After Afghanistan, the United States announces the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq

Elements of the 3rd Stryker brigade on patrol in Iraq a e1627397373211 Defense Analysis | Armed Forces Budgets and Defense Efforts | Afghanistan conflict

American President Joe Biden, during the visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to the White House, announced that the United States intended to withdraw its troops from his country by the end of the year , after the announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan which began on May 1 and is due to end on September 11. According to the American president, American forces will remain available to support the authorities and the Iraqi armies, in particular for their training, but the 2,500 men still present in the country will be withdrawn on a shortened timetable, to allow, according to him , to focus on more pressing challenges, in this case Russia and China. This announcement had been expected for several weeks, in line with the more controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan which continues despite the offensive by the Taliban forces who now control half of the Afghan provinces. The situation will probably be less complex in Iraq, the country's authorities being more solidly established, and able to rely on other relays of forces than the American or Western forces alone, such as in particular the numerous Iranian militias which participated in the destruction of the Islamic State caliphate and who have not left the country since, as well as the Iraqi Kurds who firmly control the north of the country.

For the American President, in addition to putting an end to two commitments which no longer made it possible to envisage a short or medium term exit from above, it is first and foremost a decision with a strategic and budgetary aim. . Indeed, the Pentagon's budget is heavily handicapped by the costs of external operations and American deployments, more than $69 billion in 2021, while the additional costs for these same operational activities exceed $100 billion for the various US armies. In fact, reducing the global footprint of American troops is proving to be a priority for the Biden Administration, which is faced with growing investment needs in the armed forces, particularly for the modernization of numerous equipment inherited from the Cold War. , while the American defense effort is already at a very high level, at 3.3% of GDP in an American economy and society already heavily hit by the COVID crisis. We can also expect that the American presence in Africa and the Middle East will also decrease in the years to come, despite the rise in power of Iran, as it becomes urgent to Washington to concentrate its forces where they are most necessary and least expensive, in the United States, and to a lesser extent, in Europe.

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The US Armies are today facing a historic challenge to be able to face the growing Chinese military power.

The need for credits for the modernization and transformation of the US Armed Forces is today so acute that the Senate announced, last week, a bi-partisan initiative aimed at bringing funding for 2022 to $740 billion, i.e. more $23 billion more than the $716 billion presented by the Biden administration. If this amount is unlikely to be reached, in particular due to much greater resistance to controlling defense spending within the House of Representatives with a strongly Democratic majority, the initiative shows the high level of tensions which reigns today between the Capitol and the White House on the subject of the budgetary strategy to adopt to deal with China and Russia, especially since the room for maneuver is now weak for the White House. Because if annual expenses for Iraqi and Afghan operations still exceeded $150 billion in 2015, they have now not reached $10 billion, and only part of this amount concerns the approximately 5,000 men who remained deployed in these two countries. at the beginning of 2021.

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