The Joint Iraqi Operations Command announced that an agreement had been reached to reduce US combat units and capabilities at the “Ain al-Assad” and “Harir” bases in the provinces of Anbar and Erbil, west and north of the country until the end of this month.
The agency confirmed that the meeting comes within the framework of the technical security talks that were agreed upon in the Iraqi-American strategic dialogue and in implementation of the plan to transition to a non-combat role for the international coalition forces operating in Iraq according to the outcomes of the meeting held at the end of last July in Washington between Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi and US President Joe Biden.
And the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported a statement by the Iraqi Operations Command, in which it confirmed that Iraqi military officials and their American counterparts held a meeting in Baghdad this morning, Friday, headed by the Deputy Commander of Joint Operations, Lieutenant-General Abdul-Amir Al-Shamri on the Iraqi side, and headed by the commander of the “Solid Intent” operations forces in Iraq. Major General John Brennan for the American side.
The two sides agreed to reduce US combat units and capabilities from military bases in Ain al-Assad and Erbil (Harir base), to be completed by the end of this September, according to the statement.
It was also agreed to “reduce the level of the leadership of the international coalition from a headquarters led by a team officer to a smaller headquarters led by an officer with the rank of major general for the purposes of management, support, equipment, and the exchange of intelligence information and advice.”
The two sides reiterated that the presence of US forces and the international coalition forces comes at the invitation of Iraq and depends on the provision of protection from the Iraqi government in accordance with international laws and norms and in accordance with Iraqi sovereignty. to the international coalition forces by the time specified for them at the end of this year.”
A member of the Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi parliament, Badr Al-Zayadi, revealed to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed yesterday, Thursday, that “the US combat forces will begin withdrawing from Iraq at the beginning of next October, provided that the withdrawal process will continue until the end of this year in the form of payments according to the agreement.” Iraqi-American.
He pointed out that “on the first of next January, there will be no presence of any American combat force,” explaining that “the American forces will withdraw from the Iraqi bases, and the weapons, combat military equipment and helicopters of these forces will be withdrawn to bases in the Gulf states. Arabi”.
There are currently about 2,500 US soldiers in Iraq, whose tasks are focused on confronting what remains of the “ISIS” organization, but the US role in Iraq will change completely to be limited to training and advising the Iraqi army by the end of the year.
He pointed out that “there are security and strategic agreements between Iraq and the United States to assist Iraq in the event of a security necessity,” noting that “the international coalition aviation will continue its flights inside Iraq from bases in neighboring countries, at the request of Iraq.” Coordination and cooperation in the areas of training and development of Iraqi forces in accordance with the agreements.
The Al-Kazemi government seems serious in this regard, as the prime minister met with an American military delegation headed by the commander of the US Central Command Kenneth McKenzie, accompanied by the US ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller, and discussed the withdrawal and the continuation of cooperation between the United States and Iraq.