for all foreign troops to leave the country following the drone strike against top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
In Iraq, the US has 5,000 military personnel, consisting mainly of advisers, based there.
The UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and a host of other countries also contribute the military to help train local Iraqi forces.
The resolution read:
“The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory."
“The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace, or water for any reason.”