Baghdad looks to Trump with Framework Agreement

The last US troops withdrew officially from Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011, marking the end of about nine years of US military intervention, which led to the fall of Saddam Hussein and the death of roughly 4,500 American soldiers. After the Sept. 20 meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and US President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Iraq seems to be back on Washington’s list of priorities. Obama stressed the “US willingness to provide humanitarian aid and start reconstruction of the liberated areas [of Iraq].”

Indeed, the United States has shown clear renewed interest in Iraq, as the number of US troops stationed in the country has increased to 4,087 soldiers, excluding the special operations staff and some logistics support workers who work in rotation.

In this context, Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesman of Abadi's information office, told Al-Monitor, “Iraq aspires to more US support. It also seeks to strengthen cooperation through the implementation of the SFA to diversify Iraq’s benefits in more than one area. The cooperation and coordination under Obama did not live up to Iraq's hopes.”

Hadithi said, “The government is seeking to reinstate some of the SFA items that have remained a dead letter because of the lack of enforcement and implementation mechanisms. The agreement includes economic, security, cultural and military aspects, and its implementation will benefit Iraq. Iraqi ministries ought to start drafting plans to begin the implementation under the newly elected US president.”

In fact, Iraq needs to reach a “national consensus” about the type of relations to entertain with the United States, taking into account the interests of both countries. This is especially true since some Iraqi parties in the government remain against cementing relations and cooperation with the United States.

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