President Donald Trump is expected to cut U.S. troop deployment in Iraq to 3,500, roughly a week after hosting the Iraqi prime minister at the White House, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The move comes amid a series of successes for the Trump administration in the Middle East, including a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in early August and a peace agreement with the Taliban in February. There were roughly 5,200 U.S. troops deployed to Iraq as of late August, according to the WSJ.
The withdrawal would reportedly take up to three months and would put U.S. presence in Iraq at its lowest level since the beginning of the campaign against ISIS. (RELATED: President Trump Announces Peace Deal Between Israel And United Arab Emirates)
“When we came into office, ISIS was running rampant all over Iraq and Syria,” Trump said last week alongside Iraq’s Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. “And we knocked out the 100% of the ISIS caliphate. The Obama administration did a very poor job.”
A full troop withdrawal is reportedly off the table due to the rise of ISIS coming about in the power vacuum left by the last U.S. withdrawal under former President Barack Obama’s administration. (RELATED: Pompeo Defends Using Camp David To Meet With Taliban)
The move comes as part of a larger planned withdrawal out of Afghanistan as well, but progress since signing the agreement with the Taliban has been limited. The original deal called for a full U.S. withdrawal by mid-November, so long as the Taliban holds up its end of the deal in not escalating violence.
Six months later, however, the U.S. still has 8,600 troops in Afghanistan according to the most recent official tally. Trump has said the deployment level will be down to 4,000 by Election Day.