Trump says may declare Islamic State defeated next week

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"Whether they want to or not, the Americans must leave Syria", said Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to the Reuters news agency citing Iran's Tasnim news agency.

After the speech, Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump's Syria plans did not seem well thought out and could put US allies like the Kurds and Israel at risk, while empowering Iran.

Trump's latest remarks had made passing such a law "a national duty", he said.

"We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end", Trump said in his annual State of the Union address.

Across town, Maj. Gen. James Hecker, the vice director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee "there will be a decrease in the amount of pressure that we will be able to apply" on ISIS because of the USA troop pullout, according to The Associated Press. Nobody thought it was possible to do with this quickly, ' he said. "Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty monsters", the president said on Tuesday night, using a different acronym for the Islamic State (IS) group.

"One of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem", Trump said, adding that he wouldn't use the United States military outpost to strike Iran, but to "watch" it. I said go at it.

Asked how the U.S. would maintain such pressure after withdrawing the 2,000-plus troops currently in Syria, Votel said "that is an aspect of the ongoing planning that we are pursuing right now".

Opponents included every senator considering a 2020 presidential run, and four Republicans, who said USA foreign policy needs a rethink.

Even as Pompeo spoke on Wednesday, a senior military official acknowledged to politicians that with the pullout, "it is going to be hard to keep up the pressure".

U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Joseph Votel speaks at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Washington. Trump used part of his speech to offer a spirit of compromise, particularly in areas such as lowering the price of prescription drugs and funding a $1 trillion upgrade in USA roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Pompeo also wanted to make sure other members of the coalition help keep ISIS from returning to Syria and Iraq.

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Another guest was pastor Andrew Brunson, who was freed from a Turkish jail after spending a year and a half there and becoming a cause celebre for Trump's conservative Christian base.

Pompeo said, "To that end, we ask that our coalition partners seriously and rapidly consider requests that will enable our efforts to continue. And those requests are likely to come very soon". He did not elaborate.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, at his weekly news conference late Tuesday, reminded Trump that there are no USA bases in Iraq and said he doesn't accept the idea of Iraq becoming an arena for fighting a neighboring country. "So we never had Syria", Trump said in the interview.

"It should be formally announced sometime probably next week that we will have 100 percent of the caliphate", Mr. Trump told his audience of global leaders in brief remarks.

Carr is a US Army veteran who served in Iraq.

Trump's comments were rejected by the current Iraqi President Bahram Salih.

Trump also declared the Islamic State militant group all but defeated, in a departure from his earlier claim that the group had already been eradicated in Syria.

Since 2014, coalition members have provided more than $20bn support in Iraq and Syria.

Trump has met with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un once before, and during the speech, he announced that a second meeting was scheduled in Vietnam on February 27-28.

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