Iraq parliament to convene amid calls to expel US troops

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Iraqi lawmakers said they would use a special parliamentary session on Sunday to push for a vote on a resolution requiring the government to ask Washington to withdraw US troops from the country.

The session was called after a US drone strike on Friday on a convoy at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes.

Since the killings, rival Shia political leaders have called for US troops to be expelled from Iraq in an unusual show of unity among factions that have squabbled for months.

“There is no need for the presence of American forces after defeating Daesh (ISIS),” said Ammar al-Shibli, a Shia lawmaker and member of the parliamentary legal committee.

“We have our own armed forces which are capable of protecting the country,” he told Reuters.

Around 5,000 US troops remain in Iraq, most of them in an advisory capacity.

If Iraq wants them to leave, parliament needs to pass a resolution obliging the government to ask the United States to pull them out.

Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, who holds the post in a caretaker role after resigning in November amid street protests, called on Friday for parliament to convene an extraordinary session to take legislative steps to protect Iraq’s sovereignty. He did not specify this should mean a discussion over the withdrawal of US troops.

Hadi al-Amiri, the top candidate to succeed al-Mohandes repeated his call for US troops to leave Iraq on Saturday during a funeral procession for those killed in the attack.

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