Recent reports on the deal to withdraw US combat forces from Iraq suggest that the process is just 15 days away. The hope is that they would be completed before the December 31 deadline, as Iraq’s military assures.
That’s what the Iraqis want, but informed by the last 17+ years of US occupation, most are very skeptical. They’ve a right to be, too, as the Pentagon has already said troops will remain in Iraq beyond December 31.
“Baghdad and Washington announced in July that the full withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq would be completed by the end of this year,” the report indicated. “Training and advising missions, however, would continue.”
Over the past few years the US coalition presence has continued under the guise of fighting ISIS, despite the Islamic State having long been dismantled and driven underground. The majority of the some 2,500 or more US troops there have been continued training Iraq’s army.
Analysts say there will be no real withdrawal in December, but rather the US will just change the name of the mission and try to spin it as something else. Effectively, Iraq will see a withdrawal only on paper.
Some fear that if the US doesn’t withdraw according to the timetable, pro-Iran Iraqi militias could launch attacks…
Iraq Militias, Seeing Taliban’s Success, Plan to Force U.S. Troops Out After Dec. 31 https://t.co/FFp8IQzRAw
— Ruth Anderson (@Ruthie19) November 23, 2021
Past times when the US did this, they went to substantial effort to spin this as keeping promises. This time around, it seems they’re leaving it up to Iraq’s military to manage the narrative.