Iran Soleimani killing: United States denies Iraq pullout amid letter mystery
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Jan 09, 2020,
Jan 09, 2020, 0:35
"Our policy has not changed".
Pentagon chief Mark Esper denied Monday that American forces would pull out of Iraq, after a USA general's letter told the Iraqi government that troops were preparing to depart "in due deference to the sovereignty" of the country.
On Monday afternoon, social media and journalists starting spreading a letter purporting to announce a US withdrawal from Iraq. The two officials stressed that talks with the Iraqi government on a continuation of the mission to train Iraqi troops would go on.
The office said it has received no reports of casualties on the Iraqi side and has not been officially notified of any losses among the US-led coalition. Gen Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds forces.
"They said it's a draft", Abdul Mahdi said.
"But at some point, we will want to leave". Gen. William Seely began circulating on social media.
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The military chiefs' comments came after the letter - unsigned but bearing the typed name of US Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William Seely, who commands Task Force Iraq, not only declaring the USA intention to withdraw, but including specific and detailed information about how it would occur.
In his letter to Iraq's Ministry of Defense on Monday, Seely laid out the U.S.' "movement out of Iraq" and acknowledged Iraq's "sovereign decision to order our departure", referencing the Iraqi parliament's resolution to have all foreign forces removed.
The US has no alternative and must pull its troops out of Iraq, or else face an impending crisis, the country's outgoing prime minister says.
It was unclear how night operations would accomplish that. Iraqi PM Adel Abdul-Mahdi says Iraq has received that letter, in English and Arabic, despite the United States saying it wasn't meant to be sent yet.
At least 10 rockets have hit al-Asad Iraqi air base, which is home to USA forces, a Sunni paramilitary commander in a nearby town told CNN.
The Fars report also claimed that the wounded Americans were immediately evacuated from Al-Asad airbase. So it was a little bit more than an "error".