Iraq Oil revenues & Gold reserves are held in NY Fed bank, from Peter Myers

Iraq Oil revenues & Gold reserves are held in NY Fed bank; Netanyahu calls Israel 'nuclear power'Iraqis are realizing that they are Occupied by the US. US does not need the Oil, but uses it & the Gold reserve as a lever to get Iraq to do what it wants. Neocons might bring about their worst nightmare: US withdrawal.(1) Iran war-crimes case over Soleimani killing; US military has done a terrorist act(2) Soleimani and his guards were not listed in the passenger manifest(3) Sept. 19-23 Abdul Mahdi visits China; Sept 23 'Oil for Infrastructure' deal, Iraq joins Belt & Road(4) Iraq oil revenues are paid in US dollars into a Fed account; Trump threatens to seize it(5) Israel pressures Trump not to withdraw from Iraq(6) Trump threat to confiscate Iraq’s national gold reserves, held at the New York Fed(7) Netanyahu calls Israel a nuclear power, before correcting himself with a bashful nod and an embarrassed smile(8) Iraq Gov't asks US to send a delegation to Baghdad to begin preparing for a troop pullout(9) Washington turns down Iraqi call to remove troops(10) Iraqi cleric Sadr calls for anti-U.S. demonstrations(1) Iran war-crimes case over Soleimani killing; US military has done a terrorist act has a 'shockingly strong' war-crimes case against Trump over Soleimani's killing — and it could winMITCH PROTHEROJAN 16, 2020, 2:10 AMIran will pursue war-crimes charges against President Donald Trump at the International Criminal Court in the Hague over the January 3 assassination of its top commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, outside Baghdad’s international airport, according to Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, the spokesman for Iran’s top judicial authorities."We intend to file lawsuits in the Islamic Republic, Iraq and The Hague Court [International Court of Justice] against the military and government of America and against Trump," Esmaeili said at a Tuesday press conference."There is no doubt that the US military has done a terrorist act assassinating Guards Commander Lt. Gen. Soleimani and Second-in-Command of Iraq Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis … and Trump has confessed doing the crime."Since the killing, Iran’s leadership has vowed political, military, and legal revenge for what they call an unlawful killing of one of their greatest military heroes.Soleimani was well known throughout the Middle East for his diplomatic and military acumen.While the US is not a signatory to the international court – US presidents have long contended the venue could be used by America’s enemies in cases like this to pressure its foreign policy – it still faces a public-relations burden if the case goes to trial.This is because according to at least one internationally recognised expert, Iran could win.Shortly after Soleimani’s death, Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, tweeted that the bar for lethal action by a nation claiming self-defence – as the Trump administration has repeatedly claimed – is extremely high and requires an imminent threat that the US has so far failed to identify."The targeted killings of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandi most likely violate international law [including] human rights law," she wrote. "Lawful justifications for such killings are very narrowly defined and it is hard to imagine how any of these can apply to these killings."An attack needs to be imminent to justify such a killing, and this one may not meet the standard In another tweet, Callamard explicitly broke down how the Trump administration’s claims that Soleimani posed an imminent and ongoing threat to US interests failed to reach the bar set by international law.The White House statement "mentions that it aimed at ‘deterring future Iranian attack plans,'" she wrote. "This however is very vague. Future is not the same as imminent which is the time based test required under international law."A NATO military attaché based in the region told Business Insider that while the case has yet to be formally filed, it could pose significant problems for the US and its NATO partners, should the court rule against the Trump administration.‘The case against the Americans is shockingly strong’ "Keeping distance between the Americans and Europe is most of Iran’s broader plan right now.""If this case happens – I suspect there are some reasons Iran might not want to take this mess to an international court for their own reasons – but if it does go forward, the case against the Americans is shockingly strong," the official, who asked not to be named, said."On the face of it, the killing of Soleimani for reasons specifically cited by Trump is probably illegal. Do the Americans have a stronger case then they’re showing us?"I would assume so, but there’s little chance of them participating in a Hague trial, so all the evidence will be what Iran delivers along with public statements.""And these statements will not look good in a courtroom," the official added.