Iraqi lawmakers urge government to counter Trump diktat

Baghdad, Jan 30 (IANS) Iraqi lawmakers have urged their government to counter the latest restrictions by US President Donald Trump on the entry of the nationals of seven Muslim countries, including Iraq, into the US, a media report said.

Some members of the Iraqi parliament on Sunday rejected Trump’s decision, saying Iraq should retaliate by barring US nationals from entering Iraq, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

“We reject the decision of President Trump as Iraq is on the front line of fighting terrorism, and we are the side who gives martyrs and sacrifices for a war that we fight on behalf of the whole world,” said Hanan al-Fatlawi, a female member of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

“It is unfair that Iraqis are treated in this way,” she said at a press conference after a committee meeting to discuss the US decision.

“We ask the Iraqi government to take a similar action against the US’s decision,” she said, adding that the parliament committee demanded the Iraqi Foreign Ministry contact the US government for review of their decision.

“Iraq is a sovereign country and will be forced to reciprocate, and that would affect negatively cooperation, including military cooperation in the war on Islamic State (IS) group,” said Ahmed al-Jubouri, another lawmaker from the committee.

On Twitter, the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr also condemned Trump’s decision, calling it “Istikbar (arrogance).”

Ahmed al-Asadi, spokesman of the predominantly Shiite Hashd Shaabi units, said in a statement that Iraq should “bar American nationals from entering Iraq and exile those who are inside Iraq”.

The Iraqi government declined to comment on the US decision, but Trump’s order has caused fury in Iraq, where more than 5,000 US troops are deployed to help Iraqi forces in battles against IS militants in Mosul.

On Friday, Trump put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the US and temporarily barred travellers from Iraq and six other Muslim countries, saying the moves would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.