U.S., Iraqi officials come announce U.S. Military change to advisory function in Iraq by year’s end

The change would note the official end of the U.S. Combat mission in Iraq, yet won’t incorporate a troop drawdown.

You are watching: How many troops are currently in iraq


*

An American soldier plank a C-130 cargo aircraft bound for Iraq top top January 10, 2016 in ~ a basic in one undisclosed place in the Persian Gulf Region. | john Moore/Getty Images


U.S. And Iraqi officials space finalizing a shift in the U.S. Military mission in Iraq come a purely advisory role by the finish of the year, noting the official end of the U.S. Combat mission in the country, follow to a U.S. Official and also two world familiar with the issue.

Officials plan to announce this shift on Monday after Iraqi element Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets with President Joe Biden in ~ the White House, according to one of the world familiar with the discussions.


Under the plan, i m sorry the human being stressed will certainly not constitute a tap the money of American pressures from the country, a number of U.S. Organization members will continue to be in Iraq indefinitely. These troops will administer logistics and advisory support, as well as air power, intelligence and surveillance capacity in the fight against the Islamic State, i beg your pardon this week claimed responsibility because that a suicide attack in Baghdad that left dozens dead.


The notice will note the culmination the a number of strategic dialogues in between Iraq and also U.S. Officials over the American armed forces presence in Iraq end the last couple of years, the human said. While the overall numbers most likely won’t adjust much -- there are around 2,500 U.S. Troops in Iraq today -- the remaining combat forces will likely redeploy, changed with personnel concentrated on the advisory mission, in between now and the finish of the year.

The change, which is being disputed as U.S. And also Iraqi public representative met Thursday in ~ the Pentagon, will mark yet another change for the U.S. Military presence in Iraq, where the unified States has actually deployed troops for many of the last 18 years.

Kadhimi previewed the notice in a current interview, saying that Iraq no longer has a need for U.S. Combat troops.

“Iraqis are now ready to wake up on their feet and protect themselves. We are no longer in require of U.S. Combat troops,” Kadhimi told Washington short article columnist David Ignatius. “At the exact same time, we will continue to need intelligence support, training, capacity building and also advice.”

Pentagon spokesperson john Kirby stated in a statement come audioeditorfree.com the the meetings at the ministerial level "will reflect the breadth the this partnership and also the prestige with i beg your pardon the Biden management views Iraq as a fulcrum for stability in the middle East. We anticipate a number of deliverables to it is in announced in these areas at the close of the visit.”

The Biden administration’s approach to the problem in Iraq stand in sharp comparison with the case in Afghanistan, together America winds down its longest war. In Iraq, U.S. And Iraqi officials room seeking a long-term military partnership; in Afghanistan, all U.S. Troops are expected to leave by Aug. 31, aside from about 600 who will remain to help secure the U.S. Embassy and also the Kabul airport.

But officials speak the instance in Iraq is different. The Pentagon has trained thousands of thousands of Iraqis in current years who have actually led the fight versus the Islamic State, with the U.S. Military providing air support and also intelligence as soon as needed. Iraqi special pressures are few of the most-capable and also battle-tested in the region, officials say, and also played a leading function in beating the ISIS caliphate in 2019. In Afghanistan, by contrast, the Taliban have actually made steady gains because that years, and the trumped administration’s 2020 peace resolve the group made the pullout all but inevitable, public official say.

Kadhimi is in the tricky position of trying come balance press from Iranian-linked political factions within his federal government that want American forces out entirely, and also Iraq’s ongoing need for crucial U.S. Armed forces support to continue fighting terrorists. Including another great of complexity to Kadhimi’s dilemma, Iranian-backed militia teams are relentlessly targeting U.S. And also Iraqi troops in the country with drone and also rocket attacks.

While the change on the ground would be subtle, main recognition of the change in mission can be shown as a political win for Kadhimi front of houses of parliament elections reserved for October.

The U.S. Military has actually been gradually transitioning come an advisory duty in Iraq because summer 2020, when American and Iraqi officials i agreeed in a collection of communiques to minimize U.S. Combat pressures in the country.

In fact, in an April 7 share statement, public official proclaimed that as result of the enhancing capacity the the Iraqi defense Forces, “the mission the U.S. And Coalition forces has currently transitioned to one concentrated on training and also advisory tasks, thereby allowing for the redeployment of any kind of remaining combat forces from Iraq, with the timing to be established in upcoming technical talks.”

The announcement next week will certainly officially placed an end date on the transition. Yet the sources stressed that a withdrawal of U.S. Troops in the near future is no being seriously discussed.

The U.S. Military has actually maintained a steady presence in Iraq because 2014 under Operation natural Resolve, which witnessed American troops go back to the nation due come the rise of the Islamic State. Yet Iraq ended up being the proxy battleground for a tit-for-tat conflict in between Washington and also Tehran in 2019 complying with then-President Donald Trump’s tap the money from the Iran atom deal and reimposition of penalty the vault year.

The dispute crescendoed in America’s Jan. 3 assassination that Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, which led the Iraqi the supervisory board of Representatives two days later on to provide a nonbinding resolution calling for the end of the U.S. Military presence in Iraq. That fall, the Pentagon formally announced a plan to minimize the U.S. Armed forces presence in Iraq by an ext than a third, from 5,200 to 3,000; through January 2021, the Trump administration had reduced that number to 2,500.

Still, the strikes on U.S. Troops in Iraq continue, and have increased in current weeks regardless of retaliatory U.S. Airstrikes in February and June. In simply one week in beforehand July, U.S. Troops and diplomats in Iraq and Syria were targeted in six rocket and drone attacks.

U.S. Officials to speak the raised threat, including a spate that drone strikes in June, reflect Iran’s push for America to retract troops native Iraq.

On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers argued it was a bad idea to end the combat mission when ISIS and also Iran-backed proxies continue to threaten Iraq’s sovereignty.

“As us watch Afghanistan descend right into chaos and also ISIS continue to lash out in Iraq and Syria, now is not the moment for either the U.S. Or Iraq to pretend that our mutual mission is over,” Senate decimal Leader Mitch McConnell stated Thursday.

Sen. Joni serious (R-Iowa) stated she to be “really concerned about pulling every one of our troops out without having a an excellent solid withdrawal plan and how we’ll respond come a surging in terrorism.

Republicans have largely donate Biden’s retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militants in Iraq and Syria, yet have urged him to construct a strategy to push the terror groups out the those countries for good.

See more: How Many States Use Capital Punishment, States And Capital Punishment

The home recently repealed outdated war authorizations because that Iraq, and the Senate is supposed to monitor suit later this year. Part Republicans have argued that scrapping those authorizations would certainly unnecessarily hinder Biden’s capability to go after these terror teams in Iraq, though the steps were initially embraced to authorize military action for the first Gulf War and also the effort to topple Saddam Hussein’s government.