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Iraq Parliament votes to end presence of foreign forces

In a special session on Sunday the Iraqi Parliament approved a resolution that calls for the Iraqi government to end the presence of foreign forces in the country.

The vote comes in response to a US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassim Suleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Despite the potential difficulties associated with the removal of US troops, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi ultimately recommended removal to the Council of Representatives. The resolution was passed unanimously by the 172 members in attendance.

US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement Sunday, “while we await further clarification on the legal nature and impact of today’s resolution, we strongly urge Iraqi leaders to reconsider the importance of the ongoing economic and security relationship between the two countries and the continued presence of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.”

While explaining the decision to target Suleimani, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a Sunday interview that the US is preparing for several risks not only “from the proxy militias in Iraq but in the region more broadly along every vector, including cyber.”

New Zealand gun restrictions pass parliament

New Zealand’s Parliament has on Wednesday passed a law banning semiautomatic weapons in response to the Christchurch massacre last month that killed 50 and injured scores of Muslim worshippers.

The legislation has passed the final of three stages and will become law with the ceremonial approval of the Queen of England’s delegate expected Thursday.

119 of 120 Parliament lawmakers supported the bill. Leader of the ACT party, David Seymour, was the sole holdout, citing the process as too hasty.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern imposed temporary restrictions immediately following the massacre to prevent the stockpiling of guns. This law extends the restrictions on semi-automatic firearms and shotguns.

The lawmakers allowed for two exemptions to the restrictions: commercial pest control business and licensed collectors of guns. New Zealand will conduct a buy back program, allowing gun owners to surrender weapons until September 30.