Hundreds of protesters in Baghdad demand that US troops leave Iraq following a parliamentary vote

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Protesters in front of the entrance to the highly fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Baghdad:

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Iraqi capital Saturday afternoon to demand that US troops leave the country according to a parliamentary vote earlier this year.

“We will vote for resistance if the parliamentary vote is not ratified!” Read one of the banners at the demonstration that took place near an entrance to the high-security green zone where the US embassy and other overseas missions are located.

Others carried signs bearing the logo of Hashed al-Shaabi, a state-sponsored network of armed groups, including many backed by Iraq’s powerful neighbor Iran.

After a US strike in Baghdad in January that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and the deputy chief of Hashed, indignant Iraqi parliamentarians voted to oust all foreign forces stationed in the country.

The US has sent thousands of troops to Iraq since 2014 to lead an international coalition to help Baghdad fight the Islamic State jihadist group.

Washington has reduced these forces to around 3,000 in recent months, and other coalition countries have also reduced their footprints.

From October 2019, missiles were regularly aimed at these troops and diplomats from the US embassy.

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In the summer, the attacks on coalition logistics convoys with street bombs increased significantly.

Angry at the ongoing attacks, the US threatened to close its embassy in Baghdad in late September and launch bombings against stubborn elements of the Hashed.

Pro-Iran factions announced a temporary ceasefire in October that ended the attacks. Since then, no more rockets have been fired at the embassy or foreign troops.

Iraq has long been embroiled in the struggle for influence between its two main allies, the US and Iran, and the tug-of-war under US President Donald Trump is intensifying.

Baghdad has been closely monitoring the results of the US presidential election and has seen a change in the White House as a sign that tensions between Washington and Tehran could ease.

(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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