IraqNorth AmericaQasem Suleimani

US to slash number of troops in Iraq by about one-third: US media

The Wall Street Journal cited American officials as saying that the number of the American troops stationed in Iraq would decrease from the current approximately 5,200 to about 3,500 over the next two to three months.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi visited Washington last week, discussing, among other things, the US obligation to pull out its forces from the country in accordance with a mandate issued by the Iraqi parliament in January.

Anti-American sentiments have been running high in Iraq since the US assassinated Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and the second-in-command of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on January 3.

Just two days later, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously passed a bill mandating the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq.

Last Sunday, US troops withdrew from the Taji base north of the Iraqi capital and handed it over to Iraqi security forces.

Despite the Iraqi parliament’s mandate for the withdrawal of foreign troops, US President Donald Trump is likely to use any pullout to claim progress toward ending American wars abroad, a promise that he made during his 2016 presidential campaign but that he never fulfilled.

More than 17 years after the US invasion of Iraq, Trump has said he would withdraw all American troops from the country but has not provided a timetable. His term in office comes to an end this year.

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