It is therefore the second forced withdrawal of Americans from Iraq in a decade. The day after the Iraqi parliament voted to expel foreign soldiers, the US military announced on Monday (January 6) that it would leave the country. It was by a letter signed by General William H. Seely, commander of US military operations in Iraq, to number two of the Iraqi military command that the news was made official.
"We respect your sovereign decision ordering our departure," said the general in the missive, sent the day after a vote in parliament urging the government to expel foreign troops from Iraq after the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iranian man in Iraq, Abu Mehdi al-Mouhandis, on Friday in Baghdad.
"Out of respect for the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by Parliament and the Prime Minister, the Coalition will reposition its forces (...) to ensure that the withdrawal from Iraq is carried out in a secure manner and effective ", can we read in this letter.
So the US army will withdraw from # Iraq, leaving on bad terms, it will leave the Iraqi army and its Iranian allies without air cover against # EI pic.twitter.com/cYzdOXNclv- Romain Caillet (@RomainCaillet) January 6, 2020
As part of preparations for this withdrawal, the letter announces "an increase in helicopter travel over and around the Green Zone (...) overnight", while many helicopters fly over central Baghdad from several nights, noted AFP journalists.
The United States had 5,200 soldiers in Iraq, until the arrival last week of several hundred others to protect the embassy in the Green Zone - an ultra-secure district of Baghdad -, attacked Tuesday by thousands of pro -Iran.
Newsletter Don't miss anything from international newsDon't miss anything from international news