(2) Soleimani and his guards were not listed in the passenger manifest 10, 2020 / 4:00 AM /Exclusive: Informants in Iraq, Syria helped U.S. kill Iran's Soleimani - sourcesReuters staff(Reuters) - Iranian General Qassem Soleimani arrived at the Damascus airport in a vehicle with dark-tinted glass. Four soldiers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards rode with him. They parked near a staircase leading to a Cham Wings Airbus A320, destined for Baghdad.Neither Soleimani nor the soldiers were registered on the passenger manifesto, according to a Cham Wings airline employee who described the scene of their departure from the Syrian capital to Reuters. Soleimani avoided using his private plane because of rising concerns about his own security, said an Iraqi security source with knowledge of Soleimani’s security arrangements.The passenger flight would be Soleimani’s last. Rockets fired from a U.S. drone killed him as he left the Baghdad airport in a convoy of two armored vehicles. Also killed was the man who met him at the airport: Abu Mahdi Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the Iraqi government’s umbrella group for the country’s militias.The Iraqi investigation into the strikes that killed the two men on Jan. 3 started minutes after the U.S. strike, two Iraqi security officials told Reuters. National Security agents sealed off the airport and prevented dozens of security staff from leaving, including police, passport officers and intelligence agents.Investigators have focused on how suspected informants inside the Damascus and Baghdad airports collaborated with the U.S. military to help track and pinpoint Soleimani’s position, according to Reuters interviews with two security officials with direct knowledge of Iraq’s investigation, two Baghdad airport employees, two police officials and two employees of Syria’s Cham Wings Airlines, a private commercial airline headquartered in Damascus.The probe is being led by Falih al-Fayadh, who serves as Iraq’s National Security Adviser and the head of the PMF, the body that coordinates with Iraq’s mostly Shi’ite militias, many of which are backed by Iran and had close ties to Soleimani.The National Security agency’s investigators have "strong indications that a network of spies inside Baghdad Airport were involved in leaking sensitive security details" on Soleimani’s arrival to the United States, one of the Iraqi security officials told Reuters.The suspects include two security staffers at the Baghdad airport and two Cham Wings employees - "a spy at the Damascus airport and another one working on board the airplane," the source said. The National Security agency’s investigators believe the four suspects, who have not been arrested, worked as part of a wider group of people feeding information to the U.S. military, the official said.The two employees of Cham Wings are under investigation by Syrian intelligence, the two Iraqi security officials said. The Syrian General Intelligence Directorate did not respond to a request for comment. In Baghdad, National Security agents are investigating the two airport security workers, who are part of the nation’s Facility Protection Service, one of the Iraqi security officials said."Initial findings of the Baghdad investigation team suggest that the first tip on Soleimani came from Damascus airport," the official said. "The job of the Baghdad airport cell was to confirm the arrival of the target and details of his convoy."The media office of Iraq’s National Security agency did not respond to requests for comment. The Iraq mission to the United Nations in New York did not respond to a request for comment.The U.S. Department of Defense declined to comment on whether informants in Iraq and Syria played a role in the attacks. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the United States had been closely tracking Soleimani’s movements for days prior to the strike but declined to say how the military pinpointed his location the night of the attack.A Cham Wings manager in Damascus said airline employees were prohibited from commenting on the attack or investigation. A spokesman for Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority, which operates the nation’s airports, declined to comment on the investigation but called it routine after "such incidents which include high-profile officials."Soleimani’s plane landed at the Baghdad airport at about 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 3, according to two airport officials, citing footage from its security cameras. The general and his guards exited the plane on a staircase directly to the tarmac, bypassing customs. Muhandis met him outside the plane, and the two men stepped into a waiting armored vehicle. The soldiers guarding the general piled into another armored SUV, the airport officials said.As airport security officers looked on, the two vehicles headed down the main road leading out of the airport, the officials said. The first two U.S. rockets struck the vehicle carrying Soleimani and Muhandis at 12:55 a.m. The SUV carrying his security was hit seconds later.As commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds force, Soleimani ran clandestine operations in foreign countries and was a key figure in Iran’s long-standing campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq. He spent years running covert operations and cultivating militia leaders in Iraq to extend Iran’s influence and fight the interests of the United States. Reuters reported on Saturday that, starting in October, Soleimani had secretly launched stepped-up attacks on U.S. forces stationed in Iraq and equipped Iraqi militias with sophisticated weaponry to carry them out.The attack on the general sparked widespread outrage and vows of revenge in Iran, which responded on Wednesday with a missile attack on two Iraq military bases that house U.S. troops. No Americans or Iraqis were killed or injured in the strike.In the hours after the attack, investigators pored over all incoming calls and text messages by the airport night-shift staff in search of who might have tipped off the United States to Soleimani’s movements, the Iraqi security officials said. National Security agents conducted hours-long interrogations with employees of airport security and Cham Wings, the sources said. One security worker said agents questioned him for 24 hours before releasing him.For hours, they grilled him about who he had spoken or text with before Soleimani’s plane landed - including any "weird requests" related to the Damascus flight - and confiscated his mobile phone."They asked me a million questions," he said.Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Brian Thevenot(3) Sept. 19-23 Abdul Mahdi visits China; Sept 23 'Oil for Infrastructure' deal, Iraq joins Belt & Road Mahdi's visit to China important in supporting Iraqi reconstruction: newspaperSource: Xinhua2019-09-21 20:38:58|Editor: Li XiaBAGHDAD, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi state-run al-Sabah newspaper highlighted Saturday the significance of Iraqi prime minister's visit to China for supporting Iraq's reconstruction.There is more than one reason motivating Iraqi leaders to open up to a country possessing the capacity to support Iraq's renaissance and infrastructure construction, the newspaper said in its editorial.China is Iraq's largest trading partner. The China-Iraq trade volume reached more than 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.The editorial said that raising the level of trade and cooperation between the two countries will help Iraq to reach a new stage ahead for the bright future.China has tremendous capability and experiences in the construction of roads, bridges, infrastructure, power plants, etc, the editorial said.The al-Sabah editorial stressed that Iraq's openness to Asia and in particular China, is based on the depth of historical ties between Iraq and China, which extends deep into the old civilizations of China and Mesopotamia, which both presented scientific achievements and knowledge to mankind.The newspaper said that China, with its Belt and Road Initiative, builds relations with its historical partners based on the revival of the historic ancient trade route of the Silk Road, in accordance with its political policy based on the principle of peace and mutual development.It hailed China as a "balancing factor in international politics," while Iraq is adopting a political approach that keeps it away from conflicts, axes and polarization in the hottest regions of the world.On Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, heading a large and high-ranking delegation, embarked on an official visit to China and is expected to sign agreements to improve Iraq's economy and develop its infrastructure.(4) Iraq oil revenues are paid in US dollars into a Fed account; Trump threatens to seize it warns of 'collapse' if Trump blocks oil cashAFP January 13, 2020Iraqi officials say around $35 billion of the country's oil revenues are held at the US Federal Reserve, which means Washington's threat to restrict access could be a major problem Iraqi officials fear economic "collapse" if Washington imposes threatened sanctions, including blocking access to a US-based account where Baghdad keeps oil revenues that feed 90 percent of the national budget.US President Donald Trump was outraged by the Iraqi parliament voting on January 5 to oust foreign forces, including some 5,200 American troops, who have helped local soldiers beat back jihadists since 2014.If troops were asked to leave, he threatened, "we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before."The US then delivered an extraordinary verbal message directly to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi's office, two Iraqi officials told AFP."The PMO got a call threatening that if US troops are kicked out, 'we' -- the US -- will block your account at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York," one official said.Parliament's vote to oust the troops was triggered by outrage over a US drone strike on Baghdad two days earlier that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi right-hand-man, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.The Central Bank of Iraq's account at the Fed was established in 2003 following the US-led invasion that toppled ex-dictator Saddam Hussein. Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483, which lifted the crippling global sanctions and oil embargo imposed on Iraq after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, all revenues from Iraqi oil sales would go to the account.Iraq is OPEC's second-biggest crude producer and more than 90 percent of the state budget, which reached $112 billion in 2019, derives from oil revenues.  