Iraqi PM Mustafa Kadhimi has confirmed over the weekend that at least 2,500 US troops have already withdrawn from Iraq as part of what will ultimately be a three year period of pullout from the country.
This came following the recent announcement of US troop cuts during Kadhimi’s US visit, and the more recent threats to close the embassy and withdraw outright after troops came under rocket attack from militias. PM Kadhimi called the move as part of “a great achievement”.
Some Iraqi officials have objected to the US threats, and particularly to the way they were made, cautioning that US threats were liable, in such a public way, to have a spillover effect on other nations working with Iraq.
Still, fear that the US might start a war with the militias probably is not such an immediate threat if the US is continuing to pull troops out. Many Iraqis have wanted the US out of Iraq for awhile now, and if the 3-year plan is in place, Kadhimi really just needs to try to keep things together while that works itself out.
Underscoring that, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s most recent threats were to pull troops out if Iraq can’t protect them, which is giving the militias exactly what they want, and what Iraq has already negotiated, just on a faster time-frame.
The US assumption seems to be that the loss of US troops is something to fear, and therefore something to threaten.
— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 5, 2020
That doesn’t make a lot of sense in Iraq, which already asked the US troops to leave and where Kadhimi confirmed securing a 3-year commitment after the US initially tried to sell him on an eight year process.