The desperate scenes at Kabul airport following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban on August 15 have rekindled memories of the rout of Iraqi security forces in the face of the lightning conquest of Mosul and a third of the country. country, in June 2014, by the Islamic State (IS) organization. They arouse the fear of many Iraqis that the Americans will leave the country, as they did in 2011, at the risk of a new resurgence of ISIS or a takeover of the country by pro-Shiite militias. – Iranian women who infiltrated the state through the war against the jihadists.
Democratic President Joe Biden has indeed followed in the footsteps of his predecessors, determined to disengage the United States from conflicts in the Middle East, including Iraq. However, he did not go beyond the partial withdrawal initiated by Donald Trump, which halved the 5,000 troops still stationed in Iraq. In July, during a new round of strategic dialogue held in Washington, President Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi stuck to the end of the American combat mission in Iraq. by December 31. Troops will be maintained to assist and train Iraqi security forces, the core of their mission since the end of the war against ISIS in 2017. Another aspect of the strategic partnership is the development of bilateral economic relations, a sign that Washington intends defend its interests in the country.
Pledges given by the United States
A consensus exists, in both the Democratic and Republican camp, to maintain a presence in Iraq. In addition to economic interests, combating a possible resurgence of ISIS – which has been leading a new wave of attacks in Iraq since the summer – and thwarting Iranian expansionist tendencies remain priorities in Washington. “The United States knows that Iraq remains an engine of stability or instability in the region and is increasingly seen [avec Israël et la Jordanie] as a friend and a partner – not a war zone or a terrain for the international community ”, assures Michael Knights, in a note for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Echoing behind the scenes of the strategic dialogue, the American expert believes that pledges have been given by the United States to the Iraqi government to continue to support it in its quest for stability and sovereignty.
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