January 7, 2020
The United States is far from the only foreign nation that will ultimately have a decision to make about its military forces stationed in Iraq. Several other countries with troops in the country are weighing their options in the wake of President Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike in Iraq last week, ratcheting up tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Canada, for one, is temporarily packing things and will wait nearby while things either boil over or cool down. In a letter, Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of Canada’s Defence Staff, said troops will — for now — move from Iraq to Kuwait “to ensure their safety and security.”
Canadian Forces: "In response to the events of late" we've "temporarily paused our efforts in Iraq" and "some of
our people will be moved temporarily from Iraq to Kuwait…to ensure their safety and security." https://t.co/YfZXhj9jWG
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 7, 2020
The United Kingdom, meanwhile, apparently wants to remain in Iraq, but will respect Baghdad’s sovereignty if asked to leave. They’ve sent a team to help prepare for a possible evacuation. Other European countries have already begun to withdraw at least a small number of forces.
European reactions to Iraqi calls to leave the country
– Romania, Croatia withdrew soldiers
– Slovenia relocated its soldiers to Erbil
– Germany, Italy and Britain have already removed some of their troops
– About 400 British troops are stationed in Iraq, while the US has 5,200
— Mehmet Solmaz (@MhmtSlmz) January 7, 2020
As for the U.S.’s closest ally in the Middle East? Israel is reportedly staying out of it for now, but some Israeli military experts worry that a possible American withdrawal from Iraq could eventually lead to a war along Israel’s northern border.
Published at https://theweek.com/speedreads/888003/several-allies-are-least-temporarily-moving-troops-iraq