U.S. and Iraq Agree Combat Troops to Leave
“Top Iraqi and U.S. officials plan to issue a statement calling for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by year-end, both nations’ officials said, but would reaffirm the need for a U.S. military presence to help Iraqi forces in their fight against Islamic State.” The U.S. and Iraq have agreed that U.S. combat troops should leave Iraq by the end of 2021, with the U.S. military mission in Iraq shifting to a purely advisory role, according to a U.S. official and other sources. The shift is expected to be announced on Monday after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets with President Biden at the White House. The plan will not constitute a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and a number of U.S. service members will remain in Iraq indefinitely. “These troops will provide logistics and advisory support, as well as air power, intelligence and surveillance capability in the fight against the Islamic State,” Lara Seligman reports for POLITICO. The U.S. is seeking a “reliable, predictable and constructive” way forward with North Korea to secure progress in stalled denuclearization talks, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has said today. Sherman made the remarks following a meeting with South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun in Seoul, where it was “discussed how to reopen negotiations after North Korea brushed off the Biden administration’s proposals for talks, casting a cloud over prospects for dismantling its nuclear and missile programs,” Hyonhee Shin reports for Reuters. A Chinese prosecutor has been indicted in a federal U.S. case charging nine people with illegally acting as foreign agents in an effort to force immigrants from China to return there to be punished. The FBI last October announced charges against eight people who were allegedly engaged in the effort and a superseding indictment filed yesterday now “also charges Chinese law enforcement official Tu Lan, accusing him of orchestrating a campaign known as ‘Fox Hunt’ and ordering a co-conspirator to destroy evidence,” Shayna Jacobs reports for the Washington Post. China has said today that the U.S. is slandering its efforts to pursue suspects overseas. The comments were made after a Chinese prosecutor was charged in an alleged plot to intimidate Chinese residents in the U.S. to return to China. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian urged the United States to correct its mistakes. Reuters reporting.