Iraq, US agree to reduce combat units
The two sides agreed to reduce the combat units from the military bases in Ayn al-Asad in the Anbar province, and Erbil in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) announced that the domestic forces and US military have agreed to reduce combat units in two bases by the end of this month.
The agreement was reached during a meeting held on Thursday in Baghdad between an Iraqi committee headed by JOC's Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir al-Shammari and an American committee headed by Maj. Gen. John Brennan, commanding general of the US-led coalition forces in Iraq, the Command said in a statement on Friday.
The two sides agreed to reduce the combat units from the military bases in Ayn al-Asad in the Anbar province, and Erbil in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
The reduction of US units will be completed by the end of this month, and the remaining units will be for support, equipment, and intelligence sharing purposes, it added.
The meeting was part of what was agreed upon during the US-Iraqi Strategic Dialogue in July, when the two sides agreed to withdraw all American combat troops from Iraq by December 31, 2021.
The two sides also agreed to hold regular sessions to complete the discussion of the remaining steps to secure the transition to a non-combat role for the US-led coalition forces.
The Strategic Dialogue sessions between Iraq and the US were initiated on June 11, 2020, under the Strategic Framework Agreement signed in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.
The relation between the two countries strained after January 3, 2020, when a US drone struck a convoy at Baghdad airport, which killed Qasem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.
The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution two days later, requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq.
The US airstrike also pushed unidentified militias to launch a series of rocket and mortar attacks on Iraqi military bases housing troops across Iraq, as well as the American embassy in the Green Zone in central Baghdad.
The tension pushed the two sides to launch sessions of strategic dialogue during which the US pledged to cut its troops in the country.