Friday, January 17, 2020

US and Iraq Disagree Over Restarting Anti-IS Operations

US and Iraqi soldiers (US Army National Guard)


The New York Times reported that the U.S. military restarted working with the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) against the Islamic State on January 15. This collaboration had been suspended for ten days after Washington killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qasim Suleimani and deputy head of Hashd Commission Abu Muhandis. The Times said it didn’t know whether the Iraqi government had approved such operations. Retired Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi’s military spokesman General Abdul Karim Khalaf was quick to point out that Baghdad had not okayed the ISF working with the U.S. led Coalition again. Premier Abdul Mahdi is attempting to stay in office based upon his demand that the American forces leave Iraq. The Iraqi political class is as divided as ever and usually take months to agree upon a new PM. Some factions have therefore decided that it is easier to skip this entire process and simply put Abdul Mahdi back in office. He therefore has to maintain his opposition to the Americans, which is why his spokesman said there is no authorization for the Coalition to resume its work in Iraq.

SOURCES

NINA, “Spokesman for the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces: No approvals to resume US military operations,” 1/16/20

Rubin, Alissa and Schmitt, Eric, “U.S. Military Resumes Joint Operations With Iraq,” New York Times, 1/16/20

Voytko, Lisette, “U.S. And Iraq Reportedly Restart ISIS Counterterrorism Efforts,” Forbes, 1/16/20

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