Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi had told the visiting US defense chief that his country will accept no foreign military bases on its soil, just as it will not take dictates from outsiders.
In a meeting with Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in Baghdad on Tuesday, Abdul-Mahdi said that Iraq-US relations must be based on the “basic agreements” existing between the two sides, which merely deal with fighting terrorism and training Iraqi forces, and “nothing else,” the Iraqi News reported.
Iraq makes “independent” decisions and will not be influenced by foreign pressure or dictates, he noted, reiterating Baghdad’s objection to the presence of foreign military bases on Iraqi territory.
Abdul-Mahdi also hailed Iraq’s achievements in restoring stability after defeating the Daesh terrorist group, and urged international support for the ongoing reconstruction process.
The premier said Iraq was open to enhanced cooperation and relations with Arab and regional states in line with national interests.
— Iraqi News - Iraq (@IraqiNews_com) February 12, 2019
Back in 2014, Daesh launched a campaign of attacks and vicious acts of bloodshed that resulted in Iraq losing a third of its territory. Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters fought back fiercely until they managed to recapture the lost territory three years later.
In December 2017, Iraq finally declared the end of Daesh reign of terror, thanks to Iran’s military advisory support.
The US, however, has kept up its military presence in the Arab country.
President Donald Trump sparked a wave of condemnations in Iraq earlier this month, when he said he intended to keep US troops there to keep a close eye on Iran.
Reacting to those remarks days later, Abdul-Mahdi insisted that his country could in no way be used for action against others. Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also rejected propositions that Iraq would serve as a launching pad to harm other countries.'
Read more: PM Abdul-Mahdi says no foreign bases will be accepted on Iraqi soil