Trump Says US Will Not Leave Iraq Until Baghdad Pays for American Air Base

The Iraqi parliament voted on Sunday to support the expulsion of all foreign troops from the Iraqi territory and cutting off ties with the US-led international anti-terrorist coalition due to the Friday’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Bagdad.

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive airbase that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it […] We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame”, US President Donald Trump said Sunday, while he was traveling from Florida

Trump referred to the Balad military base that houses US forces some 50 miles north of Baghdad. Trump also hinted that the administration “may discuss” releasing intelligence related to the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

Kataib Hezbollah, Iraqi Shia militias within the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, threatened earlier to launch attacks on military installations used by the US forces in Iraq if the Trump administration does not quickly implement the Iraqi ultimatum to withdraw its troops from the nation.

Over the weekend, the Iraqi capital already witnessed several rocket attacks, including in the residential area of Al-Jadriya and the Balad military base. No one has claimed the responsibility for the shellings.

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