The Chicago Journal

Lloyd Austin traveled to Baghdad in a show of support

Lloyd AustinThe American press made a surprising statement on Tuesday, revealing that a senior White House official had arrived in Baghdad.

They followed US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on an unannounced visit to Iraq, when he stated that US forces stationed there were ” ready to remain in Iraq.”

The news

Lloyd Austin is the highest-ranking Cabinet official to visit Baghdad since the commencement of the Biden administration in 2020.

Austin, according to the press pool, issued a statement confirming his presence in Iraq.

Austin’s presence is intended to reinforce the US-Iraq strategic alliance as it works to build “a more secure, stable, and sovereign Iraq.”

The visit

Lloyd Austin’s visit to Baghdad comes only days before the 20th anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq to depose tyrant Saddam Hussein.

“We’re deeply committed to ensuring that the Iraqi people can live in peace and dignity, with safety and security and with economic opportunity for all,” said Austin.

“We’ll continue to harness the professionalism of the coalition’s diplomats and assistance experts and warfighters, as well as the incredible professionals in the NATO mission here.”

“We’ll continue to increase interoperability among our allies and partners, and we’ll continue working to accomplish this mission together.”

“Now, looking forward, US forces are ready to remain in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq,” continued Austin.

“And these forces are operating in a non combat, advise, assist, and enable role to support the Iraqi-led fight against terrorism.”

“This is a critical mission. And we’re proud to support our Iraqi partners.”

“We’re focused on the mission of defeating Daesh, and we are here for no other purpose, and threats or attacks on our forces only undermine that mission.”

The fight against ISIS

Iraq is a critical ally in the United States’ continuing fight to demolish ISIS.

The present campaign, on the other hand, is one-of-a-kind.

In Syria, American soldiers collaborated with the Syrian Democratic Forces and other allies.

Following the formal end of the combat operation in Iraq in 2021, the US military will provide advice and assistance.

“The United States will continue to strengthen and broaden our partnerships in support of Iraqi security, stability, and sovereignty,” said Austin.

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Lloyd Austin sat down with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani for a discussion.

On his visit to Baghdad, Austin is anticipated to speak with other top authorities.

According to Lloyd Austin’s press pool, his encounter with Iraq’s prime minister was not recorded on video.

Meanwhile, al-Sudani welcomed Austin’s visit, marking the continuation of collaboration with the US.

The creation of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s administration ended months of political gridlock and occasionally violent demonstrations.

During their discussion, al-Sudani told Lloyd Austin that Iraq is keen to develop and cement its relations with the US, according to the prime minister’s office.

Iraq will be crucial in the United States’ efforts to limit Iranian influence in the region.

Iran has already sought to assert authority over Iraq through proxy troops and Tehran’s influence in Baghdad Shia political organizations.

Al-Sudani’s ascent

Prior to al-Sudani’s recent ascension to the position of Prime Minister, Shia Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was a front-runner to take over the government following the recent elections.

Al-Sadr was outspoken in his opposition to both Iran and the United States.

Nevertheless, resistance from competing parties contributed to his inability to build a government.

Finally, al-Sadr’s failure presented an opening for al-Sudani, who has demonstrated a desire to strengthen Baghdad’s ties with the United States, notably Washington.

US support

After his visit to Baghdad, Lloyd Austin flew to Erbil, the northern Kurdish regional capital of Iraq.

He met with Nechirvan Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region and the Commander in Chief of the Region’s Military Forces.

Nechirvan Barzani and Lloyd Austin stressed the importance of American assistance for Iraq and the Kurdish region during a joint news conference.

Barzan underlined similar interests and ideals, drawing the two closer.

Lloyd Austin emphasized the US-Kurdish Peshmerga collaboration to improve counterterrorism in the fight against ISIS.

“Through the Global Coalition to Defeat Daash (ISIS), we liberated more than 50,000 square kilometers from Daash (ISIS) and we freed more than 4.5 million Iraqis from their cruel grip,” said Austin.

