Iraq’s Prime Minister has defended the US military and NATO presence in the country, despite calls from Iraqi lawmakers and some civilians to revoke the military units from operating in the country.
During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said that US and NATO forces in the country are needed while they continue to fight ISIS. Prime Minister al-Sudani did note that the troops would not be needed at some point but said his main focus was the “elimination of ISIS,” which “needs some more time.”
The Prime Minister also noted that by allowing the United States to operate military bases in the country, it was able to strike ISIS targets in Syria, where the terrorist organization has a strong foothold.
This development comes as Iraq tries to balance relations with the United States and Iran. For decades, Iran has significantly influenced Iraq’s domestic politics and is also a major supplier of natural gas and electricity to Iraq. Over the years, Iran has been seeking to push the United States out of the region, seeing its presence as a threat to their security.