BAGHDAD (Dispatches) -- Prime Minister Muhammed Shia al-Sudani has said Iraq does not need U.S.-led foreign combat troops on its soil.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Sudani said Iraqi security forces have the necessary capability to ensure security throughout the country after the elimination of the Daesh terrorist group.
In early 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq under the later debunked pretext that the regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
It withdrew troops from Iraq between 2007 and 2011 but redeployed them in 2014 along with other partners to allegedly counter the threat of Daesh.
Iraq managed to end the territorial rule of the takfiri outfit in the country thanks to the sacrifices of the national army as well as the anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which had the backing of Iran.
The U.S. military declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq in December 2021, but it still maintains a number of troops there under the guise of playing an advisory role.
In his remarks, Sudani said attacks on any country from Iraqi territory are unacceptable, noting that Iraq, as a legal and moral obligation, does not allow the use of its soil for invading neighboring states.
The Iraqi constitution does not accept the presence of armed individuals in camps, where they receive military training, as well as their infiltration into Iranian soil, he said, adding that no one is meddling in the country’s national decisions and independence.
The Iraqi prime minister also described a recent agreement between Tehran and Riyadh to revive ties as “very important”.
The deal will help boost regional stability, he said, adding that development and economic growth can only be realized through cooperation between the countries of the region.
Last month, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies and diplomatic missions after seven years of estrangement. China mediated the rapprochement between the two Middle Eastern powers.
The Iraqi premier further underlined the need for Syria’s return to the Cairo-based Arab League as well as interaction with the Damascus government, emphasizing that the most serious security challenge now is the security situation in Syria.
The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011 following the outbreak of foreign-backed militancy in the country.
Currently, after more than a decade, reports say Saudi Arabia is planning to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to an Arab League summit hosted by Riyadh next month.
Sudani also said the main challenge now facing the Iraqi government is corruption, with much of it perpetrated by political or official sides.
He assured that the Iraqi judiciary will issue arrest warrants for the officials who were involved in a corruption case dubbed the “theft of the century” regardless of their position and affiliation with different parties.
Last October, the Iraqi Finance Ministry found that almost 3.7 trillion dinars (about $2.5 billion) had been stolen from the country’s tax authority between September 2021 and August 2022.