Iraqi resistance dismisses US withdrawal talks, vows more attacks

US officials say a withdrawal from Iraq and Syria is not imminent despite new talks about their status with the Iraqi government

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI) criticized the US request to hold talks with the Iraqi government regarding the presence of US forces in the country, describing them as an attempt to “turn the tables on the resistance” while stressing that it will not stop its operations against US forces in Iraq and the region.

The IRI is a coalition of Shia armed groups that seek to expel foreign forces from Iraq.

The US has roughly 2,500 troops in Iraq and 900 in Syria. US officials claim they are present to fight ISIS. However, the notorious extremist group was defeated in 2019 and enjoyed support from the US and its regional allies.

The IRI issued a statement saying the US request to the Iraqi government to hold talks to determine the future status of its forces is “nothing but an attempt to shuffle the cards, turn the tables on the resistance, and buy time to carry out more crimes and diabolical plans to harm our people and our nation.”

The IRI statement stressed that “the Islamic resistance’s response to this claim is to continue jihadist operations against the foreign presence.”

This statement comes after Reuters reported Wednesday that the US and Iraq will begin talks on “ending the international military coalition led by the United States in Iraq and how to replace it with bilateral relations.”

The talks are expected to take at least several months, according to sources speaking with Reuters, but sparked rumors that Washington is planning to withdraw its forces from Iraq quickly.

US news site Politico reported, “Suddenly, there has been a lot of talk about the withdrawal of American forces from two countries in the Middle East, coinciding with their exposure to increasing attacks recently.”

But the report stressed that “There is no imminent withdrawal order from US President Joe Biden or issued by his office,” according to five US officials.

Politico added that “discussions are taking place in the White House about where US forces are most needed in the region and that “the talks on Iraq and Syria are linked to each other.”

Calls for the US to withdraw its forces from Iraq have intensified due to Washington’s support for Israel’s military operation in Gaza, which many view as constituting genocide.

The Iraqi resistance has stepped up its attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza. The IRI has carried out roughly 150 attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria since 7 October in a bid to force their exit from both countries and in support of the Palestinians.

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