Al-Manar reported that "in an extraordinary session on Sunday, 170 Iraqi lawmakers signed a draft law requiring the government to request the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Only 150 votes are needed that the draft resolution be approved." There are 329 lawmakers in total. Rudaw Media Network (Kurdish) described the 170 Iraqi lawmakers that signed the law as Shiite and that "Iraqi parliament's resolution to expel foreign troops has no legal consequences." Al Jazeera reported 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" and "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." The resolution was approved in the Iraqi parliament. In response to the vote, Trump threatened Iraq with sanctions that would "make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame" and demanded reimbursement for American investments on military facilities in Iraq.
On 31 December 2019, after a funeral was held for the Kata'ib Hezbollah militiamen, dozens of Iraqi Shia militiamen and their supporters marched into the Green Zone and surrounded the U.S. embassy compound. Dozens of the demonstrators then smashed through a main door of the checkpoint, set fire to the reception area, raised Popular Mobilization Units militia flags, left anti-American posters, and sprayed anti-American graffiti. U.S. president Donald Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the attack on the embassy and added that they would be held "fully responsible". Iran's foreign ministry denied they were behind the protests.More Info
The strike occurred during the 2019–20 Persian Gulf crisis, which began after the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, reimposed sanctions, and accused Iranian elements of fomenting a campaign to harass U.S. forces in the region. On 27 December 2019, the K-1 Air Base in Iraq, which hosts Iraqi and U.S. personnel, was attacked, killing an American contractor. The U.S. responded by launching airstrikes across Iraq and Syria, killing 25 Kata'ib Hezbollah militiamen. Days later, Shia militiamen and their supporters retaliated by attacking the U.S. embassy in the Green Zone.More Info
In contrast, according to The Washington Post on 4 January 2020, Trump wanted to kill Soleimani to avoid the appearance of weakness amid the ongoing Persian Gulf crisis, since his decision to call off an airstrike against Iran in summer 2019 after the downing of a U.S. drone had led to what he perceived as negative media coverage. Lawmakers and aides who had spoken to him told the Post that the president also had the 2012 Benghazi attack in Libya on his mind. Furthermore, Mike Pompeo had discussed killing Soleimani with Trump months before the strike, but did not garner support from the president or the defense team then in place. However, according to The Wall Street Journal on 10 January 2020, Trump purportedly told associates after the strike that he was motivated to strike Soleimani for domestic political gain, particularly to sway Republican Senators to support him in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial.More Info
On the day of the strike, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo asserted the attack was ordered by Trump to disrupt an "imminent attack" by Soleimani operatives, although subsequent reports on that rationale were mixed. On 9 January, Trump said "We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious. Somebody died, one of our military people died. People were badly wounded just a week before." On 10 January, Trump claimed that Soleimani had been planning attacks on four U.S. embassies in the Middle East. Afterwards several members of Congress, including Mike Lee and Chris Murphy, claimed that the Trump administration had not informed them of this in the intelligence briefing on the strike. Three days after Trump's remarks, Defense Secretary Mark Esper clarified that, although "there was evidence" of a plot against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the president "didn't cite intelligence" about the other three embassies he mentioned, and that the president instead shared his belief that there "probably could have been" a plot against those embassies.More Info
Ever since the Iran–Iraq War (1980–88), in which Iran felt attacked not only by Saddam Hussein's Iraq but by the international community siding with Saddam against Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic republic in Tehran, with notably the U.S. supplying weapons and intelligence to Iraq, Soleimani had developed into the architect of all of Iran's foreign policies in the Middle East, and a key figure in all of Iran's foreign and defence policies. He provided crucial support to President Bashar al-Assad's regime during the Syrian Civil War. He even wrote U.S. General David Petraeus, then Commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, a letter in early 2008 to tell him: "General Petraeus, you must know that I, Qasem Soleimani, am in charge of the Iranian policies concerning Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan".More Info
We don't show ads. Help us keep it that way.