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Iraqi Communist Party welcomes US troop withdrawal announcement

THE Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) reaffirmed its rejection of the continued foreign military presence and bases in the country today, welcoming the announcement of a withdrawal of US forces.

US President Joe Biden confirmed on Monday that 2,500 US combat troops would finally leave Iraq by the end of the year following a meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi.

He said that the US would end its “combat mission,” adding that some military forces would be available to train and assist Iraq in the fight against Isis.

But it is believed that the withdrawal will not lead to a significant reduction in US military personnel based in the country.

The ICP said in a statement that ending the foreign military presence is a national demand.

It called for a strengthening of the country’s own armed forces and “to keep Iraq away from regional conflicts.”

US military bases and service personnel have come under increased attack recently amid growing demands for them to leave Iraq.

Earlier this month the Iraqi resistance forces said that they were in an “open war” with the US, deeming its interests legitimate targets.

It followed US missile strikes on Iraq and Syria which killed four members of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces. 

They are in the country as part of joint operations against jihadist forces including Isis and al-Qaida.

The Iraqi government called the US missile strikes “a blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and national security,” saying that the country should not become “an arena for settling accounts.”

Many fear that Iraq could become an arena for a proxy war between the US and Iranian-backed militias.

The ICP called for the government to take “decisive action” to ensure that all weapons are in the hands of the state, amid growing concern over the influence of armed militias which control vast swathes of the country.

It said that “firm work” must be undertaken “to expose the murderers of protesters and activists,” reiterating calls for action to be taken to bring those responsible for the deaths to account.

Earlier this week the ICP announced its withdrawal from October’s national elections, plunging the viability of the poll into doubt.

It said that a free and fair election was not possible due to the continued political crisis, including the killings of anti-government protesters.

Its decision, taken after wide consultation and a referendum of its members came days after influential Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr pulled his support for the current and future government.

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