A meeting was held in Washington on July 26 to discuss the issue of US troop withdrawal. People are increasingly worried about frequent attacks on US targets in Iraq.
US President Joe Biden will welcome Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadimi at the White House on July 26, his office announced.
The White House said in a statement on Friday that the meeting will “highlight the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that Biden “also looks forward to strengthening bilateral cooperation with Iraq on political, economic and security issues, including working together to ensure the enduring failure of ISIL.”
The meeting will be held against a background of growing concerns among US officials that US targets in Iraq and Syria will be attacked more frequently.
Since Biden took office in January, there have been at least 8 drone attacks against the United States and 17 rocket attacks.
The Biden administration responded twice against Iraqi armed groups operating in Syria, one of which was close to the Iraqi border.
Iraq has long been an arena for fierce competition between the United States and Iran, despite their common hostility towards ISIL.
Since the United States assassinated senior Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi Mohandis at Baghdad International Airport last year, Baghdad’s relationship with Washington has become complicated. The drone strike on January 3, 2020 was ordered by then President Donald Trump.
U.S. forces in Iraq
In Washington, Kadimi is expected to push a specific timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The implementation of their departure may take several years.
On Thursday, Kadimi and U.S. envoy Brett McGurk discussed the issue in Baghdad.
Approximately 3,500 foreign soldiers are still on Iraqi territory, including 2,500 Americans, who have been sent to help fight the Islamic State since 2014.
The meeting between Al-Kadhimi and McGurk came after 14 rockets hit the Ain al-Assad Air Base where the US military is located in western Iraq, and three other rockets landed near the US Embassy in Baghdad.
This is the latest in a series of attacks on US military and diplomatic facilities in Iraq. These attacks were blamed on pro-Iranian armed groups in the state-backed paramilitary forces, known as the People’s Mobilization Force.