• Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:06 pm

Biden, Kadhimi seal agreement to end US combat mission in Iraq

  • Published at 09:41 am July 27th, 2021
US
US President Joe Biden greets Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, on Monday, July 26, 2021 Reuters

The two met in the Oval Office for their first face-to-face talks as part of a strategic dialogue between the US and Iraq

US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday sealed an agreement formally ending the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021, more than 18 years after US troops were sent to the country.

Coupled with Biden's withdrawal of the last American forces in Afghanistan by the end of August, the Democratic president is completing US combat missions in the two wars that then-president George W Bush began under his watch.

Biden and Kadhimi met in the Oval Office for their first face-to-face talks as part of a strategic dialogue between the US and Iraq.

"Our role in Iraq will be...to be available, to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises, but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission," Biden told reporters as he and Kadhimi met.


Also Read - Suicide attack in Iraq's Sadr City kills at least 35, wounds dozens


There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq focusing on countering the remnants of Islamic State (IS). 

The US role in Iraq will shift entirely to training and advising the Iraqi military to defend itself.

The shift is not expected to have a major impact since the US has already moved toward focusing on training Iraqi forces.

A US-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003 based on charges that then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. Saddam was ousted from power, but such weapons were never found.

In recent years the US mission was dominated by helping defeat IS militants in Iraq and Syria.

"Nobody is going to declare mission accomplished. The goal is the enduring defeat of ISIS," a senior administration official told reporters ahead of Kadhimi's visit.

The reference was reminiscent of the large "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier above where Bush gave a speech declaring major combat operations over in Iraq on May 1, 2003.

"If you look to where we were, where we had Apache helicopters in combat, when we had US special forces doing regular operations, it's a significant evolution. So by the end of the year we think we'll be in a good place to really formally move into an advisory and capacity-building role," the official said.

US diplomats and troops in Iraq and Syria were targeted in three rocket and drone attacks earlier this month. 


Also Read - Anger mounts after 92 killed in Iraq Covid hospital fire


Analysts believed the attacks were part of a campaign by Iranian-backed militias.

The senior administration official would not say how many US troops would remain on the ground in Iraq for advising and training.

Kadhimi is seen as friendly to the US and has tried to check the power of Iran-aligned militias. But his government condemned a US air raid against Iran-aligned fighters along its border with Syria in late June, calling it a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

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

The US plans to provide Iraq with 500,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine under the global Covax vaccine-sharing program. Biden said the doses should arrive in a couple of weeks.

The US will also provide $5.2 million to help fund a UN mission to monitor October elections in Iraq.

"We're looking forward to seeing an election in October," said Biden.


58
Facebook 57
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail