President Trump along with the Pentagon plan to announce a decrease of U.S. troop levels from 5,200 to approximately 3,500
The coordinated announcement is expected sometime Wednesday and the Iraqis are aware of the decision and therefore are on board
It’s the first major troop reduction in Iraq since 2016. Last month, it was reported the number of troops would decrease to 3,500.
“In recognition of the great progress the Iraqi forces have made and also in consultation and coordination with the Government of Iraq and our coalition partners, the USA has decided to lessen our troop presence in Iraq from approximately 5,200 to 3,000 troops throughout the month of September,” said Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command.
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The best U.S. overall for the Middle East said in July that he thought the U.S. will continue to keep a smaller but enduring presence in Iraq.
ISIS launched more than 100 strikes in Iraq in August, a sharp uptick from previous month
The best U.S. general for the Middle East said in July that he believed the U.S. will keep a smaller but enduring presence in Iraq.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said he considers the Iraqis welcome the U.S. and coalition troops, particularly in the continuing struggle to keep IS fighters from taking hold of the country again. The comments came during an Oval Office meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. The movement appears to be an attempt by Trump to make good on his promise to finish U.S. participation in”endless wars.”
Army officials have already announced that they intend to reduce troops in Afghanistan down to between 4 to 5,000 from current levels. That announcement will follow from the president in coming days. There will be no immediate change to the approximately 600 U.S. troops currently in Syria, a senior U.S. official told Fox.
In 2016, President Donald Trump had campaigned to finish”endless wars” and for the return of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, but the truth of the security situations in these countries prevented any reductions in the number of troops until recently.
By the end of this year "The United States plans to reduce its military force in Iraq from the current 5,200 to about 3,500 by November, U.S. officials said Friday "https://t.co/CQ03uO3CaU— Global Affairs (@AnthonyMRoberto) August 31, 2020
Before this year, the U.S. decreased the Amount of troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 as agreed to at a peace agreement with the Taliban. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in August that there could be a further reduction to under 5,000 from November.
The reduction of U.S. troop levels in Iraq was expected during summer as U.S. military officials highlighted the Iraqi army’s growing ability to perform independent operations against the fires of ISIS.
However, the troop reduction declared by McKenzie is larger and will be transported in a much faster timeline than that which U.S. officials had signaled just a few weeks ago. At the moment, it was noted that U.S. troop levels could be lowered by a next to 3,500 over a couple of months by the time of the U.S. election in November.
ABC News had reported that the process for the drawdown had begun, but a U.S. official didn’t elaborate on how long it would take to finish.
Although formally at roughly 5,200 because late 2016, when U.S. training efforts to combat ISIS peaked, the number of U.S. troops was actually was somewhat higher due to troop rotations and other factors.