Already strained relations between Baghdad and Washington reached a new low on January 3, when a US drone strike on the edge of Baghdad airport killed a top Iranian general and a key Iraqi paramilitary leader (photo by: -/IRAQI MILITARY/AFP)To this day, revenues are paid in dollars into the Fed account daily, with the balance now sitting at about $35 billion, Iraqi officials told AFP.Every month or so, Iraq flies in $1-$2 billion in cash from that account for official and commercial transactions."We're an oil-producing country. Those accounts are in dollars. Cutting off access means totally turning off the tap," the first Iraqi official said.The second official said it would mean the government could not carry out daily functions or pay salaries and the Iraqi currency would plummet in value."It would mean collapse for Iraq," the official said.Trump 'politicises everything' A third senior Iraqi official confirmed the US was considering "restricting" cash access to "about a third of what they would usually send."The Federal Reserve declined to comment on Trump's threat.A US State Department Official confirmed to AFP that the possibility of restricting access to the Fed account was "raised" with Iraq following the vote."You can imagine why, if troops were expelled, banks might be nervous about sending lots of... cash to Baghdad," this official said. But the US threat was still highly unusual as the Fed is meant to be independent of foreign policy."The attempt to politicise dollar shipments has the Bank worried because it affects its prestige and integrity in dealing with clients," the State Department official added."Trump is obviously willing to politicise everything."Washington has considered the measure for months, with a senior US diplomat at the Baghdad embassy telling AFP in July it was looking at "limiting the cash that comes into Iraq.""That would be the nuclear option," this diplomat added at the time.Just before Iraqi lawmakers voted on the troop ouster, Speaker Mohammad Halbusi warned the world could stop dealing with Iraq's banks in revenge for the move.Blocking the Iraqi central bank's Fed account could be done by blacklisting a government body, which would immediately restrict Baghdad's access to dollars. The US already sanctions Iraqi nationals, armed groups and even banks for links to Tehran, Washington's arch-foe in the region. It had left oil revenues untouched, with officials previously telling AFP such a move would be too damaging to a country considered a US ally. [...]Iraqi officials said the US threat to deny access to oil revenues was met with shock, anger and near-disbelief."The PM was pissed and insulted," one official told AFP.Another said the US would then irreversibly "lose Iraq."."They'd push us towards Russia, China, Iran. We'd have to form a separate economy with those countries."(5) Israel pressures Trump not to withdraw from Iraq withdrawal from Iraq is Israel’s worst-case scenarioBen Caspit January 8, 2020ARTICLE SUMMARYThe leaked letter published this week about the United States considering withdrawing from Iraq and Syria generated great concern within the Israeli security establishment.The letter of Gen. William H. Sili, commander of US military operations in Iraq, was leaked and then rapidly disseminated among Israel’s most senior security figures Jan. 6. In fact, a translated version in Hebrew appeared only minutes after the letter was leaked to the media, sweeping up the WhatsApp groups of Israel’s most top-secret (coded) defense systems. The content of the letter — that the Americans were preparing to withdraw from Iraq immediately — turned on all the alarm systems throughout the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. More so, the publication was about to set in motion an Israeli "nightmare scenario" in which ahead of the upcoming US elections President Donald Trump would rapidly evacuate all US forces from Iraq and Syria.Simultaneously, Iran announced that it is immediately halting its various commitments regarding its nuclear agreement with the superpowers, returning to high-level uranium enrichment of unlimited amounts and renewing its accelerated push for achieving military nuclear abilities. "Under such circumstances," a senior Israeli defense source told Al-Monitor under condition of anonymity, "We truly remain alone at this most critical period. There is no worse scenario than this, for Israel’s national security."After a few hours, it became clear that the letter had been leaked accidentally. Nevertheless, the American denial, which began from US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and trickled down from there, did not really calm down Israel’s defense-system sources. "It is sad to see the [US] president’s conduct has also ‘infected’ the military," a senior Israeli security figure told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, "It is not clear how this letter was written, it is not clear why it was leaked, it is not clear why it was ever written to begin with. In general, nothing is clear with regard to American conduct in the Middle East. We get up every morning to new uncertainty."Twenty-four hours after the letter, the following assessment formed in Israel: Trump hasn’t decided if he’s staying or leaving. His inclination is to leave; he has no desire to see caskets of US soldiers being airlifted in Washington during an election year. Trump would be happy to leave Syria too, as he promised a long time ago. The US Army is trying to prepare a framework working plan toward an exit. And it was the preparations of this work plan that eventually generated the incident in which the letter was sent and then leaked. That, and perhaps also some unclarities in the American command chain. One way or the other, Israel must prepare for the worst-case scenario, because the odds are increasing that such a scenario may arise. According to this scenario (described in Al-Monitor in an earlier article), Trump would choose to abandon the Middle East and leave Israel alone on the battleground toward the 2020 elections. This would constitute the worst and most dramatic possible timing imaginable, when Iran would gradually abandon the nuclear agreement and inch its way toward the bomb.The assessment is that Israel will inflict heavy pressure on Trump in the coming weeks and try to convince him not to abandon the Middle East in general, and Iraq and Syria in particular, before the US presidential election. