“Sir, in deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement,” read a letter from United States Marine Corps Brigadier General William H. Seely III, the commanding general of Task Force Iraq.

The authenticity of the letter, which was addressed to the Iraqi defense ministry’s Combined Joint Operations Baghdad, was confirmed to Reuters independently by an Iraqi military source.

“We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure,” it said.