The beginning of a new role

The fact that US President Joe Biden officially announced the end of the US military's combat mission in Iraq at the end of 2021 after more than 18 years of US troop deployment in this Middle Eastern country, can be considered a milestone for the US military. Washington's involvement in the Iraq war.

It was the latest outcome after weeks of "strategic dialogue" between the two sides about the future of US troops in Iraq, attacks by groups linked to Iran and concerns about the militant group's resurgence. Islamic State" (IS) self-proclaimed.

US President Joe Biden (right) and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi during a meeting at the White House, Washington, DC, July 26, 2021. Photo: AFP
US President Joe Biden (right) and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi during a meeting at the White House, Washington, DC, July 26, 2021. Photo: AFP

The meeting between US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was the second of three face-to-face meetings with Middle East leaders by Joe Biden since taking office, following a meeting with Mr. King Abdullah of Jordan and before his meeting with the new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. This shows that both the US and Iraq attach great importance to the bilateral strategic partnership and promote cooperation on issues of mutual concern such as cooperation within the framework of the 2008 agreement regulating the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, political, economic, energy, health and security sectors, including joint efforts to ensure the lasting defeat" of the self-proclaimed IS group.

During this visit to the US, the top priority on Prime Minister al-Kadhimi's agenda is to achieve a more specific timeline for the withdrawal of US "combatant" troops in the context that he is suffering from stress. growing pressure from anti-American sentiment and opposition to foreign forces in Iraq. There are currently about 3,500 foreign troops still stationed in Iraq, including 2,500 US troops, who were sent to Iraq to join the multinational coalition in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. occupies a third of the territory of Iraq.

Nearly 3 years after the declaration of defeating the IS group, the presence of the US military increased political and social tensions in Iraq as the country became a "proxy battleground" in the "tick-off" confrontation. tit-for-tat" between Washington and Tehran in 2019. Shiite Muslim factions in the Iraqi parliament and influential armed groups affiliated with Iran, part of the People's Mobilization Forces (PMF), join increased moves to oppose the presence of US forces in Iraq after the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, especially when the US carried out an airstrike on the international airport in Baghdad that caused General Qassem Soleimani of Iran and Iraqi armed group commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed. This prompted the Iraqi Representative Council to pass a non-binding resolution to end the US military presence in Iraq.

As a result, Prime Minister Kadhimi is in a difficult position trying to balance pressure from political factions linked to Iran in his government, who want to completely eliminate the presence of Iran. U.S. military forces and Iraq's continued need for significant U.S. military support in the war on terror. In addition, in the context that Iran and the US are still escalating their competition to increase influence in Iraq, al-Kadhimi must also find a way to balance his relations with Washington and Tehran.

Before the visit, in an interview, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadhimi affirmed that "there is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil" because Iraqis are now ready to stand on their own two feet. and protect yourself. However, he was also careful to stress that Baghdad is not seeking a complete withdrawal as the threat of the rise of ISIS remains present in the country. Al-Kadhim said Iraq will continue to need support from US forces in the country in training, intelligence, capacity building and consulting as well as security cooperation.

For its part, one of the key goals of this meeting of the Biden administration is to find a way to prevent attacks by armed groups against US and coalition bases in Iraq. There have been at least eight drone strikes against US forces as well as 17 missile strikes since Mr Biden took office in January. Attacks on US forces are believed to have been made. is led by Iran-backed forces, mainly PMF forces. The attack on US military facilities has become a "headache" issue for President Biden. Within the Democratic Party itself, some lawmakers have warned that US retaliatory attacks risk escalating into full-fledged conflict, particularly if a member of the US military is killed, while at the same time. seeks to curtail the ability of the White House to take action without congressional approval. Meanwhile, some Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for being too soft in its response.

US soldiers at Balad Air Base, northern Iraq. File photo: AFP
US soldiers at Balad Air Base, northern Iraq. File photo: AFP

The administration of President Joe Biden looks forward to more efforts from Baghdad to stop the violence and wants Iraq as a fulcrum for stability in the Middle East. The United States not only wants to access Iraq's abundant resources, but also needs to secure its influence in the Middle East, including efforts to help Iraq reduce its dependence on Iran, especially for energy.

Compared with the decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, the Biden administration's approach to the conflict in Iraq is quite different when it comes to seeking a long-term military partnership. President Biden's commitment to continue cooperating with Iraq in training and supporting the Iraqi army to deal with the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) terrorist group proves not only Baghdad but also Washington. completely cut off military ties with Iraq.

In Iraq, the Pentagon has trained hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in recent years, who have spearheaded the fight against ISIS, with the effective support of US military intelligence and air power.

The statement of the two leaders at the meeting shows that both the US and Iraq attach great importance to this partnership. President Biden affirmed that the relationship between the two countries is entering a new stage. In addition, the two leaders also discussed Washington's support in the fight against COVID-19, support for the Iraqi private sector, and cooperation on climate change. Accordingly, President Biden also pledged to soon send 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Iraq in the next few weeks.

For Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadhimi, President Biden's formal recognition of the changing mission of US forces in Iraq could be seen as a political victory for al-Kadhimi, which could help ensure secure more stability of Iraq's federal elections to take place in October, while pleasing anti-American factions in Iraq to end missile and drone attacks on US forces.

Google Tech News

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post