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Iraq moves to expel US military with parliament vote

Lawmakers voted Sunday in favor of a resolution that would end foreign military presence in Iraq.
Credit: AP
Protesters chant slogans against Iran in Tahrir Square during anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Iraq's parliament has voted to expel the U.S. military from the country. Lawmakers voted Sunday in favor of a resolution that calls for ending foreign military presence in the country. The vote came during an emergency session, which was a request put forward by the legislature's largest bloc, known as Fatah. 

The resolution's main aim was to get the U.S. to withdraw some 5,000 U.S. troops present in different parts of Iraq. The vote comes two days after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani inside Iraq, dramatically increasing regional tensions. 

The Iraqi resolution specifically calls for ending an agreement in which Washington sent troops to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group. Many Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers didn't appear for the emergency session, in an apparently show of opposition to abolishing the agreement. 

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Iraqi Member of Parliament Sarkawt Shams tweeted that the decision was meant to "allow government to ask foreign forces not to use fighting forces against anyone other than ISIS."

As the Associated Press reports, the resolution was supported by most of the Shiite members in Iraq's parliament. Shiite's hold a majority of the seats in that legislature. Many of the Sunni and Kurdish legislators reportedly did not appear for the session of parliament. Sunday the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, made a speech in southern Beirut saying that U.S. bases, warships and soldiers are fair targets after the U.S. killed Iran's top general in a Baghdad airstrike.