Iraq says US strikes pushing government to end US-led coalition’s mission

Feb 9, 2024

Baghdad: repeated American attacks against Iran-backed armed groups Iraq are putting pressure on the Baghdad government to end Objective of US led coalition in the country, the Prime Minister's military spokesman said on Thursday.
The US military said a strike on Wednesday killed a commander of Kata'ib Hezbollah, the Iran-backed armed group in Iraq that the Pentagon blames for attacking its troops.
Spokesman Yahya Rasool said in a statement that the US-led coalition “has become a factor of instability and threatens to entangle Iraq in a cycle of conflict”.
In Washington, the Pentagon said it had informed the Iraqi government about the attack immediately after the attack.
Talks between the two countries began in January regarding the future of the alliance. But less than 24 hours after three American soldiers were killed in an attack in Jordan that the United States said was carried out by Iran-backed terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, talks have since stalled.
Iraq and the United States will resume talks on February 11 on the future of the US-led international military coalition in the country, an Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein on Tuesday called for the resumption of phone talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Any discussions on the future of the alliance are expected to take several months, if not more, but the outcome will remain unclear.
The US-led international military coalition in Iraq was established to fight the Islamic State. The United States has 2,500 troops in Iraq, advising and assisting local forces to prevent the group's resurgence.
Since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza began in October, Iraq and Syria have seen almost daily attacks between radical Iran-backed armed groups and US forces deployed in the region.
More than 40 militants were killed in strikes by the United States in Iraq and Syria last week, the Pentagon said.
At the time, Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, a state security force that also includes Iran-backed groups, said 16 of its members, including fighters and doctors, were killed. The government had said that civilians were also among the 16 dead.
In Syria, the strikes killed 23 people who were defending targeted positions, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reports on the war in Syria.
(Reporting by Naira Abdullah, Timour Azhari and Ahmed Rashid. Additional reporting by Idris Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Deepa Babington and Alistair Bell)

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