US to Withdraw Troops from Iraq by End of 2021

United States (US) President Joe Biden has said the US will end its combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year and withdraw troops, but will continue to train and advise the Iraqi army.

According to the details, President Biden’s announcement follows a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazmi at the White House. There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq helping the local army fight the so-called Islamic State terrorist organization. The total number of US troops is expected to remain the same, but the latest move is seen as an attempt to help the Iraqi prime minister.

The US presence in Iraq has become a difficult issue since the death of a key Iranian general, Qasim Soleimani, in a US drone strike last year. Pro-Iranian political parties have called for the withdrawal of all US troops, although the country is still threatened by the Sunni Islamic State. The United States has claimed that Shiite militias have fired hundreds of rockets, mortars and drones at Iraqi military bases, apparently aimed at pressuring foreign troops to withdraw.

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For the US president, the announcement marks the end of World War II, which began under former President George W. Bush. Speaking at the White House, President Biden told his Iraqi counterpart that “as we enter this new phase, we will continue to work together on counterterrorism.”

“Today, our relationship is the strongest in history. We have a partnership in the economy, the environment, health, education, culture and much more,” he said.

US-led foreign forces invaded Iraq in 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein and eliminate “weapons of mass destruction,” but he was not in Iraq. Then President Bush claimed a free and peaceful Iraq, but a devastating sectarian insurgency erupted.

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Most US troops finally withdrew from Iraq in 2011, but returned three years later at the request of the Iraqi government after large parts of the country were occupied by Islamic State.

Following the Islamic State’s military defeat in Iraq in 2017, US forces remained in the country to prevent the organization from regaining power.

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