25 January 2024

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced an agreement to launch “working group meetings of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Military Commission (HMC)”, which would “enable the transition to an enduring bilateral security partnership”. Iraq’s foreign ministry stated that the discussions would aim “to formulate a specific and clear timetable that specifies the duration of the presence of the international coalition’s advisors in Iraq and to begin the deliberate gradual reduction of its advisors on Iraqi soil”. Later, a Pentagon spokesperson asserted: “We’ve received no request from the government of Iraq to withdraw our forces… The HMC, it’s a working group to determine what our future looks like together with Iraq in terms of our bilateral relationships”.

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