The United States and Iraq began formal talks on Saturday in Baghdad to gradually dismantle the military coalition created to fight the Islamic State group in Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a statement that he sponsored the start of the first phase of bilateral dialogue.
A statement issued by the coalition said that working groups made up of Iraqi and US-led military coalition officials will assess the “threat from Daesh (Islamic State), requirements on the operation and nature, and resources of the Iraqi Security Force.” “and a senior military commission “will work to develop transitional conditions for the mission in Iraq.”
The two countries announced the start of talks on Thursday.
Meanwhile, US forces in Iraq and Syria have been targeted by drone attacks by Iranian-backed militias, against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
The United States said plans to create a committee to negotiate terms for ending the mission were discussed last year and that the timing of the announcement had nothing to do with the attacks.
Washington has maintained a constant presence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. Although combat forces left in 2011, thousands of troops returned in 2014 to help the government defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. .
Since the extremist group has lost control of the territory they seized, the Iraqi authorities have often called for the withdrawal of coalition forces, especially after the US air strikes in January 2020 that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iranian militia leader Abu Mahdial-Muhandis near Baghdad Airport.
The issue has resurfaced since Israel launched its counteroffensive in Gaza following the October 7 Hamas invasion of southern Israel.
Since mid-October, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iranian-backed militia group, has launched a series of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria. He said that they are in return for Washington’s support for Israel in the war in Gaza.
The approximately 2,500 US troops and their bases received more than 150 missile and drone attacks. Many American troops were wounded in the attacks.
The United States has instead attacked militias, including the Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitary groups that are officially under Iraqi military command but in practice operate on their own. Iraqi officials complained that the US strikes violated Iraqi sovereignty.