"Now, that doesn't mean we're not going to be watching with intelligence".
President Trump's plans to pull USA troops out of Syria were dealt another blow by the Senate last night after it voted overwhelmingly to oppose the withdrawal. We have to protect other things that we have.
Citing two USA officials, the New York Times said senior United States military officers recently visited several Iraqi bases, including in Erbil and the Ayn al-Asad Airbase, to determine if existing USA operations there could be expanded with troops moving in from Syria.
The resolution was sponsored by the Republican leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell, who said last week the measure "would acknowledge the plain fact that Al-Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to our nation".
The president said he planned to keep a small contingent of troops in Afghanistan for "real intelligence" purposes and said US forces would return to that country if necessary. So far, signals from Washington "send the wrong message about the future of the relations we aspire to", the diplomat said.
The Iraqi president said USA troops had no right to monitor Iran under the agreement between the two nations, and that their specific mission was to combat terrorism, according to Reuters.
IS will remain an issue unless Sunni "socio-economic, political, and sectarian grievances are not adequately addressed by the national and local governments of Iraq and Syria", the soldiers and diplomats argue.
Iraq announced the fight against ISIS was over on December 9, 2017, after the group seized the country's second-largest city Mosul, as well as one-third of the rest of the country, before being toppled by an Iraqi military campaign that was backed by the USA -led coalition.
Trump's comments added to concerns in Iraq about America's long-term intentions, particularly after it withdraws its troops from Syria. And I think they're [Taliban] exhausted and, I think everybody's exhausted. We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving.
But Trump's comments to CBS could undermine those negotiations by inflaming fears among Iraqis that US military activity in Iraq will be aimed at checking Iran, and not defeating ISIL, the Times said. Left unsaid is that these grievances are a product of upheaval caused by the 2003 USA invasion of Iraq and the United States support for sectarian rebels in Syria starting in 2011. The outlet also noted a "growing sentiment" held by Iraqis that USA troops should go.
Afterward, "they will be going to our base in Iraq, and ultimately, some will be coming home", he added.
Pro-Iran politicians with strong Shiite militia backing have pledged to push out US forces through legislation passed by Iraq's parliament, but they have increasingly expressed a willingness for armed confrontation.
The PMF says the presence of USA troops in Iraq is a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and has constantly threatened action against them if they refuse to withdraw.