US Plans to Remove Troops From Three Bases in Iraq

Officials cite 'success' in anti-ISIS fight

The US military is preparing to reduce its presence in Iraq by several hundred troops, and this will involve removing forces from three bases in the country, including the al-Qaim base near Syria’s border, and airbases near Mosul and Kirkuk.

Officials are not providing a timetable for these cuts, but are justifying them as part of the “success” of the fight against ISIS, saying the areas are securely under the control of Iraqi security forces. No mention was made of recent US airstrikes against Iraqi militias.

With Pentagon officials presenting that as a fight against Iran, there was some speculation that this would mark the beginning of a new US escalation into Iraq, even though Iraq is plainly objecting to that strategy. The US has been moving additional air defenses into Iraq to protect troops from retaliation.

It may be, then, that removing troops from these mostly western bases will allow the US to focus more heavily on its presence in eastern Iraq, and focusing air defenses in those areas, where rockets are more likely to be fired by militias.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.