The US and Iraq today returned to the negotiating table to discuss fundamental changes in perspective.
The talks, which were held online as a result of travel restriction which are in place due to the spread of the coronavirus, are not expected to be completed immediately, but should lead to major topics being identified for further talks between trusted committees, senior officials from the two countries said.
“The entire US-Iraq bilateral relationship will not be fixed in a single day,” said Robert Ford, an analyst at the Middle East Institute and a US diplomat in Baghdad, during the last round of strategic talks in 2008.
That year, the United States set conditions for its departure after the invasion of Iraq. Since then, US troops have maintained a presence in the oil rich state within the framework of the Washington-led offensive against Daesh.
More than two and a half years after the coalition’s “victory” over Daesh, thousands of American soldiers remain in the country and this will form part of the negotiations.
After about 30 missile attacks targeting US interests in Iraq and Washington’s assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Deputy Chairman of Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, in early January, anti-American sentiment is on the increase.
Earlier this year Iraqi lawmakers voted to end the presence of foreign forces in the country, putting the US presence under threat.