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Baghdad/The Obelisk: According to a Western report, US officials continue to see the military presence in Iraq as still necessary to help fight ISIS.
However, the Iraqi and US governments plan to issue a statement outlining the withdrawal of combat forces by the end of the year, but they stress the need for a US military presence.
According to the American Wall Street newspaper, Thursday, July 22, 2021, the statement is scheduled to be issued within the framework of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi’s visit to Washington, where he will meet with President Biden.
Current and former officials said the purpose of the statement was to enable the Iraqi leader to relieve internal political pressure by parties who want to leave all 2,500 US troops in the country.
Some experts in the region said the change may have little impact on the daily duties of US forces in providing advice and support to Iraqi forces.
“The goal is to help Al-Kazemi return home with achievement, but without the collapse of the counterterrorism campaign,” said Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
And the US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) announced, on Thursday, the hosting of Iraqi military officials to discuss 4 files on the military relationship between the two countries within the framework of the strategic dialogue.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a press statement, “The Pentagon is hosting a meeting with Iraqi military officials within the framework of the strategic dialogue, which will address the technical aspect of the military relationship between the United States and Iraq.”
He added, “The meeting will discuss the long-term direct security cooperation partnership between the United States and areas of cooperation that go beyond combating terrorism,” noting that “the meeting will also discuss a range of security issues and threats.”
Kirby reiterated, “President Biden’s readiness to take the necessary measures to protect Americans,” noting that “the Iraqi partners understand that.”
Kirby stated that “the meeting will also discuss the American military presence in Iraq,” stressing that “the American forces are present in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government to fight ISIS, and that the time will come when there will be no need for the fighting forces there,” noting that “this matter will be done.” report in coordination with the Iraqis.
According to analyzes heard by the Obelisk, the expected US-Iraqi statement means that the US presence will remain in effect, and that its purpose is political, rather than technical, to ease the pressure of attacks on US forces in Iraq.