US President Donald Trump has threatened sanctions against Iraq.
This is, as a result, Iraq’s parliament call for an immediate evacuation of US troops from the country.
Tensions have been on the rise in the Middle East since Friday morning when US airstrike hit Iraq’s capital of Baghdad, killing Iranian army General, Qassem Soleimani and other top military officers.
There have been threats and counter-threats coming from Washington and Tehran.
Trump had issued a strong warning to Iran, vowing to hit 52 Iranian sites “very hard” if the Middle East country attacked Americans or United States assets.
Trump’s threat came after Iran earlier said it had identified 32 US sites to strike in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani.
Speaking on Air Force One on Sunday, the American leader said that if Iraq asked US forces to leave and it was not done on a friendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions as they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”
Trump also said Iraq would have to pay for the cost of the airbase.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive airbase that’s there,” he said.
“It costs billions of dollars to build, long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
Reacting to this latest threat, Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver told Al Jazeera, Trump’s comments were cause for concern.
“This is someone who is completely surrounded by war hawks, is driven by his ego and is in a re-election campaign,” Hashemi said.
“I think he’s calculating that this type of tough rhetoric plays well with his domestic base.”