Iraq’s prime minister to visit Washington next month for talks on US troops withdrawal

Iraq’s prime minister to visit Washington next month for talks on US troops withdrawal
Iraq’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Mustala Al-Kadhimi, is expected to visit Washington next month. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 24 June 2020

Iraq’s prime minister to visit Washington next month for talks on US troops withdrawal

Iraq’s prime minister to visit Washington next month for talks on US troops withdrawal
  • Al-Kadhimi’s visit will begin the second round of talks between the US and Iraq
  • The Iraqi economy will also be on the agenda during the second round to high-level talks

Iraq’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Mustala Al-Kadhimi, is expected to visit Washington next month for talks on the withdrawal of US troops, the Baghdad Post reported on Wednesday.

Al-Kadhimi’s visit will begin the second round of talks between the US and Iraq – which will be the first of their kind in more than a decade, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.  

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in April that both countries planned to hold meetings starting in mid-June to discuss “the future presence of the United States forces in [the] country and how best to support an independent and sovereign Iraq.”

The first round of talks started earlier this month via an online conference, where an agreement was reached to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq in the coming months. US forces already began their withdrawn from several Iraqi bases in recent months.

The Iraqi economy will also be on the agenda during the second round to high-level talks.

The Iraqi government decided last week to scrap plans to announce its 2020 budgets and instead focus on formulating a budget for 2021.


Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area
Updated 55 min 48 sec ago

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area
  • Moving Israel under the Central Command potentially makes security cooperation with the US on regional matters easier
  • The move could bring Israeli military officials in closer proximity to those of Gulf neighbors

WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department announced Friday that it would include close ally Israel in the area covered by its Middle East-focused Central Command.
In another sign of the rapprochement brokered by President Donald Trump between Israel and Arab countries, the Pentagon said US military dealings with Israel would no longer be handled by its European Command.
“We structure boundaries to best mitigate risk and protect US interests and partners,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“The easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the Abraham Accords has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East.”
That was mainly a reference to Iran, which the United States, Israel and Arab countries view as the leading security threat to the region.
For decades at odds with its Arab neighbors over its treatment of Palestinians, Israel has over the past year broken barriers on open cooperation and communications with Gulf countries under the Trump-fostered Abraham Accords.
Moving it under the Central Command potentially makes security cooperation with the United States on regional matters easier, and could bring Israeli military officials in closer proximity to those of Gulf neighbors.
But it could also complicate CentCom cooperation with Iran allies like Iraq, where the US retains 2,500 troops.
“Israel is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our US Central Command partners, while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies,” the Pentagon said.