BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi received United States Central Command (CENTCOM) chief, General Kenneth McKenzie, in Baghdad on Thursday and agreed to hold another meeting of the American and Iraqi technical military committees to finalize plans to end the U.S. military presence by the end of the year.
Last July, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that his country would conclude its combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year and begin a new phase of military cooperation with Baghdad.
There are currently about 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq. American occupation forces are required to leave Iraq under a resolution passed by the Arab country’s parliament on January 5, 2020.
However, Washington has been dragging its feet on the troop pullout and targeting anti-terror groups from time to time.
Washington and Baghdad recently reached an agreement on the American military’s withdrawal, under which the U.S. intends to keep its troops on Iraqi soil under the guise of providing advisory assistance to the Iraqi military.
In another development, the al-Nujaba movement, which is part of the anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi, has censured the Iraqi government for keeping mum on the deadly air raids conducted by Turkish warplanes on the Arab country.
In a post on his Twitter account, Nujaba spokesman Nasr al-Shammari said Turkish raids killed 26 Iraqi soldiers and civilians only in August.
He added that the victims included 23 in the city of Duhok, two in Sulaimaniyah and one in Erbil, all situated in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
“All these incidents are taking place in the shadow of a suspicious silence by the government and politicians,” Shammari noted.
Last month, the Nujaba spokesman warned Ankara that the Islamic resistance group does not differentiate between Turkish and American occupation forces in protecting Iraq’s territorial integrity and confronting the aggressors.
“We in the Islamic resistance do not look at Turkey with the same view that we look at the United States except on the issue of the occupation of Iraq’s territory,” he tweeted.
The Turkish army regularly conducts airstrikes on outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in southeast Turkey as well as northern Syria and Iraq. Both neighboring countries view Ankara’s operations as a violation of their sovereignty.