In a statement marking the Iraqi Army Day that falls on Monday, Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called on Iraqis to get united.
Abdul Mahdi's remarks came as fears are rising among Iraqis that their homeland could become the main battlefield in the looming conflict between Iran and the United States.
Abdul Mahdi, also commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, said Iraq "is experiencing sensitive circumstances and facing grave challenges affecting its present and threatening its future."
"These difficult circumstances entail unity of positions, giving priority to the supreme interests of the country, ensuring the safety, security and stability of Iraq, as well as preserving national sovereignty," Abdul Mahdi said.
Abdul Mahdi confirmed that "the essential duty of the Iraqi armed forces was, and will always be, defending Iraq and this army cannot be a tool for repression or interfering in political affairs," the statement added.
On Jan. 6, 1921, Iraq established its first battalion of the modern army by the British during their mandate over the country after World War I.
The statement came a day after the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq and prevent them from using Iraqi airspace and waters.
The parliament session came two days after a U.S. drone strike on a convoy at Baghdad airport which killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.
Over 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against IS militants, mainly providing training and advising to the Iraqi forces.
(责编： 海洋 )