General ‘Confident’ Iraq Will Ask US Troops to Remain

Says Iraq recognizes 'true value' of US troops

Top US Gen. Kenneth McKenzie visited Baghdad on Tuesday, predicting to reporters that in upcoming talks Iraq would ultimately ask US troops to remain. He said Iraq understands the “true value” of the US presence.

The US is planning to have talks with Iraq on the future military presence this summer. Iraq’s parliament had unanimously voted to call on the US to leave, though the US has not recognized that vote, and has ruled out leaving repeatedly.

McKenzie is just the latest to predict that everyone would want US troops to remain at the end of the day, and he too cited the battle with ISIS, which Iraq’s government has presented as over for months. The US structured the talks on presence to tie it to diplomatic and economic ties, allowing the US to threaten isolation for expelling the unwelcome troops.

Since the parliament’s call for the US ouster, Iraq has gone through multiple PMs, and the post is now held by a pro-US official, which may add to the US sense that they can continue to push allies to keep troops there.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.