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France, Czechs, & Other US Allies Exit Iraq Over COVID-19 Fears

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 03/27/2020

The United States has shown itself willing to both keep up its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Iran and its proxies while riding roughshod over Iraqi sovereignty by remaining in the country even as Baghdad leaders and the broader population demand a final exit.

But in another sign Europe is ready to divorce itself from US aims in the region, France has abruptly withdrawn its forces from the country after being there for five years. Interestingly the prime reason given was troop safety concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, but we imagine European leaders likely now see an opportunity to make a swift and easy exit without provoking the ire of their US counterparts.

International correspondents say this includes French withdrawal from six bases, with a small contingent of about 100 troops remaining in the country. The Czech Ministry of Defense also announced the exit of its forces Wednesday, which followed a large contingent of British forces leaving last week, also on fears of coronavirus exposure during the mission.

“British, French, Australian and Czech troops who were coaching Iraqi counterparts were being temporarily sent home as Baghdad had put a hold on training operations to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” reports the AFP this week.

All had been there to support coalition anti-ISIL operations led by Washington. But as the US mission to defeat the Islamic State has lately become less relevant given the demise of the terror group, Washington’s focus became Iranian influence inside Iraq – far beyond the original mission scope.

The US itself had been reportedly drawing down from certain bases, but is not expected to ultimately depart given the current high state of tensions with Iran-backed militias in the country.

But Iran and Iraq’s ‘counter-pressure’ campaign is only set to continue, as on Thursday two rockets slammed into the Iraqi capital’s high-security Green Zone early in the morning, in an incident that’s become almost a monthly occurrence. There were no reports of injuries.

Middle East regional correspondent and analyst Elijah Magnier observes of the rapid draw down: “Coronavirus is offering an opportunity for the world to detach itself from US dominance and reshuffle alliances.”

Indeed this will likely be the outcome in geopolitical hot spots and even economies around the globe.

March 29, 2020 - Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , ,

4 Comments »

  1. an opportunity for the world to detach itself from US dominance

    Very good news. À quelque chose malheur est bon !

    Like

    Comment by traducteur | March 29, 2020 | Reply

  2. “But in another sign Europe is ready to divorce itself from US aims in the region, France has abruptly withdrawn its forces from the country after being there for five years”.

    Another sign that the USA is losing influence amongst its allies, because of its bullying approach, and its reliance on economic sanctions, economic warfare as well, all while it accuses Russia of interfering in America’s domestic politics. When you’re a hammer, and everything looks like a nail, who would want to be you ‘friend’?

    Like

    Comment by brianharryaustralia | March 29, 2020 | Reply

  3. I will start to believe stories about US withdrawal from Iraq and Syria when the vacate the Syrian gold fields from which they have been systematically stealing Syrian gold for years.

    Like

    Comment by James O’Neill | March 29, 2020 | Reply

    • Like they did in Libya after publicly slaughtering Colonel Gaddafi…?

      Like

      Comment by brianharryaustralia | March 30, 2020 | Reply


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