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US Considers Withdrawing Military Aid If Iraq Expels Troops

Neer Varshney

The United States is considering withdrawing $250 million in military aid to Iraq if the country expels American troops from the country, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

What Happened

President Donald Trump's administration could also abandon a host of other economic and military assistance, the publication reported, citing email exchanges between the State Department and Pentagon. 

Cutting the aid to Iraq would require approval of both the president and the Congress, and the State Department is working to obtain both, the Journal said. 

The withdrawal of the military and economic aid remains contingent on Iraq asking the American troops to leave. 

Why It Matters

The Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution to expel all foreign troops from the country in the aftermath of the U.S. airstrikes at the Baghdad International Airport that killed Iraqi military commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis; Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran's elite Quds force; and five other paramilitary members.

Iran further retaliated by attacking Iraqi airbases hosting American troops, with no casualties reported.

Trump had threatened Iraq with sanctions like "they have never seen before ever" if it asked the U.S. troops to leave in an "unfriendly manner."

On Friday, Trump told Fox News the Iraqi legislation may not come to pass.

"That's what they say publicly. They don't say that privately," he said.

Public domain photo via Wikimedia. 

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