Some NATO Troops Begin Leaving Iraq

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the German Defense and Foreign Ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has moved seven of its contingent of 14 soldiers to Kuwait and sent the rest home, its Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has removed its seven soldiers.

The Pentagon, for its part, has directed about 4,500 additional American troops to the region atop the roughly 50,000 already there. The new troops will act primarily as a defensive force, meant to reinforce American bases and compounds in the region and respond to a possible Iranian attack in retaliation for the killing of General Suleimani.

A brigade of roughly 4,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., has started deploying to Kuwait. The troops are part of the division’s global response force, kept on standby for particular emergencies.

In Iraq and Syria, however, the American-led coalition halted its yearslong campaign against the Islamic State on Sunday, as United States forces braced for retaliation from Iran.

About 5,200 troops in Iraq and several hundred in Syria are now focused on fortifying their outposts instead of pursuing remnants of the Islamic State and training local forces.

Further complicating matters, Iraqi lawmakers voted Sunday to expel American forces from their country. The vote will not be final until it is signed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, and it was unclear whether Iraq’s current caretaker government had the authority to end the relationship with the United States military.