While meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday, President Joe Biden announced that the combat mission in the region would cease by the end of the year.
“We’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission,” President Biden said.
Biden on most recent discussions with the Iraqi government: "Our role in Iraq will be dealing with — it's just to be available, to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arrives. But we are not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission." pic.twitter.com/IT4TBSwIhG
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 26, 2021
“There is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil,” al-Kadhimi told the Associated Press over the weekend.
“I’d like to thank the American people on behalf of all Iraq’s people,” the Prime Minister said. “Today, our nation is stronger than ever.”
There are approximately 2,500 United States troops in Iraq at the moment. American soldiers will continue to train and assist Iraqi forces against ISIS. The White House declined to say how many soldiers will remain in the Middle East.
“The numbers will be driven by what is needed for the mission over time,” Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said. “The real announcement today… is about a change of mission.”
The United States will give Iraq $155 million for humanitarian assistance, including shelter, health care, emergency food assistance, protection, water, and sanitation services.
According to USA TODAY, the United States has given Iraq $200 million this year and $3 billion since 2014.
Trita Parsi, Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute, praised the President for making a logical step forward.
“It puts Biden on the right path toward fulfilling his promise to leave the Middle East militarily, where the defense of vital U.S. interests does not warrant any permanent military bases in the region,” Parsi said. “While the potential resurgence of a terrorist group such as ISIS may warrant further U.S. military action, permanent bases in Iraq are neither necessary nor helpful.”
American combat troops deployed in Iraq in 2003 with the goal of ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and toppling dictator Saddam Hussein. Combat operations ended in 2010, and nearly all troops left the next year, only to have to return in 2014 to combat the rise of the Islamic State.