An “uncomfortable” meeting between Abdul Mahdi and the US Secretary of Defense

An “uncomfortable” meeting between Abdul Mahdi and the US Secretary of Defense


An uncomfortable meeting between Abdul Mahdi and the US Secretary of DefenseBAGHDAD, Oct. 23, 2019
(AFP) – A meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper this afternoon was unfortunate because of a reservation, senior Iraqi sources in Baghdad said on Wednesday. Iraqi Prime Minister on the withdrawal of US troops in Syria inside Iraq, saying that there is no justification for any increase in the number of US troops in the country.
This came after a talk by the Iraqi Prime Minister on the status of US forces and the refusal of the withdrawal of troops from Syria in Iraq in a statement on Wednesday evening, considered a separate statement from the basis of the statement on the reforms and fulfill the promises of the demonstrators, where he explained that “the government did not grant permission to US forces Withdrawn from Syrian territory to remain in Iraqi territory as reported by some media. ”

Abdul Mahdi noted that Iraq would “take international legal action”, calling on the international community and the United Nations to play their role in this regard.

He concluded by saying that any presence of foreign forces “must be with the consent of the Iraqi government, and terminate this presence if requested by the Iraqi government.”

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been in Iraq since Wednesday morning and met with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his Iraqi counterpart Najah al-Shammari, before he met with a number of US military officers and officials in Iraq.

Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari told the Associated Press after meeting in Baghdad with Esber that US troops withdrawing from northeastern Syria to Iraq would leave the country within “four weeks,” noting that the two sides agreed in Wednesday’s talks that US troops crossing from Syria will “pass” through Iraq, and then travel to Kuwait, Qatar or the United States “within a period of time not exceeding four weeks.”

This contradicts statements made by US Defense Secretary Mike Esber before his visit to Iraq. He said that all US troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military will continue to conduct operations there against ISIS.

Two Iraqi officials, one of whom works in the prime minister’s office, told Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that the meeting was “not comfortable” between Abdul Mahdi and Defense Minister Mike Esber.

One said Abdul Mahdi had reservations about any new increase in US forces in Iraq, which he considered “unjustified at the moment,” adding that the Americans “want to redeploy part of the troops withdrawn from Syria near the Iraqi triangle of Akkasat, which looks to the eastern Syrian and northeastern borders adjacent to Iraq.” ”.

Iraqi MP in Anbar province said that the prime minister “apparently under Iranian pressure to prevent any increase in the number of US troops in Iraq, especially in the western region bordering Syria.

In an interview with Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, the MP said that the area targeted by the Americans is represented by Akashat Al-Dhiba Huseiba Al-Gharbiya axis, which is opposite to the Syrian Al-Tanf Al-Bu Kamal tape. “We heard just like you that the meeting was not good between the two men, and that Minister Esber came out of what he wanted,” he concluded.

The office of the Iraqi prime minister refused to make any statements about the information, despite the fact that an employee in his office told the correspondent of the “new Arab”, pending the communication of one of the authorized to respond with him on this particular issue.

Commenting on this, Iraqi political expert Ahmad al-Hamdani told Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that drafting the government’s statement on US troops withdrawing from Syria and waving the international community and the United Nations to talk about its rejection alone is enough to make sure there is a dispute that he believes will soon be made public.

Al-Hamdani added that Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi “has not had a good relationship with the US administration since he took office in October last year,” noting that the Americans are dealing cautiously at the same time with the Iraqi equation “because they do not have many cards inside Iraq, at the same time They do not want to acknowledge Iran’s complete takeover of the entire Iraqi decision. ”