• Polymath Weekly

US withdrawing troops from Iraq after decades of military presence

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

On July 26 2021, US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi met in the White House to discuss the end of the US combat mission against the rise of ISIS in Iraq.


What is ISIS and what does the US have to do with it?


ISIS, or ISIL, founded in 1999 is a military organization fighting for establishing a strictly conservative caliphate (reign of a chief Muslim ruler) under Shariah law (religious guidelines of Islam). The group has been present in Iraq since 2003, the same year that American troops first entered the country to find the weapons allegedly developed by Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi dictator. In 2014, ISIS seized control of parts of Iraq and Syria but lost most of the lands in 2017.


When is the US withdrawing its troops from Iraq?


Despite the US president’s recent announcement of the end of the combat mission in Iraq, the changes will only be implemented formally. In other words, the planned course of action would be put into practice only by the end of 2021.


Why now?


Mr Biden has described the decision to end US military presence in Iraq (and the Middle East overall) as the means of shifting the American foreign policy’s focus from commitments made decades ago onto modern-day pursuits. Some of these include relations with China and plans to summon many political leaders, such as that of the Russian Federation, to discuss one of the modern world’s key concerns - climate change, which Mr Biden believes poses a great danger to the future of the world’s nations.


US president (right) and Iraqi PM (left) shaking hands during their meeting in the White House, Washington on July 26, 2021 [Image credit: Susan Walsh]

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