"The reasons for its existence have ended"

PM affirms stance on ending international coalition’s presence

BAGHDAD, 5 January — Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, on Friday, affirmed the Iraqi government’s unwavering commitment to end the presence of international coalition forces in Iraq. This declaration came during a memorial service for the “Victory Commanders,” marking the fourth anniversary of the airport incident involving the assassination of PMF deputy head Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Excerpts from the speech:

  • “Four years ago, on the dawn of January 3, 2020, the U.S. administration committed a heinous act by killing an Iraqi military leader, Deputy Head of the PMF, Jamal Jaafar Al-Ibrahim, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.”
  • “The assassination of Iraq’s guest, General Qassem Soleimani, represented a double blow to Iraq, its traditions, and customs, and an attack on two states.”
  • “Iraq is bound to the U.S. by a strategic partnership agreement and diplomatic relations, and with this act, the U.S. breached the fundamental principles of international relations and the UN Charter, which stipulates the equality of sovereignty among states and the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.”
  • “Iraq lost a man whose lifelong concern was to see Iraq free and independent.”
  • “The martyr Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis embraced his struggle and jihad legacy, leading the PMF in the challenging days under the Marja’iyah’s fatwa to fend off the evils of ISIS terrorism.”
  • “Our government has set out projects, plans, and goals to improve living standards and reduce poverty rates.”
  • “We confirmed that this year would be a year of achievements, and efforts to combat corruption will continue with all the government’s powers and legislations.”
  • “We have completed the long-stalled provincial council elections to enhance political stability.”
  • “Our region has been in a tense situation since October 7 last year due to the aggressive and criminal policies practiced by the occupation authorities against Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied territories.”
  • “We warned that the continuation of brutal practices in Gaza would have serious repercussions on the region and the world, and we are beginning to see its effects today in many countries in the region.”
  • “The most serious incidents are those that have been repeated more than once in Iraq, through the international coalition forces’ attacks against PMF headquarters.”
  • “The PMF represents an official presence subordinate to and part of our armed forces.”
  • “We have repeatedly stated that if any Iraqi entity breaches or violates Iraqi law, the Iraqi government alone has the authority to pursue these breaches.”
  • “The government is the authority responsible for enforcing the law, and everyone must work through it, and no one has the right to encroach on Iraqi sovereignty.”
  • “We condemn attacks targeting our security forces and violate the spirit and text of the mandate that established the international coalition.”
  • “We affirm the government’s ability and readiness to take appropriate decisions in maintaining Iraq’s sovereignty, security, and stability, which lies at the heart of its responsibilities, commitments, and constitutional duties.”
  • “We confirm our steadfast and principled stance in ending the presence of the international coalition after the reasons for its existence have ended.”
  • “We are in the process of setting a date to start the dialogue through the bilateral committee formed to determine the arrangements for ending this presence, a commitment the government will not back down from, and will not forfeit anything that would complete national sovereignty over Iraq’s land, air, and waters.”
  • “The sincerity of loyalty and gratitude to the blood of the martyrs and their sacrifices requires us all to respect the state and its constitutional institutions.”