By Geneive Abdo
A U.S. military personnel directs a military vehicle as they prepare to hand over their base to Iraqi forces in Iraq’s southern province of Basra June 22, 2011. U.S. forces in Iraq halted combat operations last year and the remaining 47,000 American troops are due to pull out by December 31 under a 2008 bilateral security accord. REUTERS/Atef Hassa

Momentum is building among deputies in the Iraqi parliament to oust U.S. troops entirely from the country—an outcome that would leave Iraq’s political future in the hands of neighboring Iran and leave its citizens more vulnerable to the Islamic State.

Today, the United States fields an estimated 5,200 troops in Iraq. They are there as part of a security agreement with the Iraqi government to advise, assist, and support that country’s troops in the fight against the Islamic State. But the Iraqi parliament is expected to vote soon on draft laws calling for a full withdrawal. For now, things don’t look good for the troops.

For one, there’s a strong union of Iranian and Iranian-backed military and political powers that is actively trying to push the United States out. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Qassem Suleimani, who is close to the Fatah Iraqi political faction, is determined to do so. The party of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who is usually at odds with Suleimani but is in agreement on this issue, has said all foreign troops must go, not just the Americans.

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