U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Dr. Celeste Wallander, visited Baghdad on September 20 to engage senior Iraqi leaders and re-affirm the importance of the U.S.-Iraq defense partnership.
Under the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement, the United States remains dedicated to enhancing Iraq’s defensive capabilities and providing security assistance as part of broader cooperation to benefit all the peoples of Iraq and strengthen the country’s sovereignty, stability, and security.
In 2022, the United States confirmed a transition of mission in partnership with the Government of Iraq to support the Iraqi Security Forces through training, advising, assisting, and intelligence-sharing as the Government of Iraq leads the fight against ISIS. U.S. forces with a combat role departed Iraq in December 2021, and forces with the mission of advise, assist, and enable remain in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Government.
ASD Wallander met with Minister of Defense Jumah Inad Sadun, Chief of Defense sGEN Abdul-Amir Yarallah, and National Security Advisor Qassim al-Araji in Baghdad.
ASD Wallander underscored the long-term partnership between the United States and Iraq in meetings with Iraqi leaders and affirmed their mutual commitment to build the operational capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, including the Peshmerga forces, to continue counter-terrorism operations to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS. ASD Wallander also discussed opportunities to expand U.S.-Iraq defense cooperation beyond counterterrorism operations to address emerging threats and increase collaboration and interoperability.
Additionally, ASD Wallander expressed appreciation for Iraq’s continuing efforts to repatriate ISIS detainees for prosecution and reintegrate displaced people of Iraqi origin from northeastern Syria.
“I am honored to be here in Baghdad today to discuss the U.S.-Iraq defense partnership and consult with my Iraqi counterparts on opportunities to expand our security cooperation in support of mutual interests,” Wallander said.
ASD Wallander will also travel to Erbil to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will continue Department of Defense support to the Peshmerga for Defeat-ISIS operations.