Biden Announces A ‘New Phase’ In Iraqi Relations, Saying That ‘Combat Operations’ Are Over.
On Monday, President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, declaring that ties had entered a “new phase,” which included the conclusion of US military operations in the nation.
Biden said in the White House, with Kadhemi by his side, that the US is “dedicated to our security cooperation” and that the US will “continue to train, assist, assist, and deal with ISIS (Islamic State) as it develops.”
“But we won’t be in a combat mission by the end of the year,” he continued.
Biden again emphasized the United States’ support for Iraqi elections in October, stating that Washington is working closely with Baghdad, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the United Nations to promote fair elections.
According to Kadhemi, the United States and Iraq share a “strategic alliance.”
“America is assisting Iraq. “We will battle, fight, and crush ISIS together,” he declared.
“Today, our relationship in the economy, the environment, health, education, culture, and more is stronger than ever.”
Biden is also in charge of the US departure from Afghanistan after a 20-year conflict, with the Taliban on the offensive and fears that they could topple the Kabul government.
Biden’s remarks indicated his willingness to reduce US engagement in Iraq even further, but without eliminating the country’s last 2,500 troops, 18 years after the US invaded to depose dictator Saddam Hussein.
The move could provide political backing to Kadhemi, who has been in office for just over a year and is under pressure from Iran-allied political groupings to expel US soldiers.
The two presidents met after weeks of preparations that included talks about combatting Covid-19, assisting Iraq’s private sector, and cooperating on climate change.
A senior US official who did not want to be identified commended Kadhemi ahead of the meeting for being pragmatic and “a problem solver rather than someone who attempts to manipulate difficulties for his own political interests.”
Washington’s biggest concern is providing adequate support to Iraqi security forces to keep up the fight against the Islamic State’s remnants while also limiting Iran’s influence in Iraq.
Since last year, the remaining US troops in Iraq have mostly served to teach, advise, and support their Iraqi counterparts in the fight against Islamic State.
However, Biden’s comments made it obvious that their participation in the war against Islamic State will come to an end.
“Iraq has demanded, and we agree, that they require ongoing training and assistance. Brief News from Washington Newsday.