Troop removal not the prime concern for U.S. delegation in Baghdad

April 1, 2020

News from the State Department at Washington U.S. has clarified the stance of the government that it is not considering any sort of troop removal from war-torn Iraq. This rebuff comes right after the request from Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to the U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, about the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

What does the State Department say?

According to our sources at the State Department, the current delegation to Iraq doesn’t have troop removal or withdrawal on their agenda; instead, it’s about discussing the “appropriate force posture in the Middle East.” Does such a direct rejoined add friction to the prevailing tension between the two countries remains to be seen?

Earlier in the week, the Prime Minister of Iraq had asked the U.S. State Department to send a delegation to discuss the withdrawal of about 5,200 U.S. troops from Iraq. It is believed that the request comes at the back of the American military strike that was ordered by President Trump that resulted in the killing of the top Iranian commander – Major GeneralQasem Soleimani. read about Benjamin Gordon

The State Department has ISIS as the top agenda

However, the U.S. State Department is quite adamant about their stance regarding prevailing conditions in the Middle East. At a recent press conference, Mr. Pompeo stressed that the delegation will continue the conversation regarding the structuring of armed forces throughout Iraq and that the mission is still to provide all the support to the Iraqi forces to combat the serious threat that is still posed by ISIS in the region. He was quite hopeful that in the future, there will be a time and place when fewer U.S. resources will be required to be stationed in the Middle East. But, as it stands, there is no consideration about large-scale troop withdrawal.

The Presidential views

What makes the situation more complicated is the fact that when the President, Mr. Donald Trump, was quizzed about it, his stance didn’t echo that of the secretary of state; instead, it was more in line with his presidential campaign circa 2016. In an interview with Fox News, President Trump reiterated that he is open to discussions regarding troop withdrawal from the Middle East as this is a chance to reunite families and give the stationed troops and their families something to cheer about. However, the President also added that the “Iraqi officials might ask for troop removal publicly, but they don’t say that privately.”  

According to the news sources posted in Iraq, the Iraqi lawmakers following the drone attack on the convoy that was carrying Major GeneralQasem Soleimanihas voted for the complete expulsion of the U.S. forces from Iraq. The drone attack that killed Major GeneralSoleimani also caused the deaths of four Iranian aides, five Iraqis that includes a senior militia leader was termed unconstitutional and a breach of trust during ongoing political negotiations. This has led to widespread outrage all across Iraq, especially parts of the country that harbours a soft corner for the neighbouring state of Iran. The Prime Minister of Iraq is yet to sign the bill, but this pushback from the State Department following a personal phone call from the Prime Minister has led to a new setback of sorts for discussions that have been ongoing for over a decade. 

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