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US begins drafting Iraq sanctions 

January 7, 2020 at 12:43 pm

US President Donald Trump in Florida, US on 3 January 2019 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Senior officials in US President Donald Trump’s administration have reportedly commenced drawing up potential economic sanctions against Iraq after the premier threatened to do so in response to Iraq’s parliament voting to expel US forces from the country.

The proposed sanctions are not finalised and are still in the preliminary stages, according to a report by the Washington Post which cited three senior officials. One of them said that the plan was to wait “at least a little while” to see if Iraq followed through with its calls to expel US troops from the country.

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It is understood that the Treasury Department and the White House would spearhead the sanctions effort on Iraq if it were to move forward.

The political tensions between Iraq and the US emerged in the aftermath of the recent assassination of the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani alongside the Iraqi Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. These events were preceded by attacks on the US embassy in response to US air strikes against PMF positions, most of which killed Iraqi soldiers and policemen. The US claimed these were in response to rocket attacks on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk which resulted in one American contractor dead, although no evidence has been presented to implicate the PMF.

Iraq passed a resolution on Sunday in response to the assassinations, which led to mass public mourning commemorating the “martyrdom” of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala. Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said yesterday the country will not become an arena for “settling scores” between the US and Iran, whose leaders have promised a “harsh revenge” against the US.

READ: PM: Iraq won’t become an arena for settling scores