Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani told Reuters that his county is still committed to establishing a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Middle Eastern nation.
In an interview on Wednesday, al-Sudani defended his Jan. 5 request by saying, “There is a need to reorganize this relationship so that it is not a target or justification for any party, internal or foreign, to tamper with stability in Iraq and the region.”
The Prime Minister was referring to the continuing attacks on U.S. military bases in his country by Iran-backed Shia militants that expanded at the beginning of the war in Gaza.
Since October, there have been more than 100 reported incidents of drone and missile strikes against American facilities in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Al-Sudani has criticized some of the U.S. retaliatory operations against the assailants.
The influence of Tehran in the region is a likely contributor to al-Sudani’s desire to remove any U.S. presence in the region. The Prime Minister is leading a government with several Iranian-linked political parties, many with attached militias that he reportedly has limited control over.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Defense denied that there were any plans to start the removal of their deployed units. Pentagon spokesperson, Major General Patrick Ryder, told reporters that he was unaware of any type of request being made by Baghdad.
Since 2021, the United States has maintained that their mission in Iraq is to assist the Iraqi security forces in controlling the resurgence of the Islamic State.