WASHINGTON: President Trump has threatened severe sanctions against Iraq after its parliament called on US troops to leave the country.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” he told reporters.
Tensions are high after the US assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.
Speaking from the presidential plane, Mr Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to depart on an unfriendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before, ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”
Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group.
On Sunday, the coalition paused its operations against IS in Iraq, and Iraqi MPs passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops to leave.
The resolution was pushed through by the parliament’s Shia Muslim bloc – which is close to Iran.