Deutsche Welle reported on Tuesday that Germany plans to withdraw some of its troops from Iraq.
The news outlet referred to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who said in a letter to their ministries that the German military contingent in Iraq would be “temporarily thinned out”.
Maas, for his part, pledged that Germany “will respect any sovereign decision of the Iraqi government”, but warned that the reduction of international forces may result in Takfiri terrorist group of ISIL expanding its regional clout and lead to “greater instability” in Iraq.
The move comes after the US-led coalition in Iraq announced in a letter to Iraqi military leaders on Monday that it was preparing to “move out” of the country out of respect for Iraqi sovereignty. However, Pentagon leaders later clarified that the document was an unsigned draft sent by “mistake”.
“Poorly worded, implies withdrawal. That’s not what’s happening”, US Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said referring to the letter sent by mistake from US Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William H. Seely III to Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Monday afternoon, “there’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq. Period.”
This followed the Iraqi parliament okaying a resolution on Sunday to urge the government to expel foreign troops from the country following the recent US assassination of of Iranian Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Suleimani.