Iran is exerting pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to remove more than 5,000 U.S. experts and consultants from the country, an informed Iraqi source said on Monday.
“Abadi is under Iranian pressure not to renew the security agreement signed between the U.S. and Iraq in 2008 during the tenure of the former PM. He is also facing pressure to remove U.S. experts and consultants from the country,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.
He said Iran chose this delicate timing before the formation of the next cabinet.
“The Iraqi PM is avoiding any dispute with Tehran because he needs Iran’s consent in the race over the next premiership,” the source said.
At the same time, the source said Abadi cannot take any risks by asking U.S. experts to leave the country or by not renewing his security agreement with it for two related reasons: First Abadi is in need to stay in contact with Washington, which has a say in leading any candidate to the premiership.
Second, Iraq is not technically ready, at all levels, to confront ISIS without the U.S. supporting efforts.
Meanwhile, signs of a possible rapprochement was witnessed between the two leading figures of the Da’wa Party, Nouri al-Maliki and Haider al-Abadi, and another one between the Fatah and State of Law coalitions, particularly after a visit made by a joint delegation from the two coalitions last Sunday to Erbil where they met with officials from the Kurdistan Democratic Party with an aim to establish the largest parliamentary bloc entitled to form the next Iraqi cabinet.
Also on Monday, in a sign holding symbolic significance on the Iraqi forces’ struggle to beat back the resurgence of ISIS, Abadi arrived in the province of Diyala dressed in a camouflage outfit.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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