US President confirmed the troops withdrawal from Iraq following a talk with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Joe Biden hosts al-Kadhimi in the White House.
Biden asserted that the “combat mission” of US troops will end by the end of 2021. Talking beside the Iraqi PM, he emphasized on the necessity “to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises.”
The US leader refrained from talking about the number of troops that remain in Iraq following the Withdrawal from Iraq. Currently, more than 2500 US troops reside in 3 different bases across the country.
Following detailed and technical negotiations, the two sides issued a joint statement in which they stressed on the continuation of the security ties. “The security relationship will fully transition to a training, advising, assisting, and intelligence-sharing role, and that there will be no U.S. forces with a combat role in Iraq by December 31, 2021,” part of the statement read.
According to US officials, the main focus will remain on preventing the potential of a recurrence of the events that started in 2014. ISIS forces stormed Iraq through Mosul seven years ago and large groups of foreign fighters rushed into Iraq. Iraqi militants’ forces were on the verge of collapse while ISIS kept on occupying the regions one after another.
The developments secured an open gate for the United States to keep its forces in the region for another decade. The US forces had an active role in wiping the Iraqi cities off ISIS forces. Nevertheless, there are evidences that US had covert activism in keeping parts of the ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.
US withdrawal from Iraq occurs in a condition that public dissatisfaction with the involvement has reached a historic high in Iraq and the United States.
Withdrawal from Iraq
The involvement of US troops in Iraq has intensified the division inside political and public community of the country. Some groups emphasize the necessity for military patronage for Iraq’s army. This is while others question the legality and benefits of US presence and call for a full withdrawal.
Less than two decades after the US war against Iraq, Washington has less than 3.000 conventional troops in the country. They are a small portion of160,000 forces that seized Iraq after the assault and mostly reside in three bases.
The remaining troops have been the target of recurrent attacks by local independent militia during the past couple of years. While the US force find Iran responsible for the assaults against its forces, the pervasive dissatisfaction inside Iraq with the US presence and activities is indicative of the infuriation that spike since 2019.
The tensions over US presence in Iraq spiked early in 2020 when US forces assassinated Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani, the IRGC commander, was accompanied by high-rank Iraqi military officials when a US drone targeted him in Baghdad airport.
The move sparked massive protests against US forces in Iraq and intensified the attacks against them. The unrest imposed casualties to the US soldiers and affected the mission in Iraq.
Under such condition, the US public vision towards the military involvement in Iraq deteriorated. Led by families whose members were deployed to Iraq, public community in US called for the full withdrawal from Iraq. The extensive financial expense of the operation caused further outrage in the covid-stricken society of the United States.
18 years after the occupation, the US leaves the ruins of a country devastated by long years of war, terrorism and extremism under US security patronage.