Washington Eyes Expanding Iraq Relationship ‘360 Degrees’

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani meets with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Munich, Germany (Reuters)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani meets with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Munich, Germany (Reuters)
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Washington Eyes Expanding Iraq Relationship ‘360 Degrees’

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani meets with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Munich, Germany (Reuters)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani meets with US Vice President Kamala Harris in Munich, Germany (Reuters)

The security and defense relationship between the US and Iraq will be an important part of talks when Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani visits Washington next week but is not the primary focus of the visit, according to a senior State Department official.

The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said the defense and security relationship will be part of the discussions during Sudani’s visit, when he will meet both with President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Sudani will lead a sizable delegation comprising ministers of oil, finance, trade, and electricity with the aim of discussing a wide array of issues, including enhancing energy security and independence, banking reforms, and bolstering democracy and the rule of law in Iraq.

The senior State Department official affirmed that Sudani’s visit presents a significant opportunity to discuss the future trajectory of the US-Iraqi bilateral relationship and build upon the comprehensive partnership the two countries share under the US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement of 2008.

The official also clarified that discussions will encompass educational exchange opportunities, in addition to focus on energy, water, and commercial investment for US companies in Iraq.

Additionally, discussions will address private sector and banking reforms, the development of business and investment opportunities, efforts to enhance commercial and financial transparency, and initiatives aimed at improving services for the Iraqi people.

The official called for expanding the US-Iraqi relationship to a comprehensive “360 degrees.”

Moreover, they highlighted Washington’s interest in “preserving cultural heritage, mitigating climate change issues, and undertaking water projects.” The goal is to help Iraqis become more self-reliant in energy and overall development.

Asked about the future of US troops in Iraq, the official said it’s still up for discussion, hinting at more talks on security cooperation later this year.

The official stressed the economic aspect of Sudani’s visit, including boosting private sector investments in Iraq.



US Military Pier Operations in Gaza Suspended after Piece Breaks Off

US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
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US Military Pier Operations in Gaza Suspended after Piece Breaks Off

US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)

A part of the US military's pier off Gaza has broken off, rendering it temporarily inoperable, two US officials said, in the latest blow to efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said bad weather was believed to be the reason that the part had broken off. They did not say how big the part was or speculate on how long it would take for the pier to resume operations.

The pier was announced by US President Joe Biden in March and involved the military assembling the floating structure off the coast. Estimated to cost $320 million for the first 90 days and involve about 1,000 US service members, it went into operation two weeks ago.

Since the pier began operations, the United Nations has transported 137 trucks of aid from the pier - the equivalent of 900 metric tons - said a UN World Food Program (WFP) spokesperson.