Iraq

Top US General Predicts Limited Military Presence in Iraq

The head of US Central Command says he is confident that the Iraqi government wants a small amount of US troops to remain in the Arab country for the foreseeable future.

“I believe that going forward, they’re going to want us to be with them,” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters on Tuesday following a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

“I don’t sense there’s a mood right now for us to depart precipitously. And I’m pretty confident of that,” he added.

The comments by Gen. McKenzie come after the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States.

The bill was passed after the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) – better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, and their companions in a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport two days earlier.

Later on January 9, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the former Iraqi prime minister, called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

Since then, the US-led military coalition purportedly formed to fight the Daesh terrorist group has officially handed over a number of its strategic air bases to the country’s government forces, consolidating its troops on fewer bases.

There are currently about 5,200 American troops in Iraq, but the Pentagon is under pressure from both Iraq and the US to reduce the military presence in the Arab country.

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