US President Donald Trump threatened massive economic sanctions against Iraq if the country expels US troops based there.
Iraq’s parliament voted to request the government end an agreement with a US-led international coalition to fight the hardline Islamist group IS in the region.
If the government agreed, that would effectively require the departure of US soldiers supporting the local troops in the anti-IS fight.
Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, who called the US drone strike a “political assassination,” indicated he would back the troops’ ouster. He said the choices were immediate expulsion or withdrawal under a timeframe.
In response to that, Trump told reporters that a forced departure of US troops would prompt sanctions even worse than those already imposed, to devastating effect, on Iran’s economy.
“If they do ask us to leave — if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis — we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before,” Trump said.
“It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”
Trump said the main US base in Iraq was “very extraordinarily expensive.”
“We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he said.