US Secretary of defense Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit to Iraq. He thus shows that the Americans want to remain militarily present in the torn country. The U.S. still has 2,500 troops in Iraq and 900 in neighboring Syria.
Austin stressed during a visit to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani that the Americans will remain there invited by the Iraqis and are now engaged in a mission to support the fight against terrorism.
March 19 marks twenty years since the U.S. invaded Iraq on the controversial grounds that the country had weapons of mass destruction. That was not the case, but the American attack, supported by British and Australians, among others, disrupted the country. Iraq was occupied by US forces for eight years. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties and, according to observers from the Iraq Body Count Project, at least 100,000 civilians were killed in the years 2003-2008 alone.
After the American invasion, many opponents of the Americans were imprisoned in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, including later leaders of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. It arose from fighters who turned against the occupiers in 2004. Iraqi ex-servicemen discharged from the army by the US occupation force became leading figures in the advance of IS in the region ten years after the US invasion. The war in Iraq continues.
About the author: Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson, a small tech business owner retired and found his passion in journalism.