The assassination of top Iranian and Iraqi commanders by the US has prompted the Iraqi parliament to vote in favour of booting out US forces from the country, pending Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s approval. International political observers have outlined scenarios of how the situation is likely to unfold.

On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of a bill requiring the government to ask Washington to withdraw its troops from the country following a US drone strike near the Baghdad airport that claimed the lives of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general and commander of the Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), an umbrella organisation comprising several dozen Iraqi Shia militias.

In response, US President Donald Trump threatened Baghdad with sanctions if it endorses the legislation. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Iraq. We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. … We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” the US president said, stressing that if Iraq tries to boot US troops out of the country Washington “will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever”.