Iraqi President Says Trump Did Not Ask Permission To 'Watch Iran'

Adjust Comment Print

The Shiite militia in Iraq alleged its fighters Friday prevented the American troops within the anti-IS coalition from conducting a field operation inside the city of Mosul.

He gave the committee assurances that the USA will seek to protect the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, who have led the fight against ISIS in Syria, and the Syrian-Kurdish fighters within the SDF.

In an interview on the CBS network, Mr Trump spoke of the "endless wars" in Syria and Afghanistan and made clear he wanted to reduce the costly United States military presence in those countries, despite warnings against such moves from his military advisers and spy chiefs.

The report echoes what intelligence chiefs told lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week - that a vacuum left by the departure of US troops could be filled by ISIS or al Qaeda in Syria or Iraq.

But the group remains active and still numbers in the thousands in Syria and Iraq, and it is probably adding about 50 new members a month, the Defense Department inspector general report says.

"I have intel people, but that doesn't mean I have to agree", @realDonaldTrump says about his intelligence chiefs' assessment of Iran. "We don't want to be part of any axis, American or otherwise".

Trump visited the al-Asad air base in Anbar province, which was under threat of a rocket attack on Saturday, when he dropped in for a few hours over Christmas.

Salih added, "It is of fundamental interest for Iraq to have good relations with Iran and other neighboring countries".

USA forces invaded Iraq in 2003, and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

More news: Brexit plays role in Nissan's X-Trail production U-turn
More news: Washington State Reports More Measles Cases
More news: GM poised to lay off more than 4000 workers on Monday

The proposed bill also enoys the support of Iranian-backed blocs in the parliament, The New Arab reported in December but pressure from the prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has so far blocked it, as he tries to balance Baghdad's relations with its two rival allies, the USA and Iran.

"Trump did not ask us to keep USA troops to watch Iran", Salih said at a forum in Baghdad.

Senators, including prominent Republicans, inflicted a resounding rebuke to the president in December, holding the Saudi crown prince responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi after the Trump administration had been largely supportive of Prince Mohammed bin Salman. An estimated 5,200 American soldiers are stationed in Iraq. "We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving", he said.

Trump also tasked the Pentagon late previous year to start making plans for cutting the USA force in Afghanistan in half. His visit sparked outrage in Iraq when he failed to meet with any Iraqi officials.

Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, navigating Washington's relationship with Baghdad has proved a delicate balancing act for diplomats and policymakers.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned shortly after Trump's announcement, followed soon after by Brett McGurk, the USA envoy to the global coalition fighting Islamic State. He allowed, though, that America would still retain forces in Iraq who would be ready to strike a resurgent ISIS in Syria or Iraq - something that military commanders have reportedly been pressing for as a hedge against ISIS's resurgence.

USA officials tell Reuters that the military has already started the withdrawal process, adding hundreds of troops to Syria to facilitate a safe pullout.

According to The Daily Beast, anti-American Iraqi lawmakers, led by political leader Muqtada Sadr, were already planning to vote on a parliamentary measure that would call for the expulsion of USA forces.

The votes marked the second time in two months that the Senate supported a measure contradicting Trump's foreign policy, although legislation to change his policies has yet to become law.