Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has expressed his support for the presence of United States troops in his country.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Sunday, al-Sudani said “We think that we need the foreign forces.. Elimination of ISIS needs some more time.”
Iraqi PM did not give a timeline for US and NATO forces – who are currently serving in a training capacity – to leave Iraq, despite calls from some political allies for a full withdrawal.
“Inside Iraq we do not need combat forces,” he told the newspaper. “If there is a threat for Iraq, it is the penetration of the [ISIS] cells through Syria,” he said.
Iraq and the United States signed a strategic framework agreement in 2008, which included a number of provisions regulating the presence of US forces in the country, as well as bolstering cooperation in economic, cultural and political fields.
The number of American forces in Iraq is estimated at about 2,000 soldiers, deployed in three main locations: the “Ain al-Asad” base, located 130 km from the city of Ramadi, in the Anbar Governorate, in western Iraq, Camp Victory, an amalgam of military and intelligence installations near the Baghdad international airport, and the Al-Harir Air Base, north of Erbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.