Denying Prime Minster Adil Abdul Mahdi's claims, the Anbar
Provincial Council said that there are pure US bases in Iraq, as most of the US
bases deployed in Anbar are free of Iraqi forces.
Council member Eid Ammash said in a press statement that US forces have a base in the Qa'im district north and south-east of the Euphrates River, a base in Rutba city, a base in Khan al-Baghdadi and a number of other bases in the desert of Anbar.
Ammash asserted that only the US combat forces are using these bases.
The US forces did not allow Iraqi forces to enter or to be present in the Anbar bases, whatever the reasons, Ammash said, noting that the province is witnessing intense US movements that the American troops have not informed the Iraqi government about.
Abdul Mahdi's claims
Abdul Mahdi said on Sunday that there are no "pure" US military bases in the country.
This came during a press conference held after a governmental meeting in Baghdad, as major Shiite political forces and IMIS factions in the called for ending the US military presence in the country, and the closure of US bases.
Just one day after Christmas, US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrived in Anbar to visit the US troops serving in the region, which is his first such visit since taking office in January 2017.
Following Trump's secret visit, many political parties, most of whom believed to be loyal to Iran voiced anger for what they described as violating diplomatic norms.
Head of the Shiite Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq Qais Khazali condemned the visit, threatening to expel the US troops from Iraq either by law or by other ways.
"Trump's visit to a US military base without regard to diplomatic norms reveals the reality of the American project in Iraq," Khazali wrote on Twitter.
"The response of the Iraqis will be [translated to a] decision of the Parliament to remove your military forces by force," Khazali stated.
Abdul Mahdi said that he was supposed to meet with the US President Donald Trump during his visit to Iraq, but the meeting was cancelled due to “disagreement over how to conduct the meeting,” the two leaders spoke by phone instead.
Truth behind US Military bases
The Anbar Provincial Council revealed that US forces have set up two new military bases in the province, including one near the Syrian border.
Council member Farhan al-Dulaimi said in a press statement that the two bases were established on empty land in Anbar, adding that the first was built at the Qa'im district on the Syrian border, while the second was set in the city Rutba, less than 100 kilometers from the Syrian border.
"The aim of the two bases is to help Iraqi forces control the country's borders and to prevent the infiltration of ISIS terrorist gangs from entering the liberated cities," Dulaimi explained.
The move comes about a week following US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw his country's troops deployed in Syria. The announcement came following Trump's surprise visit to US troops in Baghdad.
The spokesman for the Joint Operations Command Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul denied on Thursday reports on the establishment of the new bases.
"The recent statement of [the US-led] Coalition [against ISIS] confirmed that no new bases were established and that the military forces at the base of Ayn al-Asad are working within the framework approved by the Iraqi government and parliament," Rasoul was quoted as saying.
Concerning the possibility that US forces stationed in Syria may move to Iraq with the start of the withdrawal process, Rasoul explained that "there has been no coordination between the US and Iraqi sides so far, and that he will announce any new steps or agreement in this regard."
Rasould denied the existence of any US troops on the Iraqi-Syrian border, and explained that the forces stationed on the Syrian-Iraqi border consist of border guards, the army and IMIS along 650 kilometers, which he said works to secure the border.