Laith Kubba works as an independent adviser to the outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and appeared on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday. In response to a question by Emily Maitlis about whether he wanted US troops to leave Iraq, Mr Kubba argued that it was not in Iraq’s best interests for the US to withdraw The US presence was vital in defeating ISIS as well as curbing Iranian influence in Iraq.
But the Iraqi Prime Minister’s adviser insisted that the country’s sovereignty must be respected by the US military.
He explained: “No Iraqi would simply like American troops to leave Iraq for Iraq to be more or less under Iran and then for Iraq to be unstable because Daesh (ISIS) is back.
“No-one wants that.”
He continued: “Again nobody in Iraq wants American troops in Iraq to by-pass Iraq sovereignty and carry out attacks on Iran or anybody else.”
Mr Kubba accused both the US and Iran of exploiting the current political crisis in Iraq to disregard the county’s sovereignty and act with impunity.
He said: “So the core issue for Iraqis is that currently the Government and state is so weak that both America and Iran feel comfortable to violate that sovereignty.”
The independent adviser praised Iran for showing restraint in its retaliatory strikes against the US, but warned that the conflict was far from over
He told Ms Maitlis: “At the end of the day Iran restrained its response, stood back, stood down.
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However, President Trump countered that this was the wrong time for a US exit from Iraq.
He argued that a US pullout would allow Iran to gain a stronger foothold in Iraq.
The US President told journalists: “The people of Iraq do not want to see Iran running the country, that I can tell you.”
Tuesday also saw Iran launch multiple missile attacks at two US military bases in Iraq, as it made good on its promises to avenge the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.
Al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province was hit 17 times, including by two ballistic missiles that failed to detonate.
The military base is shared by Iraqi, American and some British armed forces and is thought to house around 1,500 soldiers.