Biden Announces US Combat Operations In Iraq Are Coming To An End
As he met with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi on Monday, President Joe Biden said that US-Iraq relations would enter a new phase with American soldiers withdrawing from combat operations by the end of the year.
In the face of the possibility of a revival of the Islamic State and Iran’s considerable influence in Baghdad, Biden emphasized that the US remained “dedicated to our security collaboration,” while Kadhemi underlined their “strategic alliance.”
Biden stated that US soldiers in Iraq will “continue to train, support, and assist in dealing with ISIS (Islamic State) when it arises.”
However, as the US draws out of Afghanistan, the US leader declared that the 2,500 US forces remaining in Iraq will not be fighting.
“By the end of the year, we won’t be on a combat mission,” he stated.
Eighteen years after the US invaded Iraq to depose dictator Saddam Hussein and seven years after a US-led coalition fought Islamic State militants posing a threat to the country, Washington has shifted its focus to other forms of support.
It stated that it would aid in the strengthening of electric power supply, the fight against Covid-19, the mitigation of climate change’s effects, and the development of the private sector.
In the White House, Biden told Kadhemi that 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses pledged to Baghdad “would be there in a couple weeks.”
Biden also underscored the United States’ support for Iraq’s upcoming elections in October, stating that Washington is working closely with Baghdad, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the United Nations to promote fair elections.
“We support the advancement of Iraqi democracy and are eager to see the election proceed,” he said.
“I am in Washington to address the future of our nation,” Kadhemi stated.
“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.”
Analysts believe the face-to-face encounter was held to provide support and cover for Kadhemi, who has just been in office for a year and is under pressure from Iran-allied political factions to expel US troops from his country.
Kadhemi was lauded by a senior US official who did not want to be identified 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.
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