In a Thursday phone call to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Iraqi leader urged the administration to "send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament's resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq."
Echoing prior statements of Mark Esper, the State Department underscored Friday that it's "our right" as a "force for good" in the region to maintain "appropriate force posture in the Middle East" in a statement by spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. She stated the US considers that a troop pullout is not on the table for discussion with Baghdad officials.
"At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East," Ortagus said. The words also appear aimed at Abdul-Mahdi's assertion that US forces were operating "without permission".