Iraqi President Barham Salih on Monday said that President Donald Trump did not request permission from the Iraqi government to leave stationed USA troops in the country for the objective of monitoring neighboring Iran.
Iraqi politicians allied to Iran or the influential Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, a long-time adversary of the U.S. who also opposes Iranian influence in Iraq, have for weeks been calling on the government to remove of all foreign troops from the country.
In an interview with CBS aired on Sunday evening Trump said Iraq was "perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up", adding that Iran was a "real problem".
Asked if that meant he wanted to be able to launch a strike on Iran, Mr Trump said, "No, because I want to be able to watch Iran".
American military presence in Iraq is a sensitive topic, and a reminder to Iraqis of the dark chapter in their country after the US-led invasion and occupation of their country in 2003.
He said the USA base in Iraq is "perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East".
Trump abruptly tweeted plans for a USA pullout from Syria in December, arguing that ISIS had been defeated even though his intelligence chiefs have said it remains a threat. We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving.
WASHINGTON ― The U.S. Senate on Monday voted overwhelmingly to approve a symbolic resolution urging President Donald Trump not to proceed with plans for a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from their yearslong fight against terrorism overseas.
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He thanked the universe for the opportunity, his fans, as well as addressed his haters/critics by thanking them for "pushing us to do better".
The Senate has chose to break from President Trump and his plans to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan - voting Monday in favor of a non-binding amendment to stay.
USA troops who stay in Iraq will also keep an eye on Syria, the president added.
Trump said the United States spent a fortune on a base in Iraq.
Matthew Tueller, a U.S. foreign service officer who last served as ambassador to Yemen, has been nominated to serve as United States envoy to Iraq, but has yet to get a Senate hearing. "One of the greatest mistakes that we've ever made".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment last week that expressed the sense of the chamber that the US "faces continuing threats from terrorist groups operating in Syria and Afghanistan" and that the "precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from either country could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security".
The Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, called the withdrawal plan "tragic" and "unconscionable".
In a rebuke, the Republican-led US Senate advanced largely symbolic legislation on Thursday opposing plans for any abrupt withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
"You're always going to have pockets of something", he told CBS, arguing that you don't keep an army in the country on the basis of a few people. "And it's there. And we'll be there", he said.
A Pentagon report released on Monday indicated that the Islamic State remains an active insurgent group in Iraq and Syria and that, without sustained pressure, the group could reconstitute in Syria within six to 12 months.