'No one has informed us of anything'

Iraqi government official responds to reports of U.S. troop deployment

BAGHDAD, January 17 — An advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa’ Al-Sudani said on Monday the United States did not notify Baghdad of a surge in forces, revealing that negotiations between the two countries have been on pause since the outbreak of the war on Gaza.

Hussien Allawi spoke to journalist Ahmed Mulla Talal and said:

There is talk about the deployment of 1,500 U.S. soldiers to Iraq and Syria, but so far, no one has informed us of anything, and no document has been received indicating that this mission will arrive in Iraq. In fact, this issue is complex; the circumstances surrounding the International Coalition have changed, and the Iraqi government’s military is on high alert.

The government’s stance was for the formation of a bilateral committee, as stated during the Victory Leaders’ celebration. The government is currently negotiating with the International Coalition, and it was supposed to end the presence of the International Coalition in 2017.

Governments that came after 2017 were unable to address this issue due to the political conditions the country faced, making it a significant problem. However, we need to go back in history to the day that Parliament voted on the government’s agenda. If we read this agenda, we will find a point discussing negotiations with the International Coalition regarding its status in Iraq.

The government was progressing in negotiations with the International Coalition until the Gaza crisis, which halted this process and also caused a change in direction.

We should have reviewed our relationship with the International Coalition when the Iraqi forces triumphed in 2017. Now, the Iraqi government has begun to reconsider the matter.

From October 27, 2022, to October 7, 2023, we did not record any security events against any embassy inside Iraq or a base housing advisory forces affiliated with the International Coalition. However, the Gaza crisis has impacted Iraqi territory, and today the government is trying to work with political forces to de-escalate.

The Prime Minister met with the Dutch ambassador in Baghdad and clearly stated that the government is proceeding with the joint committee. We hope that our relationships with member countries of the International Coalition will return to normal.