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

06 February, 2019, 11:15 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump

Currently, ISIS is regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria, but absent sustained [counterterrorism] pressure, ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory in the [Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV)].

A USA -led coalition has eliminated some 99 percent of the territory in Syria and Iraq that the Islamic State, or ISIS, once claimed as its so-called caliphate.

Trump on Saturday said he wanted to keep American soldiers in Iraq to "watch Iran", but official agreements between the usa and Iraq limit their remit to fighting terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and providing training and tactical advice to Iraqi forces.

"We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement - but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace", he said.

Iraq's President Barham Saleh has rebuked Donald Trump over his comments that he wanted to maintain a U.S. military presence there to watch Iran.

Trump announced in December that "all" US forces would be leaving Syria "now". "We've taken back the land and now it's time for our troops to come back home".

A Defense Department Inspector General report released on Monday concluded that Iraq's failure to seat new heads of the Defense and Interior ministries has hampered the rebuilding of Baghdad's military.

Just hours before the president's second annual State of the Union address was set to begin, Politico reported that he'd told a group of television anchors that the two-day summit would be held in Vietnam on February 27 and 28.

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"Members of parliament's security, defence and foreign relations committees are now working hard to determine the exact number and real mission of the USA forces in Iraq", a high-level Iraqi government source told The New Arab's Arabic edition.

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

The US military commander overseeing American troops in the Middle East has told a Senate hearing that he was not consulted ahead of Donald Trump's surprise decision in December to pull US troops out of Syria.

He said that about 1,500 to 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in a 20-square-mile pocket in Syria near the Iraqi border. He added that details about the pace of that withdrawal are now being developed with USA allies and partners. ISIS also retains the ability to coordinate offensives and counteroffensives.

"The fight against ISIS and violent extremists is not over, and our mission has not changed", Votel said.

According to two USA officials, the number of US personnel inside Syria has increased to 3,000 as additional personnel have entered Syria to prepare for the exit of troops and equipment.

Trump's decision to leave Syria, which he initially said would be rapid but later slowed down, shocked US allies led to the resignations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the top envoy to the anti-IS coalition, Brett McGurk.

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