Donald Trump will keep troops in Iraq to 'watch Iran'

Saul Bowman
February 5, 2019

Trump, in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" that aired Sunday, proposed taking advantage of the United States military presence in Iraq to keep an eye on Iran.

Then-Defense Secretary James Mattis offered his resignation after the president made his decision and, last month, a vast majority of Senate Republicans rebuked Trump's rationale for withdrawing US troops when, in a vote, they backed a resolution that declared ISIS' presence and activity in both countries continue to pose a serious threat to the United States.

Salih, speaking at an global forum in Baghdad, cautioned Trump against putting his own country's foreign policy agenda over Iraq's, stating that Trump should not "pursue your own policy priorities".

He said usa troops were in Iraq as part of an agreement between the two countries with a specific mission of assisting in the fight against the Islamic State group and combatting "terrorism".

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

Freelance journalist Laura Bassett on Sunday warned Super Bowl-watchers not fall for President Donald Trump's pregame interview because she said it was filled with "a lot of ignorance and a lot of lies".

"When I look at Iran, I look at it as a nation that has caused tremendous problems", he said.

Of Iraq, Trump said "We spent a fortune on building this incredible base. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up", he said.

Trump also addressed his disagreement with the USA intelligence community its belief that more work needs to be done to combat the Islamic State in Syria before withdrawing US troops by reiterating his assertion that the terror group has largely been eradicated.


Anchor Margaret Brennan asked the commander-in-chief if he wanted the troops there to "be able to strike in Iran?" "The U.S.is a major power.but do not pursue your own policy priorities, we live here".

Mr Saleh said on Monday that the U.S. had not asked Iraq's permission to do so.

"Trump did not ask us to keep USA troops to watch Iran", Salih said at a forum in Baghdad. USA forces train and advise the group.

Trump also added that "And I'll leave intelligence there".

But after Trump announced his intention to withdraw forces from Syria, U.S. military and intelligence officials have been vocal that the group still poses a security threat.

One concern of Washington is that Iran is looking to build a crescent of influence spanning Iraq and Syria, reaching the Mediterranean.

Sabah al-Saadi, a member of parliament in the bloc led by influential anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, has proposed a bill demanding a US pullout.

"We think that building strong relations with the USA for the benefit of the two peoples is important", said a senior Iraqi diplomat, who requested anonymity to speak frankly on a sensitive subject.

Hassan Karim al-Kaabi, Iraq's deputy speaker of parliament, said Trump's latest comments were a "blatant and overt violation of sovereignty and national will", according to local media.

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