Following US President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel for refugees and citizens from 7 Muslim-majority countries, Iraqi lawmakers have called for a reciprocal ban on visas for Americans, threating Washington’s relationship with Iraq in the battle against Islamic State.
The parliament vote is subject to ratification by the Iraq government but indicates growing resentment over the US executive order. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has rejected the call in fears of losing backing from the Unites States military.
There are approximately 5,000 US troops stationed in Iraq working with Iraqi and Kurdish forces as the fight to liberate Mosul, the last remaining urban region under occupation of IS militants continues.
Although US troops were withdrawn in 2011, advisers, trainers and special forces were sent back to Iraq after the capture of some territories by IS in 2014.
If the ban were to be imposed it would also impact thousands of American aid workers and journalists currently working in Iraq.
Iraq’s security provisions took a colossal hit following the United States invasion in 2003 under the President Bush administration. If the relationship continues to deteriorate the Iraqi military will struggle to maintain strength in the region, weakening the fight against IS, experts say.
(Reporting and writing by Ceren Sagir/Kom News)