Jan 5, 2020

Anti-ISIS coalition suspends operations due to Iran threat

U.S. Army paratroopers heading to Iraq, Jan. 1. Photo: Capt. Robyn Haake/US Army/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S.-led military coalition created to combat the Islamic State announced Sunday that it is limiting operations against ISIS and instead is focusing on protecting Iraqi bases from potential attacks by Iran-backed militia groups in response to the killing of commander Qasem Soleimani.

Why it matters: As a result of President Trump's bold decision to take out Soleimani, American forces in Syria and Iraq must now devote resources to protecting their bases, greatly hampering the coalition's primary goal of combating ISIS.

What they're saying: "Repeated rocket attacks over the last two months by elements of Kata'ib Hezbollah have caused the death of Iraqi Security Forces personnel and a U.S. civilian. As a result we are now fully committed to protecting the Iraqi bases that host Coalition troops," the coalition said.

  • "This has limited our capacity to conduct training with partners and to support their operations against Daesh and we have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review."

What's next: The coalition said it remains "ready" to resume operations against ISIS, but did not give a restart time or date.

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Iraqi parliament calls on government to expel U.S. troops

Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi. Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images

The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution Sunday calling on the government to expel U.S. troops from the country in response to the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and the leader of an Iraqi militia on its soil.

Between the lines: A senior Iraqi government official told Axios' Jonathan Swan that the actual expulsion of U.S. troops is far from a certain outcome. This is a resolution and the prime minister who must sign it has already resigned, the official said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 5, 2020

Scoop: Trump officials tried to stop Iraqi expulsion vote

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: AFP Contributor/Contributor, Mark Wilson/Getty Staff

The Trump administration tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade top Iraqi officials to kill a parliamentary effort to force the U.S. military out of Iraq, according to two U.S. officials and an Iraqi government official familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution today calling on the Iraqi government to expel U.S. troops from Iraq, after the U.S killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and a leader of an Iraqi militia with a drone strike near Baghdad airport.

Go deeperArrowJan 5, 2020

Iraqi PM asks Pompeo to send delegation to plan U.S. troop withdrawal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in January 2019. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday that the U.S. should send delegates to Iraq in order to determine the best way to withdraw all of its troops there, the AP reports.

The big picture: While tensions between the U.S. and Iran seem to be lessening, Abul-Mahdi is standing his ground and backing the Iraqi parliament's non-binding resolution to expel all U.S. troops from the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 10, 2020