Iraq 'firmly rejects' permanent US bases on its soil: Foreign Minister
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq refuses to allow the United States to build permanent military bases on its soil, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said during a press conference at the end of an extended trip to Russia on Friday.
Jaafari said the Iraqi government would not permit the US “under any circumstances” to build permanent military bases in the country because it would be considered “a violation of [Iraq’s] sovereignty.”
“Baghdad firmly rejects the construction of US military bases on its soil,” he said, adding the country would “not stand on ceremony” regarding the protection of its autonomy.
According to Jaafari, when the Iraqi government had requested international help to defeat the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, “the potential contribution had to meet the requirements of Iraq’s sovereignty and independence.”
“Iraq’s sovereignty is our red line,” the Iraqi Foreign Minister said, pointing to American military bases in “South Korea, Turkey, Japan, and other countries which violated those countries’ sovereignty.”
Jaafari visited Russia to meet with officials and seek assistance regarding the security of Iraq post-IS, with some reports suggesting the Iraqi official was finalizing the purchase of Russia’s surface-to-air S-400 missile defense systems.
“It is difficult for a country to be restored after the war alone,” he told reporters in Moscow. “Russia is also providing assistance in the security area.”
Last week, members of the Iraqi Parliament demanded the government prepare a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.
In 2003, the US liberated Iraq from the dictatorship of former President Saddam Hussein and troops were stationed in the country following his defeat.
However, in 2011, then US President Barack Obama withdrew American troops from the country, which analysts argued paved the way for IS to emerge in 2014.
Following the extremist group’s blitzkrieg of the country, the US formed an international coalition consisting of 74 countries who contributed to the defeat of IS in Iraq and neighboring Syria.