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PM Sudani: No need for US forces in Iraq as Iraqi troops fully ready, Daesh vanquished

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani says the Arab country does not need US-led foreign combat troops on its soil, as the Iraqi forces are fully capable of preserving Iraq’s security.

Sudani said in an interview with Al Jazeera that Iraqi security forces have the necessary capability to ensure security throughout the country after the elimination of the Daesh terrorist group.

In early 2003, the US invaded Iraq under the later debunked pretext that the regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The US withdrew soldiers from Iraq between 2007 and 2011 but redeployed them in 2014 along with other partners to allegedly counter the threat of Daesh.

Iraq managed to end the territorial rule of the Takfiri outfit in the country thanks to the sacrifices of the national army as well as the anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which had the backing of Iran.

However, Washington kept its forces inside Iraq in defiance of a resolution that required its withdrawal.

The US military declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq in December 2021, but it still maintains a number of troops there under the guise of playing an advisory role.

Iraq no launch pad for attacks on neighbors: Sudani

Also in his remarks, Sudani said attacks on any country from Iraqi territory are unacceptable, noting that Iraq, as a legal and moral obligation, does not allow the use of its soil for invading neighboring states.

The Iraqi constitution does not accept the presence of armed individuals in camps, where they receive military training, as well as their infiltration into Iranian soil, he said, adding that no one is meddling in the country’s national decisions and independence.

Iran-Saudi deal will contribute to regional stability: Sudani

Also in his comments, the Iraqi prime minister described a recent agreement between Tehran and Riyadh to revive ties as "very important".

The deal will help boost regional stability, he said, adding that development and economic growth can only be realized through cooperation between the countries of the region.

Last month, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies and diplomatic missions after seven years of estrangement. China mediated the rapprochement between the two Middle Eastern powers.

‘Syria should rejoin Arab League’

The Iraqi premier underlined the need for Syria’s return to the Cairo-based Arab League as well as interaction with the Damascus government, emphasizing that the most serious security challenge now is the security situation in Syria.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011 following the outbreak of foreign-backed militancy in the country.

Currently, after more than a decade, reports say Saudi Arabia is planning to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to an Arab League summit hosted by Riyadh next month.

Corruption, Iraq’s main challenge: Iraqi PM

Sudani also said the main challenge now facing the Iraqi government is corruption, with much of it perpetrated by political or official sides.

He assured that the Iraqi judiciary will issue arrest warrants for the officials who were involved in a corruption case dubbed the “theft of the century” regardless of their position and affiliation with different parties.

Last October, the Iraqi Finance Ministry found that almost 3.7 trillion dinars (about $2.5 billion) had been stolen from the country’s tax authority between September 2021 and August 2022.

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