Troop Withdrawal || Joe Biden Announces The End Of The US Combat Mission In Iraq

US President Joe Biden has announced the end of the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year.

Our joint fight against ISIS is critical to the stability of the region and our counter-terrorism cooperation will continue even if we shift to this new phase that we are going to talk about

After his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kasimi in the White House, there should be more details about the switch to a US advisory and training mission, government circles said.

Read more: Withdraw US troops from Afghanistan

Biden said U.S. soldiers would stay in Iraq to train and assist Iraqis. The troops had fought against the terrorist militia Islamic State in Iraq. The then US President Barack Obama decided in 2014 to send soldiers back to Iraq after ISIS captured large parts of the west and north of the country. At the end of last year, there were around 2,500 US soldiers in the country. Former US President Donald Trump had ordered that the number of soldiers be reduced. Biden did not say how many soldiers would remain in Iraq after the combat mission officially ended.

Biden had previously started withdrawing US soldiers entirely from Afghanistan. He plans to continue counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East, but wants to focus more attention on China as a long-term security challenge.

The Iraqi security forces were “battle-tested”, it was said from US government circles . However, the Biden government recognizes that IS still poses a significant threat. Most of the IS was displaced in 2017. But he still carries out attacks with a high number of victims. Last week, the terrorist militia took responsibility for a bomb attack that left at least 30 dead in a suburb of Baghdad.

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The US and Iraq decided in April that the US combat operation would end. “America helped Iraq,” said Al-Kasimi. Both countries would have defeated IS together. Al-Kasimi had already said before his trip to Washington that Iraq was no longer dependent on the help of foreign combat troops in the fight against the Islamic State. The American troop withdrawal from his country requires “a special schedule”, and he wants to talk to Biden about this during his visit to Washington.

As planned, white smoke rose from the meeting at the White House. Joe Biden, the president of the United States, and the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, announced on Monday an agreement to put an end to the military combat operations of the United States forces on Iraqi soil, a historic agreement after almost 20 years of “war on terror”.

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As of the end of 2021, the 2,500 remaining soldiers in the Asian country — it has not been confirmed how many will return home — will be dedicated to observation and training tasks, without changing the main mission of the US troops there: to defeat the State. Islamic. The move comes weeks after President Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and with confidence placed in the Iraqi military’s ability to fend for itself.

Officials from both countries consider that although the threat from the Islamic State (ISIS) remains latent, the military training of the Iraqi forces in recent months is proof of their ability to defend themselves against any aggression. The Iraqi Foreign Minister himself, Fuad Hussein, said a few days ago that

they do not need more fighters because we already have them. What do we need? We need intelligence cooperation, we need help with training, and we need troops to support us from the air

Read also: USA and its NATO allies have withdrawn their troops from Afghanistan

For Biden, the message is clear: put a lid on the post-9/11 era and focus on threats like China and cyberattacks, current issues. In his own words, the US needs to “fight the battles of the next 20 years, not those of the last 20 years.”

The US and Iraq had already reached an agreement in April to carry out the transition of military operations, although without setting a date. It will not be, even so, a placid transition. Kadhimi faces a number of problems, from pro-Iranian militias that have escalated attacks against American forces, to the growing threat of coronavirus, with a new wave of infections shaking the country.

Read more: Those who helped us are not going to be left behind

The announcement will not make a big difference to the day-to-day US military operations in Iraq. Their role has long been one of observation and training, and they only enter combat if they are attacked. Their presence in Iraq also supports the 900 US troops stationed in Syria.

The deal is far from satisfying the hard-wing Shiite factions backed by Iranian militias. The pressure on the Kadhimi government has been constant for the US to withdraw all troops from the country, a step that Washington has not contemplated for now. The departure of American soldiers in 2011 resulted in a weakening of the national military forces and the subsequent invasion of Mosul by the Islamic State.

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Former President Barack Obama ordered the withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011. At that time there were 39,000 men and women installed in the area, well below the 170,000 troops they had at its peak in 2007. More than 4,000 lost the life from the US invasion in 2003 to the end of the conflict in 2011, a war for which the world’s leading power has paid a high price and obtained little loot. Iraq is far from being a stable ally and a consolidated democracy today.

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