Iraqi Parliament was already prepared to take a vote to demand US forces leave their nation. With the drone strike that killed head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, and head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, this is probably a foregone conclusion considering what an escalation will mean throughout the Middle East and particularly in Iraq.
If the US remains, there will not only be escalating proxy battles with Iranian-backed militias, there will be internal strife as Iraqi national forces are forced to take sides and possibly inter-militia fights as some forces would prefer Iran to leave and some not. Total mess.
Some have reported that it was Iraq itself which provided the intel to the US, as to the impending arrival of Soleimani, this isn’t necessary to my theory, but it is possible and also it fits nicely from Iraq’s position as killing two birds with one stone. I had also heard it was possible Soleimani was not arriving to mastermind some new plot in Iraq, but instead he wished to attend to the mourning of the 25 militia killed in the previous bombing. Maybe. Who knows.
Donald Trump is easily the dumbest piece of shit to ever occupy the White House, but he can comprehend simple concepts. So a simple concept arrived in this form:
Trump is informed a high value Iranian target will be arriving in Iraq within very easy reach within days. Trump says, “Let’s kill him.” Military responds with the need to run this by Iraq first since it will be a dronestrike by the Baghdad airport. Military returns to Trump with, “Iraq already wants us to leave, if we do this thing, Parliament will vote upon this shortly and say as much.”
Trump says, “That sounds great.”
Therefore, there will be an escalation of proxy battles for some amount of time within Iraq, until the withdrawal from Iraq is announced in accordance with Iraqi Parliament’s wishes. Trump gets to act like he’s a tough guy that had a plan all along, and he is also following his promise as candidate Trump to leave all wars in the Middle East.
At some point this year, Baghdad will be the new evacuation of Saigon, and it will look about the same for US forces. Of course, this does not signal the end of escalation with Iran, the US just withdraws from the Iraqi theater. So perhaps, Trump will have that which he cannot foresee yet. No proxy battle in Iraq? Where would you like to continue? In the Persian Gulf, Israel, Saudi Arabia? The Middle East is fucked for the foreseeable future.
Not to mention whatever this ridiculous “maximum pressure” plan may have hoped for, like pressuring capitulation to demands that aren’t even fully understood, or expecting a political upheaval and overthrow in Iran; those dreams are long gone.
Iran will be in the position it always longed for, well positioned control across the region. Russia is very happy indeed. Iraq is left to try to figure out how to undo Iranian influence in their country.
Good luck with that.