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Tishwash: Report: The Iraqis are concerned that Biden will abandon Iraq after Afghanistan, and Washington wants Al-Kazemi to stay

Some observers wonder whether Afghanistan is a model for Biden’s policy in the Middle East, or not. An article published in Foreign Policy on August 19 said that Iraqis are concerned that Biden may abandon Iraq as well. An article published on August 29 in the UAE National News website also raised the same question, according to a report published by the newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat.

Biden explained his reasons for leaving Afghanistan in remarks at the White House on August 16. The new Biden administration had only two realistic options for its Afghanistan policy last spring. One of the options is related to canceling the withdrawal agreement concluded by Donald Trump with the Taliban in 2020, which means the end of the ceasefire between the American forces and the Taliban movement, with the resumption of heavy fighting again.

When Trump left the White House, the 3,500 American soldiers in Afghanistan were not enough to contain a new Taliban attack. We have just seen how powerful the Taliban is.

If Biden had canceled the Trump deal, he would have had to send thousands of additional American troops to Afghanistan. There was little support for the American people to accept a major new escalation. Biden has a long experience of working in Congress, his tenure as Vice President and his knowledge of the plans of American generals. He doubted that the escalation that Obama agreed to in 2009 would succeed in establishing peace in Afghanistan, and we know from history that Biden was right. Biden has rejected any escalation, opting instead for a complete withdrawal. Focusing on emerging threats from China and Russia made his decision to avoid escalation in Afghanistan much easier.

In contrast to Afghanistan, Biden faces no need for significant escalation in Iraq and Syria. The Taliban is a more powerful and dangerous opponent than ISIS or the pro-Iranian Iraqi militias. In addition, under Biden, the US military mission in Iraq and Syria has a specific goal of helping local forces fight ISIS, and nothing more. Even a senior State Department official said in an interview in July that the United States was not in an “open war” with armed groups in Iraq. This is a completely different message from the kind of messages of the American war against the Taliban for nearly 19 years. Washington hopes that Prime Minister Al-Kazemi will succeed in strengthening the government in Baghdad, and is ready to support him, but it does not expect to send large combat forces to defend Baghdad against ISIS or against outlaw groups.

And we have to remember that without the US military presence in Iraq there can be no US military presence in eastern Syria, as all supplies come from Iraqi Kurdistan. The US military objective in eastern Syria is less clear than in Iraq, because there is a direct security objective of defeating ISIS, and a more vague geo-strategic objective of preventing Iran and Russia from controlling eastern Syria. In contrast to Afghanistan, the situation in eastern Syria is relatively stable militarily, and Biden sees no need for escalation. The pressures of pro-Iranian militias in Iraq or Syria will likely rise over time, but so far, the risks to American soldiers remain minimal.

Finally, the policy in Washington, in contrast to Afghanistan, is strongly against withdrawal from Iraq and Syria. First, the Republican Party agreed with Trump on the 2020 agreement on withdrawal from Afghanistan, thus Biden had the required political cover. (If you watch the criticism of Biden’s Afghanistan policy within the United States, many Republicans and Democrats criticize poor planning that led to a disorderly withdrawal, but agree that the United States should have withdrawn sooner or later.) By comparison, most observers in Washington believe that the US withdrawal from Iraq, especially Syria, will be a strategic gain for Iran and Russia, and will sharpen criticism against Biden very much, especially after the Afghanistan crisis. Israeli concern about the Iranian presence in Syria also carries political weight in Washington.

In addition, growing fears of a new rise in terrorist groups after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Biden’s withdrawal from Iraq and Syria will reinforce perceptions that the Biden administration is ignoring the threat of terrorism. Finally, and this is new and important, there is now a lobby in Washington that supports the Kurds and their demands for human rights and basic freedoms. Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria in 2019 was met with severe criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, and if Biden announced a similar decision, especially after Afghanistan, the criticism would be greater. On the political level, in contrast to Afghanistan, it is safer for Biden to maintain the current American presence in Iraq and Syria, and for Biden to refer these small wars to the next American administration.  link

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Tishwash:  The Central Bank announces the success of its initiative to solve the housing problem

The Central Bank of Iraq announced the success of its housing initiative, which developed quick solutions to the housing crisis, noting that the (Iraq Marshall Project) provided job opportunities for women and restarted factories.

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Ihsan Shamran Al-Yasiri, said, “The bank launched two initiatives related to housing, the first with 5 trillion dinars and the other with one trillion dinars, for a total of 6 trillion dinars,” according to “conscious.”

He added that “the first initiative is through the real estate bank to buy housing units in or outside the complexes, in addition to the second initiative in the Housing Fund to finance the construction of housing units by the public, which witnessed a wide demand for it.”

He pointed out that “the housing initiative is considered one of the most successful initiatives because it has absorbed the housing problem,” noting that “the housing initiative, which extends to 20 years without benefits, except for a simple commission.”

He continued, “We launched one trillion for private banks to meet the various demands of the public, including housing, in addition to initiatives for the agricultural and industrial sectors,” explaining that “since 2015 until now, this initiative has enhanced liquidity and given opportunities to the public to compensate for government jobs through financing, investments and employment.”

Al-Yasiri stressed that “the Iraq Marshall Project gave hope for the employment and empowerment of women and the re-run of the factories,” noting thatthe project is large and is still ongoing.”

And about the reserves of the Central Bank, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank stated, “The Central Bank’s reserves of hard currency have so far reached 60 billion dollars   link

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