Washington: The United States issued a stern warning to Iraq that it should drop the thought of US military withdrawal. Otherwise, the United States block dollar remittances received against crude oil sales. All the Iraqi accounts in US banks will be frozen. A leading US newspaper carried this report; Iraq demanded the US soldiers to leave Iraq by protesting against the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. The United States rejected the Iraqi demand.
At least 5,200 US soldiers are deployed in Iraq. The Iraq government is demanding that the United States should withdraw from Iraq, taking its soldiers along. The newspaper said in its report that the United States infuriated by the demand, pointed out the consequences of the US military withdrawal, to the Iraqi government. The United States has threatened that the dollar supply coming through the US Federal Reserve Bank, to the Iraqi Central Bank and the other departments will be blocked.
At the same time, the United States has warned of freezing the accounts of the Iraqi Central Bank, with the US Federal Bank. Iraq government also has its accounts with the US Federal Reserve Bank. Iraq will have to forgo the revenues earned against oil exports if these accounts are frozen. A US news agency claimed that this would be a severe jolt to the Iraqi economy. The Iraqi economy is already facing a major crisis. In this scenario, if the US Federal Bank froze the Iraqi accounts, it will have a disastrous effect on the Iraqi economy.
The Iraq government is already jaded because of the ongoing angry protests. Now if the remittances against oil exports are blocked, it will increase the hardships faced by the Iraq government, tremendously. The newspaper predicted that this would further intensify the protests in Iraq.
The Iraq government and the Iraq embassy in the United States and even the US treasury and foreign departments have avoided reacting to the newspaper report. But the United States has been threatening Iraq since the last few days.
At the beginning of this month, the United States killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, in a drone attack near the Baghdad airport. A senior leader of an Iran affiliated armed group also was killed in operation. Severe repercussions of the operations were felt in Iran, as well as the Iran affiliated groups in Iraq. The Mahdi government, under tremendous Iranian influence, passed a resolution in the parliament, demanding US military withdrawal from Iraq.
Interim Prime Minister Mahdi demanded US military withdrawal alleging that the United States violated the sovereignty of Iraq. The United States rejected the Iraqi demand. US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would not leave Iraq, till the time it has recovered the cost of building the airbase and the costs incurred for the US military deployment in Iraq. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that instead, Iraq should act against the groups involved in attacking the US soldiers and military bases.
It is once again clear that the United States is trying to increase the pressure on Iraq. The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution demanding the US military withdrawal. But the United States is making the Iraq government aware of the consequences, in all the possible ways. President Trump claimed that the Iraqi leaders are not willing to openly accept that they favour the US military deployment in Iraq.