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Iraq: No to Turkish, US troops

Iraqi PM blasts US after announcement that new 100 special forces troops would be deployed there

Originally appeared at The BRICS Post

The Baghdad  government has strongly criticized Turkey and the US for their commitment to send troops to battle the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in northern Iraq.

On Saturday, the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi called on Turkey to immediately withdraw some 150 Turkish troops backed by artillery and tank units from the vicinity of the northern city of Mosul.

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city with a civilian population of one million, was overrun by the Islamic State in June 2014.

The Iraqi government says it eventually wants to liberate Mosul using Kurdish peshmerga forces.

The peshmerga – who are paramilitary forces from the Kurdish Regional Government – have been on the front line of a campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq’s multi-ethnic north.

Turkey says its forces, who were already in northern Iraq to train Arab Sunni tribesmen and police against the Islamic State, are now training peshmerga forces outside Mosul.

Ankara has carried out dozens of military incursions into northern Iraq to pursue the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) who have killed many soldiers and police in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province as they wage a war of independence.

The PKK is not associated with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government.

Baghdad’s rebuke of Turkey comes just a day after Abadi lashed out at the Obama administration for its proposed deployment of special forces – part of an expeditionary force – to Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State.

“The Iraqi government confirms its firm and categorical rejection of any action of this kind issued by any country [that] violates our [Iraq’s] national sovereignty,” Abadi said in a statement which was also linked to his official Twitter account.

Abadi called the US plan a hostile act of aggression and a breach of Iraq’s sovereignty.

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