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article imageOp-Ed: Trump to reduce US troops in Iraq to just 2,000 in a short time

By Ken Hanly     Sep 11, 2020 in Politics
Only one day after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced it was withdrawing 2,200 troops from US President Trump announced even more cuts in the months to come. Now, troop levels in Iraq are at 5,200 but will be at 3,000 by the end of the month.
Troop levels to be cut to 2,000
US President Trump said
on Thursday: “Iraq will be down to about 2,000 soldiers in a very short period of time.” Though not specifically confirmed the suggestion is that the withdrawal will take place within 2-3 months resulting in another 1,000 troops withdrawing by the time of the US presidential election.
This will result in the lowest US troop level in Iraq in many years. It come just a month after US President Trump had confirmed there would be troop reduction during the visit to the US of the Iraq premier. It is not clear if the US is going to withdraw altogether. Some time back an Iraq parliamentary motion asked for all foreign troops to withdraw. At the time the US threatened sanctions if they were forced to withdraw. However, the present Iraqi government is pro-US and relations appear much smoother. These substantial cuts may be sufficient to quiet any demands for complete withdrawal for now.
Trump has called for withdrawal of troops
Withdrawal of US troops from what he sometimes called useless wars was part of Trump's original election campaign. He seems eager to make these cuts part of his re-election campaign for president. At a campaign rally in Freeland Michigan Trump emphasized that his opponent former Vice President Joe Biden had supported the Iraq war while he is bringing troops home.
Drawdown will probably benefit Iraq government
The withdrawals will no doubt result in few if any protests demanding a full withdrawal. Officials appear to dismiss the idea of a full pullout at present suggesting it would come with cuts to US-iraq ties. Pentagon officials claim that even as troop levels are reduced, the US will continue working with Iraq.
The US was primarily in Iraq to help defeat the Islamic State(ISIS) that had seized large parts of the country. However, ISIS is now largely defeated and Iraqi forces should be able to face any threat from the remnants of ISIS on their own. The US is worried about the influence of Iran in Iraq. Iran supports many Iraqi militia some of whom have attacked US forces in Iraq. The US probably wants to keep some forces in Iraq to counter Iranian influence.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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