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The United States and Iraq have initiated formal discussions in Baghdad to conclude the U.S.-led military coalition’s mission against the Islamic State (ISIS).

This first session of talks, initiated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, marks a significant step towards ending the coalition’s presence in Iraq. Al-Sudani’s statement highlighted the bilateral dialogue’s goal to terminate the coalition’s mission.

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During these talks, working groups comprising Iraqi and coalition military officials will evaluate various aspects, including the threat posed by Daesh (ISIS), operational requirements, environmental conditions, and the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces. A high-level military commission is also tasked with setting the conditions for transitioning the mission in Iraq.

U.S. officials have clarified that the decision to set up a committee to negotiate the mission’s conclusion was in discussion since last year and is not directly linked to these attacks.

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More History:
The U.S. has maintained a presence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, with a re-deployment of troops in 2014 to assist in defeating ISIS. Calls for coalition force withdrawal have intensified, especially after the January 2020 U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Iran-backed militias, some self-identified as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, have claimed responsibility for attacks on U.S. forces, stating they are retaliatory actions for U.S. support in the Israel-Gaza conflict. These attacks have targeted the estimated 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria, causing injuries including traumatic brain injuries.

The U.S. has responded with strikes on militia targets, while Iraqi officials have expressed concerns over sovereignty violations.


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