Pentagon insists US troops are 'FORCE FOR GOOD' in Iraq after its parliament votes to expel them
The US Defense Department has claimed that its military presence makes Iraq more secure and "prosperous," despite calls by Iraqi lawmakers for the removal of all foreign troops from the country and growing tensions with Iran.
"At this time, there are no plans by the US military to withdraw from Iraq," Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Jonathan Rath Hoffman told reporters at a press briefing. "And I think it's been obvious… that the consensus in Iraq seems to be that the United States forces there are a force for good."
The official said that the US presence in the country is "beneficial" to Iraq and "will continue to lead to increased security and prosperity for the Iraqi people."
Despite Hoffman's confidence, his words seem to be at odds with the Iraqi Parliament, which on January 5 passed a non-binding resolution asking caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi to cancel the request for military assistance from the US-led coalition.
The vote took place two days after a US drone strike killed Iranian senior military leader Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of the Iran-backed Iraqi militias, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), when their convoy was leaving Baghdad's airport. Soleimani was scheduled to meet PM Mahdi that day.