The US military presence in Iraq is not “expected to change” despite Baghdad’s insistence on pulling out all American troops from the country, according to a report by the New York Times.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has headed to Washington to demand that all US combat forces pull out of the Arab country.
In an interview with Saudi Arabia’s Hadath on Sunday, Kadhimi said foreign combat troop presence on Iraqi soil was not needed.
Kadhimi, who is scheduled to hold talks with US President Joe Biden on Monday to discuss “the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq,” told Iraqi media that his visit to Washington would “put an end to the presence of combat forces” in the country.
The NYT’s Saturday report, however, pointed out that the Pentagon, which had no intention of pulling out any of the 2,500 US troops stationed in Iraq, aims to simply rename on paper the combat role given to the soldiers to logistics specialists, advisers, trainers and the likes.
A report by The Wall Street Journal published last month cited a senior Pentagon official as saying that the US plans to maintain its military presence in the Middle East region.
“We still maintain tens of thousands of forces in the region, we still have forces in Iraq and Syria, those forces aren’t leaving. We still have our bases in the countries of our (Persian) Gulf partners, they aren’t shutting down, there is still substantial presence, substantial posture in the region,” the official added.
Despite the Pentagon’s insistence on staying in Iraq and Syria, demands for the US military pullout from the region has been strong since the US assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Qassem Soleimani along with Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization United (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at Baghdad International Airport in January 2020, in a drone attack that was directly ordered by former US president Donald Trump.
A member of the politburo of the Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq resistance group, which is part of the PMU, stressed the need to fight off the “terrorist US forces” in Iraq, saying there is no safe haven for the occupying American forces in the Arab country.
Saad al-Saadi announced earlier this week that Iraqi armed resistance groups were aimed to enter direct conflict with the US military forces if diplomatic channels failed.
Saadi urged the Iraqi government to “demand the expulsion of Americans from Iraq.”
The White House maintains American forces presence in the region under the pretext of preventing the re-emergence of Daesh in the country. Analysts, however, believe US forces' true mission is to protect Washington’s interests in energy resources while safeguarding the Israeli regime’s expansionists policy in Palestine.
American forces launched the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, toppling its long-time dictator Saddam Hussein under the premises of his regime's alleged proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).