US President Joe Biden announced that the US combat mission in Iraq will officially end by the end of this year. Biden received Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi at the White House and said: “Our cooperation against terrorism will continue in this new stage.” The United States continued its support for Baghdad in its fight against the jihadist “Islamic State” militia. Biden did not give a specific figure for the force of the forces in the future. There are currently 2,500 US soldiers in Iraq.
Since last year, the US operation there has primarily trained and advised the Iraqi armed forces. Most US forces were withdrawn from the country under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. So experts don’t expect any far-reaching practical changes.
US President Joe Biden (R) with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office of the White House
The United States is leading an international coalition in Iraq that is suppressing ISIS in the region. The use of US soldiers is controversial in a crisis country. In particular, Iraqi parties and militias linked to Iran are calling for an immediate withdrawal. Thus – three months before the planned parliamentary elections – Al-Kazemi is under pressure from the pro-Iranian militias, whose influence is growing in the country. Since the beginning of the year, pro-Iranian militias have carried out 50 missile and drone attacks on US bases in Iraq. In addition, there are still active IS cells. Just a week ago, an ISIS attack in Baghdad killed many people and wounded many more.
America helps Iraq
Al-Kadhimi stressed at the White House: “America is helping Iraq. Our relations today are stronger than ever.” He referred to “partnership in the fields of business, health, education and culture.”
Biden also pledged US aid to boost Iraq’s energy supply and combat the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
Under President George W. Bush, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 to overthrow ruler Saddam Hussein. Washington justified the invasion by claiming the existence of weapons of mass destruction. But these were not found in Iraq.
se / ack (afp, ap, dpa)
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