US intends to keep its troops in Iraq, a NY Times report says

TEHRAN, Jul. 25 (MNA) – The US newspaper New York Times has said in a report on the upcoming visit of the Iraqi prime minister to Washington that little is expected to change regarding the presence of the US combat forces in Iraq.

 In Washington on Friday, Pentagon officials said they expected the troop levels in Iraq to remain at their current level of about 2,500, and that the role of some US forces would be redefined, according to a report by the New York Times on Saturday.

The NY Times report comes as Iraq’s prime minister is heading to Washington this weekend to demand that President Biden withdraw all US combat troops from Iraq, announcing to Iraqi media that the visit would “put an end to the presence of combat forces.”

American officials say the United States is likely to oblige the request from Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, setting a deadline to be announced on Monday for the withdrawal of US combat forces by the end of the year.

However, the report quoted Pentagon and other administration officials as saying that they will keep the US boots on the ground in Iraq by removing a small but unspecified number of the 2,500 forces currently stationed in the Middle Eastern country, and by reclassifying on paper the roles of other forces. Al-Kadhimi will have a political trophy to take home to satisfy anti-American factions in Iraq and the US military presence will remain, says the report. 

“There will be no US military forces in a combat role by the end of the year,” said a senior US official familiar with ongoing discussions. “We anticipate some force adjustments in line with that commitment.”

The US daily further describes the Al-Kadhimi's visit as "a set piece of diplomatic theater."

KI/PR

News Code 176530

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