The United States has begun negotiations on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq: first details emerge
On January 27, Baghdad hosted the first round of official talks between Iraq and the United States on curtailing the mission of the military coalition formed to combat the Islamic State terrorist group. The talks began against the backdrop of regular attacks by Iranian-backed militias on US troops in Iraq and Syria.
It is worth noting that Iraqi officials have periodically called for the withdrawal of coalition forces since 2014, as reported by the Voice of America.
According to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, the start of the negotiations was prompted by frequent attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria, particularly through Iranian-backed militia drones.
The US military has maintained a permanent presence in Iraq since 2003. In 2011, the US military left the country but returned three years later to assist the Iraqi government in defeating the Islamic State terrorist group.
After ISIS lost control of the captured territory, Iraqi officials urged the United States to withdraw coalition forces. Additionally, Iraq intensified efforts to remove foreign troops from the country after a US airstrike in January 2020 killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near the Baghdad airport.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict also played a role in the deployment of US-led coalition forces in Iraq. Since October 2023, the Iranian-backed terrorist group Islamic Resistance in Iraq has regularly attacked US troops.
It is worth noting that American military bases, with approximately 2,500 soldiers, have faced more than 150 attacks. In response, the United States targeted militants, including those affiliated with the People's Mobilization Forces, a coalition of mostly Shiite paramilitary groups supported by Iran.
These groups are formally under the control of the Iraqi military, but in practice, they mostly act independently. Iraqi officials have complained that alleged US strikes violate Iraq's sovereignty. Moreover, the militants of the Islamic Resistance of Iraq claimed credit for the US decision to wind down the Coalition Forces mission.
On January 20, the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq, housing the United States military, came under missile attack. Several American soldiers were injured as a result of this strike. The United States attributed the attack to Iranian-backed militants.
Previously, there were reports of the US military launching an attack on the headquarters of paramilitary groups in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Consequently, the leader of a pro-Iranian paramilitary group, accused of attacking US forces, was killed.