American Forces in Iraq: When Will It End?

The American airstrike on Monday against pro-Iranian militias in Iraq will aggravate an already tense situation and risks compromising diplomatic efforts to reactivate the nuclear agreement of 2015. Tensions are rising between Tehran and Washington, as the two parties claim the other is responsible for the lack of progress in negotiations.

Iraq has condemned the attack as a “flagrant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty” as well as a “violation of international conventions.” Iraqi officials know full well that the American presence is intended more to challenge Tehran’s influence than to fight Islamic State.

The Pentagon launched airstrikes in response to a series of drone attacks early Saturday morning targeting American troops. The Pentagon’s press secretary explained that the strikes against two pro-government Shiite militias linked to Iran were “defensive.”

For Washington, Might Makes Right

The use of force by the United States, everyone knows, is always defensive and justified. Like the drone assassination of chief Iranian military official Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Aby Mahdi al-Muhandis at the Baghdad airport. According to the U.N.’s special rapporteur regarding extrajudicial executions, the strike constituted an arbitrary murder under international law.

Known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, these Shiite militias are an integral part of Iraq’s security forces. Their members exercise considerable influence on the economy and the country’s political system. Coincidentally, the Iraqi Parliament has called for the expulsion of all American forces and any allies.

American military officials in Iraq are increasingly preoccupied by the drone attacks that fly too low to be detected by defense systems and are thus unavoidable. The White House announced the formation of a group to work with Israel in order to counter the threat posed by Iranian drones.

Joe Biden initiated negotiations with Iraq to reduce yet maintain an American military presence in the country, a force which currently consists of around 2,500 soldiers. NATO troops are deployed there as well. Militias linked to Iran said the negotiations were “totally and completely unacceptable,” and promised to intensify pressure on the coalition’s forces.

Our Soldiers Are Training War Criminals

Let’s not forget that we are also entangled in the Iraqi quagmire. Ottawa recently extended Canadian participation until March 31, 2022. Five hundred Canadian soldiers are involved in “Operation Impact,” an operation that has cost Canadian taxpayers more than $1 trillion since its creation in 2014.

The Ottawa Citizen recently reported that Iraqi soldiers trained by Canada were war criminals who liked to show their trainers videos of their atrocities, notably prisoner executions and the rape and murder of women. According to the paper, the Canadian commander simply told them to continue the training and to avoid watching the videos.

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