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Are The ‘Forever Wars’ Coming To A Close? Or Is The U.S. Just Rebranding?

U.S. President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi at the White House in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi at the White House in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year. The news follows a similar notice earlier this year that U.S. troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by Aug. 31. Together, they mark the looming conclusion of what Biden has called “the forever wars.”

Many, however, question whether the end of the Iraq mission is just rebranding rather than an actual change. The 2,500 troops currently in Iraq will stay in place.

“Our role in Iraq will be … to be available, to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises, but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission,” President Biden told reporters during a White House meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

could also benefit Iran, according to BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.

Iran is playing the long game. Its leaders hope that if it keeps up the pressure, both overt and covert, it will eventually make the Middle East a region not worth America’s effort to stay engaged in, militarily. Hence the frequent rocket attacks on U.S. bases and Iran’s support for civil protest calling for U.S. troops to leave. An agreement that sees the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq will be seen by many in Tehran as a step in the right direction.

We discuss why the U.S. combat mission in Iraq is ending, what was accomplished, and what its conclusion really means for the future of Iraq and the region.

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