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Joe Biden to meet with Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi on July 26
Iraq has been caught in the crossfire in the conflict between the United States and Iran, the tensions having escalated over recent months. The White House announced that US President Joe Biden would be meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi this month.
The White House announced Friday that Biden would be hosting Kadhemi at the White House on July 26 in an effort to reaffirm the strategic partnership between both countries. Ahead of the announcement, Kadhemi spoke with US envoy Brett McGurk regarding the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. To note, around 3,500 international troops are stationed in Baghdad, 2,500 of which are from the US.
The troops are stationed in the region in order to deter the Islamic State extremist group since 2014. When the two leaders meet, Kadhemi is expected to push for a concrete timetable on US troop withdrawal. However, the withdrawal may take years to fully implement.
This follows the increasing drone and rocket attacks on American targets in Iraq over the recent months. The meeting between the Iraqi PM and McGurk came a little after 14 rockets were launched at the Ain al-Assad airbase, which hosts American troops in western Iraq, along with three other rockets that were fired near the US embassy in Baghdad.
The attacks have been pinned as being caused by pro-Iranian militia groups. The US also launched airstrikes on Iran-backed militia facilities along the Iraq-Syria border.
Biden will also be meeting with another world leader as he is set to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II this week at the White House. King Abdullah II would also become the first Arab leader to meet with the new US president. Relations between King Abdullah and Biden would likely be warmer this time after experiencing a strain with Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.
The king hopes to have a better relationship with Biden, whom he met when he was still vice president to Barack Obama. “Jordan will be looking at a friend in Joe Biden,” said political analyst Osama al-Sharif, speaking with Al Jazeera. “The president will publicly recognize the Hashemites’ special role in East Jerusalem and reinstate Jordan’s role as a key interlocutor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”