Iraq questions Trump’s military plans
by Harvest Prude
Posted 2/04/19, 12:31 pm
Iraqi lawmakers are pushing back against U.S. plans to bulk up American troop numbers in the country after comments from President Donald Trump. In a Sunday interview with CBS News, Trump revealed that while he will continue withdrawing troops from Syria, the United States will strengthen its military presence in Iraq to oppose Islamic State (ISIS) from there. He said an enhanced presence would also allow the U.S. military to monitor terrorism concerns in neighboring Iran. “I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem,” the president said.
Trump said U.S. intelligence agencies have incorrectly assessed the Iranian nuclear threat. Last week, Director of National Security Dan Coats told Senate lawmakers that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon, though North Korea is.
Iraqi President Barham Salih said Monday that the United States had not asked his country’s permission to use it “as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries.” Pro-Iranian militias gained more influence in the Iraqi Parliament in last year’s elections, increasing tension over the presence of U.S. troops there. Parliament member Jawad al-Musawi said Trump’s statements increased “distrust of the American government—even if they say they are coming to protect us … the real reason they will be coming is to hit Iran.”
Trump in the interview also defended his decision to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. Senate Republicans passed an amendment last week warning against a “precipitous withdrawal” while ISIS remains a threat.
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