April 24, 2024

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Are Americans leaving Iraq because of Gaza?

Are Americans leaving Iraq because of Gaza?

It is estimated that the Iraqi militias operating under the name “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” are behind about 100 attacks targeting American bases in Iraq and Syria since the start of the war in Gaza. Although the number of US troops in Iraq has decreased significantly, from about 130,000 during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, there are still 2,500 US troops in the country as part of the international force fighting ISIS.

The United States reacts in different ways to attacks on its forces in Iraq. In general, restraint prevails, according to observers' estimates. But last week, the Americans killed Kazem al-Jafari, a senior official in the pro-Iranian paramilitary organization, Harakat al-Nujaba, in a missile strike in Baghdad.

In response, Iraqi government ministers, as well as Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani, described the attack as a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty, spoke of a “dangerous escalation” and called on the United States to withdraw from Iraq. Observers point out that the Iraqi leadership regularly hears such threats. They say it has been issued almost every year for some reason since 2011, when most American soldiers left Iraq. It reached its peak in 2020, when the Americans neutralized Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. Since then, voices demanding the withdrawal of the US army from Iraq have increased. The voices grew louder after October 7, when the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas began in the Gaza Strip.

The American presence serves other strategic goals

A poster for the pro-Iranian Hezbollah Brigades in Baghdad

Iraqi political analyst Sayyad Jiyad, a partner in the Century Foundation, said in reference to the American presence in Iraq: “Iraq no longer needs this amount of support as it did in the past. There is certainly no need for thousands of American troops in the country. Let's not laugh, the Americans are not in Iraq to fight ISIS, but because their presence there serves other strategic purposes.

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At the same time, pro-Iranian politicians, paramilitary factions in Iraq and – last week – the leader of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah organization, Hassan Nasrallah, are urgently demanding the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq, due to American support for Israel in Iraq. Gaza war.

Iraqi political analyst Sayyad Jiyad said: “I appreciate that Baghdad is now in a difficult situation and may want to negotiate a way out. I do not think he wants to expel American forces. But it is not unlikely that circumstances will force the Prime Minister to do so. It will depend on developments. But for now Such a question does not arise,” concludes the Iraqi expert.

Source: Deutsche Welle