Iraq’s Sadr Urges US Withdrawal After Rocket Strike in Baghdad

Says US 'occupying forces' should be removed from Iraq

With concerns that another rocket attack in Baghdad is going to fuel another round of US attacks on Shi’ite militias, key Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement demanding the US remove its “occupying forces” from all of Iraq.

The rocket in this case hit a base near Baghdad airport, wounding four US troops. It’s not clear who did this, but the US has in the past used it as a pretext to move against Shi’ite factions inside Iraq. Sadr, who is a powerful Shi’ite cleric, clearly doesn’t want that.

But more importantly, Sadr is a major political player in Iraq, and the Iraqi parliament wants the US out of the country. Pushing this position is an obvious position to take, and one that makes clear that a violent US reaction would be unwelcome.

It is unlikely that the US will publicly respond to the comments from Sadr, as generally the US ignores anything that would involve considering leaving Iraq. Negotiations are planned at some point on the future of US deployment in the country, though this is likely on hold with the coronavirus.

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.