World U.S., Iraqi officials to announce U.S. military shift to advisory role in Iraq by year’s end
Doctor warns Iraqi Kurds: Illegal path to EU can be deadly
BIELSK PODLASKI, Poland (AP) — Dr. Arsalan Azzaddin was seeing migrants from Iraq and Syria being brought into a hospital in eastern Poland every day with hypothermia, pneumonia, broken bones and severe dehydration. So he asked a Kurdish TV channel to let him go on the news to warn people in his homeland not to attempt the dangerous journey into the European Union through the Belarus-Poland border. “I want them not to come. They could die,” Azzaddin told The Associated Press on Monday.
U.S. and Iraqi officials are finalizing a shift in the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a purely advisory role by the end of the year, marking the official end of the U.S. combat mission in the country, according to a U.S. official and two people familiar with the issue.
Officials plan to announce this shift on Monday after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets with President Joe Biden at the White House, according to one of the people familiar with the discussions.
Iraqi baby buried as death toll in EU-Belarus crisis grows
BOHONIKI, Poland (AP) — A Polish imam recited prayers Tuesday over the tiny white casket of an unborn Iraqi boy, the latest life claimed as migrants from the Middle East have tried to slip into the European Union illegally and found their path blocked by soldiers and a fast approaching winter in the forests of Poland and Belarus. After the first snow of the season fell overnight, Aleksander Ali Bazarewicz, the imam, waited in hopes that the child's father — in a refugee center and with his wife hospitalized in serious condition — would arrive. When he didn't appear, Bazarewicz proceeded to lead the funeral rites in front of an old wooden mosque and later at the graveside.
Under the plan, which the people stressed will not constitute a withdrawal of American forces from the country, a number of U.S. service members will remain in Iraq indefinitely. These troops will provide logistics and advisory support, as well as air power, intelligence and surveillance capability in the fight against the Islamic State, which this week claimed responsibility forthat left dozens dead.
The announcement will mark the culmination of a number of strategic dialogues between Iraq and U.S. officials over the American military presence in Iraq over the last few years, the person said. While the overall numbers likely won’t change much -- there are roughly 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq today -- the remaining combat forces will likely redeploy, replaced with personnel focused on the advisory mission, between now and the end of the year.
Joe Biden, country killer
President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi at the White House on Monday. © Provided by Washington Examiner It wasn't just any leader-to-leader meeting. Biden announced that the United States would soon end its combat mission in Iraq. The move comes just a few months short of the 10th anniversary of America’s last withdrawal from Iraq. Back then, Biden was optimistic. "I can tell you that when we came to office, we had, we had over 150,000 folks there, a war with no political end in sight.
The change, which is being discussed as U.S. and Iraqi officials met Thursday at the Pentagon, will mark yet another shift for the U.S. military presence in Iraq, where the United States has deployed troops for most of the last 18 years.
Kadhimi previewed the announcement in a recent interview, saying that Iraqfor U.S. combat troops.
“Iraqis are now ready to stand up on their feet and protect themselves. We are no longer in need of U.S. combat troops,” Kadhimi told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. “At the same time, we will continue to need intelligence support, training, capacity building and advice.”
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement to POLITICO that the meetings at the ministerial level "will reflect the breadth of this partnership and the importance with which the Biden administration views Iraq as a fulcrum for stability in the Middle East. We anticipate a number of deliverables to be announced in these areas at the close of the visit.”
Biden and Iraqi PM announce end to US’s combat mission
President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi announced the United States's combat mission will cease at the end of the year. The two leaders agreed to the policy shift, which will leave the remaining troops to act in an advisory capacity, during a Monday meeting in the Oval Office."We’re also committed to our security cooperation, our shared fight against ISIS is critical for the stability of the region, and our counterterrorism cooperation will continue, even as we shift to this new phase we’re going to be talking about," Biden said.REP.
The Biden administration’s approach to the conflict in Iraq stands in sharp contrast with the situation in Afghanistan, as America winds down its longest war. In Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials are seeking a long-term military partnership; in Afghanistan, all U.S. troops are expected to leave by Aug. 31, aside from roughly 600 who will remain to help secure the U.S. embassy and the Kabul airport.
But officials say the situation in Iraq is different. The Pentagon has trained hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in recent years who have led the fight against the Islamic State, with the U.S. military providing air support and intelligence when needed. Iraqi special forces are some of the most-capable and battle-tested in the region, officials say, and played a leading role in defeating the ISIS caliphate in 2019. In Afghanistan, by contrast, the Taliban have made steady gains for years, and thewith the group made the pullout all but inevitable, officials say.
