The United States agreed on Wednesday with Iraq to withdraw all combat troops that remain deployed in the country to fight terrorist organizations. However, a small contingent will remain there to carry out training tasks.
The parties confirmed that the US mission and coalition forces have now reached a transition focused on training and advice,” the countries said in a joint statement after a virtual meeting.
It allows the re-deployment of any remaining combat troops in Iraq. A calendar will be set up in future technical dialogue, they said.
The announcement comes at a time when US forces are receiving almost daily rocket attacks attributed to Shiite paramilitary militias affiliated with the Iranian government.
President Joe Biden has directed retaliation or airstrikes next to the forces’ camps in Syria.
In an unusual coincidence with his predecessor, the US head of state, Donald Trump, is seeking to end a policy known as that of “endless wars.”
Trump had ordered a reduction in the contingent in Iraq and Afghanistan in his last months in power. As of January 15 – five days before the end of his term – US troops in each country had been reduced to 2,500 troops.
Former Democratic President Barack Obama directed the removal of all troops from Iraq but granted troops back after a brutal operation by the jihadist group Islamic State.
According to the joint statement, The transfer of Iraqi security forces to combat, equip, and assist US forces and other international forces in combat reflects this strategic partnership’s success.
Iraq has promised to protect the bases that will continue to house US personnel who, according to Washington, “exist only to support Iraq’s efforts in the fight against IS.
The agreement between the two countries came after two rockets landed near the Balad airbase last Sunday, in which US troops are stationed north of Baghdad. The latest attacks did not cause any casualties or damage, nor were they claimed by any organization, but the United States regularly accuses pro-Iranian Iraqi groups of attacking its troops and diplomats.
That was the fourteenth attack, including six rocket attacks, directed against US troops, the US embassy, or Iraqi convoys providing logistical support to foreign troops since Biden took office in January.
Two Americans and an Iraqi civilian died as a result of those attacks.
An Iraqi man working for a US fighter jet maintenance company for the Iraqi Air Force was also wounded in the attack.
Sometimes these operations are claimed by unknown groups that, according to experts, are a smokescreen for long-standing Iranian-backed organizations in Iraq.
A senior Iranian official Qais al Khazali, in the state-sponsored Hadith al-Shabi paramilitary force, recently announced that “resistance” was launching attacks and would intensify them.
Until the United States withdraws all its combat forces from Iraq.
After a new attack against one of the US bases at the beginning of the month, the US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, warned that his country “will attack if necessary” in retaliation for these attacks.