US airstrike takes out two ISIS leaders staying in Syria

Two ISIS leaders were shot dead in northern Syria after US forces launched an airstrike on Thursday, two defense officials said.

The airstrike came the day after a US airstrike killed an ISIS leader.

It killed Abu ‘Ala, one of the top five leaders and deputy leaders of ISIS in Syria, as well as Abu Mu’Ad al-Qahtani, an ISIS official in charge of prisoners’ affairs.

The airstrike occurred at 6:23 p.m. local time in Syria.

The operation left American troops and equipment unscathed.


Officials said US Central Command forces in the region had spent more than 1,000 hours gathering intelligence on targets to mitigate the risk of collateral damage.

An initial assessment showed that no civilians had been killed or injured.

The Pentagon issued a statement Thursday saying the airstrike came after a Wednesday strike in northeastern Syria that killed an Islamic State arms dealer.

Although the Islamic State has been reduced to a fraction of itself, the United States has continued to follow the example of the terrorist group.

In a short time, they carried out successive raids and airstrikes, demonstrating the greatest intensity of the operation against the terrorist group.

The operations also underscored the United States’ desire to ensure that ISIS does not grow stronger.

The raid

The United States Central Command issued a statement stating:

“Last night, the US Central Command forces conducted a helicopter raid in northeast Syria, near the village of Qamishli, targeting Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri, an ISIS official known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fight to support ISIS operations.”

“During the operation, the targeted individual was killed, and one of his associates was wounded.”

CENTCOM also clarified that no US forces or civilians were killed or injured during the operation.

According to three defense officials, the smuggled weapons were used in ISIS operations.

One of the officials said the raid was a unilateral US operation without coalition involvement to defeat ISIS.

US forces used helicopters during the operation.

The Dispute Resolution Line was not used to brief Russia prior to the operation due to the location of the raid and its sensitivity.

“USCENTCOM is committed to our allies and partners in the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said Col. Joe Buccino, a CENTCOM spokesman.

Earlier Thursday, the Pentagon said a senior ISIS official had been attacked but declined to provide further details.

Meanwhile, Syrian state television said on Telegram that one person had been killed during a US operation in northeast Syria.

They also accused the United States of kidnapping several people.

The year-long ISIS raid

In 2022, the United States pursued several high-ranking ISIS agents in Syria.

In February, they raided northwestern Syria, where ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed after blowing himself up.

The last time the United States made a major foray into Syria was in 2019, when it carried out an operation that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former leader of ISIS.

When ISIS confirmed that Baghdadi had been killed in November 2019, Qurayshi was named its new leader.

According to officials, the United States had been aware of his whereabouts for months prior to the raid.

Qurayshi sat with his family on the third floor of a building where he ran ISIS operations through a messaging network.

His deputy was also killed in the raid.

Since March, the leader of IS has been Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.

Months after the Qurayshi attack, the US-led Joint Task Force to Counter ISIS arrested Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi, known as Salim, another prominent ISIS leader in Syria.

In July, the United States carried out a drone strike in northwestern Syria that killed Maher al-Agal, the leader of ISIS in Syria.

US military operations

Operations in Syria continued even as the Biden administration sought to withdraw the military from the Middle East to focus on the challenges ahead.

Recently, China and Russia have become increasingly confident and willing to use violence against their neighbors.

Even after the defeat of the self-proclaimed Islamic State caliphate in 2019, the group continued to attempt to regroup to challenge the US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

Their efforts include several attempted attacks on Syria’s al-Hol camp, which houses more than 60,000 people.

The terrorist group considers the camp a recruitment camp.

According to US Central Command, ISIS attempted a suicide attack on the camp by arming two vehicles with explosives.

One vehicle exploded prematurely while the other was intercepted by the Syrian Democratic Forces.


US kills two top ISIS leaders in airstrike in Syria