Video: In Iraq, an old U.S. foe is stronger than ever (Reuters)
Kadhimi is in the tricky position of trying to balance pressure from Iranian-linked political factions within his government that want American forces out entirely, and Iraq’s ongoing need for critical U.S. military support to continue fighting terrorists. Adding another layer of complexity to Kadhimi’s dilemma, Iranian-backed militia groups arein the country with drone and rocket attacks.
Iraqi family of Channel shipwreck victim mourn her death
In a simple house in northeast Iraq, the parents of Maryam Nuri Hama Amin mourn the loss of their beloved daughter who drowned trying to reach her fiancee in Britain. "She wanted a better life," her father Nuri Hama Amin said, still reeling from shock, just days after his daughter vanished into the freezing waters of the Channel between France and England. "But she ended up in the sea.
While the change on the ground would be subtle, official recognition of the shift in mission could be portrayed as a political win for Kadhimi ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for October.
The U.S. military has been gradually transitioning to an advisory role in Iraq since summer 2020, when American and Iraqi officials agreed in a series of communiques to reduce U.S. combat forces in the country.
In fact, in an, officials proclaimed that due to the increasing capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, “the mission of U.S. and Coalition forces has now transitioned to one focused on training and advisory tasks, thereby allowing for the redeployment of any remaining combat forces from Iraq, with the timing to be established in upcoming technical talks.”
The announcement next week will officially put an end date on the transition. But the sources stressed that a withdrawal of U.S. troops in the near future is not being seriously discussed.
The U.S. military has maintained a steady presence in Iraq since 2014 under Operation Inherent Resolve, which saw American troops return to the country due to the rise of the Islamic State. But Iraq became the proxy battleground for a tit-for-tat conflict between Washington and Tehran in 2019 following then-President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions the previous year.
Biden announces end of combat mission in Iraq as he shifts US foreign policy focus
President Joe Biden agreed on Monday to formally conclude the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year, another step toward winding down the two prolonged military engagements that began in the years following the September 11 terror attacks. © SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, July 26, 2021. Biden told reporters in the Oval Office alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi that the US mission in Iraq will shift. "I think things are going well. Our role in Iraq will be ...
The conflict crescendoed in America’s Jan. 3 assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, which led the Iraqi Council of Representatives two days later to approve a nonbinding resolution calling for the end of the U.S. military presence in Iraq. That fall, the Pentagona plan to reduce the U.S. military presence in Iraq by more than a third, from 5,200 to 3,000; by January 2021, the Trump administration had reduced that number to 2,500.
Still, the attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq continue, and have increased in recent weeks despite retaliatory U.S. airstrikes in February and June., U.S. troops and diplomats in Iraq and Syria were targeted in six rocket and drone attacks.
U.S. officials say the increased threat, including a spate of drone attacks in June, reflect Iran’s push for America to withdraw troops from Iraq.
On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers suggested it was a bad idea to end the combat mission while ISIS and Iran-backed proxies continue to threaten Iraq’s sovereignty.
“As we watch Afghanistan descend into chaos and ISIS continue to lash out in Iraq and Syria, now is not the time for either the U.S. or Iraq to pretend that our shared mission is over,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she was “really concerned about pulling all of our troops out without having a good solid withdrawal plan and how we’ll respond to a surge in terrorism.
Republicans have largely backed Biden’s retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militants in Iraq and Syria, but have urged him to develop a strategy to push the terror groups out of those countries for good.
The House recently repealed outdated war authorizations for Iraq, and the Senate is expected to follow suit later this year. Some Republicans have argued that scrapping those authorizations would unnecessarily hinder Biden’s ability to go after these terror groups in Iraq, though the measures were initially adopted to authorize military action for the first Gulf War and the effort to topple Saddam Hussein’s government.
Nahal Toosi and Andrew Desiderio contributed to this report.
German court convicts ex-IS member in Yazidi girl's death .
BERLIN (AP) — A former member of the Islamic State group was convicted by a German court on Tuesday of genocide and committing a war crime over the death of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl he had purchased as a slave and then chained up in the hot sun to die. The Frankfurt regional court sentenced Taha Al-J., an Iraqi citizen whose full last name wasn’t released because of privacy rules, to life imprisonment and ordered him to pay the girl's motherThe Frankfurt regional court sentenced Taha Al-J., an Iraqi citizen whose full last name wasn’t released because of privacy rules, to life imprisonment and ordered him to pay the girl's mother 50,000 euros ($57,000).