US President Joe Biden announces agreement to end US combat mission in Iraq

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The President of the United States Joe Biden and Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced an agreement on July 26, 2021, to formally end the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021.

Both the leaders met in the Oval Office for their first face-to-face talks as a part of the strategic dialogue between Iraq and the United States.

The US-Iraqi statement issued by both countries is expected to detail a number of non-military agreements related to energy, health, and other matters.

The Invasion of Iraq by the US in 2003 had occurred as part of the former US President George.W. Bush’s war on terror after September 11 attacks, despite no connection of the latter to Iraq.

What will be the new role of the US in Iraq?

The US President said, as he met the Kadhimi, that the US’s role in Iraq will be to be available, to assist, to continue to train, and to deal with ISIS as it arises, however, the country will no longer be, by the end of 2021, in a combat mission in Iraq.

Biden further added that the US will support the strengthening of Iraq’s democracy and is anxious to make sure that the elections in Iraq go forward in October 2021.

US and Iraq are still committed to their security cooperation and their shared fight against ISIS. It is critical for the stability of the region and the counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries will continue, even as there is a shift to this new phase, the leaders are going to talk about it.

End of US-led invasion of Iraq: Has it really ended?

After 18 years from the US-led invasion of Iraq, the end of the combat mission has come at Iraq’s urging.

According to a senior official, as this evolution continues, and as the US formally end the combat mission and make clear that will be no American forces with a combat role in Iraq, the country has requested and the Biden administration very much agrees, that Iraq needs continued training; support with intelligence, logistics, advisory capacity building- all of which will continue.

The official added that the Islamist State Terrorist Group still remains a threat and also referred to a bombing that had occurred in Baghdad (Capital of Iraq) last week.

The attack reinforces that both Iraq and the US understand that Iraq still needs advisory training and capacity-building support.

American troops in Iraq:

The US only has about 2,500 regular troops left in Iraq, plus an undisclosed and small number of Special Operation Forces fighting IS. The role of the United States in Iraq will shift entirely to advising and training the Iraqi military to defend itself.

Invasion of Iraq by the US: Background

The Iraq war was a protracted armed conflict from 2003 to 2011. The invasion phase began in 2003. It began with the Invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition which overthrew the authoritarian government of Saddam Hussein.

The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the coalition forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government.

In 2011, the US officially withdrew its troops but became re-involved in 2014 as the head of a new coalition.





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