Iraqi FM: Coalition presence in Iraq will end after IS sleeper cells eliminated

The tone of opposition to the US presence in Iraq has increased recently.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Saturday said his country was against the permanent presence of US-led anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition forces in Iraq.

According to Jaafari, the US-led coalition had no plans on establishing permanent bases in Iraq, noting the current presence of coalition forces was on the condition they respect the country’s sovereignty.

“The global coalition will not have any permanent bases in Iraq,” Jaafari told Kuwait’s al-Aan news agency, adding their role would end “when IS sleeper cells were eliminated across the country.”

On Dec. 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the “full victory” over IS after Iraqi forces liberated the last remaining pockets in the west of the country.

Meanwhile, the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias have recently increased their opposition to any future US military presence in Iraq.

In late November, Saraya al-Ashura, a faction of the Hashd al-Shaabi militias, threatened US troops and advisers based in Iraq, warning them to “retreat the country or become new targets.”

Additionally, Jabbar al-Maamouri, a senior member of the Hashd al-Shaabi, claimed Iraq would continue to suffer “from conspiracies and acts of sedition” as long as the US remained in the country, urging all parties to unite against America.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany