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Groups attacking Erbil and Baghdad are the same, says Iraqi PM Kadhimi
Halgurd Sherwani for Kurdistan24
19-07-2021 - ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The forces attacking the Kurdistan Region’s capital with rockets and explosive-packed drones are the same who target Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has said. 
In an exclusive interview with Arabic news channel Al-Hadath that aired on Sunday, the Iraqi premier put the spotlight on pressing issues the country is struggling with, ranging from endemic corruption to security issues and the presence of coalition forces in Iraq.
The Kurdish capital and its Iraqi counterpart, which host foreign diplomatic missions and members of the international coalition against ISIS, have lately come under increasing attacks from militias that local and foreign politicians refer to as “outlawed” or “criminal groups.”
Kadhimi, describing the attacks as “absurd,” said that the perpetrators of attacks on the two capitals are “the same.”
Erbil and Baghdad, despite disagreements on a number of issues, continue to cooperate in some sectors, particularly security. Recently, the two sides began joint military operations in disputed territories to hunt down the remnants of ISIS.
According to the Iraqi premier, the current state of relations between Baghdad and Erbil are excellent, and have resulted in the arrest of criminal groups.
Iraq-US Strategic Dialogue
An Iraqi delegation headed by Kadhimi will travel to Washington, DC to meet US President Joe Biden holding talks as part of the strategic dialogue that started in June 2020.
As the July 26 meeting between Kadhimi and Biden approaches, debates over the fate of remaining 2,500 American troops in Iraq have been reignited with Iran-linked militias intensifying attacks in an apparent bid to force their departure.
Iraq does not need “American combat troops,” Kadhimi said in the interview, without explaining his stance on the US and other foreign military personnel who train and equip the country’s security forces, including the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Following the withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan, concerns have risen of a similar departure from Iraq, as many see local security forces as incapable of confronting the challenges coming from ISIS, particularly in launching airstrikes.
Kurdish analyst Dlawar Al’adin told Kurdistan 24 that Washington is now “gradually understanding” that it's in America’s interest to remain in Iraq and not reduce its forces further. The commentator said he expected “escalation” between the militias and US forces as the Americans are now willing to confront them.

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