Iraqi militias propose ceasefire on the condition that US occupying forces leave the country 

Militias point to the Iraqi parliament’s resolution which called for the expulsion of foreign troops from Iraq, adding that the US troops are “not welcome in the country”

October 13, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
US officials blame Kataib Hezbollah for dozens of rocket attacks against US installations in Iraq. Credit : Middle East Online

A group of Iraqi militant groups on Sunday, October 11, announced temporary suspension of missile attacks on the US forces present in Iraq on the condition that the Iraqi government will work towards the complete removal of US troops. Iraqi militant groups have been fighting the US forces since its invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Kataib Hezbollah, one of the most powerful militias in Iraq, in a statement published on behalf of the ‘Iraqi Resistance Coordination Commission’, said that “the factions have presented a conditional ceasefire,” and that “it includes all factions of the (anti-US) resistance, including those who have been targeting US forces.” Mohammed Mohi, spokesperson for Kataib Hezbollah, also added that the proposal for a ceasefire is specifically directed at the Iraqi government, since it is mostly concerned about the implementation of the decision of the Iraqi House of Representatives. In January, in the aftermath of the illegal and deadly US drone strike which killed the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and one of the top leaders of the Iraqi militias, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the parliament had passed a resolution which called for the expulsion of foreign troops from the country.

The proposal for a truce by the Iraqi militias also comes in the wake of the US government debating on whether to close its embassy claiming attacks. This would escalate the situation as the US has also issued warnings that it would take matters into its own hands and start launching airstrikes targeting the Iraqi militias if the Iraqi government fails to provide protection to US troops and installations in the country. US airstrikes, if conducted, will once again effectively turn the country into a war zone. The Iraqi militias are also apprehensive that they will be blamed for the airstrikes by the Iraqi public and that such loss of public goodwill would weaken them politically.

Analysts believe that another concern, particularly of the government, is that the shutting down of US embassy and other diplomatic missions could also be followed by either a suspension or a review of the US financial and military support for the Iraqi government.