US troops fighting jihadists will leave Iraq
Biden increasingly seeks to de-prioritize Middle East wars and devote more resources to global rivalry with China.
Obama ordered the withdrawal of troops, but they returned for ISIS / Photo: AFP
AFP: US troops fighting jihadists will leave Iraq
The United States agreed with Iraq to withdraw all remaining combat troops in the country to fight the jihadists, although a small contingent will remain for training.
The announcement comes as US forces receive rocket attacks almost daily attributed to Shiite paramilitary militias linked to Iran, prompting Biden to order airstrikes on camps in Syria.
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The two nations agreed in a video conference led by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein that Iraqi forces were prepared to take on more responsibilities.
This “allows the redeployment of any combat troops that remain in Iraq, for which the calendar will be established in a future technical dialogue,” the countries indicated in a joint statement after the virtual meeting.
Iraq has walked a fine line in balancing its relations with the United States and Iran, which share religious ties with its majority Shiite neighbor.
Iraqi calls for a withdrawal of US troops soared in January 2020 after former President Donald Trump ordered the assassination in Baghdad of senior Iranian commander QuasimSuleimani. Since then tensions have remained high in Iraq.
In February, Biden ordered airstrikes on targets in Syria by Iranian-linked paramilitaries after a rocket attack killed a US-led coalition contractor and wounded US personnel.