Pentagon Insists Iraq PM Agreed to US Ground Troop Deployments

Abadi Says He Didn't Approve US Presence

Fresh off of yesterday’s interview with NPR, during which Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi reiterated his opposition to the deployment of US ground troops in his country, the Pentagon is claiming Abadi provided secret approval for recent US deployments.

“Any operation or forces deployed in Iraq have to be there with the approval of the Iraqi government, and prime minister Hayder al-Abadi has agreed to deploy less than 200 US ground troops in Iraq,” insisted Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren.

Abadi had complained about recent US deployments, saying in particular that the deployment of troops along the Iraq-Syria border to carry out raids in Syria never even sought approval from the Iraqi government.

Interestingly, this mirrors the recent tensions between Iraq and Turkey over the Turkish deployments in Nineveh, with Turkish officials similarly claiming Abadi had signed off on deployments months prior. Abadi denied this was the case, however.

These foreign deployments are hugely unpopular within Iraq, and are further weakening Abadi’s control over the government, with the Shi’ite militias that Abadi depends on loudly condemning the deployments as a threat to Iraq’s future sovereignty.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.