Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari stressed that Baghdad, under no circumstances, will permit the United States to build permanent military bases on the Arab country’s soil.
“Iraq firmly rejects the construction of US military bases on its soil,” said Jaafari at the end of an extended visit to Russia on Friday.
Iraq will “not stand on ceremony” when it comes to the protection of its sovereignty, he said, according to Press TV.
He said that, back in 2014, when Baghdad asked for international help in fighting the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh (ISIL or ISIS), it said the potential contribution had to meet the requirements of Iraq’s sovereignty and independence.
Jaafari said Baghdad had made the matter clear that contributions to its counter-terrorism operations should not lead to the establishment of military bases or permanent foreign military presence in its territory.
“Iraq’s sovereignty is our red line,” the Iraqi foreign minister said.
He pointed to the presence of permanent US military bases in “South Korea, Turkey, Japan, and many other world countries” long after the end of World War II and said the bases violated those countries’ sovereignty.
According to US government data, there are about 9,000 American troops in Iraq. The US Department of Defense, though, puts the number at far lower.
In 2003, the US invaded Iraq to topple the then-regime of Saddam Hussein, who the US and Britain falsely claimed was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Former US President Barack Obama pulled out all US combat troops from Iraq in 2011, effectively ending the invasion and occupation of the Arab country.
But the destruction that the war had caused, including the decimation of the Iraqi security structure, allowed Daesh to emerge in 2014.