Trump's Comments on Watching Iran from Iraq 'Humiliating' for Baghdad

Trump's Comments on Watching Iran from Iraq 'Humiliating' for Baghdad

Trump's Comments on Watching Iran from Iraq 'Humiliating' for Baghdad

"We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq", he said.

The Republican president lamented "endless wars" in Syria and Afghanistan in an interview with CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday and made clear he wants to reduce the costly U.S. military presence in those countries despite warnings against such moves from his military advisers and spy chiefs. He added that he would wait for clarifications from Washington on the numbers and nature of the US troops' mission in his country. "Certainly we are aware that he had expressed a desire and intent in the past to depart Iraq, depart Syria", Gen. Joseph Votel said during a Tuesday hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and it maintains eight branches, more than a dozen networks, and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world, despite significant leadership and territorial losses", the intelligence assessment said.

US military commanders rely heavily on Syrian forces to gather intelligence from information and material gathered from the battlefield, but also a wide-range of informers with firsthand knowledge about ISIS operations.

He said US 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".

Trump has said he has no plans to withdraw the 5,200 troops in Iraq, which he says could carry out US airstrikes inside Syria after American troops withdraw from that country.

In December, Trump shocked the defense establishment by announcing the immediate withdrawal of troops from Syria, claiming the mission was complete after "defeating" the Islamic State. "I was not consulted". He also slammed the notion that the USA has a base in Iraq, reminding the world that the military bases in Iraq are Iraqi and foreigners are there as guests only. It has begun to withdraw equipment from Syria and is expected to begin the drawdown of personnel soon.

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters onboard Air Force One on his way back to the White House in Washington from a weekend at his Mar-a Lago estate in Palm Beach Fla. Iraq’s President Barham Sali
Walking back Syria withdrawal, Trump cites need to watch Iran, 'protect' Israel

Reports surfaced late past year saying that the Trump administration was considering withdrawing half of the 14,000 USA troops deployed to Afghanistan.

"I don't consider this to be either time-based or conditions-based", said Votel.

Trump's intelligence chief has described the Hashd as the "primary threat" to the USA in Iraq.

Despite Trump's decision, America still has 2,000 or so troops in Syria and only non-essential gear has been pulled.

Pro-Iran politicians with strong Shiite militia backing have pledged to push out USA forces through legislation passed by Iraq's parliament, but they have increasingly expressed a willingness for armed confrontation. He added that details about the pace of that withdrawal are now being developed with US allies and partners. "As I read it, it recognizes. his effort for us to examine exactly what we are doing in these places", Risch said.

ISIS fighters still retain a stronghold in southeastern Syria in an area of about six square kilometers in the villages of Marashida and Baghuz Fawqani, both located close to the Iraqi border.

He said US -backed Kurdish forces will proceed cautiously in that last fight given the number of civilians in the area as well as the large number of "extreme explosive hazards".

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