The objective is to prepare a possible subsequent displacement, according to a letter sent by the US Army to the Iranian Ministry of Defense that does not clarify the ultimate purpose
A commander of the international coalition, led by the US, announced today the relocation of US troops in “the course of the next few days and weeks” in Iraq, although shortly after the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, said it was not a Withdrawal from the Arab country.
“In due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by Parliament and the Iraqi Prime Minister, the international coalition will relocate forces over the next few days and weeks to prepare a subsequent displacement“, Brigadier General William H. Seely III, commander of the so-called Working Group in Iraq, noted in a letter addressed to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
The letter explains that in order to carry out this task, coalition forces will increase helicopter movements over and around the fortified Green Zone of Baghdad, headquarters of embassies and government institutions.
Before the versions of some mass media that interpreted the letter as an announcement of the withdrawal of the troops, the Secretary of Defense of the US, Mark Esper, ruled out that possibility. “There is no decision to leave Iraq,” Esper said in an unannounced appearance with journalists at the Pentagon. The letter is “incoherent about where we are now,” said the Secretary of Defense.
For his part, the head of the US Joint Staff, Mark Milley, he told reporters that the letter “is a draft”: “It was a mistake, it should not have been published,” he said. Tension has risen in recent days between Tehran and Washington over the death of the powerful Iranian commander of the Quds Force of the Qasem Soleimani in a US attack in Iraq.
Iran has said it will retaliate against the United States for the death of Soleimani and, consequently, the US government has asked its nationals to leave Iraq immediately. This Sunday it was known that hundreds of US soldiers began a day before a trip to a military base in Kuwait, from where they will serve as reinforcement to the forces deployed in the Middle East.
Up to 3,500 soldiers are expected to travel to Kuwait, one of the headquarters of The United States Central Command (Centcom), from where military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are coordinated.
Last week, the US government already sent 750 soldiers to the Middle East in response to the assault of the US embassy in Baghdad by supporters of Shiite militias.