No Sign of US Withdrawal from Iraq After PM Visits Washington

Both sides left open the possibility of an end to the US-led anti-ISIS coalition but a continued US presence in another form

Following a meeting between President Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, there’s no sign a US withdrawal from Iraq will happen anytime soon despite earlier calls from al-Sudani’s government for an end to the presence.

Biden and al-Sudani met in Washington on Monday and released a statement reaffirming the US-Iraqi military partnership. The statement said they would continue talks on the future of the US-led coalition in Iraq, but the next meeting is not until July.

The US has about 2,500 troops in Iraq as part of an anti-ISIS coalition that formed in 2014. Al-Sudani has previously said Iraq can handle the ISIS remnants that are in the country without the foreign coalition, but the US is insisting on a long, drawn-out process to evaluate the threat of ISIS.

Both sides appear to be leaving open the possibility of a continued US presence in Iraq even if the anti-ISIS coalition ends its mission in the form of a “bilateral” partnership.

“The two leaders affirmed they would review these factors to determine when and how the mission of the Global Coalition in Iraq would end and transition in an orderly manner to enduring bilateral security partnerships,” Biden and al-Sudani said.

Ahead of his visit to Washington, al-Sudani wrote an article in Foreign Affairs where he called for a “new kind of partnership” with the US. He said there’s been an agreement to “end the international coalition in a gradual and orderly manner on an agreed timetable” but added that a committee will “develop a road map for future relations, including the presence of US advisers.”

Al-Sudani began calling for an end to the US presence after the US began bombing Iraqi Shia militias that are part of Iraq’s security forces. The US launched a series of major airstrikes in Iraq in retaliation for the drone and rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan, which came in response to US support for the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. Tensions have eased since al-Sudani’s government and Iran pressured the militias to stop attacking the US following the death of three US troops at a base in Jordan.

Iraq’s parliament voted to expel US forces back in 2020 after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. But the US refused to leave and was able to stay despite the opposition due to its enormous economic leverage over Iraq.

Since the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s foreign reserves have been held by the US Federal Reserve, giving Washington control over Baghdad’s dollar supply and the ability to devalue the Iraqi dinar. The US also keeps tight control over Iraq’s ability to pay its neighbor Iran for much-needed electricity.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.