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will use all the tools at his disposal in this context. Ambassador Ron Dermer will work overtime, and we can assume that Israel’s open communication lines to the evangelical Christian leaders in the United States will also be put to good use. The question is: What will happen if these efforts fail and Trump comes to the conclusion of abandoning the Middle East? "Under such circumstances," an Israeli military figure told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, "We’ll have to do everything we can to prepare ourselves for a worst-case scenario." Such a "scenario" means that Iran may go for the bomb in the final stretch: It can abandon the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and take advantage of the US election year.Meanwhile, Israel is trying to keep as low a profile as possible. Netanyahu instructed the Cabinet ministers not to give interviews and to avoid aggressive statements regarding the elimination of Iranian Qasem Soleimani. Netanyahu himself said, in a Cabinet meeting, that "the killing of Soleimani is a US event, not an Israeli event," and he emphasized that Israel needs to do everything to distance itself from it. [...](6) Trump threat to confiscate Iraq’s national gold reserves, held at the New York Fed IS THE NEXT BATTLEGROUND.Posted on 13/01/2020By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalraiWell-informed and established sources at Iraqi Prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi’s office in Baghdad believe "the US is unwilling to listen to reason, to the Iraqi government or the parliament. It has the intention of bringing war upon itself and transforming Iraq into a battlefield, by refusing to respect the law and withdraw its forces. The US will be faced with strong and legitimate popular armed resistance, even if some Iraqis (in Kurdistan) will break the law and will accept the US presence in their region, though without a heavy price."Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi suggested to the parliament to agree on a new law asking the US to leave the country. The parliament listened to Mr Abdel Mahdi and agreed on a new law terminating the contract between Iraq and the US forces and asked the government to implement it. Mr Abdel Mahdi, in a phone conversation with US Secretary Mike Pompeo, demanded the presence of a delegation to organise the total withdrawal of all US forces from the country. The answer did not have to wait for long: "The US shall not withdraw from Iraq but respects its sovereignty and decisions," said Secretary Pompeo. The US official failed to explain how Washington can reject the Iraqi sovereign decision asking for the withdrawal of the US troops and yet respect it at the same time.President Donald Trump took a harsh position asking the Iraqis to pay billions of dollars for the development of the Iraqi bases his forces are hosted in. Otherwise, he threatened to "charge the Iraqi with sanctions like they’ve never seen before" and "it’s Central Bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with $35 billion could be shut down".US Ambassador to Iraq Mathew Tueller delivered to Iraqi officials – including PM Abdel Mahdi, who has asked for the US forces removal of Iraq — a copy of all the possible US sanctions Iraq could from if the government insists on the total withdrawal of all US forces. This has triggered an immediate reaction from Iraqi groups willing to fight the US forces once declared an occupation force by Iraq.Iraqi groups who fought against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq visited the newly appointed Iranian General head of the IRGC-Quds brigade Ismail Qaani who replaced Sardar Qassem Soleimani. They asked for military and financial support to fight the new "occupation forces". The Iranian General promised to assist in implementing the parliament, government and people’s decision to fight the US occupation forces. Qaani is expected to visit Iraq, where over 100 Iranian advisors work in Baghdad security and command Control Base along with Syrian and Russian counterparts to fight ISIS.Trump’s decision to take control of Iraq’s oil revenue account at the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York could create a devaluation of the local currency and a crash in the financial system. There is also an implicit threat in Trump’s words, to confiscate Iraq’s national gold reserves, held at the New York Fed.(7) Netanyahu calls Israel a nuclear power, before correcting himself with a bashful nod and an embarrassed smile 5, 2020 / 9:32 PM /Netanyahu, in apparent stumble, calls Israel 'nuclear power'JERUSALEM (Reuters) - In an apparent slip of the tongue on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Israel as a nuclear power before correcting himself with a bashful nod and an embarrassed smile.Israel is widely believed to have an atomic arsenal but has never confirmed or denied that it has nuclear weapons, maintaining a so-called policy of ambiguity on the issue for decades.Netanyahu stumbled at the weekly cabinet meeting while reading in Hebrew prepared remarks on a deal with Greece and Cyprus on a subsea gas pipeline."The significance of this project is that we are turning Israel into a nuclear power," he said, before quickly correcting himself to say "energy power".He then paused for a beat, acknowledging his mistake with a smile, and then ploughed on with his comments.The rare blooper from one of Israel’s most polished politicians swiftly proliferated on social media.Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival in a March 2 vote after two inconclusive elections in April and September. In November, he was indicted on corruption charges, which he denies.Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Frances Kerry(8) Iraq Gov't asks US to send a delegation to Baghdad to begin preparing for a troop pullout asks US for team to prepare troop pulloutAFPJanuary 10, 2020Iraq's caretaker premier Adel Abdel Mahdi has asked the United States to send a delegation to Baghdad to begin preparing for a troop pullout, his office said on Friday.In a phone call late Thursday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Abdel Mahdi "requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement parliament's decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq."Some 5,200 US soldiers are stationed at bases across Iraq to support local troops preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State group.They make up the bulk of a broader US-led coalition, invited by the Iraqi government in 2014 to help combat the jihadists.Their deployment was based on an executive-to-executive agreement never ratified by Iraq's parliament.But on Sunday, Iraq's parliament voted in favour of rescinding that invitation and ousting all foreign troops.The following day, US commanders sent a letter to their counterparts in Baghdad saying they were preparing for "movement out of Iraq."The letter said the coalition would "be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement".The Pentagon said the letter was a draft sent by mistake but Abdel Mahdi disputed that account, saying his office had received signed and translated copies. He has demanded clarification from Washington of its intentions, while the US-led coalition said Thursday that it too was seeking clarity on the legal ramifications of parliament's vote. Many Iraqi lawmakers had been infuriated by a US drone strike on Baghdad a week ago that killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani and top Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, among others. ...(9) Washington turns down Iraqi call to remove troops 9, 2020 / 5:29 PM /John Davison, Susan HeaveyBAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington on Friday spurned an Iraqi request to prepare to pull out its troops, amid heightened U.S.-Iranian tensions after the U.S. killing of an Iranian commander in Baghdad, and said it was exploring a possible expansion of NATO’s presence there. [...]Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi made his request for preparations for a U.S. troop withdrawal in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday in line with a vote in Iraq’s parliament last week, his office said.Abdul Mahdi asked Pompeo to "send delegates to put in place the tools to carry out the parliament’s decision," his office said in a statement, adding that the forces used in the killing had entered Iraq or used its airspace without permission.The State Department said any U.S. delegation would not discuss the withdrawal of U.S. troops as their presence in Iraq was "appropriate.""There does, however, need to be a conversation between the U.S. and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership," spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.Pompeo told reporters a NATO delegation was in Washington on Friday to discuss the future of the Iraq mission and a plan to "get burden-sharing right in the region." [...](10) Iraqi cleric Sadr calls for anti-U.S. demonstrations 15, 2020 / 3:09 AMInfluential Iraqi cleric Sadr calls for anti-U.S. demonstrationsBAGHDAD (Reuters) - Populist Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Tuesday for a million Iraqis to march against the U.S. "presence and violations" in Iraq after Washington’s killing of an Iranian commander in Baghdad.Iraq’s parliament has called for U.S. and other foreign troops to leave amid growing a backlash against Washington’s air strike, which also killed a top Iraqi militia commander.Iran launched a missile attack on U.S. targets in Iraq in retaliation for the death of General Qassem Soleimani, a move that heightened fears of a wider Middle East conflict."Go on soldiers of God, soldiers of the nation, onto a million man march condemning the American presence and its violations," Sadr tweeted."Iraqi space, its land and sovereignty are infringed upon by occupying forces."Sadr has million of followers has been able to summon tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Baghdad for demonstrations in previous years.He gave no details of when he was calling for the protest to take place, or where.Thousands are of Iraqis still gathering in separate anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square in protests that started on Oct. 1 - potentially setting the stage for rival groups to clash.Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Alison Williams