Joe Biden announces ending of US war operations in Iraq

Joe Biden announces ending of US war operations in Iraq

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden announced that US relations with Iraq will enter a new phase as US troops pull out of combat operations in the country by the end of the year, talks with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi on Monday.
Amid the threat of a resurgence of Islamic State and Iran’s powerful influence in Baghdad, Biden stressed that Washington was “committed to our security cooperation”, while Kademi reaffirmed its “strategic partnership”.
Biden said that the US military in Iraq will “continue to train, assist, help combat ISIS (Islamic State).”
But, in a change that comes as the United States pulls out of Afghanistan, the US leader confirmed that 2,500 US troops are still not fighting in Iraq.
“We’re not going to be in a combat mission, at the end of the year,” he said.
Eighteen years after the US invaded Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, and seven years after the US-led coalition fought Islamic State extremists who threatened the country, Washington turned its attention to other forms of aid. be focused.
It said it would help strengthen electricity supply, fight Covid-19, counter the effects of climate change and support private sector development.
Biden told Kadhemi at the White House that some 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses given to Baghdad “will be done in a couple of weeks.”
Biden also stressed US support for the October elections in Iraq, saying Washington is working closely with Baghdad, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the United Nations to ensure the elections are fair.
“We support the strengthening of Iraq’s democracy and we look forward to making sure the election goes ahead,” he said.
Kadhemi said he was in Washington “to discuss the future of our nation”.
“America, they help Iraq. Together we fight, fight and defeat ISIS,” he said.
“Today, our relationship is stronger than ever – our partnerships across the economy, environment, health, education, culture and more.”
Analysts said the face-to-face meeting was to offer support and cover to Kadhemi, who had been in power for less than a year, and to push US troops from his country under pressure from political factions linked to Iran.
A senior US official, who could not be identified, praised Kadhemi as a pragmatist and “someone who tries to use problems for his political interests rather than a problem solver.”
Washington’s main concern is to provide Iraqi security forces with enough support to continue fighting against the remnants of the Islamic State group – while also reducing Iran’s influence in Iraq.
The major role of the remaining US troops in Iraq since last year has been to train, advise and support their Iraqi counterparts to fight Islamic State.
But the powerful pro-Iran political faction, which is critical to Kadhemi to retain power, is openly hostile to the US presence, and has been accused of being behind rocket and drone attacks on bases in Iraq where the US The army operates.
The Iraqi Resistance Coordinating Committee, a group of militia factions, threatened to continue the attacks unless the United States withdrew all its forces and ended the “occupation”.
A drone attack was carried out on Friday on a military base in Iraqi Kurdistan that hosts US troops, but there were no casualties.
The US State Department statement on the low-level bilateral meetings with the Biden-Kadhemi summit emphasized the American respect for Iraq’s sovereignty.
“The bases hosting US and other coalition personnel are Iraqi bases and operating in accordance with existing Iraqi laws; they are not US or coalition bases, and the presence of international personnel in Iraq is entirely against ISIS as the Iraqi government’s defense.” In support of the fight.” Said it.
Iraqi expert Ramzi Mardini of the University of Chicago’s Pearson Institute said the meeting could be cosmetically “shaped” to help the Iraqi premier ease domestic pressure.
“But the ground reality will reflect the status quo and the enduring American presence,” Mardini said.

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