The U.S. military command in Iraq announced Friday that all training missions for the Iraqi security forces are on hold during the novel coronavirus outbreak. A statement from the command portrayed the move as both an Iraqi decision and a “short-term” force protection step.
But it will lead to an undisclosed portion of the roughly 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq to return home, and the command suggests that they’re unlikely to return. “Looking ahead, we anticipate the Coalition supporting the Iraqi Security Forces from fewer bases with fewer people,” the command said. That’s likely influenced as well by the continued rocketing of Iraqi bases by Iran-backed militias. It also follows Thursday’s announced freeze of deployments in and out of Afghanistan.
Representatives from the command did not immediately respond to questions from The Daily Beast.