U.S.-Iraq Joint Security Cooperation Dialogue Joint Statement
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense led the inaugural U.S.-Iraq Joint Security Cooperation Dialogue in Washington, D.C. from August 7-8, 2023, reaffirming their commitment to security cooperation and shared interest in regional stability.
A delegation from the Republic of Iraq, led by Minister of Defense Thabit al-Abbasi, and a U.S. delegation, led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Celeste Wallander, discussed a range of bilateral defense issues in accordance with the 2008 U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement and as part of a comprehensive, 360-degree partnership. Minister al-Abbasi met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and U.S. representatives from the Joint Staff, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, U.S. Central Command, State Department, and National Security Council. The Iraqi delegation included the Director of the Counterterrorism Service, the Chief of Defense, the Deputy Commander of the Joint Operations Command – Iraq, and other senior officials. The U.S. and Iraqi delegations reaffirmed their commitment to developing Iraq’s security and defense capabilities and determination to deepen security cooperation across a full range of issues to advance our countries’ shared interest in Iraq’s security and sovereignty, and in the stability of the region.
The Joint Security Cooperation Dialogue reflects the maturing bilateral strategic partnership and builds upon the foundation laid by previous bilateral discussions, including the July 2021 U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue and February 2023 U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee. The U.S. and Iraqi delegations welcomed the full implementation of the Strategic Dialogue, confirming that there were no U.S. forces with a combat role in Iraq and that all U.S. military personnel remain in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq to train, advise, assist, and share intelligence in support of Iraq’s fight to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS.
The two sides reviewed shared challenges and opportunities for cooperation, focusing on the impressive achievements of the Defeat-ISIS campaign; ongoing efforts to prevent the group’s resurgence, affirming the joint cooperation with the Iraqi Security Forces including the Peshmerga; and a shared commitment to regional stability. The delegations also reviewed the critical operational support provided through the mission of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) to train, advise, assist, and share intelligence with the Iraqi Security Forces. The delegations discussed the urgent need to repatriate displaced persons and detainees currently in northeast Syria to their countries of origin and to support reintegration efforts in local communities.
The United States and the Republic of Iraq intend to consult on a future process, separate from the JSCD and inclusive of the Coalition, to determine how the Coalition’s military mission is going to evolve on a timeline according to the following factors: the threat from ISIS, operational and environmental requirements, and ISF capability levels. The Iraqi and U.S. delegations committed to form a higher military commission between the U.S. and Iraq to evaluate the future process described above.
The delegations further discussed efforts to build the institutional capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces through U.S. military assistance and security cooperation programs, including Foreign Military Financing and Foreign Military Sales. The delegations reviewed opportunities to expand the educational opportunities available to Iraq’s military professionals, whether through training programs or educational exchanges. Both sides also consulted on opportunities to expand Iraqi participation in military exercises led by U.S. Central Command.
In support of the sovereignty and security of Iraq, both countries reaffirmed that U.S. forces are in Iraq at the invitation of Iraqi government only to support the Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against ISIS. The Government of Iraq reaffirmed its commitment to protect U.S. and Global Coalition personnel and advisors, convoys, and diplomatic facilities. The delegations noted their intent to hold subsequent Joint Security Cooperation Dialogues and related meetings in the future to discuss the evolving threat from ISIS, current and future operational requirements, and efforts to improve the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces.
The successful completion of this inaugural Joint Security Cooperation Dialogue underscores the two countries’ commitment to continued bilateral military cooperation in all areas, including but not limited to the Iraqi-led enduring defeat of ISIS.