Top Iraqi and US officials plan to issue a statement that calls for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by the end of the year, US and Iraqis officials said, but would reaffirm that a US military presence is still needed after that to help Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIL.
“We don’t need any more fighters because we have those,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein told The Wall Street Journal. “What do we need? We need cooperation in the field of intelligence. We need help with training. We need troops to help us in the air.”
Officials plan to announce this shift on Monday after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets with President Joe Biden at the White House, according to one of the people familiar with the discussions.
Kadhimi previewed the announcement in a recent interview, saying that Iraq no longer has a need for US combat troops.
“Iraqis are now ready to stand up on their feet and protect themselves. We are no longer in need of US combat troops,” Kadhimi told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. “At the same time, we will continue to need intelligence support, training, capacity building and advice.”
Source: Wall Street Journal