The arrest of an Iranian-backed paramilitary leader in the killing of government protesters enraged powerful militias in Iraq and posed a test of the prime minister’s pledge to rein them in.
A movement demanding a new kind of Iraq struggles to carry on, despite intimidation from Iranian-backed militias that are believed to have murdered dozens of activists.
The decision by Lockheed Martin, after repeated rocket attacks, highlights the Iraqi government’s failure to rein in militia groups.
The joint operation with Iraqi forces was aimed at stemming the group’s resurgence, and illustrates Iraq’s continued reliance on the U.S. military.
Oil-rich Iraq, its economy hobbled by neglect and corruption, has devalued its currency and had its imported electricity cut off for nonpayment.
U.S. and Iraqi officials say they are surprised by the proposed retreat, which could set back American efforts to fight the Islamic State and to limit Iranian influence.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s visit to the White House is largely focused on negotiations, which started in May, on resetting the United States military mission in Iraq.
Protesters have long said threats and abductions by militias were routine. United Nation investigators have begun to substantiate the claims.