From Xinhua News Agency, Jan. 19, 2024. Complete text:

Baghdad – What if an uninvited “guest” comes and refuses to leave? Naturally, the host would get furious and try all means to kick the uninvited guest out. This scenario parallels America’s current situation in Iraq.

Despite the Iraqi prime minister’s repeated orders to expel US forces, the US is not only turning a deaf ear but also hinting at deploying additional troops.

From Iraq to Syria, Libya, and now Yemen, the US consistently prioritizes self-interest, aiming to maintain hegemony while inflicting endless turmoil, violence, and suffering upon the Middle East.

The US military, unwelcome yet unwilling to leave, remains a domineering presence in Iraq. About 21 years ago, in order to invade Iraq, the US trumped up the disturbing claim that the Saddam Hussein government was possessing weapons of mass destruction, which was later revealed as a lie to the world.

Sadly, the US invasion has claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. Today, the war-torn country is still grappling with the destructive US presence. Dozens of Iraqi paramilitary forces have been killed in US attacks.

As early as 2020, the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution calling for the government to expel foreign troops from the country. In 2021, Iraq declared the end of the combat mission of the US-led international coalition. However, approximately 2,500 US troops remain in Iraq today.

Meanwhile, the US military repeatedly claims that it is “invited” to assist Iraq in fighting the Islamic State militants. Why does it now turn a deaf ear to the expulsion order of its host, especially when its combat mission has already concluded?

While the US touts “democracy,” “freedom,” and “peace,” its actions revealed a self-serving agenda which involves meddling in regional affairs, inciting conflicts, and indulging in unrestrained plundering.

The US military, under the guise of “assisting in combating extremist groups” and “protecting oil fields,” illegally maintains a presence in Syria. Ironically, the US and US-backed forces have been systematically looting oil, wheat, and other essential resources in Syria.

Once a nation known for exporting grains, Syria now suffers from food shortages under US sanctions and plundering. Looting natural resources represents a disturbing facet of US human rights violations in Syria, Syrian political researcher Muhammad Omari has said.

The hegemonic mindset and confrontational logic embedded in US Middle East policy stand in stark contrast to the region’s collective desire for peace, stability, and cooperative development. The true nature of the US as a “harbinger of chaos” has become increasingly clear to the people of the Middle East.

Since the outbreak of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip, the US has shown partiality for Israel, bombed the Houthi group, and conducted airstrikes on Iraqi militia groups. Meanwhile, America has seen its bases in Iraq and Syria under attack approximately 140 times, its vessels and warships in the Red Sea targeted by the Houthi group, its embassy in Iraq hit with rockets, and anti-US protests sweeping multiple countries.

The intrusive US military presence remains a major source of suffering, indignation and agony for the Middle East. Despite US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s four trips to the Middle East in three months to “put out the fires,” the flames of conflicts and chaos have turned out to be increasingly higher. The “powder keg” of the Middle East has been constantly ignited or fueled by an egoistic America.

Washington must admit the true fact that the Middle East belongs to its people, and it is high time the US quit its bullying and hegemonic acts in the long-suffering region. A Middle East free from US interference will definitely be much safer and more prosperous.