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Lebanon and Iraq ink defense cooperation agreement

Lebanese Defense Minister Maurice Sleem is in Iraq for an official visit.
Lebanese army troops take part in a military parade held at the Defence Ministry in Yarzeh on the eastern outskirts of Beirut on Nov. 22, 2021.

Lebanon and Iraq signed a defense-related memorandum of understanding today. 

The memorandum relates to developing bilateral military relations between the two countries. It was signed in Baghdad during Lebanese Defense Minister Maurice Sleem’s official visit to Iraq. Sleem met with his Iraqi counterpart, Jumah Inad Sadun al-Jaburi, as well as Iraqi President Barham Salih. The officials specifically discussed cooperation in fighting “terrorism,” according to Lebanon’s official National News Agency. 

Lebanon and Iraq enjoy cordial relations. Recently, Iraq has sought to help Lebanon through its economic crisis. In early 2021, Iraq decided to provide Lebanon with oil in exchange for medical services to help Lebanon with its chronic fuel shortages. Some Lebanese doctors went to Iraq to work as a result. Leaders of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units militias have also traveled to Lebanon

The Lebanese-Iraqi meeting also comes as Lebanon’s military seeks additional funds. In October, the United States sent an additional $67 million to the Lebanese army to help it with cash and equipment shortages. 

Regarding potential terrorism cooperation between the two countries, the Iraqi military remains active fighting the Islamic State (IS). Iraqi forces have captured or killed several key IS operatives this month.