Biden Orders Another Retreat

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Joe Biden is ordering US troops to leave Iraq soon amid increased Iraqi militia attacks. This would be the second Middle Eastern country the Biden Administration leaves from in disgrace.

The killing of Soleimani in 2020 triggered a huge backlash in Iraqi militia activity. US bases have been regularly pelted by mortar attacks. Reuters reports on Iraq’s decision:

Iraq wants a quick and orderly negotiated exit of U.S-led military forces from its soil but has not set a deadline, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said, describing their presence as destabilising amid regional spillover from the Gaza war.

Longstanding calls by mostly Shi’ite Muslim factions, many close to Iran, for the U.S-led coalition’s departure have gained steam after a series of U.S. strikes on Iran-linked militant groups that are also part of Iraq’s formal security forces.

The US leaving could also have serious implications for Iran. It will benefit from uninterrupted supply lines all the way to Syria and Lebanon. However, Iran could also suffer from the withdrawal. The Daily Best explains why Iran might want the US to stay:

Domestically, rival Iraqi militias try to outbid one another and brandish their anti-West credentials by targeting U.S. troops in Iraqi bases. Regionally, Iran always reminds the world that it has Baghdad under its thumb, and that the continued presence of American military personnel in Iraq is by Tehran’s permission and under its mercy.

This is why Sudani’s statements have generated headlines but said little. “The end of the international coalition mission is a necessity,” the Iraqi PM said, without setting a date. In other statements, Sudani usually announces formation of committees to discuss withdrawal with Washington.

Since Biden took power, America has suffered defeats in Afghanistan, and start of the Gaza War, the Houthi attacks and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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