U.S. rejects Iraq’s request to leave

Request follows U.S. drone strike that left top Iranian general dead in Baghdad

By Mo Juenger | Staff Writer

U.S. State Department officials temporarily rejected the Iraqi Parliament’s vote to expel U.S. troops from Iraq on Friday. This statement came after tensions rose following the U.S. drone strike that killed Irani Major General Qasem Soleimani.

Soleimani, an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed on Jan. 3 in a U.S. drone strike. He was commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force and was considered a terrorist by the U.S. government.

“By removing Soleiman we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people,” President Donald Trump said in a press conference last Wednesday.

The drone strike that killed Soleimani also killed four Iranian aides and five Iraqis.

“I think it was the wrong call. We shouldn’t interfere with other people’s governments in that way, by just going out and setting an attack,” junior marketing major Karl Bercy said.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to follow our rules, and it’s going to make things worse and escalate the situation to be totally hostile. We don’t really need to have a world war.”

Iran retaliated with missile strikes directed toward U.S. bases in Iraq last Wednesday. There were no Iraqi or American casualties.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, stated that the measures were taken in self-defense.

“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif tweeted last Wednesday night.

Trump later stated in a press conference that the U.S. was not planning a retaliatory strike against Iran. He also stated that additional economic sanctions would be placed on Iran.

“As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime,” Trump said.

“I am disappointed that the leader of our country made a decision that has now harmed thousands of people and has brought chaos to many,” first-year Politics, Philosophy and the Public and economics major Maia Chess said.

The Iraqi Parliament voted Sunday to remove 5,200 American troops from the area. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not yet signed the bill into effect but has been vocal about his desire to expel U.S. armed forces from Iraq.

Abdul Mahdi requested that a U.S. delegation be sent to Iraq to discuss troop withdrawal on Friday.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later stated that the U.S. was willing to discuss their position in the Middle East but would not formally discuss removing troops from the area.

“We are happy to continue the conversation about what the right structure is,” Pompeo said in a press conference.

The U.S. State Department has announced that their plan is to continue to work towards fighting ISIS in the Middle East. State Department spokespeople have stated that they are committed to protecting coalition allies.