US Combat Mission in Iraq to End by December 31

After the strategic stability meeting on Monday with the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, US President Joe Biden pointed that the United States is ready to put end to its combat mission in Iraq by December 31, after which Washington will only focus to training local forces, VOA writes.

It’s still unknown what will happen with the 2,500 American troops that are still in Iraq since Biden avoided answering the direct question regarding that issue, but the US administration only plans to continue counterterrorism cooperation and its support for local security forces and Kurdish paramilitary groups.

“Our role in Iraq will be…  to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arrives,” the Biden said after the meeting that was co-chaired by US Secretary of State Blinken and Iraqi FM Fuad Hussein.

The bases that accommodate the US troops and the other personnel of the Coalition, according to the joint statement after the meeting, will remain to operate per existing Iraqi laws.

The change in the US troops’ mission was agreed in April between the two states without setting fixed timeline for completing the transition.

The main goal of the US presence in Iraq is, as officials say, to make sure the country won’t the repeat the mistake from seven years ago when IS militants flooded Iraq and neighboring Syria catching Iraqi government forces completely unprepared.

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