Middle East Monitor – The US announced on Thursday that it will continue to reduce its military forces in Iraq, as Baghdad promised to protect US bases.
The two governments issued this statement in a common declaration after launching their “strategic dialogue” in light of the tensions in Iraq, particularly after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Iranian Quds Force.
The governments of the two countries confirmed that: “In light of the significant progress made towards eliminating the threat of Daesh, the US will continue in the coming months to reduce its forces in Iraq,” adding that “the US insists that it does not seek or request permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq.”
In return, Iraq promised to protect the bases that include US forces, after a series of missile attacks that the factions loyal to Iran have been accused of launching.
After months of cold relations between the two countries, Iraq and the US returned to the negotiating table on Thursday for a “strategic dialogue”. The primary aim was to establish stability between the two partners, although flexibility remains limited.
Today circumstances appear to be favourable, as Mustafa Al-Kazemi, former head of the Iraqi intelligence and current head of the government, is known for his positive relations with the US and their Arab allies, in addition to the retreat of the pro-Iranian factions.
Anti-US sentiment in Iraq has again increased, after Washington’s assassination of Soleimani and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.