Biden’s envoy’s visit to Iraq: a message of reassurance to the Sudanese government

Biden’s envoy’s visit to Iraq: a message of reassurance to the Sudanese government


Bidens envoys visit to Iraq - a message of reassurance to the Sudanese governmentThe visit of Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for Middle East and North Africa affairs, to Iraq carried messages of reassurance to the federal government headed by Muhammad Shia al-Sudani. The visit also reflected an American preoccupation with the ongoing conflict in the Kurdistan region, which threatens to return to the two-management system.

Observers believe that McGurk’s visit aims to renew US support for Baghdad, in light of Iraqi concern about this issue, especially after a series of measures imposed by the US Federal Bank on Iraq with regard to money transfers in dollars, which caused the decline in the value of the Iraqi dinar against the dollar to its lowest levels. .

The American move was considered a message of pressure on the Iraqi government, warning it against taking any steps pushed by some pro-Iranian forces, especially in relation to the expulsion of the American forces.

The White House coordinator for Middle East and North Africa affairs, during his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, affirmed his country’s support for the success of the federal government and providing advice to the army.

A statement by the media office of the Iraqi prime minister said, “Al-Sudani received the White House coordinator for Middle East and North Africa affairs, an envoy from US President Joe Biden,” without specifying the date of his arrival and the duration of his visit.

The statement said that the meeting discussed “the overall relations between Iraq and the United States, and ways to strengthen and develop them at various levels and fields, in a way that serves the interests of the Iraqi and American peoples.”

According to the statement, McGurk affirmed his country’s support for the success of the Iraqi government and “the United States continues to provide advice to Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS.”

McGurk said that the US administration “renews its commitment to the Strategic Framework Agreement, supporting the Iraqi government’s reforms in the field of energy and infrastructure, and confronting climate change.”

The relations of Baghdad and Washington are governed by the provisions of the strategic framework agreement signed in 2008, which regulated the nature of relations between the two countries, and the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, while maintaining a number of them within advisory functions.

The American forces returned to Iraq in 2014 as part of the international coalition against ISIS, which in 2013 invaded large parts of the country.

After announcing the end of the war on ISIS, the forces loyal to Tehran returned to pressing for the departure of the American forces, and the scope of pressure in this direction expanded following the assassination of the Iranian Quds Force commander, General Qassem.

Soleimani and the deputy of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, in an American air strike in January of the year 2020.

After the assassination, a decision was issued by the Iraqi parliament demanding the withdrawal of all foreign forces, so that the implementation of the decision would proceed in the last custody of former Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, where the combat forces were withdrawn while maintaining a number of elements within advisory missions.

The pro-Iranian forces rejected the matter, calling for a complete end to the US military presence. And with the assumption of power by the Sudanese government in Iraq last October, the demands in this file were renewed.

In a situation that surprised observers, Al-Sudani stated, during a visit he made last week to Germany, that his country needs American forces to fight terrorism, describing them as friendly.

The opinions of the observers were divided between those who believe that this position of the Prime Minister is a departure and rebellion from the coordination framework that constitutes the political umbrella of the government, and those who consider that there is a prior agreement between the two parties regarding the matter, in light of the awareness of both of what could lead to any escalation with Washington, especially after a crisis. dollar.

They point out that the coordination framework is in need of US support, even if it refuses to acknowledge that, especially since its control over political power remains fragile in light of a difficult economic and social situation, and the presence of opponents lurking around it at home, led by the Sadrist movement.

During his meeting with McGurk, Al-Sudani affirmed, “The government’s tendency to open horizons of cooperation with friendly and brotherly countries, in a way that secures the interests of the Iraqi people,” referring to the ability of the security forces in Iraq “to confront terrorism and establish the stability achieved thanks to the sacrifices.”

According to the statement of Al-Sudani’s office, McGurk “conveyed his country’s welcome to the outcomes of the Baghdad Conference 2, and efforts to develop joint infrastructure projects between Iraq and its surroundings.”

McGurk also announced that the US administration welcomed the upcoming visit of Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein to Washington “to hold meetings of the Supreme Coordinating Committee of the Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries.”

Al-Sudani and McGurk’s meeting was attended by the Special Presidential Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security, Amos Hochstein, and the US Ambassador to Baghdad, Alina Romanowski.

The US official’s ongoing tour of Iraq was not limited to visiting Baghdad, but also included Erbil, where on Tuesday he held meetings with Kurdish officials and leaders, led by the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Massoud Barzani.

McGurk’s visit to Erbil showed a deep American concern about the ongoing differences between the two main Kurdish parties and their repercussions on the stability of the autonomous region in northern Iraq.

The coordination framework is in need of US support, even if it refuses to acknowledge that, especially since its control over political power remains fragile in light of a difficult economic and social situation.

The relationship between the Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union led by Pavel Talabani is witnessing escalating tension, which foreign interventions have so far failed to contain, which raises concern about the possibility of the return of the two-administration system.

The differences between the two parties revolve around governance in the region and how to manage financial revenues, which come mainly from oil and gas, and border crossings. During his meeting with the US envoy, Barzani stressed the need to proceed with holding legislative elections in the Kurdistan region during this year.

Barzani’s position reflects his strictness towards the Patriotic Union, which rejects any legislative elections in the region without making amendments to the electoral system and the electoral body.

A statement issued by Barzani’s headquarters stated that the meeting with McGurk discussed the political situation in Iraq and the relations between the region and Baghdad, and the need to resolve differences and outstanding issues between Erbil and Baghdad was emphasized, and the importance of the role of Iraq and the Kurdistan region in overcoming obstacles that threaten global energy security.

With regard to the situation inside the Kurdistan region, Barzani stressed, according to the statement, that fair and transparent elections must be held in the region during this year, and that no excuse for postponing them will be accepted, expressing his hope that the meeting and coordination between the political parties will continue in order to overcome the challenges and support the government. Territory. Regarding the reforms of the Kurdistan Peshmerga forces, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party reiterated his support for the continuation of these reforms.

In November 2018, the United States, Britain and Germany presented a project to comprehensively reform the Peshmerga. The project aims to unify and institutionalize the forces, in addition to restructuring the ministry and making it a unified command. The Peshmerga have been receiving training from advisers from the international coalition led by Washington since 2014.

Observers believe that the ongoing differences between the Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union would affect efforts to unify the Peshmerga, which represents one of the American concerns that McGurk expressed during his meeting with Barzani.