Iraq’s Prime Minister Says He Seeks a ‘Quick’ Exit of US Forces

Al-Sudani says the only solution to de-escalating tensions in the region is for Israel to end its siege on Gaza

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has reiterated his desire to end the presence of US and other international forces in Iraq and said he is looking to negotiate a “quick” exit, although so far no deadline has been set.

“There is a need to reorganize this relationship so that it is not a target or justification for any party, internal or foreign, to tamper with stability in Iraq and the region,” al-Sudani told Reuters on Tuesday.

US forces in Iraq and Syria have come under frequent rocket attacks since October due to President Biden’s support for Israel’s slaughter in Gaza. The US has launched several rounds of airstrikes in response, including a recent drone strike in Baghdad that killed an Iraqi militia leader. Al-Sudani strongly condemned the strike as a violation of sovereignty.

After the drone strike, al-Sudani said he was taking steps to expel the US-led coalition in Iraq that’s there nominally to fight ISIS. But the presence is more about the US’s efforts to counter Iran’s influence in the country, as al-Sudani has said Iraqi security forces can handle the last remnants of ISIS.

Al-Sudani said on Tuesday that there should be “a process of understanding and dialogue” to negotiate an end to the international coalition’s presence. “Let’s agree on a time frame that is, honestly, quick, so that they don’t remain long and the attacks keep happening,” he said.

He added that the only way to reduce tensions in the region is for Israel to end its siege on Gaza. “This is the only solution. Otherwise, we will see more expansion of the arena of conflict in a sensitive region for the world that holds much of its energy supply,” he said.

The Pentagon said on Monday that the US has no plans to withdraw from Iraq and that it hasn’t received a request from al-Sudani to leave. POLITICO reported that al-Sudani had privately expressed to the US that he was willing to keep US troops in the country and was just saying otherwise due to domestic political pressure, but his latest comments suggest he’s serious about expelling the US.

Iraq’s parliament voted to expel US forces in 2020 after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. But the US refused to leave and was able to stay despite the opposition due to its enormous economic leverage over Iraq and its ability to sink the Iraqi economy.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.