Analysis and comments
ON THE SITUATION IN IRAQ
In March 2021, despite the regular anti-terrorist operations, the situation in a number of regions of Iraq still remains tense due to the activities of the Islamic State terrorist group, as well as attacks on convoys and facilities of the international US-led anti-terrorist coalition.
Until present, there are places on the territory of Iraq that are under the full control of IS militants, and there are vast areas that pose a threat even to federal troops.
According to experts, “the numbers of underground terrorist bandits amount to several thousands of active militants who rely on undercover cells in rural areas, where the population is intimidated or deliberately does not support the central authorities. The activities of terrorists in the governorates of Anbar, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salah ad Din and Diyala, where multiple military operations did not result in a radical improvement of the situation, are especially concerning. It still has not been possible to establish control over the Syrian border, and the terrorists are able to move from one country to another.”
In Iraq, discussions on the issue of the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country's territory are ongoing. President of the Republic of Iraq Barham Salih said on March 18 that the numbers of the American military troops in the country do not exceed 2,500 people.
Earlier, on March 3, the head of the Iraqi government, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, said that the withdrawal of 60% of foreign troops from Iraqi territory was the result of a strategic dialogue with Washington. Mustafa Al-Kazimi added that Baghdad continues to engage in dialogue with Washington “in accordance with the priorities and needs of Iraq, in order to reach agreement on a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops [from the country]”, as well as on the arrangements for providing the Iraqi military with the necessary support in the form of training. and consultations.
Meanwhile, many experts reasonably indicate that “Baghdad itself is not interested in the withdrawal of American troops, as their presence is the main guarantee of maintaining military and technical cooperation with the United States and security with regards to the possible revival of the IS”.