[size=52]After Al-Sudani's statements...an uncertain future for foreign forces in Iraq[/size]
[size=45]The Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, reiterated his emphasis on his country’s no need for foreign combat forces, citing the fact that the terrorist organization “ISIS” no longer poses a threat in Iraq.[/size]
[size=45]Iraqi security, military and political experts explain to Sky News Arabia what is behind these statements, and what are the current roles of foreign forces in Iraq, their numbers, locations of their deployment, and the possibility of dispensing with them now.[/size]
[size=45]In an interview with the Emirati newspaper The National on Tuesday, Al-Sudani said that there is no longer a need for the presence of foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil, pointing out that ISIS has become weak and poses little threat to security.[/size]
[size=45]Iraq used forces from the international coalition that was formed to fight ISIS in 2014, and is led by the United States.[/size]
[size=45]Al-Sudani repeatedly spoke about the lack of need for foreign combat forces, including last August, saying at the time that dialogues were taking place to determine the form of future cooperation with the international coalition.[/size]
[size=45]The locations of the American forces in Iraq are distributed among several cities in the center, north, and west, and according to the military expert, Brigadier General Ayyad Al-Tufan, their locations are:[/size]
[size=45]Headquarters of the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Headquarters of the Joint Operations Command in the Green Zone.
Harir base in Erbil.
Ain al-Assad base in Anbar.
Saladin country base.
Victoria Base at Baghdad Airport.
Imam Ali bin Abi Talib’s base in Nasiriyah (not announced).
In the Qara Cholan area in Sulaymaniyah (not announced).
Number of troops[/size]
[size=45]According to the Flood Days, the number of troops is estimated at thousands, and they are particularly concentrated in the military bases Harir, Erbil Airport, Eid al-Assad, Victoria, and Balad. There are also 2,500 soldiers from the American National Guard to protect the embassy, divided between its headquarters and the Victoria base at Baghdad Airport.[/size]
[size=45]Security analyst Ali Al-Baidar estimates it to be between 2,500 and 5,000, increasing and decreasing depending on the security situation, and there are no official statistics.[/size]
[size=45]Why are there foreign forces?[/size]
[size=45]Ayyad al-Floof answers, “What is advertised is that foreign forces carry out advisory and training missions, but the truth is that they arm and equip Abrams tanks and F-16 planes, and contribute to air strikes and transport Counter-Terrorism Service forces in their planes during operations.”[/size]
[size=45]Regarding the need for it, in his estimation, “the Iraqi army is still suffering from weakness in the field of air power, army aviation, air defense, and electronic intelligence in collecting information, and we urgently need it in carrying out any operation or in protecting the Iraqi airspace from hostile aircraft of all kinds, as well as missiles.” And military projectiles.”[/size]
[size=45]As for the official statements that the army is capable of defending the nation’s borders, the military expert says that they “need to be revised somewhat.” Because of the incompleteness of many of its forces and factions, not to mention the sectarian and sectarian quotas.”[/size]
[size=45]The Iraqi security and strategic expert, Mukhlid Hazem Al-Darb, points out that the coalition forces and NATO forces came to Iraq at the request of the government after ISIS entered the country in 2014, then changed their status in 2021 to that of consulting and training, and handed over the bases there to the Iraqi forces.[/size]
[size=45]Accordingly, Al-Darb considers that Al-Sudani’s statements “are somewhat ambiguous, and may be messages directed to other political parties.”[/size]
[size=45]Regarding the nature of the current American forces in Iraq, the security expert says that they, especially those at the Ain al-Asad base, are “combat units of the 10th Mountain Forces, known for their combat operations, and they have a great history of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”[/size]
[size=45]Overcoming the security crisis[/size]
[size=45]For his part, the Iraqi political and security analyst, Ali Al-Baidar, sees Al-Sudani’s statements as a “positive point.”[/size]
[size=45]This is because it “indicates that Iraq has overcome the security crisis, and has begun to look forward to the priorities of development, economic progress, and addressing inherited crises, and this is credited to the current government and previous governments that sought to enhance security.”[/size]
[size=45]At the same time, Al-Baydar does not mind the continued presence of foreign forces; Because it currently “performs an intelligence, logistical and training role, and participates in carrying out elite operations, and there are no other roles, and this does not detract from the country’s sovereignty; “Many countries have foreign forces.”[/size]
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