Almost half the country's parliament does not agree with the American troop expulsion, while the majority bloc voted in favour of it on Sunday.

The Iraqi parliament voted on Sunday to expel US troops from Iraq, but the decision may not translate into reality. Experts argue about whether the country's caretaker government led by Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi will have an authority to kick out American troops despite having parliamentary approval.

"When you look at the decision, it just authorises the prime minister to decide [if the US troops can be removed from Iraq]. It will not work as Abdul Mahdi is just a caretaker prime minister," Iraq expert Mehmet Bulovali, who was an advisor to Iraq's former vice president Tariq al Hashimi, told TRT World.  

"The resolution just allows Mahdi to consider the decision. It will not enable him to realise it. More than half of the 170 lawmakers who approved the resolution also don’t want the US troops to leave as they know that Daesh will drag Iraq down to chaos in case the US forces left." 

But Baghdad-based legal expert Tareq Harb told Al Jazeera that the presence of a caretaker government is not an obstacle. 

"The parliament's vote gives Abdul Mahdi the authority and legitimacy to take measures to expel foreign troops in Iraq. All it requires is time and will," Harb said. 

"Now that the draft has passed, the implementation is in the hands of the current prime minister and whoever comes after him."

Though 170 lawmakers present in a 328-member parliament voted in favour of the motion, the remaining parliamentarians skipped the session, indicating that the house was pretty much divided over whether the country could afford to let Americans go or completely side with Iran at a time when when it is mourning the death of its second most powerful leader Qasem Soleimani.  

Among the absentees were mostly Kurdish and Sunni lawmakers who clearly paid no heed to Tehran-backed Kataib Hezbollah's call for the full attendance of members to vote in favour of the resolution. 

"Shia lawmakers supported the resolution because of the public pressure. They don’t want to be at odds with Iran either," Bulovali said.  

The boycott of a large number of Iraqi parliamentarians signifies that Iraqi politics is multilayered with various political fronts espousing views that aren't aligned with Iran's regional interests.Most Iraqi Kurdish political parties see Soleimani's Quds Force and other Iran-backed militias with contempt. 

Tehran-backed militias Asaib Ahl al Haq and the so-called Popular Mobilization Forces were not only accused of abusing Iraq's Sunni population, but were also hostile towards Kurdish minorities. When Iran-backed militias made attempts to pass through the Kurdish-dominated regions governed by Kurdistan Regional Governorate (KRG) to participate in the  battle of Mosul against Daesh in late 2016, then-KRG president Masoud Barzani did not allow them to use their territory and only authorised the regular Iraqi army and federal police to use its roadways for the battle. 

The Kurdish parties were also at odds with Iranian militias during the region’s push for an independence referendum in September 2017. Soleimani and the leaders of other militias spoke critically of the KRG and tried to get rid of the Kurdish forces from Kirkuk. A month later, intense fighting broke out between Iranian militias and KRG forces, which led to the deaths of several Kurdish people and Shia fighters. During the standoff, the militias even lowered the Kurdish flag from Kirkuk.

Source: TRT World