The U.S. counter-ISIS mission in Iraq and Syria was predicated on working by, with, and through local partners. Now the Trump administration has partially withdrawn troops from Syria. And after recent escalation with Iran on Iraqi soil, the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq is in question. The relationships the United States built with local partners on the ground are under strain. This conversation between Kaleigh Thomas and Nicholas Heras provides critical context on the dynamics of these local partnerships and what they mean for the future of U.S. engagement in the region.
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