US troops are traveling across Baghdad in Iraqi army vehicles and uniforms in violation of a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington.
At the end of August, the US announced an end to its combat mission in Iraq after seven years of active military presence beginning with the invasion of the country in 2003. Washington has, however, left behind some 50,000 troops who it says are commissioned to advise and train Iraqi security forces.
But reports from the Iraqi capital indicate the American troops are moving around the city without being escorted by Iraqi forces, while using Iraqi army uniforms and vehicles as a disguise.
“We Iraqi people cannot accept the presence of foreign troops on our land soldiers, it is crushing the national feeling and that is why we have been happy that the troops are leaving and the balance of the troops is going to diminish next summer,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told Press TV.
Iraq’s Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Asadi also said that a US-Iraqi agreement requires the American troops to stay on their bases and avoid moving around unless they are permitted by the Iraqi government and escorted by the Iraqi army.
“According to the security agreement, US forces have to stay in their bases and cannot travel anywhere without the permission of the Iraqi government; otherwise, it will be considered as a violation,” Asadi stated.
Iraqi people have been protesting the US military presence and their involvement in military operations in their country, blaming civilian casualties on the continued presence of foreign troops.
An estimated 655,000 civilians have been killed since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Iraqis are now calling for an end to the costly US occupation of the country and acceleration of the withdrawal of the remaining US forces from the Iraqi soil.
The United States is supposed to completely pull out its forces from war-ravaged Iraq by the end of 2011.
This article was posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 4:01 am