President Trump warned on Sunday that the United States would not leave Iraq on “friendly” terms and threatened to impose sanctions on the country “like they’ve never seen before” after the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of expelling the US military.
“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One Sunday afternoon when asked about the vote by Iraq’s parliament to end U.S. troop presence in the country.
“We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” Trump continued.
“If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq,” he said.
Trump made the remarks to reporters while flying from Palm Beach, Fla., to Washington, D.C., after a two-week stay at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Hours earlier, the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of a resolution calling on the country’s government to work toward ending U.S. troop presence there after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general in the capital of Baghdad.
Trump also suggested that American forces wouldn’t leave Iraq unless the country paid the U.S. back for its “expensive air base” there, an apparent reference to the Al Asad Airbase.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time,” Trump said. “We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
Trump also doubled down on his threat to attack Iranian sites if Tehran strikes Americans or U.S. assets in response, including threatening to hit Iranian cultural sites, an action that would be considered a war crime.
“They’re allowed to kill our people,” Trump told reporters Sunday evening. “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site?”
“It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said.